Updated on January 12, 2022
 

We surveyed the market, purchased the best backpacking stoves, and then tested the burners head-to-head in the real world to help you find the right one for your backpacking excursions.  From ultralight, to alternative-fuel options, and tried and true classics, there is a stove to fit every need. 

Without hands-on experience, it can be hard to figure out which is the right stove for high altitude adventures, large groups, adverse conditions or which can boil water the fastest. So we did the hard work for you. In the process we found the best lightweight option, the perfect stove for windy conditions, the top choice for those shopping on a budget and more.

QUICK RECOMMENDATIONS

Best Stove Overall >> Soto Widmaster

Best Ultralight Stove >> MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe

Fastest Stove For Boiling Water >> Jetboil Zip

Best Stove for Windy Conditions >> MSR Windburner

Best Stove For Cooking For Large Groups >> MSR Dragonfly

Most Affordable Stove >> BRS 300T

Best Stove For High Altitude and Extreme Conditions >> MSR XGK EX

Best Wood Burning Stove >> Biolite Campstove 2

 

Comparison Table - Best Backpacking Stoves

For the best experience turn your device horizontally
NameFuel TypeBoil TimeWeightPriceRatingReview
Soto WindMasterCanister4 min 0 sec02.3 oz$655.0Read Review
MSR Pocket Rocket DeluxeCanister3 min 30 sec02.6 oz$705.0Read Review
MSR WindburnerCanister4 min 30 sec15.5 oz$1504.9Read Review
MSR DragonFlyWhite Gas / Gasoline / Diesel3 min 30 sec (white gas)14.0 oz.$1504.7Read Review
MSR XGK EXWhite Gas / Gasoline / Diesel3 min 30 sec (white gas)13.2 oz$1704.6Read Review
Jetboil ZipCanister2 min 30 sec12.0 oz$854.7Read Review
BRS 300TCanister4 min 30 sec00.9 oz$174.0Read Review
BioLite CampStove 2Wood4 min 30 sec33.0 oz$2404.5Read Review
JetBoil FlashCanister3 min 20 sec13.0 oz$1104.6Read Review
MSR ReactorCanister3 min 0 sec19.0 oz$2504.5Read Review
MSR Whisperlite UniversalWhite Gas / Gasoline / Diesel / Canister3 min 30 sec10.9 oz$1504.5Read Review
Jetboil StashCanister5 min 00 sec07.1 oz$1354.6Read Review
Snow Peak LiteMaxCanister4 min 25 sec01.9 oz$604.5Read Review
Solo Stove LiteWood8-10 min09.0 oz$704.3Read Review
JetBoil MiniMoCanister4 min 30 sec14.0 oz$1504.4Read Review
Primus OmniFuelWhite Gas / Gasoline / Diesel3 min 10 sec (white gas)15.9 oz$1904.3Read Review
Primus Omnilite TIWhite Gas / Gasoline / Diesel3 min 20 sec (white gas)12.0 oz$1904.2Read Review
Snow Peak GigaPower 2.0Canister4 min 48 sec03.2 oz$504.4Read Review
Jetboil MightyMoCanister3 min 15 sec03.3 oz$604.5Read Review
Solo StoveAlcohol5-7 min03.5 oz$504.5Read Review
NameFuel TypeBoil TimeWeightPriceRatingReview

* Boil time refers to the time to boil 1L of water

Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

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

Reviews - Best Backpacking Stoves

Soto WindMaster

Specs
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Weight: 02.3 oz
  • Fuel Type: Canister
  • Boil Time: 4 min 0 sec
Features
  • Concave Burner Head (to prevent the flame from being extinguished by the wind)
  • Three-prong Pot Support (to keep your pot stable and secure no matter the conditions)
  • Impact-protected Igniter (so the stove will still light even if it’s been dropped or dinged)

BEST BACKPACKING STOVE OVERALL

The Soto Windmaster is one of the highest rated and most awarded canister stoves in its class. Some key features that are desirable are it’s concave burner head that acts as a built in windshield and the micro regulator that keeps a consistent flame even in cold temperatures. 

What we like most about this stove is its consistency and usability in windy conditions. We also really like the integrated Piezo Igniter that runs through the center post of the unit creating consistent and reliable ignition. The 4Flex pot stand is a nice addition to a stove that is inherently somewhat unstable. We also like the amount of control you can gain from the fuel adjustment nob. It makes simmering surprisingly easy.

