12 Best Backpacking Stoves Reviewed and Compared
Ah! The great outdoors! If you aren’t a consummate treadmill junkie, then you understand the impact that nature can have on your running game. A lot of runners actually choose locations based on how naturally beautiful they are, and what types of landmarks they have to offer. Ultra-marathoners may end up needing to stay out of doors at least a day when trying to complete courses that can go on for 50 miles or more. Because of this, many runners have really learned to enjoy camping and spending time outside. For some, this is the reason they started running in first place. It’s a sport that takes you back to your natural surroundings and lets you really enjoy the best of what the world has to offer.
Unfortunately, not every runner wants to lug around the type of camp gear required to set up a comfortable site. It’s not practical and it can definitely get in the way of you enjoying your run. Luckily for us, there are plenty of amenities that are lightweight and really easy to use on-the-fly. Even if you don’t plan on staying the night outside, these types of amenities are still really useful if you want to take a break or enjoy an outdoor lunch. One of the most useful things to have with you is portable stove.
- Easy to use
12 Best Backpacking Stoves
The small device is made of aluminum alloy and steel. Both materials are capable of handling exposure to high temperatures and are sturdy enough to withstand outdoor use.
This is extremely small and lightweight and can be folded up so that it fits comfortably in your backpack or bag. It even comes with a case to protect it inside your bag and make transport easy.
Ease of Use
The Etekcity works with fuel canisters for easy heating. There’s also a control function so you can adjust the strength of the flame as you cook food or boil water on the trail. The Piezo Ignition function makes it easy to start, as well. This capable of accommodating pots of us to 7-inches in diameter.
The low price is impressive for such a versatile, quality device. The combination of affordability, quality, and usefulness are what catapulted the Etekcity to the top of our list.
- Very easy to use and ignite
- Lightweight and compact
- Comes with protective carrying case
- Low price
- Adjustable valve
- Support legs are a little unstable
The Ohuhu product is made of solid stainless steel that resists corrosion. It’s also a lot more solid than other options on this list, even more so than our top pick (a wood burning model has other disadvantages, however). It’s capable of handling windy weather, too.
This little product is sturdy but can easily collapse in on itself for easy transport. It also comes with a convenient carrying case.
Ease of Use
A wood-burning type of product takes a bit more effort to light since wood is required. Wood is not always readily available and sometimes wet weather can make it tough to find appropriately dry kindling. This makes the Ohuhu version a more appropriate option for those with some experience building fires. Since no fuel is required, however, there’s no need to worry about contaminating your camping or rest area with fossil fuels. You can also use the appliance with alcohol tablets.
The Ohuhu is priced similarly to our top pick and offers a quality, sturdy construction that’s well worth the low price tag.
- Easy to find fuel
- Compact size
- Budget price
- Slower to heat than other stove types
- Poor choice for wet weather adventures
This made of galvanized steel, so it’s not easily going to break as you’re transporting it. It can handle being roughed around a bit.
Like other options on this list, the Esbit is compact and folds down to an even smaller size for easy packing. If you count the weight of the fuel sold with it, the set weighs only 6.3 ounces.
Ease of Use
You can adjust to accommodate different cooking pots or cups. The fuel tabs are also super easy to use. They each burn for a little under 15 minutes, so keep that number into consideration when calculating how many you’ll need. This small cooker efficiently boils water in as little as eight minutes.
The Esbit device is another affordable option for backpacking. It offers great value since it’s durable and is super easy to use.
- Extremely durable
- Works well
- Easy to use
- Fuel leaves residue
- Sometimes requires more than one fuel tablet to heat up properly
4. Jetboil MiniMo
Jetboil is a brand that produces versatile as well as durable products. This has no noted durability issues. The MiniMo does have noteworthy stability, its legs not bending or wobbling during normal use or under duress.
Hikers who use the Jetboil MiniMo praise its size as well as it easy compactability. This is a solid choice if you are looking for a smaller piece of cooking equipment.
Ease of Use:
The MiniMo heats easily and has some pretty useful controls in terms of controlling heat and flame. The pot that it comes with is insulate for your ease of use as well as safety; it gets extremely hot so Jetboil wants to ensure that they take the proper precautionary steps. The small note against the MiniMo’s general ease of use is that it is only compatible with Jetboil fuel sources, so it isn’t very versatile in terms of fuel accessibility.
The Jetboil MiniMo is a one of the higher costs on this list, but it is very compact and very efficient. Taking its price into consideration, this is a still a high value piece of hiking equipment and is recommended to the trail running enthusiast.
