There are many different ways to cut your costs when traveling, but one of the most effective is to cook your own food on a camping stove. When I first hit the road, I took a battered tent and a nearly indestructible old backpacking stove given to me by my father. I camped out, and cooked my own meals, probably four or five days a week for nearly two years… It was an amazing experience, and it saved me a ton of money.

I’m a big believer in supporting yourself when you travel or hike. It makes you a stronger, more capable individual too.

Over the last ten years, I’ve owned half a dozen different backpacking stoves and in this in-depth review, I’ll compare some of the best backpacking stoves on the market. That way, you can set up the best backpacking cooking system for you based on the weight, fuel, and budget criteria you have.

From the best cheap backpacking stove to top end jetboil alternatives, we’ve got heaps of options for you here.

Quick Answer: The Best Backpacking Stove

Comparison of the Best Backpacking Stoves

Product
Description
BEST OVERALL BACKPACKING STOVE
BEST OVERALL BACKPACKING STOVE

MSR Windburner

  • Feature Highlights > $189.95
  • Weight > 15.5 oz
  • Dimensions > 8.3 x 4.5 x 4.5 inches
BEST CANISTER BACKPACKING STOVE
BEST CANISTER BACKPACKING STOVE

MSR PocketRocket Deluxe

  • Feature Highlights > $84.95
  • Weight > 2.9 oz
  • Dimensions > 3.3 x 2.2 x 1.8 inches
BEST VALUE CANISTER BACKPACKING STOVE
MSR PocketRocket 2 Stove
BEST VALUE CANISTER BACKPACKING STOVE

MSR PocketRocket 2

  • Feature Highlights > $104.95
  • Weight > 2.6 oz
  • Dimensions > 7.25 x 5 x 4 inches
BEST JETBOIL BACKPACKING STOVE
BEST JETBOIL BACKPACKING STOVE

Jetboil Zip

  • Feature Highlights > $99.95
  • Weight > 11.75 oz
  • Dimensions > 4.1 x 6.5 inches
BEST LIQUID FUEL BACKPACKING STOVE
BEST LIQUID FUEL BACKPACKING STOVE

MSR WhisperLite

  • Feature Highlights > $159.95
  • Weight > 10.9 oz
  • Dimensions > 3.07” x 4.76”
BEST WOOD BURNING BACKPACKING STOVE
BEST WOOD BURNING BACKPACKING STOVE

BioLite CampStove 2+ Complete Cook Kit

  • Feature Highlights > $249.95
  • Weight > 5 lbs. 3.6 oz
  • Dimensions > 5 x 8.75 inches
BEST MULTI FUEL BACKPACKING STOVE
BEST MULTI FUEL BACKPACKING STOVE

Lixada

  • Feature Highlights > $
  • Weight > 0.917 ounces
  • Dimensions > 2.8 x 2.8 x 1.69 inches
BEST BUDGET BACKPACKING STOVE
BEST BUDGET BACKPACKING STOVE

Etekcity Ultralight Portable

  • Feature Highlights > $
  • Weight > 4.8 oz
  • Dimensions > 3.5 x 1.8 x 2.3 inches
NEXT GENERATION STOVE
NEXT GENERATION STOVE

Soto Windmaster

  • Feature Highlights > $69.95
  • Weight > 3.1 oz
  • Dimensions > 5.7 x 3.8 x 1.3 inches

The best backpacking stoves are reliable, durable, and heat up your hot cocoa quickly. Let’s be honest, a warm meal after hiking through the wilderness, and waking up to a hot cup of coffee before hitting the trail again, can be pretty damn hard to beat!

I’ve saved an absolute fortune over the years by cooking my own meals and traveling with a lightweight backpacking stove was a crucial part of my strategy to stay on the road long-term.

Hiking with a tent and a high-quality backpacking stove gives you a ton of freedom as it means you don’t have to worry about where you’re going to sleep, or how you’re going to eat, in the evenings. (Did I also mention that it’s a great way to save money?) I’ve been camping out and cooking on lightweight backpacking stoves for nearly ten years now. I’m passionate about being outdoors and providing for myself in beautiful and truly wild places.

There are a ton of high-quality hiking stoves out there so really you are spoiled for choice. Read on and I’ll introduce you to the different types of backpacker-friendly lightweight camping stoves on the market as well as the best backpacking stoves for newbie hikers…

A multi fuel camp stove in action
Now we’re cooking!