What we don’t care for about the Soto WindMaster is it’s lack of stability. We also had a hard time getting the stove to ignite in windy conditions. Although, once ignited the stove did preform well in the wind. Soto claims that the 4Flex pot stand is suitable for “whatever size pot your adventure requires” Although the instructions say to use a max size pot/pan of 7 inches / 18cm. This limits the stove to single person use or possibly two people. 

MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe

Specs
  • Type: Canister
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Weight: 02.6 oz
  • Fuel Type: Canister
  • Boil Time: 3 min 30 sec
Features
  • Stove Folds Up for Compact Travel
  • Adjustable Flame
  • Serrated Pot Support Prevents Shifting And Accidental Spills

BEST ULTRALIGHT STOVE

The MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe boasts a streamlined screw-on design with a powerful burner for its size. While not the smallest stove in the canister stove category the powerful burner is appreciated, especially in windy conditions and in colder weather. 

What we like most about this stove is its compact nature and simmer control. All too often canister stoves are only good for boiling water but fall short for actual cooking. The Pocket Rocket Deluxe made simmering very easy. The integrated pressure regulator is nice for maintaining a good boil time in colder weather. 

What we don’t care for about the Pocket Rocket is its lack of stability when compared to integrated stove systems and its poor performance in windy conditions. We also had some trouble getting the Piezo igniter to fire with a slight breeze. 

MSR Windburner

Specs
  • Type: Integrated Canister
  • Capacity: 1 Liter
  • Weight: 15.5 oz
  • Fuel Type: Canister
  • Boil Time: 4 min 30 sec
Features
  • All-in-one Cooking System
  • Windscreen
  • Secure Locking Pot
  • Insulating Cozy
MSR Windburner canister stove

BEST STOVE FOR WINDY CONDITIONS

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.

MSR DragonFly

Specs
  • Weight: 14.0 oz.
  • Fuel Type: White Gas / Gasoline / Diesel
  • Boil Time: 3 min 30 sec (white gas)
Features
  • Excellent Temperature Control
  • Stable Construction
  • Windscreen Included To Block Wind
  • Simmering Ability

BEST STOVE FOR LARGE GROUPS

The MSR Dragonfly is a reliable liquid fuel stove that is stable and great for those who are cooking for larger groups or just looking to cook more elaborate meals. The DragonFly was the most versatile stove that we tested based on the flame control alone. 

What we like most about the MSR DragonFly is how it utilizes two separate fuel controls. This feature made it the best in the category for simmering. We think this is an excellent stove for cooking more elaborate meals due to the flame control. It’s also excellent for use with larger cookware and cooking for larger groups. The flexible fuel line and collapsible legs/pot stand make it easy to pack away. It also burns a large variety of liquid fuel making it ideal for world travel. This is also a stable stove to cook on. The Shaker Jet is nice for cleaning and maintaining the stove in the field. 

What we don’t care for is that, like all liquid fuel stoves, the MSR DragonFly does require some maintenance over time. There is also a small learning curve for those coming from traditional canister stoves. 

MSR XGK EX

Specs
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Weight: 13.2 oz
  • Fuel Type: White Gas / Gasoline / Diesel
  • Boil Time: 3 min 30 sec (white gas)
Features
  • High-Powered Burner
  • Great In Extreme Climates
  • Sturdy Pot Holders

BEST STOVE FOR HIGH ALTITUDE AND EXTREME CONDITIONS

The MSR XKG EX has been in service for over 35 years with an update in 2005. Its name is synonyms with reliability and it’s known to be THE go-to stove for mountaineers, explorers, and cooking in extreme conditions. For some, it’s considered the best backcountry stove ever made. 

What we like most about this stove is that it’s built like a tank. It also can run on a wide variety of liquid fuels making it ideal for world travel (White gas, gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, aviation fuel, kerosene, naphtha). The flexible fuel line and collapsible legs/pot stand make packing it into its stuff sack (included) or a pot nice and easy. The built-in shaker needle that clears carbon buildup from the burner unit is a really helpful and unique feature. The stove burns HOT making it ideal for melting snow. The liquid fuel makes it a much better solution for high-altitude cooking. It is also very fuel-efficient. 