- Heats quickly
- Good stability
- Can cook for two
- Comes with insulated pot
- Advanced controls
- Not compatiable with other brands/equipment
5. Solo Lite
The Solo brand is made of stainless steel and comes with a protective bag to keep it from bouncing around and getting dinged in your pack. This is also backed by a 1-year warranty.
The Solo is lightweight and small, but it should be noted that it doesn’t fold in on itself like other models. The backpacking product instead can fit inside a Solo brand camping pot, but it must be purchased separately. The appliance weighs about 9oz.
Ease of Use
No need to bring along fuel since this little item burns wood. This cooker boils water quickly, a little quicker than our second-place wood burning product (although, this one is less compact).
This is a quite a bit pricier than our previously mentioned wood burning option. But it features a unique smoke-reduction feature that helps to prevent too much smoke product. There’s also an interior tray that catches any residue or ash from burning.
- Reduces smoke production
- Fuel readily available in most cases
- Easy to add more fuel
- Need to find your own fuel
The kampMATE is made of thick stainless steel so it won’t easily bend or warp as you use it. Users really appreciated the sturdy construction of the product.
It’s a bit bigger than some of the others on this list, and it weighs just over a pound. The thick construction means it’s durable, sturdy, and won’t wobble as you cook. Another advantage of the larger size is that you can fit larger pieces of wood or kindling inside. This means you’ll likely need to feed the fire less often. Some reviewers found the stove a bit heavy for light packing, though.
Ease of Use
It’s a cinch to set this up and collapse it down for storage. You can flatten it, so it takes up less space. It’s compatible with various fuel types including alcohol tablets, charcoal, etc. Wood is the easiest to source if you’re in a pinch, but for some conditions, it may be tough to find dry kindling to light a fire.
The kampMATE isn’t the cheapest option out there, but it’s still sold at an affordable price point.
- Protects flame from wind
- Provides warmth
- Very sturdy
- Collapses down flat
- Heavier than other options
- Some parts have sharp edges
7. Primus Classic
It’s a bit heavier than other models, but that translates to it being a sturdy device. It features quality parts for an overall durable build. It should not corrode or break easily.
This model has a weight of 8 ounces, which is a bit heavier than some other models featured on this list but it’s still a nice light option for camping or outdoor trekking.
Ease of Use
This uses a gas canister for fuel that must be purchased separately. Remember to consider the size and weight of the canister when you’re deciding on a particular model. Thi is easy to ignite and with a canister can provide a flame for just over an hour. It’s easy to ignite manually and even features a windshield to protect its flame from blowing out quickly. The flame is also easily adjusted. Users liked that it was able to boil water very quickly.
For a low price, you get a reliable, compact option that will likely last you for years.
- Durable, solid construction
- Simple to use
- Heats quickly
- Comes with a storage bag
- A little heavier than other models
- Takes a while to cool down after use
8. BRS Ultralight
This is made of titanium alloy, copper, and stainless steel, so it’s not a flimsy device that will crack and break if it’s bumped around in your backpack. You can load a maximum of 3 kgs before it becomes unstable.
The BRS weighs a mere 25g, though you shouldn’t forget that you’ll also need to transport a fuel canister to use it. It also comes with a small bag to carry it.
Ease of Use
It burns hot but folds up to the size of a chapstick tube. The sturdy BRS is small but has sturdy support legs. It uses propane-butane canisters for fuel.
A budget price for a tool that takes up minimal space and produces the same kind of heat as comparable items.
- Excellent value
- Heats quickly and efficiently
- Very compact
- Let’s users control heat
- Not appropriate for more than 2 people
- Easily affected by wind
The Reehut product is made of a combination of aluminum alloy and stainless steel. It can withstand high heat, is sturdy enough to hold heavy items, and won’t rust.
The Reehut weighs just over half a pound and folds up so you can easily take it anywhere. It’s compact enough to fit in your pocket if your backpack is full to the brim. It also comes with a little case to protect and store it. Remember, you need to bring along fuel, so take into consideration the amount of space and weight this will take up.
Ease of Use
An electronic ignitor makes it easy to switch this on, and users also have control over the flame strength. Users will need to purchase a canister separately to fuel the unit.
The Reehut is another budget option for beginner backpackers or adventurers on a budget. There’s no need to spend big bucks for reliable equipment.
- Small size
- Heats quickly
- Low price
- Easy to use
- Comes with convenient storage case
- Doesn’t burn as efficiently as other models
Made of tough aluminum so that this product won't degrade quickly.
