- 1 Top 7 Best Backpacking Stoves
- 2 Best Backpacking Stove Buying Guide
To determine the best backpacking stove we considered the following features: stove type, boil time, weight, igniters, stabilizers, and price. While there are many stove types, we tended to favor canister styles as they’re the most popular. We also kept weight and boiling time in mind to prevent picking items that are too heavy or that take too long to boil water. Additional features we considered in our evaluation were igniters and stabilizers, which can help to improve the functionality and safety of backpacking stoves.
After considering all of the above, we selected the Ohuhu Stainless Steel Backpacking Stove as our Top Pick. While it’s the only collapsible wood burning backpacking stove in our guide, we did like that it was collapsible, weighed less than one pound and could be easily converted from a pot cooker to a grill. Keep reading to learn more about the rest of our top picks.
Top 7 Best Backpacking Stoves
#1 Ohuhu Stainless Steel Backpacking Stove
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: A collapsible wood burning backpacking stove that is lightweight, converts into a grill, and is designed with guards to protect the flame from wind, makes this a great space-saving option for backpackers and campers.
If you’re trying to travel light, having to bring fuel with you can add to your overall load. The Ohuhu Stainless Steel Backpacking Stove is the perfect option for campers heading to the woods. You’ll like that this is a collapsible wood burning backpacking stove that can be easily converted into a grill when you don’t feel like using it with pans. While this stove is designed for use with wood burning, it also comes with a solidified alcohol plate, making this a versatile option for a variety of camping environments.
We liked that you can easily switch between the grill grid and the pot supporter depending on what you want to cook. Plus this backpacking stove features a sturdy base that won’t tip over and the pot supporter attachment is designed to shield your flames from the wind. With the lightweight 14.2 ounce design, you can easily disassemble this stove from the full 6.1-inch height down to just three inches. All pieces nest together for easier traveling, and the included carrying tote keeps everything organized. Don’t forget to pack the best sleeping pad too.
#2 Coleman Camping Backpacking Stove
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: A complete backpacking stove that comes with a refillable fuel container that can use either unleaded gasoline or proprietary Coleman Liquid Fuel for improved versatility that makes this user friendly for frequent and occasional campers.
One of the common complaints about canister backpacking stoves is that having to purchase additional fuel can be frustrating. But we’re nominating the Coleman Camping Backpacking Stove as an Honorable mention because unlike any of the other options in our guide, this model comes with a refillable fuel container. More importantly you can choose between using the Coleman Liquid Fuel or regular unleaded gas to fuel this backpacking stove.
And this is a game changer because not only do you not have to worry about finding the proper isobutane canisters with compatible threads, but you can also easily prep for your next camping trip when you’re at the gas station filling up your car. Other nice features include an hour and 45 minute burn time when this stove is set to high — versus six hours when set to low. You’ll also like that you can boil a quart of water in just four minutes. While this is the slowest boil time in our guide, four minutes is still fairly commendable. You’ll also want to bring the best water purification tablets for camping with you.
#3 MSR PocketRocket 2 Ultralight Backpacking, Stove
Award: BEST LIGHTWEIGHT STOVE
WHY WE LIKE IT: A compact and portable winter backpacking stove that’s only 2.6 ounces, features a windshield and boils water in just three and a half minutes makes this ideal for solo campers focused on traveling light.
If you prefer the steady flame of a canister fuel source, you’ll appreciate the MSR PocketRocket 2 Backpacking Stove. This is an ideal winter backpacking stove because its ultra-compact design means you’ll have more space to bring essentials like warm camping gear. This backpacking stove weighs in at just 2.6 ounces, making it the lightest option in our guide. You’ll also appreciate the easy setup that doesn’t require any preheating, pressurizing or priming.
Although this canister backpacking stove doesn’t have a piezo-ignition, we do like that it comes with three built-in serrated arms to support a range of pots. You’ll also like that you can boil a liter of water in just three and a half minutes. While that’s not the fastest boiling time in our guide, this is still commendable and means you won’t spend extended periods waiting for water to heat up. And you’ll like that you can adjust the flame so that you can switch between boiling and simmering. As for your tent while camping, the best rooftop tents are a good choice.
#4 Jetboil Flash Camping Stove Cooking System
Award: BEST QUALITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: For serious campers, a Jetboil stove is a fan favorite because of its streamlined design, push-button ignition, and fast boiling time — making it a must-have for anyone who’s planning an overnight camping trip.
If you do even a cursory search for “best backpacking stove” you’ll inevitably come across a Jetboil stove — and for good reason. The Jetboil Flash Camping Stove Cooking System is our Best Quality recommendation because it’s one of the most user-friendly options that consistently works and includes intuitive accessories to make cooking at a campsite easier. We like that this model features a push-button ignitor that makes starting a flame easy and safe to do. More importantly, this backpacking stove is compatible with Jetboil’s complete line of campfire cooking accessories but comes with a few essentials to make your cooking experience more enjoyable.