What we don’t care for about the MSR XKG EX is that we had some trouble dialing in the simmer. As with all liquid fuel stoves, this will eventually require some maintenance such as replacing o-rings and cleaning the fuel line. This stove is more than likely overkill for the average camper and backpacker.

Jetboil Zip

Specs
  • Capacity: 1.5 liters
  • Weight: 12.0 oz
  • Fuel Type: Canister
  • Boil Time: 2 min 30 sec
Features
  • Fuel Stabilizer
  • Flux ring (burner / wind screen)
  • Insulating Cozy
  • Drink/Pour Spout lid
  • NO pressure regulator
Jetboil Zip Stove

BEST STOVE FOR BOILING WATER FAST

The Jetboil Zip is synonyms with quick boil times. It’s on the larger size when compared to the likes of the Pocket Rocket Deluxe but its performance in windy conditions, versatility, and included accessories makes it a worthy adversary to other stoves in this category. 

What we like most about this stove is its quick boil time, performance in windy conditions, and it’s stability (only when using the included stabilizer). We also think that the included accessories are a nice touch and make it a great stove for beginners. It’s also easy to handle when hot. 

What we don’t care for about the Jetboil Zip is its limited versatility without purchasing extra accessories. It would be nice if there was an included pot stand and the Jetboil Zip is really only good for boiling water. We also had a hard time getting this stove to a proper simmer. The burner runs hot, which is nice, but it comes at the cost of the simmerability. At the price point, we’d also like to see the piezo igniter found in other models. 

BRS 300T

Specs
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Weight: 00.9 oz
  • Fuel Type: Canister
  • Boil Time: 4 min 30 sec
Features
  • Very Affordable
  • Push Button Igniter
  • Compatible With Any Flat Bottom Cookware
  • Wings Fold Down for Compact Packing
BRS300T

BEST BUDGET STOVE

The BRS 300T comes without any bells and whistles of the other stoves in the category but definitely holds a place in the ultra-light stove market. It is also the least expensive stove in the category by far. 

What we like most about this stove is how impossibly tiny it is. The price point ($16.95) is also a huge selling point. Its all-in-one design is appreciated and it feels like a well-made stove for the price. The fuel control did take a little finesse but you can manage a simmer with a little patience and practice. 

What we don’t care for about the BRS 3000-T is its long boil time. We clocked a boil in roughly 9 minutes at 8000ft above sea level. The fuel consumption with that long of a boil time concerns us.  It doesn’t really perform well in wind and it’s quite unstable. There is not a built-in fuel regulator so its applications will be limited. We wouldn’t count on it at high altitudes or in the wintertime.

BioLite CampStove 2

Specs
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Dimensions: 8.25 x 5 x 5 in
  • Weight: 33.0 oz
  • Fuel Type: Wood
  • Boil Time: 4 min 30 sec
Features
  • Generates Electricity to Charge Portable Devices
  • Internal Fan Creates Flames That Are 95% Smoke-Free
  • Includes USB Light

BEST WOOD BURNING STOVE 

The Biolite Campstove 2 is the most unique stove that we tested and possibly the most innovative stove on the market. It’s packed full of features and can even charge its own battery pack from heat generated by the woodburning fire. The removable battery pack can be used to charge electronics while at camp. It also includes a USB-powered camp light that can be really helpful for cooking around camp.  

What we like most about this stove is all of its unique features. The helpful LED lights on the front of the battery pack give helpful information such as available battery power, fan speed, and fire strength. At first, we were skeptical about using a woodburning stove but it’s surprisingly fuel-efficient. The whole unit is heavy but packs down surprisingly small for having a large battery pack. The fire is generally smoke free except when first lighting it due to the built in fan. We also like that the fan will turn its self on and off depending on fire strength. 

The weight (2LBS)  will rule it out for many applications and its woodburning nature presents some concerns as well. In the west, during wildfire season the user will need to be extremely careful and the stove cannot be left unattended until the fire has burned completely out. The fan can be a little noisy and introduce some unnatural noise to your camping experience. This stove may not be an option during fire bans in certain areas. The wood fire also can tarnish certain cookware. The cool down time is also longer than most other stoves due to having to wait for the fire to burn itself out.