The entire set weighs just under a 1lb which isn’t bad considering you’re not just carrying a stove, but accessories as well. The set comes with a storage bag, a cup, a pan, utensils, a cleaning tool, and a stand.
Ease of Use
This heats up quickly. You just need a fuel canister to power the unit. Everything included is also super easy to clean, and the set comes with a scrub loofah to help you make everything look good as new after you finish cooking.
You get a whole lot for the price you pay including cookware and utensils.
- Comes with cookware
- Easy to use
- Compact set
- Great value
- Coating on included pots chips easily
11. MSR Pocket Rocket 2
The Pocket Rocket 2 is consider both a durable and well constructed option. It is also known for being stable, not tipping or wobbling even under the duress of heavy cookware or pots. Some users do advise caution in situations where you will get the Pocket Rocket wet, as it may cause degradation.
Both compact and lightweight the MSR Pocket Rocket 2 is a great choice for the runner looking for a product that will fit in their bag.
Ease of Use:
The MSR Pocket Rocket 2 heats extremely quickly, allowing you to get to your meal or beverage sooner rather than later. The heat and flame are also easily adjustable in case you need to be a bit more fine with your cooking.
This is moderately priced, about in the middle of the range of what is available on this list. The MSR Pocket Rocket 2 performs admirably and is well worth the cost for all the value you will be getting from it.
- Well built and durable
- Heats quickly
- Holds weighty cookware well
- Flame is adjustable
- May have moisture issues
- Not the most cost effective option
12. Camp Chef Mountain Series Stryker
There is are no complaints or issues with the Camp Chef Mountain Series Stryker durability in terms of its construction or performance.
The Stryker is one of the heavier items on this list, its ability to compact down is what lends it to being a feasible choice. It is also designed to be usable with a variety of of liquid fuel bottle brands. So you can make up for its heavier build by choosing to pack a lighter canister of fuel.
Ease of Use:
This device comes with an auto-lighter, which works with consistency. The drawback of the Stryker’s weight is offset by its capacity. This is capable of preparing hot food or beverage for about three people rather than just one or two. Additionally, the pot that comes with this attaches directly to the heating apparatus so as to ensure safety and stability while cooking on possibly unstable terrain.
The Camp Chef Mountain Series Stryker has a moderate price, not the highest on this list, no the lowest. If you are willing to shoulder a little extra weight for some performance versatility then the Stryker is worth the cost, otherwise you might find some options on this list better suited to your needs or budget.
- Large capacity
- Lights easily and consistently
- Accessable fuel options, fits variaty of canisters
- Compacts well
- Better price than similiar quality models
- Pot attaches to burner for safety and stability
- Higher weight/larger than most hiking stoves
Evaluation Criteria Explained
We evaluated ten of the best options according to how well they can stand up to repeated outdoor use, whether they are compact enough to be suitable for trekking, how simple they are to use, and whether they offer decent value. We also looked at the way that they impact your running experience. Too much weight on your back can slow you down and actually cause long-term injuries. It’s important to understand the size and shape of what you’re trying to carry, and how it fits into your routine.
The products that made the cut are made of tougher materials and are able to withstand your excursions into the great outdoors. In order to be really portable, they have to be small in size and still able to handle whatever type of cooking you plan. This may not prep you for a gourmet meal, but it’s definitely better than trying to roast a hotdog over an open fire. Solid products should also be resistant to corrosion and made up of sturdy materials that don’t bend or warp under consistent pressure. Remember, too many parts make things way too complicated, and make it easier to break or lose something along the way. Simple is the key, and a good choicecan definitely enhance your running experience.
Space and weight are precious to runners. We only have so much room for the necessities and staying hydrated and fueled up is incredibly important. A good stove is going to be foldable and compact enough to carry along with other items. It shouldn’t be bulky or awkward, and it shouldn’t take up more space than necessary. Keep in mind the smaller the product the fewer people it’s going to be able to serve. So, if you plan a running excursion with friends, make sure that they bring their own.
