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The Best Backpacking Stoves – Cook at the Campsite for Less

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Top Choice
MSR WindBurner Personal Stove System for Fast Boiling Fuel-Efficient Cooking for Backpacking, Solo Travelers, and Minimalist Trips, 1.0-Liter, Red
Solo Stove Titan Pot 1800 Combo Kit - Wood Burning Gassification Backpacking Stove Combo | Camping Survival Efficient Stove
Jetboil Flash Camping Stove Cooking System, Carbon
MSR XGK EX Extreme-Condition Camping and Mountaineering Stove
Kelly Kettle Base Camp 54 oz. Stainless Steel Ultimate (1.6 LTR) Rocket Stove Boils Water Ultra Fast with just Sticks/Twigs. for Camping, Fishing, Scouts, Hunting, Emergencies, Hurricanes, Tornados
Our Rating
4.8
4.6
4.2
4.1
3.9
MSRP
$149.85
$135.98
$92.55
$159.95
$169.99
Fuel
IsoPro Fuel Canister
Wood
JetPower Fuel Canister
white gas, kerosene, unleaded gasoline, aviation gas, diesel, jet fuel
wood
Weight
15.2 ounces
5.75 pounds
13.9 ounces
1 lbs 1.2 oz
6.6 pounds
Pushbutton Igniter
Top Choice
MSR WindBurner Personal Stove System for Fast Boiling Fuel-Efficient Cooking for Backpacking, Solo Travelers, and Minimalist Trips, 1.0-Liter, Red
Our Rating
4.8
MSRP
$149.85
Fuel
IsoPro Fuel Canister
Weight
15.2 ounces
Pushbutton Igniter
More Information
Solo Stove Titan Pot 1800 Combo Kit - Wood Burning Gassification Backpacking Stove Combo | Camping Survival Efficient Stove
Our Rating
4.6
MSRP
$135.98
Fuel
Wood
Weight
5.75 pounds
Pushbutton Igniter
More Information
Jetboil Flash Camping Stove Cooking System, Carbon
Our Rating
4.2
MSRP
$92.55
Fuel
JetPower Fuel Canister
Weight
13.9 ounces
Pushbutton Igniter
More Information
MSR XGK EX Extreme-Condition Camping and Mountaineering Stove
Model
Our Rating
4.1
MSRP
$159.95
Fuel
white gas, kerosene, unleaded gasoline, aviation gas, diesel, jet fuel
Weight
1 lbs 1.2 oz
Pushbutton Igniter
More Information
Kelly Kettle Base Camp 54 oz. Stainless Steel Ultimate (1.6 LTR) Rocket Stove Boils Water Ultra Fast with just Sticks/Twigs. for Camping, Fishing, Scouts, Hunting, Emergencies, Hurricanes, Tornados
Our Rating
3.9
MSRP
$169.99
Fuel
wood
Weight
6.6 pounds
Pushbutton Igniter
More Information

For back country anglers and hikers, potentially huge remote fish has a draw on us like the siren’s call.

Spending a few days in the woods and on the trail is one of our favorite pastimes. Hiking is good for the soul as well as incredibly good exercise.

Exercise burns a lot of calories, and replenishing your body with good food and water is essential when backpacking.

The best backpacking stoves will provide the advantage of being able to prepare hot food trailside.

How can you know which backpacking stove will best serve your needs while in the wilderness?

MSR Windburner

The MSR Windburner is a very solid and reliable complete canister stove system. This stove comes with a range of features and additional parts that make it suitable for long hikes when you want cooking options.

Items in this backpacking stove kit include an insulated cook pot, as well as the stove, stabilizer and a plastic container that can be used as a bowl or a mug depending on what you’re cooking.

One of the huge advantages of this backpacking stove is that it won’t be disrupted by adverse external conditions because of the enclosed heating element.

And if you are looking for a light weight hiking stove, it weighs only 15.5 ounces and packs very nicely.

Features

The main thing that makes the MSR Windburner appealing is the way in which it integrates all of its functions into one compact system.

It has a stove cooking options and a pot with an eating or drinking container call in a single package. It’s also a very efficient device thanks to its radiant burner and heat exchanger.

The windproof performance boasted by the MSR Windburner also deserve acknowledgement.

It has a fully enclosed design and an internal pressure regulator that work in tandem to one another to provide a performance that isn’t going to be disrupted by wind or other weather conditions.

Advantages

When you’re hiking, you don’t want to carry equipment with you that’s too bulky or heavy. The slim and compact design of this stove is, therefore, a major advantage if you’re a hiker.

It can fit easily in a bag without taking up much space at all, and it’s no bother at all to carry it around for extended periods.

If you’re someone who has used other MSR products and you still own them, knowing that the Windburner personal stove works with other accessories from the company is a definite advantage.