The Broke Backpacker is supported by you. Clicking through our links may earn us a small affiliate commission, and that's what allows us to keep producing free content 🙂 Learn more.

The best backpacking stoves don’t add kilos to your backpack. Thankfully, over the years, outdoor companies have continued to innovate and have introduced lightweight stoves and more compact ultralight stoves.

I’ve used several backpacking stoves over the years and whilst my favourite is MSR Windburner – no competition – there are still lots of other great options on the market.

When determining what is the best backpacking camp stove for you, consider a number of factors before boiling down (nice) to the best option. I’ve compared a variety of the best backpacking stoves on the market (chosen from all of the differing stove systems available) with detailed backpacking stove reviews, to help you sift through the clutter…

Top Picks for 8 Best Backpacking Stoves in 2024

#1 MSR Windburner – Best Overall Backpacking Stove

the msr windburner - top choice of best backpacking stoves

Thee MSR Windburner is the premier choice for hikers and campers seeking a top-tier stove. As the flagship model, it offers an all-in-one integrated system, including a secure 1L pot, a coffee press, and a personal mug, ensuring you have everything you need without extra purchases. Its design is not only about convenience but also about performance; the stove operates on canister fuel and boasts a robust build, guaranteeing stability and efficiency even in windy conditions.

The unique combination of primary combustion and an internal pressure regulator allows the Windburner to deliver rapid boiling times and consistent heat, unaffected by the surrounding weather. This makes it a reliable companion for any outdoor adventure, capable of cooking meals for two or more with additional accessories.

What We Like and Don’t Like

Pros

  1. All-in-one stove/cookware
  2. Protects against wind
  3. Highest quality

Cons

  1. Expensive
  2. No automatic lighting button
  3. Canister sold separately

Is the MSR Windburner for you?

adventure to hormuz another fire

While the MSR Windburner excels in performance and stability, it’s worth noting a couple of minor drawbacks. For one, it ain’t cheap. Then It doesn’t come with an automatic lighting feature, requiring a manual ignition, and the necessary fuel canisters are sold separately, which may add to the overall investment. Despite these points, the stove’s quality and functionality are unmatched. Our team especially appreciates the Windburner for its fast heating ability, even under challenging weather conditions, and its straightforward control system.

Ladies & Gents, It’s Time to Step Your GEAR Game Up. 😉

REI is one of America’s biggest and most-loved outdoor gear retailers.

Now, for just $30, get a lifetime membership that entitles you to 10% OFF on most items, access to their trade-in scheme and discount rentals.

Join REI Today!

#2 MSR PocketRocket Deluxe -Best Canister Backpacking Stove

best canister backpacking stove: msr pocket rocket deluke

The MSR PocketRocket Deluxe is a game-changer in the world of ultralight backpacking stoves, setting a new standard with its innovative features. Its cutting-edge push-button ignition system offers unmatched convenience, eliminating the need for a lighter. The added pressure regulator is a significant upgrade, ensuring fast boil times even in challenging conditions, a noteworthy improvement given the historical struggles of MSR’s PocketRockets in cold weather. Now, the PocketRocket Deluxe performs exceptionally well even below freezing, combining ultralight design with pressure-regulated functionality and a host of impressive features.

Weighing just 2.9 oz, the PocketRocket Deluxe is a marvel of lightweight design, significantly lighter than competitors like the Jet Boil. While the PocketRocket 2 offers a lighter and more affordable option, it lacks the advanced features of the Deluxe model. To fully embrace an ultralight backpacking experience, pair the PocketRocket Deluxe with lightweight cookware, such as the MSR Alpine Stowaway Pot. For those who enjoy a hot beverage outdoors, the MSR Pika Teapot is an excellent addition to your gear.

Click here for a full review of the MSR PocketRocket Deluxe.

MSR Pocket Rocket 2
What We Like and Don’t Like

Pros

  1. Ultra lightweight and packs down small
  2. Push-button ignition
  3. Pressure-regulator

Cons

  1. Pricier than the previous PocketRocket 2
  2. Additional accessories sold separately

Is the MSR PocketRocket Deluxe for you?