JetBoil Flash

Specs
  • Type: Integrated Canister
  • Capacity: 1 Liter
  • Weight: 13.0 oz
  • Fuel Type: Canister
  • Boil Time: 3 min 20 sec
Features
  • All-in-one Cooking System
  • Auto Ignition
  • Insulating Cozy
  • Color Change Heat Indicator
  • WindScreen
JetBoil Flash

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 Reactor

Specs
  • Type: Integrated Canister
  • Capacity: 1.7 Liters
  • Weight: 19.0 oz
  • Fuel Type: Canister
  • Boil Time: 3 min 0 sec
Features
  • All-in-one Cooking System
  • One Fuel Canister Produces 22 Liters of Boiled Water
  • Internal Regulation Creates Consistent Flame
  • Windscreen
MSR Reactor

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.

MSR Whisperlite Universal

Specs
  • Type: Multi-fuel
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Weight: 10.9 oz
  • Fuel Type: White Gas / Gasoline / Diesel / Canister
  • Boil Time: 3 min 30 sec
Features
  • Compatible With a Variety of Fuels
  • Simple Cleaning Technology
  • Windscreen
  • Heat Protector
MSR Whisperlite Universal

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 Stash

Specs
  • Weight: 07.1 oz
  • Fuel Type: Canister
  • Boil Time: 5 min 00 sec
Features
  • Includes a fuel stabilizer tripod that clips onto your own fuel canister.
  • Pot comes with a lid and attached pour handle to make for easy handling.
  • Titanium burner.
Jetboil Stash Backpacking Stove

The Jetboil Stash is the lightest and most packable stove in Jetboil’s line of products. It is a basic single-person stove. Its main function is to boil water for making coffee, tea, or dehydrated meals. It’s 40 percent lighter than the next lightest Jetboil Stove.

What we like most about this stove is that it’s very packable and seems well made. We like that you can clip a 100g isobutane canister into the lid and stash a small lighter underneath the canister. 

What we don’t care for about the Jetboil stash is that it takes a long time to boil water with temperatures in the 30’s and a moderate breeze. We think it lacks functionality for those looking to do any cooking besides boiling water. We were also not able to get a proper simmer on this stove.

Snow Peak LiteMax

Specs
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Weight: 01.9 oz
  • Fuel Type: Canister
  • Boil Time: 4 min 25 sec
Features
  • Large Stable Arms Offer Compatibility With Cookware
  • Ultralight
  • Flame Control Valve
  • Wind Resistant Burner
Snow Peak LiteMax

The Snow Peak 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.

Solo Stove Lite

Specs
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Weight: 09.0 oz
  • Fuel Type: Wood
  • Boil Time: 8-10 min
Features
  • Upper Ring Produces Heat and Functions as Windscreen
  • Ventilation Holes Allow Oxygen to Fuel Flame
  • Ash Patch Catches Loose Ash
  • Lightweight
Solo Stove Lite

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.

JetBoil MiniMo

Specs
  • Type: Integrated Canister
  • Capacity: 1 Liter
  • Weight: 14.0 oz
  • Fuel Type: Canister
  • Boil Time: 4 min 30 sec
Features
  • Enhanced regulator diaphragm ensure consistent performance down to 20°F.
  • Lower spoon angle for easier eating right from the cup.
  • Integrated push-button piezo igniter.
JetBoil Mini Mo

The Jetboil MiniMo takes many of the great parts of the traditional Jetboil and adds in a new form. It’s shorter and fatter than the other stoves which makes it easier to eat directly from the pot you cooked in. It also has great simmer control, handles to hold onto the hot pot, and includes a fuel stabilizer in the package.

What we like most about this stove is that allows you to bring less items into the backcountry. If you are making a meal for two, you can both eat directly out of the bowl. We also like the incremental heat adjustment so you can get a true simmer, this allows you to do more than just aggressively boil. We were also really impressed with the boil time!

What we don’t care for about the Jetboil MiniMo is that you can’t pack everything in there for a seamless system. The fuel ends up floating in your pack instead of tucked into the stove, just one extra thing to worry about while in the backcountry.

Primus OmniFuel

Specs
  • Weight: 15.9 oz
  • Fuel Type: White Gas / Gasoline / Diesel
  • Boil Time: 3 min 10 sec (white gas)
Features
  • Easy To Use
  • Operates On A Wide Range Of Fuel Types
  • Reliable In Cold And High Altitude

Fluctuating temperatures and changes in altitude can alter the performance of a backpacking stove. With the Primus OmniFuel, these two factors won’t inhibit stove performance. The Primus OmniFuel was designed to handle temperatures from low to high as well as altitude changes from the ascent and descent. 