Ease of Use
If you aren’t a camping aficionado, then you want to make sure that the one you choose is simple enough to set up and use from the get-go. The last thing you want to look like is an amateur camper struggling with a project that’s completely foreign to you. No one wants their running trip to turn into an episode of National Lampoon’s, so find something that you’re comfortable using and that has a fairly simple design. You’ll have to choose between options that require some type of oil or gas and wood-burning models. If you’re going for the wood-burning type, you want to either carry your own kindling, or make sure the running in an area where you have access to plenty of fuel. Either way, remember it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Buying a good one doesn’t mean giving up your firstborn. There are plenty of excellent options that are totally budget friendly. It really depends on your needs, and your level of expertise. If you just need a stove to boil water or heat up food, then you can probably stay fairly simple. If you need it to cook an entire meal on the go, then you may want to look at a model that has more customizable options. Regardless of your needs, there’s an option out there that you can definitely afford.
Other Things To Consider
When deciding on the best option, there are some other elements to think about. Before settling on a particular model, it’s important to think about your needs as a backpacker, what conditions you’ll be using your product in, how many people you’ll be cooking or boiling water for, and, of course, how you can stay safe while burning fuel in the outdoors.
There are various types available and you’ll find a few different types on our top ten list. Models to be used with gas canisters are fairly simple to use. They are quick to ignite, don’t require you to find your own fuel, and get hot quick. The disadvantage? You need to budget room in your pack for fuel. You’ll also need to calculate how much fuel you’ll need on your trip beforehand. You should also consider the cost associated with fuel. They may be very inexpensive but if it requires gas canisters, you’ll need to spend extra money. Gas canisters cannot be refilled either.
Liquid fuel models are another option. This type of fuel is less expensive, and bottles can be refilled if needed. Models that burn liquid fuel are usually larger, and easier to cook on but this also means that they’re heavier. These also tend to produce quite a bit of noise.
Some utilize alcohol as fuel. They’re an excellent option for survival packs since they’re incredibly lightweight. They don’t produce as much heat as other types though. But they’re basically indestructible.
You’ll also see several wood-burning options on our list. These are lightweight, collapsible, and easy to set up. You also don’t need to bring along your own fuel since wood should be abundant in most areas. They won’t do you any good if the weather is wet or rainy, however. The advantage? You don’t have to calculate your fuel needs beforehand or pack heavy gas canisters. There’s also the option of using solid fuel tablets with this type.
While these are a convenient option for outdoor camping, hiking, or trekking, it’s important to stay safe when using them. Never try to cook inside a confined space with any model you choose. It’s a fire hazard and some fuel types can produce hazardous fumes. Make sure you’re using a product that’s in good condition. Make sure that when you’re cooking or boiling water, it’s stable to avoid spills and burns. Pay attention to burn bans in the area that you’re hiking, camping or trekking long distance. Neglecting these types of warnings can cause a forest fire.
Unless it’s very windy or you’re dealing with very frigid temperatures, most types have an average boil time that you can rely on. If you’re looking for one that can get you a hot cup of instant coffee the fastest, that would be a gas canister type. To no surprise, wood style products take the longest to reach boiling temperatures.
Q. What’s the best choice for cold weather use?
A. If you’re heading outdoors and neat one of these products for wintertime trekking, your best bet is one that uses liquid fuel. Gas canisters don’t do well in colder temperatures, and compact models that burn wood or solid fuel just can’t get hot enough to be of much use when it’s cold outside.
Q. What’s the disadvantage of a wood burning camping stove?
A. Finding fuel in some areas may be difficult. If it’s raining, you’ll likely have a tough time finding dry wood or kindling. Some places may also have regulations on wood burning that must be adhered to.
Q. I need to cook or boil water for a group, what should I look for?
A. Most models are unable to heat a large amount of water, their designs too small to be able to properly distribute the heat. You may find smaller products that are able to perform adequately for a larger group, but you will have an easier time meeting your needs.
Q. Then, what’s the advantage of an ultralight backpacking stove?
A. A trail runner or hiker can easily see the advantages of having one that can be condensed down, is ultra light, and is great for heating up a cup of coffee or soup. Just stick it in your backpack and go. What’s not to love?
Q. Why are some labeled windproof?
A. Wind is the enemy of the outdoor chef. A little bit of wind can reduce heat production enough to seriously slow down meal prep. Some units are better suited for use in windy conditions thanks to handy windscreens.
Q. Which type of fuel takes up the most space?
A. People who purchase compact option sometimes forget to plan space in there pack for extra fuel, which is especially necessary with liquid fuel models. Liquid fuel takes up the most space of the fuel types. So make sure if you are planning a longer trip to plan out the extra room you will need.
Q. Do all ignite on their own?
A. No. While some models come equipped with a spark igniter, not all do. Even those that have a Piezo-igniter may not always produce a reliable spark. Make sure to have a backup option just in case. Pack a lighter or a set of matches for peace of mind.
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