MSR Pocket Rocket 2 Mini Stove Kit

Our team ranks the PocketRocket Deluxe highly, just behind its esteemed sibling, the MSR Windburner. Its rapid cooking time and fuel efficiency left a lasting impression, and its compact, lightweight design is a significant advantage for backpackers. The PocketRocket Deluxe isn’t just a stove; it’s a carefully engineered piece of gear that enhances the outdoor cooking experience.. This is ideal for ultralight backpacking trips.

#3 MSR PocketRocket 2 -Best Value Canister Backpacking Stove

msr pocket rocket camp stove

Traveling with the MSR PocketRocket 2 means carrying one of the most efficient and compact stoves available for backpacking enthusiasts. Renowned for its incredible value, this ultralight stove is a marvel in both design and performance. Weighing a mere 2.6 oz and folding down to just 2 x 2 x 3 inches, it’s no wonder this fuel canister stove is celebrated as the top choice for value-conscious backpackers.

The PocketRocket 2’s versatility and worldwide fuel canister availability make it a steadfast companion for adventurers. Whether you’re camping off the coast of Iran or trekking through remote trails, finding fuel canisters is seldom a concern. The stove’s precise flame control allows for a range of cooking possibilities, from boiling water rapidly to simmering a rich spaghetti sauce. Its built-in wind clip is an essential feature, providing a steady flame even in breezy conditions, ensuring your meal preparation is uninterrupted.

What We Like and Don’t Like

Pros

  1. Packs up very small
  2. Extrememly lightweight
  3. You get to be like me! ?

Cons

  1. Lacks some features
  2. Need to buy additional accessories

Is the MSR PocketRocket for you?

Similar to its sibling, the PocketRocket Deluxe, the MSR PocketRocket 2 doesn’t include integrated cookware, so you’ll need to consider additional purchases for a complete cooking setup. Nonetheless, our team holds the MSR brand in high esteem, particularly for its stoves.

#4 Jetboil Zip – Best Jetboil Backpacking Stove

jetboil the fastest cooking stove

The Jetboil Zip is the best camping stove for backpacking if you’re a solo traveller who prefers the benefits of canister fuel. It’s great with both simmering and boiling, due to its adjustable burner. Included is an 800ml cup/bowl with a pour spout, strainer and the bottom doubles as a measuring cup.

If a Jetboil is your preferred companion for backpacking, the Jetboil Zip stands out as the ultimate choice. Dubbed the ‘Rolls Royce’ of Jetboil stoves, it delivers outstanding value, closely rivaling the esteemed MSR Windburner. Renowned for being the best value fully-integrated canister fuel stove, it’s a solid pick for those seeking both performance and affordability.

For an equally awesome stove by Jetboil, check out our in-depth Jetboil Flash review.

What We Like and Don’t Like

Pros

  1. Can boil water in under 3 minutes
  2. Lightweight
  3. Easy to use

Cons

  1. Sensitive gas flow
  2. Doesn’t have its own starter

Is the Jetboil Zip for you?

MSR Pocket Rocket 2 Mini Stove Kit

Great value, and possibly the best Jetboil for backpacking. Beware of the lack of a camp fire starter/lighter, but that aside, if you prefer the benefits of canister fuel, then you’ll love the Jetboil Zip. Click below for the latest price.

#5 MSR WhisperLite – Best Liquid Fuel Backpacking Stove

msr whisperlite the best backpacking stove

Traveling with a liquid fuel stove offers distinct advantages, especially for those venturing into remote areas. Liquid fuels like petrol, diesel, or alcohol are widely available globally, making a liquid fuel stove a practical choice for extensive or off-the-beaten-path journeys. Economically, these stoves are an efficient option; a single bottle of liquid fuel can go as far as seven canisters of gas, providing significant savings and reducing the bulk in your backpack. While canisters are not overly heavy, their size and the challenge of disposing of them in remote locations make liquid fuel the more convenient and environmentally friendly choice for long hikes.

For avid backpackers who frequently cook during their trips, a liquid fuel stove, like the MSR WhisperLite, is highly recommended. Although there’s a learning curve and it necessitates familiarization before embarking on your adventure, the benefits are worthwhile. These stoves may not be as compact or light as their canister counterparts, but they compensate with cost-effectiveness, fuel availability, and the capability to produce a hotter flame suitable for more complex cooking tasks.

