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After a long day of logging miles in the backcountry, there’s nothing better than sitting down for a warm meal when you reach basecamp. And to do that, you’ll need a functional and lightweight stove that won’t break the bank, but will last you for years. How to choose the right stove for you can be more challenging than planning your trip itinerary, which is why we’re here to help! The Adventure Junkies scoured the web for you to tell you all about the different features backpacking stoves can offer, and at what cost. Read below to find the stove that fits you best.

For more of our top backpacking gear recommendations, check out these popular articles:

Ultralight Backpacking Stoves | Backpacking Canister Stoves 

Liquid Fuel Backpacking Stoves

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Quick Answer - The Best Backpacking Stoves

  1. JetBoil Flash
  2. MSR Pocket Rocket 2
  3. MSR Windburner
  4. Solo Stove Lite
  5. MSR Whisperlite Universal
  6. Jetboil MightyMo
  7. Snow Peak LiteMax
  8. Esbit Solid
  9. MSR Reactor
  10. JetBoil Mini Mo

 

Comparison Table - Best Backpacking Stoves

PictureNameFuel TypeBoil TimeCapacityWeightPriceRating
JetBoil FlashCanister3 Minutes 20 Seconds1 Liter13 oz$$5.0
MSR Pocket Rocket 2Canister3 Minutes 30 SecondsN/A2.6 oz$5.0
MSR WindburnerCanister4 Minutes 30 Seconds1 Liter15.5 oz$$$4.5
Solo Stove LiteWood8-10 MinutesN/A9 oz$$4.5
MSR Whisperlite UniversalLiquid3 Minutes 30 SecondsN/A10.9 oz$$4.5
Jetboil MightyMoCanister3 Minutes 15 SecondsN/A3.3 oz$4.5
Snow Peak LiteMaxCanister4 Minutes 25 SecondsN/A1.9 oz$4.5
Esbit SolidTablet4 Minutes 25 Seconds0.59 Liters7 oz$4.0
MSR ReactorCanister3 Minutes1.7 Liters1 lb 3 oz$$4.5
JetBoil Mini MoCanister4 Minutes 30 Seconds1 Liter14 oz$$4.7
PictureNameFuel TypeBoil TimeCapacityWeightPriceRating

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Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Stoves for Backpacking

JetBoil Flash

Specs
  • Capacity: 1 Liter
  • Type: Integrated Canister
  • Weight: 13 oz
  • Fuel Type: Canister
  • Boil Time: 3 Minutes 20 Seconds
Features
  • All-in-one Cooking System
  • Auto Ignition
  • Insulating Cozy
  • Color Change Heat Indicator
  • WindScreen

BEST FOR:  EVERY KIND OF HIKER

This is the go-to camping stove for every kind of adventure. 

JetBoil does an excellent job with it’s Flash Cooking System. The all-in-one design means you won’t lose any parts of your cooking set, and this system comes with a built in pot cozy to make sure your food stays warm. 

The quick boil time is one of the most popular features about the JetBoil cooking set. Having boiling water in under four minutes in the backcountry is amazing, and means you won’t have to wait too long for a hot dinner after a long day of adventuring. What’s more, you’ll know right away when your water/food is ready, because the exterior of the JetBoil Flash System has a color changing heat indicator. 

This stove comes with an auto ignition so you can light it with just the press of a button, making sure you won’t burn yourself when igniting your stove. All JetBoil products fit any standard backpacking fuel canister, and come with a lid and an integrated cooking cup, so you can cook and eat out of the same single container – how convenient!

MSR Pocket Rocket 2

Specs
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Type: Canister
  • Weight: 2.6 oz
  • Fuel Type: Canister
  • Boil Time: 3 Minutes 30 Seconds
Features
  • Stove Folds Up for Compact Travel
  • Adjustable Flame
  • Serrated Pot Support Prevents Shifting And Accidental Spills

BEST FOR: THE LIGHTWEIGHT BACKPACKER

MSRs Pocket Rocket 2 Stove has everything you could ever want in a pocket rocket.

The main difference between a pocket rocket stove and an all-in-one design is that you will have to buy a pot separate from your stove to use with the MSR Pocket Rocket. Both designs require separate purchase of a fuel canister or other type of fuel.

This pocket rocket stove is small and compact, but still heats up quickly. Cutting the weight of the JetBoil Flash System significantly, it still boils water in around the same time (3 minutes, 30 seconds compared to JetBoil’s 3 minute, 20 second boiling time). 