As your scenery goes from desert to forest, this backpacking stove will deliver a powerful flame with reliable performance. The stove comes with a built-in windscreen to maintain a steady flame and heat reflector to boost cooking efficiency. From diesel to white gas, you can prime and light this stove with any type of fuel you can get your hands on. Speaking of hands, you’ll be happy to hear the flame control valve is easy to adjust whether your gloves are on or off.

Primus Omnilite TI

Specs
  • Weight: 12.0 oz
  • Fuel Type: White Gas / Gasoline / Diesel
  • Boil Time: 3 min 20 sec (white gas)
Features
  • Good Simmering Ability
  • Compact
  • Performs In Cold Temperatures

If you like the Primus OmniFuel, but want a lighter and more fuel-efficient option, take a look at the Primus OmniLite Ti. The OmniLite Ti heats quickly and adjusts easily at the turn of a knob. Boil or simmer, this stove is capable of cooking your backcountry meal to your liking. 

When temperatures drop, you’ll find the Primus OmniLite to be a reliable cooking source even when you’re camping in winter. This stove burns multiple types of fuel so you’ll have an easier time refilling the fuel bottles. Light yet stable, this backpacking stove works best with smaller pots, making it a better choice for the solo backpacker.

Snow Peak GigaPower 2.0

Specs
  • Weight: 03.2 oz
  • Fuel Type: Canister
  • Boil Time: 4 min 48 sec
Features
  • Fold-Out Pot Supports
  • Aluminum Base
  • Push-To-Start Ignition
Snow Peak GigaPower 2.0

A big stove made little, the Snow Peak GigaPower 2.0 works great in all conditions. With a built-in Piezo igniter, simply assemble the stove and push to start. The aluminum base is strong and durable, yet lightweight so you won’t feel its weight on your back while hiking. As a benefit, the fold-out pot supporters will hold up most any cooking pot you decide to bring.

This stove is extremely sturdy and reliable. It works in cold weather and can simmer for meals as well. The GigaPower is best for backpackers seeking a sturdier, more stable stove at the end of the day.

Jetboil MightyMo

Specs
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Weight: 03.3 oz
  • Fuel Type: Canister
  • Boil Time: 3 min 15 sec
Features
  • Push Button Igniter
  • Regulated Technology Guarantees Performance down to 30°F
  • Compatible With Any Flat Bottom Cookware
  • Wings Fold Down for Compact Packing
Jetboil MightyMo

JetBoil’s take on a pocket rocket is functional and versatile. The Jetboil 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!

Solo Stove

Specs
  • Dimensions: 2.9 in x 1.8 in
  • Weight: 03.5 oz
  • Fuel Type: Alcohol
  • Boil Time: 5-7 min
Features
  • Flame Regulator Gives You Control Over The Level Of Heat
  • Cap With Rubber Gasket Allows You To Store Fuel In The Burner
  • Alcohol Burner Fits Inside Solo Stove For Easy Transport

The Solo Stove Alcohol Burner Stove provides excellent performance and includes several handy features that make it extra useful and convenient for cooking. However, it’s important to note that the alcohol burner is designed to be used with a Solo Stove, which must be purchased separately.

One of the typical downsides of alcohol stoves is the inability to control the flame, but the Solo Stove Alcohol Burner includes a handle that folds out and gives you the ability to regulate the heat and turn off the flame when you’re done. The alcohol burner on the Solo Stove has a rubber gasket on the cap, which allows you to store leftover fuel in the stove for an extended period of time, and you can transport it without worrying about the alcohol leaking.

VIDEO REVIEW: BEST BACKPACKING STOVES 

TYPES OF BACKPACKING STOVES

There are quite a few options when it comes to picking out the right stove. Read on to learn about the major types of stoves, what options exist within those categories, and the benefits of each.

CANISTER STOVES

Soto Windmaster Stove - Best Backpacking Stove Overall

Testing the Soto Windmaster, a canister stove.

Great For: Cold Weather, High Elevation, Ultralight Hiking, Simmering Water, Ease of Use

Canister stoves are among the most popular among hikers for many reasons. They’re lightweight, fast, compact and very easy to use. You just need to screw in your stove and light it up. No pumping, priming or maintenance is required. The following are some considerations to keep in mind when choosing a canister stove for backpacking.