What We Like and Don’t Like

Pros

  1. Liquid fuel burning
  2. Great for cooking
  3. Quiet for a gas stove

Cons

  1. Has a learning curve to light correctly
  2. Canisters are bulky
  3. Mixed reviews on durability

Is the MSR WhisperLite for you?

Our team holds the liquid fuel stove in high regard, particularly noting its durability and reliability. Some team members have relied on stoves like the MSR WhisperLite for over two decades, a testament to their longevity and robust construction. If you’re in search of a stove that can withstand the rigors of frequent and intense use, this is the choice to make. The ease of use and control further enhance the appeal of liquid fuel stoves, making them a top pick for serious backpackers and outdoor cooking enthusiasts.

Do You Want to Travel FOREVER??

Pop your email in below to get a FREE copy of ‘How to Travel the World on $10 a Day!’.










    #6 BioLite CampStove 2+ Complete Cook Kit – Best Wood-Burning Backpacking Stove

    The BioLite CampStove 2+ takes backpacking stoves to a new level, merging eco-friendliness with tech-savvy features. Running on natural fuels like twigs and pine cones, this stove not only cooks your meal but also converts heat into electricity, allowing you to charge devices while you cook. Although it’s heavier due to the integrated stove, battery, and fan, the versatility and green energy solution make it ideal for car camping or sharing the load on treks.

    Despite its weight, the BioLite’s multifunctionality and compact design make it a standout in the market, hailed as the best wood-burning backpacking stove. Our team was particularly impressed by its ability to charge gadgets on the go and its use of natural fuel sources, making it a top choice for those looking for innovative, sustainable outdoor cooking solutions.

    What We Like and Don’t Like

    Pros

    1. Next-level fuel efficiency
    2. Uses natural fuel
    3. Produces electricity
    4. Amazing product

    Cons

    1. Pricey
    2. Heavier than other options

    Is the BioLite CampStove 2+ Complete Cook Kit for you?

    Our team was particularly impressed with the stove’s unique features, considering the added weight and cost a worthy trade-off for its benefits. The ability to charge electronic devices while cooking was a standout feature, offering a significant advantage, especially during extended stays in the wilderness. The convenience of using natural materials as fuel further enhances its appeal, making the BioLite CampStove 2 a top choice for those who prioritize sustainabilit

    #7 Lixada -Best Multi Fuel Backpacking Stove

    best multi fuel backpacking stove - lixada

    The Lixada stove shines as the ultimate multi-fuel backpacking stove, boasting incredible versatility by burning a wide array of fuels from twigs and wood to alcohol and petrol. Crafted from titanium, this stove strikes the perfect balance between durability and portability, offering exceptional value. Its compact size ensures you can carry it effortlessly on any adventure, with the assurance of finding compatible fuel almost anywhere in the world. While it may not be the first choice for prolonged expeditions, for short solo trips or weekend getaways, the Lixada is unparalleled, especially if flexibility in fuel choice is a priority.

    Though its lightweight design might affect stability, the Lixada compensates with its eco-friendly nature, utilizing natural materials like twigs and pine cones for fuel, with alcohol or solid fuel as convenient alternatives

    What We Like and Don’t Like

    Pros

    1. Affordable
    2. Burns almost anything
    3. Lightweight and durable

    Cons

    1. Durability
    2. Lacks features
    3. Not great for long term trips

    Is the Lixada for you?

    We did like this portable hiking stove. Our team was particularly impressed by its efficiency and minimalistic design, endorsing the Lixada as the top pick for those seeking a compact, powerful, and versatile multi-fuel camping stove. Its ability to adapt to various fuel types also means carrying less weight and enjoying more freedom on your journeys.

    #8 Etekcity Ultralight Portable -Best Budget Backpacking Stove

    Etekcity Ultralight Portable

    The Etekcity backpacking stove emerges as a top choice for hikers or as a reliable emergency backup, thanks to its lightweight and compact design. Despite its small size, it’s surprisingly sturdy, with foldable arms capable of supporting a 20cm pot and up to 5 kilos, making it a practical option for 1-2 people. As an economical and efficient solution, the Etekcity stove stands out as the best budget-friendly alternative, offering reliability and strength without a hefty price tag. Although it’s not built for a lifetime, it promises to perform well for camping trips.