This pocket rocket stove is compatible with fuel canisters of all sizes, and has a serrated burner, to make sure your pot will stay in place. A standard backpacking fuel canister will last about 60 minutes at max flame with this stove. The MSR Pocket Rocket even comes with a carry case to protect the stove in your pack – what’s not to love?

MSR Windburner

Specs
  • Capacity: 1 Liter
  • Type: Integrated Canister
  • Weight: 15.5 oz
  • Fuel Type: Canister
  • Boil Time: 4 Minutes 30 Seconds
Features
  • All-in-one Cooking System
  • Windscreen
  • Secure Locking Pot
  • Insulating Cozy

BEST FOR: THE MOUNTAINEER

With a built in windscreen, insulating cozy, and radiant burner, this stove is made to perform in alpine conditions. 

The above combination helps this stove withstand even the coldest of temperatures and still delivers you a warm meal within minutes. With a 4 minute 30 second boil time, you won’t be waiting long.

This stove has an insulating cozy integrated into it’s all-in-one cooking system so your food will stay warm even after it’s done cooking. The pot portion of this stove has a secure locking feature to make sure your pot won’t go anywhere when it’s heating up. 

The MSR Windburner stove canister even has internal measurements on it, so you can properly measure the amount of water you need for your meal without packing out measuring cups. And it’s super easy to pack this bad boy away, as the stove nests snugly in the pot, protecting it from being damaged in your pack.

Solo Stove Lite

Specs
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Weight: 9 oz
  • Fuel Type: Wood
  • Boil Time: 8-10 Minutes
Features
  • Upper Ring Produces Heat and Functions as Windscreen
  • Ventilation Holes Allow Oxygen to Fuel Flame
  • Ash Patch Catches Loose Ash
  • Lightweight

BEST FOR: THE ECO-FRIENDLY BACKPACKER

You’ll be hard pressed to run out of fuel while you’re using the Solo Stove Lite on the trail, as it burns wood for cooking. To get this fire going, simply collect twigs and branches from around your campsite and ignite them with a lighter or a match in the lower portion of this innovative stove.

The craftsmanship of the Solo is maximized to ensure the oxygen coming into the stove from the wood heats the stove effectively, giving you the quickest boiling time possible for a wood burning stove. The double wall design of this stove helps keep heat in, while the internal wire grate allows oxygen to be fed from the embers below.

An ashtray located at the bottom of the stove gathers ash and doesn’t clog the airflow, making cleanup easy when you are done cooking your meal. This wood burning stove is also a great option for the ultralight backpacker, weighing only nine ounces and requiring no fuel canister to add weight to your pack.

MSR Whisperlite Universal

Specs
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Type: Multi-fuel
  • Weight: 10.9 oz
  • Fuel Type: Liquid
  • Boil Time: 3 Minutes 30 Seconds
Features
  • Compatible With a Variety of Fuels
  • Simple Cleaning Technology
  • Windscreen
  • Heat Protector

BEST FOR: THE INTERNATIONAL BACKPACKER

Looking for a stove to take with you for an overseas backpacking trip? MSR’s WhisperLite International Backpacking Stove should be your go-to.

This stove is compatible with kerosene, white fuel, white gas, and several other fuel options. No matter where you are traveling, you can find a fuel that is compatible with this stove. An easy to use shake system makes cleaning this stove a breeze – simply shake the stove up and down and voila, it’s clean!

This stove is also very quiet compared to stoves that run off of fuel canisters. The pump can usually be replaced around the five year mark, proving that this stove is a durable option and will last you for ages. So next time you’re planning a backpacking overseas, make sure to pick up the MSR WhisperLite International Backpacking Stove before you go!

Jetboil MightyMo

Specs
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Weight: 3.3 oz
  • Fuel Type: Canister
  • Boil Time: 3 Minutes 15 Seconds
Features
  • Push Button Igniter
  • Regulated Technology Guarantees Performance down to 30°F
  • Compatible With Any Flat Bottom Cookware
  • Wings Fold Down for Compact Packing

BEST FOR: THE INNOVATIVE HIKER

JetBoil’s take on a pocket rocket is functional and versatile. The MightyMo will heat water in about three minutes, making it the fastest average boil time of any pocket rocket featured in this article.

The stove is compatible with any flat bottom cookware, so you can boil, pan fry, or saute a feast even when you’re in the mountains. Similar to other JetBoil stoves, this product has a push button igniter, making it easy peasy to start, and assures you won’t burn yourself. 