Cost

You can get a quality, lightweight backpacking canister stove at an extremely affordable price. The difference between the inexpensive versus the expensive really boils down to a few features. If you want the lightest, fastest, and best performing stove on the market, you’ll pay top dollar. If a slower burn time and average performance is all you need, you may find the extra investment isn’t necessary.

Weight

Backpacking canister stoves typically weigh under a pound, which makes them a terrific lightweight cooking option. However, you need to remember that when you’re backpacking every single ounce you carry in your pack counts. From the first step to the last, you’ll be lugging around all your gear, so the lighter your stove is, the better.

Packability

When we say packability, we’re referring to how compact and portable a canister stove is. You only have so much room in your pack so you’ll want a canister stove that takes up minimal space. Look for stoves that have folding pot rests or cookware the fuel canister can nest inside. The more compact you can make your stove, the more portable and easier it is to pack.

Fuel type

The fuel inside a canister usually contains some sort of combination of butane, propane, and isobutane. This makes canister stoves a great choice when it comes to being lightweight, convenient, and user-friendly. However, when compared to liquid fuel stoves, canister stoves have been known to be more difficult to light in the cold. On the other hand, liquid fuel bottles are less convenient, not as user-friendly, and usually require spending more money on a backpacking stove.

Boil time

When you’re backpacking, your stove will mostly be used to boil water or heat up freeze-dried meals. Choose a backpacking canister stove with a decent boil time (preferably five minutes or less). A faster boil time means you have more time to meet your daily mileage as well as get in some much-needed rest during down time.

Simmer control

If you plan on cooking meals that require simmering, you’ll need a backpacking stove that can do more than boil. In this case, look for a canister stove equipped with simmering capability.

Wind performance

Nothing is more annoying than trying to simply boil water, only to have the flame blown out by the wind. If you want a steady flame, find a stove that offers built-in wind protection. This will increase the efficiency of your stove and reduce the likelihood of having to ignite it over and over again.

Integrated canister systems

Great For: Cold Weather, High Elevation, Large Groups, Boiling Water Rapidly, Simmering Water, Ease of Use

The newest and most efficient type of stove available, integrated canister systems can boil water in just over 1 ½ minutes. These all-in-one systems include an insulated cooking pot that securely attaches to the burner which screws into the fuel canister. Not all models are created equally however. The taller, more slender models are designed for quick-boiling but not for cooking. If you’d like to cook your meal in the pot, look for a system with a shorter and wider pot.

Remote canister stoves

Great For: Large Groups, Ultralight Hiking, Simmering Water, Ease of Use

Larger than a traditional canister stove but smaller than an integrated system, remote canister stoves offer a middle of the road option that balances weight with bells and whistles. These models keep the fuel source separate via a hose that attaches to the burner. They sit lower to the ground and provide better stability for larger pots, making them ideal for feeding large groups of people. These stoves can be used with a larger set of pots and pans as opposed to the model-specific pot included in an integrated system.

LIQUID FUEL STOVES

MSR Dragonfly Stove - best backpacking stove for large groups

Testing the MSR Dragonfly, a liquid fuel stove.

Great For: Cold Weather, High Elevation, Large Groups, Boiling & Simmering Water, International Travel

Liquid fuel stoves are not as common as they used to be in the past. They require more maintenance and are much heavier and bulkier than other types of stoves. However, they perform better at freezing temperatures. They can also take different types of fuels. And finally, they have a very stable base, which allows you to cook in bigger pots to feed a large group. If you feel a liquid stove might be your best option, read on.

Versatility of fuel options on multi-fuel stoves is also a huge reason for choosing these over canister stoves, especially when traveling internationally where fuel options are limited. Multi-fuel stoves can run on some, if not all, of the following:

  • Unleaded Auto Gasoline (Petrol)
  • Diesel
  • Kerosene
  • Jet Fuel

Cost

In general, liquid fuel backpacking stoves tend to cost more than other backpacking stove options. However, this doesn’t mean you have to spend hundreds of dollars. There are quality stoves available at an affordable price. Keep in mind, if you plan on doing technical backpacking trips which require specific gear, you’ll need to invest more money.

Stove weight

Liquid fuel backpacking stoves tend to be heavier than canister stoves. For someone looking to achieve the lightest pack weight possible, this can present a problem. If you’re more concerned with stove performance, then a few more ounces in weight won’t matter as much.