    Adding to its appeal, the Etekcity camping stove comes with a 2-year warranty, assuring product quality and customer satisfaction. Its low-profile design and stability, courtesy of the canister mount, make it a preferred choice for budget-conscious campers and ultralight hikers

    What We Like and Don’t Like

    Pros

    1. Low price
    2. Super lightweight
    3. Compact

    Cons

    1. Lacks feautres
    2. Canisters are bulky
    3. Mixed reviews on durability

    Is the Etekcity for you?

    The cheapest, lightest, and most compact option on the list, the Etekcity rocks. It’s certainly not of the highest quality (and therefore lacks total reliability) but if you are looking to save a buck, the Etekcity comes highly recommended. Our team appreciates its lightweight, cost-effective nature, acknowledging that while it may be a bit unsteady at times.

    The best present of all… is CONVENIENCE!

    Now, you could spend a fat chunk of $$$ on the WRONG present for someone. Wrong size hiking boots, wrong fit backpack, wrong shape sleeping bag… As any adventurer will tell you, gear is a personal choice.

    So give the adventurer in your life the gift of convenience: buy them an REI Co-op gift card! REI is The Broke Backpacker’s retailer of choice for ALL things outdoors, and an REI gift card is the perfect present you can buy from them. And then you won’t have to keep the receipt. 😉

    Buy on REI!

    #9 Soto Windmaster – Next Generation Stove

    Soto Windmaster

    The Soto WindMaster stove is a standout, especially for those venturing into colder and windier climates. Its award-winning micro regulation system is engineered to deliver exceptional performance in challenging weather conditions, making it an ideal companion for autumn and winter camping, or excursions in the Northern Hemisphere. The inclusion of a 4Flex pot support further bolsters its stability and efficiency, ensuring your cooking experience is as seamless as it is outdoors.

    Boasting the capability to boil 2 cups of water in under 2.5 minutes, the WindMaster competes with the convenience of a home kettle, all while being compact and lightweight. This impressive speed, combined with its portability, has won our team over. They were particularly impressed by its value, noting that the stove’s ability to produce a wide, strong flame far surpassed expectations for its price point. The Soto WindMaster doesn’t just meet the needs of outdoor enthusiasts; it redefines the standards for portable cooking performance

    What We Like and Don’t Like

    Pros

    1. Low price
    2. Nice and light
    3. Isobutane-propane fuelled

    Cons

    1. Lacks features
    2. Mixed reviews on durability
    best backpacking stove
    NameWeightDimensionsPrice
    MSR Windburner15.5 ounces4.5 x 8 inches$149.95
    MSR PocketRocket Deluxe2.9 ounces3.3 x 2.2 x 1.8 inches$69.95
    MSR PocketRocket 22.6 ounces3.1 x 1.7 x 1.3 inches$44.95
    Jetboil Zip11.75 ounces4.1 x 6.5 inches$84.95
    MSR WhisperLite10.9 ounces6.5 x 5 x 4 inches$109.95
    Biolite CampStove 22 pounds 1 ounce8.25 x 5 x 5 inches$111.93
    LixadaNot Available2.2 x 1.6 inches$21.99
    Etekcity Ultralight PortableNot Available3.15 x 2.36 x 1.81 inches$18

    What to Consider When Picking a Lightweight Camping Stove

    • Fuel Type
    • Size and Weight
    • Group size
    • Trip length and location
    • Ease of use
    • Boiling or simmering
    • Stability
    warming my feet with my ultralight camping stove
    Even if you’re not hungry, camping stoves come in handy to keep warm!

    Different Fuel Types

    There are various fuel types you can use on backpacking stoves, which can cause some confusion. You should consider what type of backpacking stove is suitable for you…

    I’ve categorized camping stoves into four main fuel types:

    • Canister Stoves
    • Alternative Fuel Stoves
    • Wood Burning Stoves
    • Liquid Burning Stoves

    Canister Stoves (Like the MSR Windburner)

    Canister stoves are usually the most popular option for travelers as they are ultralight, compact, stable, durable, and easy to use. In my opinion, they’re the best type choice of stoves for backpacking as they perform well even in the harshest climates. Canister stoves are ideal for hiking and trekking as canister burners are so compact that they don’t take up much space in your backpack.