JetBoil’s MightyMo has a flame control valve on the side, so you can easily control the level of flame produced, making simmering a possibility as well as fast and efficient boiling. And do you wanna know the best part about this JetBoil pocket rocket stove? It weighs less than a deck of cards!

Snow Peak LiteMax

Specs
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Weight: 1.9 oz
  • Fuel Type: Canister
  • Boil Time: 4 Minutes 25 Seconds
Features
  • Large Stable Arms Offer Compatibility With Cookware
  • Ultralight
  • Flame Control Valve
  • Wind Resistant Burner

BEST FOR: THE ULTRALIGHT HIKER

Snow Peak’s LiteMax Stove is a compact pocket rocket that boils water in under four and a half minutes. It’s also the lightest stove option this list – perfect for the ultralight backpacker.

This stove weighs less than two ounces, fuel canister not included. If you’re an ultralight backpacker who wants to enjoy hot meals in the backcountry, this is the stove for you. The wings of this stove fold down, making it extremely compact and lightweight.

This stove will also perform at high altitudes and can melt ice when you are hiking at over 10,000 ft, no problem. It is advised if you are hiking at this altitude to keep the fuel canister in your sleeping bag at night, to ensure the fuel canister stays warm.

Esbit Solid

Specs
  • Capacity: 0.59 Liters
  • Weight: 7 oz
  • Fuel Type: Tablet
  • Boil Time: 4 Minutes 25 Seconds
Features
  • All-in-one Cooking System
  • Windscreen
  • Pouring Spout/Internal Measurements
  • Silicone Handles Protect Hands From Heat

BEST FOR: THE AVID BACKPACKER

An extremely lightweight option for an all-in-one stove, the Esbit Solid Fuel Stove and Cookset is designed for ease of cooking in the backcountry.

Weighing only seven ounces, this stove burns by igniting an Esbit tablet. Tablets can be ignited by either a match or a lighter and are sold separately. Tablets burn for approximately 12 minutes each. To work the stove, ignite the tablet inside the lower portion of the stove, and let the tablet burn until your water boils. 

The Solid Fuel Stove and Cookset has a built in windshield, to keep the flame going during tough weather conditions. A pouring spout and internal measurements help with the ease of cooking with this stove. 

Silicone handles will make sure you don’t burn yourself when handling the pot of this cookware. This stove comes with a lid and a stuff sack, so you won’t spill your food or damage your stove when you pack it away.

MSR Reactor

Specs
  • Capacity: 1.7 Liters
  • Type: Integrated Canister
  • Weight: 1 lb 3 oz
  • Fuel Type: Canister
  • Boil Time: 3 Minutes
Features
  • All-in-one Cooking System
  • One Fuel Canister Produces 22 Liters of Boiled Water
  • Internal Regulation Creates Consistent Flame
  • Windscreen

BEST FOR:  THE PEAK BAGGER

A Backpacker Magazine 2019 Editor’s Choice Gold Award, the MSR Reactor Stove boils water quickly, is lightweight, reliable, and can withstand the harshest weather conditions. 

This all-in-one stove has a sleek design and is guaranteed to boil water in just three minutes while weighing just over a pound. This stove comes with a built in windscreen which will block out the wind and rain when the weather takes a turn for the worst. 

The speedy boil time also serves as a fuel efficient option. One fuel canister will produce 22 liters of boiled water, so you don’t have to buy as much fuel as you normally would for any other stove.

JetBoil Mini Mo

Specs
  • Capacity: 1 Liter
  • Type: Integrated Canister
  • Weight: 14 oz
  • Fuel Type: Canister
  • Boil Time: 4 Minutes 30 Seconds

BEST: INTEGRATED CANISTER STOVE

The JetBoil MiniMo integrated canister stove has a wider and shorter shape than the other JetBoil models. The new shape together with a redesigned burner, allows it to simmer slightly better. But at $135, we think it’s a bit expensive for the value it provides. If the extra cost is not an issue, it’s still a great option if you’d like to get some simmering capabilities in a canister stove.

LEARN HOW TO CHOOSE HIKING GEAR FOR YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A BACKPACKING STOVE

There are several factors that go into picking the best backpacking stove for your trip. You want something that is lightweight, but boils water quickly. You may need a stove that will function in extreme cold or windy conditions or you might want the lightest option on the market. There are even some features to a backpacking stove you may not even know you want, like a pot cozy, which can keep your food warm for a long time after it’s ready. You should consider the following things before making your final decision and buying a stove from our well-researched list above. Good luck!