Altitude and temperature

Although other types of backpacking stoves have their own advantages, liquid fuel backpacking stoves are the most equipped for handling high altitude and low temperatures. If you plan on encountering either of these in your backpacking adventures, you’ll appreciate how well a liquid fuel stove maintains optimum performance despite high altitude or colder temperatures.

Refilling bottles

The beauty of liquid fuel backpacking stoves is that you can reuse the liquid fuel bottles. The downside is, you need to refill your fuel bottles. Finding gas that is compatible with your stove can be difficult if you’re backpacking in another country or if you have limited access to refueling sources. On the other hand, the ability to refill a fuel bottle means less waste when compared to other fuel sources like stove canisters. To assess how much fuel you’ll need on your trip, take a look at this helpful guide from REI.

Maintenance

Reliable and powerful, there are many benefits you’ll enjoy when using liquid fuel backpacking stoves. The drawback is, they will require maintenance at some point. Depending upon how much you use the stove, this could mean maintenance a couple times a year to every few years. If the thought of maintaining a backpacking stove sounds like too much of a hassle, then perhaps you’ll be better off with a low-maintenance option.

Priming

Priming is the term for preheating a stove, which is a necessary process with all liquid fuel stoves. This can be a tricky process and takes some practice. However, once learned, priming becomes like second nature. For a helpful demonstration, take a look at this priming tutorial from REI.

WOOD BURNING STOVES

Biolite Campstove 2 - best wood burning backpacking stove

Testing the Biolite Campstove 2+

Wood burning backpacking stoves allow you to use the sticks you find on the trail as fuel, so you never have to worry about running out of gas. However, if you’re backpacking in a wet climate, be aware that it is going to be much harder to start a fire in your stove with wet wood. Also, wood burning backpacking stoves might not be allowed in some areas with fire bans and higher elevations. 

The following are some considerations to keep in mind when choosing a wood burning stove for your next backpacking trip.

Weight

One of the benefits of a wood burning backpacking stove is that you don’t have to carry the weight of fuel, since you’ll use what you find on the trail. If your stove itself is also lightweight, that makes it even easier to carry, especially on long trips. If you’re going on shorter backpacking trips, weight might be less of an issue, and you can get away with a slightly heavier stove.

Packability

Space is always at a premium when you’re backpacking, so you’ll want to choose a stove that collapses down to easily fit in your pack. Some stoves fold completely flat, so they can just slide in while other stoves nest parts inside each other to pack compactly. Take into consideration what will fit best with the rest of the gear in your backpack.

Efficiency

When you’re hungry at the end of a long day of hiking (or desperately in need of coffee first thing in the morning), you don’t want to watch a pot that never boils. You want to choose a stove that can cook efficiently, ideally without you having to gather a lot of wood. Stoves with air intake holes for secondary combustion work well without a lot of tending from you.

ALTERNATIVE FUEL STOVES

Best used for thru-hikers traveling hundreds or thousands of miles, these stoves ditch traditional fuel for more creative options.

Alcohol stoves

An ultralight backpacker’s best friend, denatured alcohol stoves can weigh as little as 1 – 2 oz. Additionally, they have no moving parts that would require maintenance or repair. Denatured alcohol is also inexpensive and easy to find in the U.S. However, these stoves require more fuel and take much longer to boil a pot of water than other stoves. These stoves also require a windscreen to keep a steady flame and finding fuel outside of the U.S. can prove difficult.

Solid-fuel tablet stoves

Another popular choice amongst ultralight backpackers, solid-fuel tablet stoves are inexpensive, lightweight, and extremely compact. The tablets used are easy to light, inexpensive, and can be used multiple times before completely burning up. Unfortunate consequences of using these stoves is that they are slow to boil water, can have a funky odor, and may leave a slick film on the bottom of your pots and pans.

FEATURES EXPLAINED

Adjustable flame / Pressure regulator

MSR Pocket Rocket pressure regulator - best ultralight backpacking stove

The best stoves for simmering your food come with a very good pressure regulator.

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.

All-in-one cooking system

Jetboil Zip integrated canister stove system

The Jetboil stoves are an example of an “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.

Canister fuel

BRS 300T Canister stove - our pick for a budget stove

Canister stoves are easily screwed on top of the fuel canister.

It refers to an external gas canister attached to your stove. It does not come with the stove when purchased. Canister stoves require you to purchase a gas canister before trekking, but afterwards, you can return it for a new one.