    The best part about canister backpacking stoves is just how easy they are to use. All you have to do is simply screw the canister into your stove and light it up for a quick, easy meal. Most canister stoves run on pressurized gases that are self-sealed and detached from the stove itself. Primarily isobutane gas is used, however, some models also run on propane.

    You can modify your flame control enabling you to cook more elaborate meals while you are travelling which makes it a great lightweight camp stove that packs some real oomph which can feed you nicely.

    a top rated backpacking stove cooking in the snow
    How good would a hot meal be in weather like this!?

    Emerging technology has lead to the release of integrated all in one backpacking stoves, which, typically, include a cooking pot and/or mug. They’re ideal for hiking as the boiling times are fast and they are windproof, compact, light, and even fuel-efficient!

    The Jetboil Zip is a really cool lightweight canister stove which offers full integration. If it wasn’t for the price, the Jetboil would probably be my top choice for the best value canister backpacking stove category but the MSR PocketRocket takes the gold as it offers incredible value… Still, you would need to buy a cooking pot and it won’t offer the same kind of integrated ease of use as the Jetboil.

    What We Like and Don’t Like about Cannisters

    Pros

    1. Lightweight and compact
    2. Stable and durable
    3. Easy to use
    4. Fuel efficient
    5. No pumping or priming required

    Cons

    1. Fuel is expensive
    2. Hard to find fuel in remote locations when trekking or travelling
    3. Doesn’t work well in the cold (sub-zero temperatures)
    4. Difficult to measure remaining fuel

    Alcohol Backpacking Stoves (Like the Lixada)

    Alcohol Backpacking Stoves

    The best backpacking stoves are ultralight, which is why alcohol stoves are popular among trekkers and travellers. Denatured Alcohol is rather cheap and is widely available internationally. Alcohol backpacking stoves are best used for boiling water, to cook dehydrated meals, or for brewing coffee.

    Although they burn silently, they’re not very fuel-efficient and are very sensitive to wind so they are not a solid choice for cooking up a hearty meal when camping. Lixada is the best alcohol burning stove on the market and it can run on pretty much anything – wood, solid fuels, or alcohol.

    What We Like and Don’t Like Alcohal Burners

    Pros

    1. Ultralight
    2. Relatively cheap
    3. Fuel is widely available internationally
    4. Light and burn silently

    Cons

    1. Not good for cooking
    2. Slow to boil (7-10 minutes: 2 cups of water)
    3. Poor fuel efficiency
    4. Very sensitive to wind

    Wood Burning Backpacking Stoves (Like the Biolite)

    biolite - the best wood burning backpacking stove
    \

    Choosing the best wood burning backpacking stove can be tough as there are a lot of options on the market. Luckily, there are a couple of companies that are doing epic things and create products that are clearly superior to the rest of the market.

    Cooking on a wood burning camp stove is quite similar to cooking on a campfire: just find some twigs and get that baby burning! Note that cooking on a wood burning stove is much faster and more efficient than cooking on a campfire. You don’t have to worry about carrying around fuel because you can gather fuel pretty easily whilst camping.

    Wood burning stoves are definitely a cheaper option because you can find your own fuel and burn twigs, pinecones, leaves, and other renewable energy sources. The only downfall is that this puts you at the mercy of the weather and if all of your potential fuel is soaking wet, it can be tough to get a hot flame going.

    It can require a lot more time and effort to light your camp stove which can get annoying after spending the whole day trekking. The other thing I dislike about wood stoves is that the soot rubs off onto your pots and hands when cooking.

    Biolite is currently leading the way with their epic BioLite CampStove 2+ Complete Cook Kit that can not only cook, but also charge your devices through the USB port.

    What We Like and Don’t Like about Wood Burning Stoves

    Pros

    1. More environmentally friendly
    2. That authentic campfire smell
    3. Minimal fuel cost and weight
    4. Cheap as you don’t need to buy fuel

    Cons

    1. Hard to find fuel when it’s raining
    2. Slow cooking time and little heat control
    3. Heavy and tedious to start
    4. Leaves black marks on cooking equipment
    5. Can’t use where fire bans are in place

    Liquid Burning Stoves

    best backpacking stove
    Nothing beats waking up to a fresh cup of coffee! – Liquid fuel stove in action.

    The best backpacking stoves for extreme conditions are liquid fuelled stoves. I have used an MSR Whisperlite, the best liquid stove on the market, in the past but right now I’m rocking a Pocket Rocket canister stove instead, which is lighter. Liquid stoves are bulkier and if you spill your fuel in your backpack, it can be an absolute nightmare.