FUEL TYPE

There are several different kinds of fuel you can use for a camping stove. The most common form is a fuel canister, which is a good option because it is available at almost all outdoor retailers, so you can find it anywhere. Other options include kerosene, white gas and alcohol. This article even features a wood burning stove, which requires no fuel at all. Find what suits you best and go from there.

 

SIZE

Size is possibly the most important factor for a lot of people when picking out a stove for backpacking. It’s good to have a stove that is functional, but also lightweight. Having an all-in-one stove is convenient, but often weighs more than a pocket rocket and a cookset pot you find on your own. Finding the base weight of your pack and deciding what you can afford for weight is a good place to start. For more info on backpacking stove sizes, check out this article.

 

BOIL TIME

Some of the stoves in this article can boil water in three minutes or less, which is pretty darn fast. Most times when you have a stove that takes a little while longer to boil water, you have a stove that weighs less than others. It’s a balance. Would you rather have water that boils quickly, or a more lightweight stove? The option is yours.

 

PRICE

The price of a stove won’t set you back the way a tent or sleeping bag will, but some are pricier than others. The stoves that are all-in-one are usually more expensive than a pocket rocket, but it also means you won’t have to find a cookset pot separately from your stove. In addition to any of the stoves featured in this article (other than the wood burning stove), you will have to buy fuel separately and replace it when the canister runs out. Fuel is usually between $8-$10.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

ALL-IN-ONE COOKING SYSTEM

An all-in-one cooking system means that the stove burner and the cooking pot are a package deal. You won’t have to buy a cooking pot when you have an all-in-one cooking system. The convenience of this means you’ll never lose your cooking pot from your stove, or have to search for the right cooking pot to be compatible with your stove.

INSULATING COZY

A pot cozy is a piece of thick fabric that is layered around your cooking pot to stabilize the heat of the water or meal you are cooking. Pot cozies can be purchased separately. All of the JetBoil options in this article include integrated pot cozies, so you don’t have to find your own. Having a pot cozy is a huge blessing, and keeps your food warm for a long time. Trust us.

WINDSCREEN

Windscreens protect the flame of your stove from wind, rain, snow, and generally cold weather conditions. A windscreen is designed into several of the stoves featured in this article, and are also available for purchase through REI for stoves that don’t have a built-in windscreen.

AUTO IGNITION

Some of the stoves featured in this article have auto ignition, meaning that the flame for your stove is simply the push of a button away. This is a huge benefit because it means you won’t burn your hands when trying to ignite your stove.

ADJUSTABLE FLAME

Almost all of the stoves featured in this article feature an adjustable flame valve. This valve is often located at the bottom of the stove, and look kind of like a bent-out-of-shape bobby pin.

The adjustable flame is vital for controlling the flame of your stove. You can create a rolling boil by having the valve all the way open, but can also simmer your food by turning the valve down. You’ll find that for rice and pasta dishes, you’ll want both of these options.

POCKET ROCKET

A pocket rocket is a lightweight option for a backpacking stove. Many of these stoves are compact, much smaller than the all-in-one versions, but can still boil water quickly.

Many of these stoves are so small they can fit in your pocket, hence the name.

SERRATED BURNER

A serrated burner means the wings of the stove that the flame comes through can have small bumps on them, creating friction and making it compatible with several cooking pots. A serrated burner also means that when the cooking pot is sitting on top of the stove, it won’t shift around much.

ASH PATCH

An ash patch catches most of the ash of a wood burning stove, making for easy clean up.

INTERNAL MEASUREMENTS

Several of the stoves featured in this article have internal measurements on the lid or cooking pot. This means that there are internal lines located inside the cooking pot that will tell you where the half cup and one cup marks are, so you pour the correct amount of water without having to pack out measuring cups.

 

 

READ MORE

For more of our top hiking gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: 

Backpacking Cookware | Liquid Fuel Backpacking Stoves

Backpacking Canister Stoves | Ultralight Backpacking Stoves

2 Responses

  1. Cindy Hoffman

    Hi Antonio, nice guide and those recommendations are also perfect. I have seen you recommending MSR reactor, which is just awesome. I have been using this stove for quite sometime and I have no complains at all. I would recommend to anyone who is looking for something for a backpacking stove that is good for the money.
    Thanks for the share.

    Cindy

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