Solo Stove Campfire

The unique airflow system used by the Solo Stove Campfire makes it stand out from the crowd. It produces a very hot flame without any of the smoke that’s often associated with wood burning backpacking stoves.

The holes at the bottom of the fire pit pull in cold air, before splitting off in various directions. It’s an artfully crafted piece of equipment, but what matters most for hikers is that it gets the job done well and it certainly does that.

It’s also very easy to clean because less ash is created thanks to the hot-burning airflow system mentioned above. All together, the hiking stove weighs 5.75 pounds.

Key Features

As mentioned above, the airflow system employed by the Solo Stove Campfire is definitely the feature that stands out above the rest. It’s complex and produces results that work for hikers, and that’s all that matters.

It’s also the case that the stove allows you to use twigs and leaves as fuel, meaning you don’t have to carry fuel canisters with you.

It’s a package that has a 2-pot set, offering more versatility and options for use. You’ll have no trouble at all heating up relatively large amounts of water and food when you’re hiking or camping.

Advantages

If you’re a hiker who cares about the environment and wants an eco-friendly stove solution, this is definitely the product for you.

Because it doesn’t use fuel canisters, it’s much more environmentally friendly than other stove options and is, therefore, definitely worth considering.

It relies solely on natural forms of fuel. On top of that, its capacity means you can use it to satisfy the needs of multiple people when you’re hiking in a group, so it’s not necessary for everyone to bring along their own personal stove with them.

As long as you don’t need to pack light, it’s a great solution.

Jetboil Flash Cooking System

The Jetboil Flash cooking system includes a stove, insulated pot, stand and a measuring bowl. By focusing on one main feature, it’s able to get a lot right if your needs are relatively limited.

It’s perfect for heating water for any hot drinks you might want to make while hiking, as well as dehydrating camping meals.

It has an appealing, slick design and it does what it does very well indeed. You don’t even need to light the stove as it comes with an ignition button you simply have to push. The cooking system weighs 13.1 ounces in total.

Key Features

This stove can boil water in just 100 seconds, so it’s definitely an efficient model that can get the job done well and rapidly.

You often need to stop for a quick break but don’t want to be waiting around for the stove to do its thing for a long time. In those instances, the Jetboil Flash cooking system is ideal.

It’s compatible with lots of other Jetboil accessories too, making it a good purchase for existing Jetboil customers.

The push button ignition system is a feature not offered by many other stoves that compete with this one. It makes the stove easier to use and great for beginners who haven’t used a camping stove like this before.

Advantages

The ease of use and efficiency of the performance offered by the Jetboil Flash cooking system are definitely key advantages.

If you’re someone who values speed and doesn’t want to be waiting for a long time, there’s no product that’s better than this one at getting the job done.

You can even tell when the water is heated and ready to use by the heat indicator that changes color.

All in all, it’s a compact, lightweight and easy to carry stove that does everything you need it to when you’re hiking and in need of a stove that won’t weigh or slow you down.

MSR XGK

The MSR XGK is reliable and very durable, and those two things really matter when you’re taking a device like this hiking with you. It does the job of boiling water very well and pretty fast.

It can also be used to melt snow and it does this job very fast as well. It has a multi-fuel capacity which is always a good feature for users.

It’s a piece of equipment that really performs best in harsh conditions when you need a stove that you can rely on to get the job done properly and efficiently. It weighs 13.2 ounces.

Key Features

The compact design of the MSR XGK and the flexible fuel line it contains makes it possible for the stove to fit inside a 1.5-liter pot from MSR.

If you’re using kerosene fuel, this stove can boil a liter of water in just under 3 minutes, which is pretty quick for a compact stove like this one.

One of the best features of the MSR XGK is that it’s very easy to maintain and keep clean because of the Shaker Jet. It works by simply shaking the fuel jet and the whole thing is immediately cleaned. It couldn’t be easier.

Advantages

The stove comes with retractable legs that support the stove and lift it off the ground. It’s one of those little things that make this stove one that’s very easy to use.

It’s a big advantage because everyone who buys a simple stove for camping wants it to be easy to use.

You can use a variety of different liquid fuels with this stove as well, which is really important for people who want that extra level of flexibility from the stove they select.

It’s generally very reliable and durable as well, and that’s never a bad thing.

Kelly Kettle Base Camp

The Kelly Kettle Base Camp kit is a very good product that comes with everything you’ll need when out hiking.

The Kelly Kettle uses a fire inside the chimney to create heat that then causes the water to boil, allowing you to make hot drinks and use the hot water for whatever you need.

The kettle is pretty large as well so you can heat quite a lot of water at a time. This kit also comes with a cook set, stove, cup set and pot support. And it can all be contained in the included carry bag for easier transportation.

It weighs 6.6 pounds in total.