    There are some pretty massive advantages to traveling with a liquid fuel backpacking stove though – the best part about liquid fuelled backpacker stoves is the flexibility. Some stoves burn multiple types of liquids like white gas, kerosene, unleaded fuel and, even diesel – the ability to burn these easily accessible fuels make liquid fuel stoves a solid choice if you are trekking to remote locations.

    If you’re off on a truly epic adventure, then it probably is the right choice to pick up a liquid fuel stove but if you’re simply a humble backpacker or traveler, I would go with a canister stove as they take up less space.

    Saying that, it is significantly cheaper to run a liquid fuel stove and because you can find the fuel everywhere, liquid fuel stoves are a good choice if you plan on using your stove a LOT.

    The majority of liquid stoves have a really stable design that enables you to handle large cookware and feed many people. Beware of the roar of the stove as it can get quite loud at times. The MSR Whisperlite is one of the best liquid fuelled stoves in the market.

    What We Like and Don’t Like about Liquid Burners

    Pros

    1. Durable
    2. Works well in extreme conditions
    3. Flexible and cheap to find fuel
    4. Stable design to handle large cookware
    5. Great for traveling internationally

    Cons

    1. Bulky and heavy design
    2. Loud
    3. Majority of the models require priming
    4. Needs maintenance
    Backpacking stoves

    How important is group size when choosing a backpacking stove?

    Typically one backpacking stove (depending on the model) is adequate to feed two people. However, some ultra-light backpacking stoves are designed just for the solo traveller. The best hiking stoves are the ones that minimise weight whilst maximising how many meals they can cook.

    If you’re travelling in a larger group I’d recommend picking up a liquid backpacking stove as they’re fairly stable and suit larger cooking equipment. Some larger liquid backpacking stoves cater to a maximum of three people; so if you’re planning to cook for your travel crew, it might be a good idea to bring along an extra stove…

    Which stove is best for short trips?

    The length and location of your trip determines the amount of fuel you’ll need for your entire journey and what fuel best suits your whereabouts.

    Typically canister backpacking stoves are best used for shorter trips, as they’re compact and lightweight. The empty canisters weigh next to nothing but can take up a moderate amount of space in your pack. Be sure to pack enough fuel for your trip, as they’re extremely difficult to find in remote locations and internationally. I love using canister stoves for camping as they’ve got great temperature control and can do a lot more than just boiling water.

    Liquid Fuel Stoves are my go to for long term backpacking adventures, expeditions and real raw adventures. Liquid fuel tends to last a lot longer than a canister and liquids like white gas, kerosene, unleaded fuel are readily available even in small remote towns. In case of an emergency, you can easily take a spare bottle of fuel there is no need to lug around the empty containers afterwards. Liquid stoves are by far the best backpacking stove for long treks and hikes.

    Other alternative fuel backpacking stoves like alcohol, are good for ultra lightweight travellers who don’t mind being patient while their water boils. If you’d prefer to stick to the good old fashioned wood backpacking stove, be prepared to do the hard yards – preparing, lighting and cooking your food.

    I personally wouldn’t recommend a wood burner for long term trips, unless you’re just boiling water for your dry meal or are prepared to gather fuel every night.

    Size and Weight considerations

    best backpacking stove
    Keeping out the breeze; cooking up a feed!

    If you plan to set off on a hike or a trek, then you want your backpacking stove to be as light as possible.

    Canister stoves are great to use as they’re compact, lightweight, easy to use and you have more control over the temperature. Ideally, one canister should last you your whole trip, therefore you don’t have to lug around multiple canisters taking up precious room in your backpack but it’s hard to know and one mistake – e.g. leaving it on by accident – will waste all your fuel.

    Alcohol backpacking stoves are also great for short-term trips because they’re ultralight weight, but they’re mainly used just to boil water. So if you’re just heating up water for your dry meal, then it’s ideal for you. However, you might get sick & tired of bland army meals by the end of your trip.

    For longer trips, I’d recommend taking a liquid fuelled backpacking stove. Although your liquid fuel will add more weight to your pack, it’s far more compact. The fuel will go a lot further than canisters, as one bottle of liquid fuel is equivalent to seven canisters.

