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If you want a reliable stove on your backpacking journey, it’s time to invest in a liquid fuel backpacking stove. Performing well in high altitude and cold temperatures, these handy and reliable stoves will deliver you a hot meal when you need it most. The trouble is, finding the best liquid fuel backpacking stove is no easy task.

That’s why our team of experienced backpackers pulled together this helpful guide. Let us walk you through everything you should consider before buying a liquid fuel backpacking stove along with the best options available so you can find the best stove to suit your needs.

For more of our top backpacking gear recommendations, check out the Best Backpacking Stoves

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Quick Answer - The Best Liquid Fuel Backpacking Stoves

  1. MSR WhisperLite International
  2. MSR DragonFly
  3. Primus OmniFuel
  4. Primus Omnilite TI
  5. MSR XGK EX

 

Comparison Table - Best Liquid Fuel Backpacking Stove

PictureNameWeightBoil TimeFuel TypePriceRating
MSR WhisperLite International10.9 oz.3 min. 30 sec (1L white gas)White Gas, Kerosene, Unleaded Gasoline$4.5
MSR DragonFly14 oz.3 min. 30 sec (1L white gas)Diesel, Auto, White Gas, Jet, Kerosene$$4.5
Primus OmniFuel15.9 oz.3 min. 10 sec. (1L gas unspecified)Gasoline, White Gas, Diesel, Kerosene , Aviation Fuel$$4.5
Primus Omnilite TI12 oz.3 min. 20 sec. (1L gas unspecified)White Gas, Gasoline, Diesel, Kerosene, Aviation Fuel$$3.9
MSR XGK EX13.2 oz.3 min. 30 sec. (1L white gas)White Gas, Diesel, Auto, Kerosene$$$4.4
PictureNameWeightBoil TimeFuel TypePriceRating

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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 - The Best Liquid Fuel Stoves for Backpacking

MSR WhisperLite International

Specs
  • Weight: 10.9 oz.
  • Fuel Type: White Gas, Kerosene, Unleaded Gasoline
  • Boil Time: 3 min. 30 sec (1L white gas)
Features
  • Compact
  • Good Wind Protection
  • Easy To Clean

BEST FOR: LONG-DISTANCE BACKPACKING TRIPS

The MSR WhisperLite International has been a long-standing favorite in the backpacking and mountaineering community since it came on the scene in the 1980s. Now clocking in at 10.9-ounces, MSR has revamped the WhisperLite International to be10-percent lighter than the original model, with the same coveted performance. 

Compact and durable, this reliable liquid fuel backpacking stove is designed for globetrotting trekkers. The WhisperLite International is compatible with multiple fuel types, which comes in handy when you’re trying to find fuel in different countries. Crank this small stove up on high and you will have almost 2 full hours of burn time. Be sure to utilize the windscreen included to increase cooking efficiency and prevent the wind from blowing out the flame.

MSR DragonFly

Specs
  • Weight: 14 oz.
  • Fuel Type: Diesel, Auto, White Gas, Jet, Kerosene
  • Boil Time: 3 min. 30 sec (1L white gas)
Features
  • Excellent Temperature Control
  • Stable Construction
  • Windscreen Included To Block Wind
  • Simmering Ability

BEST FOR: GOURMET BACKPACKING MEALS

If your idea of a backcountry meal requires more than just boiling water, consider the MSR Dragonfly. The flame control on this liquid fuel backpacking stove is highly impressive when compared to the competition. The Dragonfly has two control valves so you can go from roaring boil to a precise simmer with a simple adjustment. 

Whether you’re flipping flapjacks or simmering a hearty chili, this backpacking stove offers excellent stability for larger pots and pans. This is due to the Dragonfly’s low-to-the-ground design which features a stable base and wide pot holders. Equipped with a self-cleaning jet, you can maintain this liquid fuel stove while hiking in the backcountry and not worry about the fuel hose getting clogged.

Primus OmniFuel

Specs
  • Weight: 15.9 oz.
  • Fuel Type: Gasoline, White Gas, Diesel, Kerosene , Aviation Fuel
  • Boil Time: 3 min. 10 sec. (1L gas unspecified)
Features
  • Easy To Use
  • Operates On A Wide Range Of Fuel Types
  • Reliable In Cold And High Altitude

BEST FOR: VARYING TRAIL ALTITUDES AND TEMPERATURES

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 oz.
  • Fuel Type: White Gas, Gasoline, Diesel, Kerosene, Aviation Fuel
  • Boil Time: 3 min. 20 sec. (1L gas unspecified)
Features
  • Good Simmering Ability
  • Compact
  • Performs In Cold Temperatures

BEST FOR: SOLO BACKPACKERS

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.

MSR XGK EX

Specs
  • Weight: 13.2 oz.
  • Fuel Type: White Gas, Diesel, Auto, Kerosene
  • Boil Time: 3 min. 30 sec. (1L white gas)
Features
  • High-Powered Burner
  • Great In Extreme Climates
  • Sturdy Pot Holders

BEST FOR: EXTREME CONDITIONS

As you approach a snowy summit and find temperatures plummeting, you can still cozy up to a warm meal thanks to the MSR XGK EX. This is the liquid fuel backpacking stove designed to handle whatever extreme conditions you encounter during your backpacking expedition.

The bell-shaped construction of this backpacking stove kicks into full throttle when you’re faced with high altitude and low temperatures. This stove lights fast and burns hot with a trusty high-powered burner. Equipped with wide pot supports, you can use a pot or pan up to 10-inches in diameter and still feel confident in the stove’s stability. If you’re the adventurous type who likes to challenge yourself in harsh backpacking conditions, you’ll appreciate what this liquid fuel backpacking stove has to offer.

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THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE BUYING A LIQUID FUEL BACKPACKING STOVE

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.

If you simply want something that ignites at the push of a button or at the light of a match, go with another option.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

WINDSCREEN

This blocks the wind from blowing out the stove’s flame. This can be a built-in feature or an additional accessory.

HEAT REFLECTOR

An object that reflects heat to your pot to increase cooking efficiency. This often also doubles as a windscreen.

READ MORE

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