Insulating cozy

Jetboil Zip cosy - best camping stove to boil water fast

All Jetboil stoves come with an insulating cosy, allowing you to grab the pot at anytime.

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.

Internal measurements

Backpacking Stove Internal Measurements

Most of the integrated stoves and camping pots come with 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.

Liquid fuel

MSR Dragonfly liquid stove - a great stove for large groups

The MSR Dragonfly is a classic liquid fuel stove.

It refers to either gasoline or liquid alcohol. Some stoves can only burn one of the two, so make sure to research which fuel your stove is supposed to burn before investing. Liquid is more difficult to carry while hiking as it tends to slosh around in your backpack, but it does have a higher efficiency rate and is therefore better for longer adventures.

Piezo-igniter

Soto Windmaster Piezo Igniter - best backpacking stove overall

With a piezo igniter, you don’t need a lighter to start your stove.

An ignition button used in camp stoves that relies on pressure to create a spark and ignite the flame. This is a huge benefit because it means you won’t burn your hands when trying to ignite your stove. Some of the stoves have auto ignition, meaning that the flame for your stove is simply the push of a button away. 

Pocket rocket

BRS 300T - best stove for those on a budget

Some stoves are so lightweight and compact that can literally fit in your pocket.

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.

Priming

MSR XGK EX stove priming - best backpacking stove for high altitude

Liquid fuel stoves need to be primed before using them.

The first step in using a liquid-fuel stove. Priming occurs by igniting a small amount of fuel in a cup beneath the burner and by pressurizing the system by pumping the fuel bottle. This preheats the fuel line and prepares the stove to operate properly.

Serrated burner

MSR Pocket Rocket serrated burner

The MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe is a great example of a stove with a serrated burner.

A serrated burner means the wings of the stove can have small bumps on them. This way, they create friction 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.

Windscreen / Heat Reflector

MSR XGK EX wind screen

A wind screen protects your stove from the wind increasing the stove performance.

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. Additionally, they are available for purchase separately for stoves that don’t have a built-in windscreen or heat protector. 

F.A.Q. ABOUT THE BEST STOVES FOR BACKPACKING

What type of stove is best for backpacking?

For most backpacking trips, a canister stove is great. They are easy to use, light and pack down small. They are much easier to use and cleaner than liquid fuel stoves because there’s no priming, pumping or maintenance needed.

What’s the best camp stove?

The Camp Chef Everest is a favorite among campers. It has two powerful burners and a matchless ignition system. While it’s fairly light and compact compared to other camp stoves, it’s too bulky to be practical for backpacking.

What is the most efficient backpacking stove?

The most fuel efficient backpacking stove we’ve tested is the Jetboil Flash. It has an insulated pot and an integrated heat exchange system that makes boiling water super quick. It also has a large flame logo that turns red when the water is about to boil, this helps save fuel especially when you don’t need the water to come to a roaring boil. 

What is the lightest backpacking stove?

The BRS-3000T is the lightest backpacking stove on the market, it’s only 0.9 ounces.

Are Jetboil stoves worth it?

Jetboil stoves are great if you want to boil water fast. People who love these stoves use them mostly to boil water for coffee, instant noodles and dehydrated backpacking meals. If you like cooking real food, it’s not a good option.

Is Jetboil the best stove?

The Jetboil is a good option for people who just want to boil water fast. It’s not great for cooking actual meals because it’s only compatible with one tall pot.

Why is Jetboil so fast?

Jetboil stoves are so fast to boil water because they have an insulated pot and an integrated heat exchange system. This combination prevents heat from escaping which makes these stoves very efficient.

Can Jetboil use propane?

Yes, Jetboil stoves can use propane. These stoves will work with any fuel canister with an EN417 nozzle, this includes isobutane/propane and butane/propane mixtures. As long as it has an EN417 nozzle, it will work.

What’s better than Jetboil?

When it comes to boiling water fast, the Primus Lite and MSR WindBurner are close competitors. You’ll need to factor in weight and your budget to decide which option is best for you.

Which camping stove boils water fastest? 

The Jetboil Zip boils in about 2 minutes and 30 seconds and was the fastest stove we tested. 

How much white gas do I need for backpacking?

This answer varies depending on how efficient your stove is. You should bring enough gas to boil one liter of water per person, per meal. 

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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