Which backpacking stove should i buy

By Sigita B •  Updated: 01/25/21 •  5 min read

A hot cup of coffee in the morning or a tasty meal after a long day of hiking… Who does not like that? Taking a camping stove on a hike is a must if you enjoy treating yourself on the trail! The question is: which type of cooking gear should you buy – the good old wood burning stove, the convenient canister stove, or the simple alcohol stove? Continue reading to learn all you have to know about different types of backpacking stoves to make an informed decision.

A hiker using the gas stove

What are wood burning stoves

Wood burning stoves are a popular choice among ultralight hikers because they are relatively lightweight and you do not have to carry fuel around – you can literally find wood anywhere around you when you are hiking. As an added bonus, they burn with an open flame and give you the warm feeling of sitting in front of a campfire. This is also the most eco-friendly solution. It is an important for people who love nature and want to protect it for the future to generations to enjoy it as well. Even small things like choosing a wood burning stove can help.

That being said, woodburning stoves have a few downsides. They are difficult to use in rainy weather or above the tree line, they will leave black soot on the bottom of your pot (so you have to be mindful of that when packing up after a meal) and they require a bit more effort than other, more modern types of camping stoves.

What are canister stoves

Canister stoves are light, easy to use and setting them up is extremely easy. However, canister fuel costs extra, you have to carry it in your pack and it is also not environmentally friendly. When using canisters, you also might face the dilemma – either get an extra can (and thus add more weight and take up space in your pack) or risk running out of fuel while on the trip. Also, these stoves are not suitable for cold temperatures.

However, canister camping stove is the type that is the most popular among hikers, mostly because of the convenience factor.

What are liquid fuel stoves

Liquid fuel stoves look similar to canister camping stoves but they use a different kind of fuel. It is cheaper than canister fuel but weighs more. If you are not too concerned about weight, travel in a car or have the option to drop most of your stuff at camp, this will pose any big issues. But otherwise, we would recommend other types of backpacking stoves.

What are alcohol stoves

Alcohol stoves are incredibly cheap, small and light. They used to be a popular choice among minimalist hikers because these stoves really are as simple as they get. These days, however, most hikers prefer the environmentally friendly wood burning stoves or convenient canister stoves.

Normally, you will be able to find fuel for this type of stove in gas stations so an alcohol stove might do well on car trips or hikes through somewhat populated areas. But these stoves have quite a few downsides: slow cooking time, does not hold up to wind well due to not having any design adjustments that shelter fire from the wind, and they are not suitable for winter conditions.

What are solid fuel stoves

Solid fuel stoves are super simple and use solid Esbit blocks as fuel. This type of stove is ultralight and small in size, but it takes patience to utilize them. They are easy enough to use – just light up a fuel tab and put it on the metal stove – but the cooking time is quite slow. However, the tabs might be difficult to find and they are not great in challenging weather conditions like rain or wind.

What kind of backpacking stove to choose?

Every type of backpacking stove has its pros and cons.

All things considered, we recommend wood burning stoves as the best option because they are easy to use, efficient, lightweight and – more importantly – environmentally friendly. It is an important concern that all hikers who love nature and want to protect it should think about. When using liquid fuel or alcohol stoves, there is always the risk of spilled fuel which can lead to a bush fire if you are not careful enough.

Wood burning stoves also do not require that you buy or carry fuel; you can just burn wood that is a renewable resource and typically will be available all around you.

That being said, canister stoves are gaining a lot of popularity lately and we can see why. If you are traveling in a group and want to have an advanced backpacking stove that resembles the one you have in your kitchen at home, canister stoves might be your best option. There are many modern canister stoves with additional features currently on the market.

Here are some Hiking and Camping stoves we recommend

BioLite CampStove 1 Wood Burning and USB Charging

The BioLite Wood Burning CampStove combines the benefits of a lightweight backpacking stove and an off-grid power charger so you can cook a meal while charging your gadgets.

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TOAKS Titanium Backpacking Wood Burning Stove

Material: Titanium. Weight: 5.4oz (151g)

Dimensions: Packed: 3 3/4" (94mm) (Dia) x 3 3/4" (94mm) (H) Assembled: 3 3/4" (94mm) (Dia) x 7 1/4" (183mm) (H). Small version of Award Winner TOAKS Titanium wood stove. 

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Jetboil Flash Camping Stove Cooking System

Optimized for efficiency, the Jetboil Flash boils water in a lightning-quick 100 seconds, making it the fastest Jetboil ever.

Jetboil's 1-liter FluxRing cooking cup with insulating cozy makes boiling water—and keeping it warm—a breeze.

Start heating instantly with the convenient, reliable pushbutton igniter, and verify that the water's ready with the thermochromatic color-change heat indicator.

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SOTO WindMaster Stove w/Micro Regulator

Stealth igniter installed burner post improves ignition and prevents breakage, making this stove compact and lightweight. Due to the simple, unique design, it weighs only 67 g / 2.3 oz.

Boiling time the same under a wide range of temperatures. Boil 2 cups of water in under 2-1/2 minutes in strong winds and gusty weather

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Sigita B