    Ease of Use

    The ease of use is an important factor in determining the best backpacking stoves for you.

    Canister backpacking stoves are by far the simplest and easiest to use. Most canister stoves won’t require any maintenance; all you have to do is screw the gas bottle to the backpacking stove and light like any other gas burner.

    Liquid Fuel Stoves require regular maintenance and need to be primed prior to using them. Each model has a different method for priming, which can take a while to ace.

    Alternative fuel backpacking stoves such as wood burners are quite hard to use unless you’re a seasoned camper. Not only does it take a long time to find wood and set up, but they can also be quite difficult to light, especially if it’s windy. Even if you pick out the best wood camping stove on the market you might struggle a bit to get it going!

    Alcohol backpacking stoves are neither too simple nor too difficult to use. The main issue with alcohol backpacking stoves is the wind’s effect on the flame. It can be difficult to keep it lit even with a windscreen, so alcohol backpacking stoves definitely require a little extra patience. However, it helps to have the best multi-fuel stove with you so you can hustle and get it going with any kind of fuel!

    Stability of your stove

    best backpacking stove
    Be careful how much alcohol you have in your stove before lighting it!

    The stability of your backpacking stove is important, especially when you’re planning to cook a large delectable meal. More often than not, you’ll be cooking on uneven terrain, therefore you need a backpacking stove that’s stable on the ground and won’t easily fall over.

    The best backpacking stove with regards to stability is a model that’s low-profile. A low profile backpacking stove sits on its fuel bottle or canister, connected to it is a tube which feeds the fuel to the burner. Because the fuel container is heavy & bulky, it provides you with a stable cooking environment.

    High profile backpacking stoves tend to be lighter, more compact and therefore easier to move or fall. They’re not ideal for holding large cooking equipment & are prone to being unstable, as the burner sits over the canister rather than on the ground. The MSR Windburner is a great example of a perfectly stable backpacking stove and it is the best MSR stove in the market even though it may not be the most lightweight backpacking stove out there!

    Boiling or Simmering

    What kind of camping master chef are you? Do you want to cook delicious food or simply boil water to cook your freeze dry meals? Your answer will lead you to the type of backpacking stove that’ll suit you the best.

    There is a range of different models available that can do both, however one function tends to outdo the other. If you plan to do both, then you’d want a backpacking stove with a quality flame control, enabling you to adjust the height of the flame. Be sure to invest in a good quality burner if you aim to go all master chef in the wilderness, as cheap burners don’t run too smoothly on low heat.

    How We Tested To Find The Best Backpacking Stove

    There is no perfect or exact science when it comes to testing out travel and outdoor gear. But we’ve spent enough time out in the field to confidently say we can put this list together and tell you definitively what the best backpacking stove for 2020 and beyond is.

    Whenever we test a piece of gear, one of our team takes it out for a spin to put it through its paces in a variety of different ways. In all cases, we pay close attention to how well-made a piece of gear is, how heavy or light it is, how packable it is and of course, how well it fulfils its primary purpose. So in this case we’ll be looking at it’s cooking abilities on the road.

    Finally, we also take into the price of each item – So expensive gear that underperforms is judged pretty harshly, whereas the cheaper items that perform well for their price, will be treated more sympathetically.

    FAQ about the Best Backpacking Stove

    MSR Pocket Rocket 2 Mini Stove Kit

    Still have some questions? No problem! We’ve listed and answered the most commonly asked questions below. Here’s what people usually want to know:

    Our GREATEST Travel Secrets…

    Pop your email here & get the original Broke Backpacker Bible for FREE.










      Conclusion: Do I really need a backpacking stove?

      If you are heading off for a jaunt around South East Asia and have got plenty of money, a backpacking stove may not be necessary.

      If however you are an adventurous soul and plan on hitchhiking, camping and basically travelling on a budget then a backpacking stove is well worth having and can save you a fortune. Whether you opt for the best budget backpacking stove or something higher-end, just make sure you know how to use it before you hit the road.

      The best backpacking stoves are reliable, durable and long lasting – your stove should last for years. When determining the best backpacking stove for you, take into consideration the various fuel types, trip length and location, size and weight preferences, people in the group, ease of use, boiling or simmering and stability.

      Buy the best stove out there before your awesome wilderness adventure. Happy cooking amigos!