Key Features

The whistle stopper at the top of the Kelly Kettle lets you know when the water has boiled and ready to use. It’s a nice functional feature that makes your life simpler when boiling water in the wilderness.

It also comes with cups that have CooLip protectors and they have measurements on them too.

Those protectors mean you won’t burn your mouth when drinking from a hot steel cup. There are also packable plates and bowls that store away neatly and are easy to carry.

The fact that you get so much from a neat compatible package is a definite bonus.

Advantages

The main advantage of using this kit rather than the others mentioned on this list is its versatility and the range of cooking and heating options it offers.

There’s really no option like it when you want to get the most out of your cooking experience when hiking or camping.

It might not be the lightest option out there but it does back away neatly and becomes easy to carry around.

FAQ

Stove For Backpacking

Do you need a stove for backpacking?

You do not need a stove for backpacking, but it can certainly make your backpacking experience more enjoyable, especially if you are camping out overnight. 

A stove will allow you to:

  • Purify water by boiling it.
  • Cook a range of foods.
  • Heat water for coffee or to enhance your insulation

You could, theoretically, do all of those things with just a pot and a campfire. 

But that would take more time and be reliant upon access to suitable fire-starting materials, whch may or may not be on hand. 

Unfavorable weather conditions may also prevent you from starting a campfire. 

The only times when you should seriously consider not taking a stove with you are when you are only going on a one or two-night trip, when you have a good weather forecast or when you are on a well-established hiking track.

How long does backpacking stove fuel last?

There is no finite answer to this question because it depends on the following factors:

  • Weather Conditions 
  • Access to Water
  • Cooking Style
  • Size of Cookware
  • Frequency of Use

When it comes to fuel usage, the weather can play a large part. Wind on an open flame stove can lead to 3 times as much fuel usage as calm conditions. 

On the other hand, warm air will speed up the time it takes for water to boil.

If you have to melt snow in order to get water, this will use up more fuel than having ready access to water. 

If you can limit your cooking process to the simple act of boiling, this will save your fuel usage. 

The bigger and deeper your cooking pot is, the more fuel that will be required to cook the food. 

How much fuel do you need for backpacking?

Stove Fuel

Because the conditions that you encounter will change it is difficult to give a definite answer. However, you should plan your fuel needs as follows:

  • A pot of water ( 1 liter) requires about 2 grams of fuel too boil
  • Two liters of water will require about 5 grams of fuel

You can work out your fuel requirements by writing down how many times you will be using the stove and how many liters off water (or the equivalent thereof) you be boiling. 

This method will give you a basic figure. Add another 20 percent of fuel to ensure that you are not left short. 

What is the average stove boil time?

To answer the question of what is the average boil time of a camping stove, we researched the average boil times (to boil a liter of water) of 5 of the leading camp stoves on the current market. Here are the results:

  • Stove 1: 4.5 minutes
  • Stove 2: 1.8 minutes
  • Stove 3: 3.5 minutes
  • Stove 4: 4.8 minutes
  • Stove 5: 4.0 minutes

From these figures, we get an average boil time of just under four minutes.

Features To Consider

features of hiking stove

There are some important details to consider when purchasing a backpacking stove. We look over those important points before making your final choice.

Fuel

Backpacking stoves are most often designed to burn a particular type of fuel.

However, some models are capable of burning a variety of fuels, which gives these stoves a distinct edge in versatility.

Popular models offer the convenience of fuel canisters, while others burn fuels such as: white gas, kerosene, unleaded gasoline, aviation gas, diesel fuel, jet fuel, or wood.

Cook And Boil Time

The backpacking stove you select might rely entirely on the speed at which you need to cook or boil water.

Gas stoves are almost always going to boil water faster than a wood burning stove. If you want to make good time while hiking the trail, then a gas stove will be the answer.

If you aren’t in a tremendous rush, then a wood stove will do the trick.

Weight

Weight is something every hiker should consider when assembling their hiking pack.

Lighter is usually better, but the ultralight backpacking stoves might minimize cooking options like pans, etc. Other stoves have available attachments to accommodate pans.

Of course if you rely purely on boiling water to rehydrate foods and hot drinks, then you can drastically cut weight by avoiding cooking pans altogether.

Size

The best backpacking stoves really take size into consideration with accessories that often nest within each other to minimize the amount of space needed within your pack. Plus you might be carrying a tent or sleeping bag.

If you want pots, or a pan, some hiking stove models come as a nesting kit that provides cookware in a small package.

Windproof

For mountaineering above treeline, or just plain windy conditions, a windproof stove can be a life-saver.
 
Unknown weather conditions might be in the forecast and some stoves simply will not win the battle with the wind.
 
If you don’t want to be hiding behind some sort of wind-break, then a windproof stove is what you will want.

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