You’ll appreciate the fuel canister stabilizer so you don’t have to worry about your stove tipping over. A lid cover can also pull double duty as a measuring cup and a bowl. And the thermochromic color-changing heat indicator on the built-in cooking cup indicates when your water has reached boiling. Plus, the fact that you can boil water in just 100 seconds is impressive — making it the fastest boiling rate in our guide. But you’ll appreciate that the cooking cup also doubles as a drinking cup. So, you can always get your cup o’ joe, even when you’re on the side of a mountain. Always pack the best uv flashlight as well.
#5 REEHUT Ultralight Backpacking Stove
Award: BEST BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: A budget-friendly portable camping stove with a piezo-ignition lighter that comes in an economical two-pack — each weighing just 0.6 pounds — that’s perfect for the backpacker who’s trying to lighten their load.
If you’re an occasional camper or maybe you’re not looking to spend a lot, some of the more expensive models in our guide might be beyond your reach. But the REEHUT Ultralight Backpacking Stove is a great solution for the budget camper who wants all the gear without the sticker shock. This collapsible and lightweight stove is designed to work with propane canisters. And at just over half a pound, you’ll like that it doesn’t take up much space or weigh you down.
We liked that although this was a budget pick, you still get essential features like a piezo-ignition starter. Plus, this is a two-pack, meaning that you’ll always have a backup on hand should you accidentally misplace the first backpacking stove. Whereas most stoves with this design only feature three-pot arms, this one has four, adding to the stability. Likewise, you’ll appreciate that you can also control the flame output with the control valve. However, we did note that this is only compatible with 7/16 thread single butane or butane-propane mixed fuel canisters. For use with other canister styles, you may need to source an attachment. For night time cooking, the best headlamp can be a big help.
#6 Odoland Camping Cookware Backpacking Stove
Award: BEST COOKING KIT
WHY WE LIKE IT: A complete cooking kit that features two pots, a set of utensils, and a cup makes this stove the best backpacking cookware for campers that are serious cooks and want every meal to be satisfying.
For some people, camping is all about “roughing it” with simple fare. But for others, every meal should be an experience whether it’s at home, a restaurant, or around a campfire. If the latter sounds like you, then the Odoland Camping Cookware Backpacking Stove is the best backpacking cookware option in our guide. It’s a smart solution that features a comprehensive set of cookware and cutlery so that every meal is as refined as you would prefer. You might want to also consider the best disaster kit, to be extra prepared.
In addition to the canister backpacking stove, this kit comes with two pots, one set of cutlery (knife, spoon, and fork), a 16-ounce cup with an insulating sleeve, and a stabilizer for your fuel canister. The backpacking stove features a piezo-ignition for quick and easy set up with four pot arms for a stable surface. But we like that both of the non-stick pots feature heat-resistant anti-slip collapsible handles. All of the items in this kit can be nested and stored in the included tote bag. And since the entire set only weighs slightly more than one pound, this is a smart option for people who prefer a serious meal — even when camping.
How We Decided
People need to eat, and that includes when they’re enjoying the great outdoors. But for some people, they want to go a step further than roasting a hotdog on a stick over an open flame. In that case, you need a backpacking stove. To create our list of top picks, we focused on the following features — stove type, boil time, weight, igniters, stabilizers, and price.
Except for our Top Pick, all of the stoves in our guide are canister backpacking stoves. That means that you must bring your fuel source with you. Our Top Pick is a collapsible wood-burning backpacking stove. The advantage is that you don’t need to bring fuel with you — as long as you’re traveling to a location with wood available. However, our Top Pick also included an alcohol burner tray. So, you can use it in places like a beach or the desert where you might not have access to wood.
Boil time is important as no one wants to spend half an hour waiting for water to boil. Unfortunately, not all brands are very clear on how quickly their stove can boil water. But where available, we did include this information. You’ll find that our #3 and Best Quality both mention boil times. While #3 is fairly quick with three and a half minutes to boil a liter of water, our Best Quality is the winner here with boiling being achieved in just 100 seconds (or just over a minute and a half).
All of the recommendations in our guide are fairly lightweight. The lightest option is our #3 pick that was just 2.6 ounces. But even our “heaviest” is only slightly more than one pound — our #6 pick. But keep in mind that except for our Top Pick, with all of the other options you’ll need to bring fuel with you. So while the stove itself may be lightweight, you’ll also need to consider how much the rest of your gear and cooking fuel will weigh.
And finally, we considered additional value-added features that would make your backpacking stove easier to use. Specifically, we looked at stabilizers and ignitions. Note that we didn’t focus on ignition for our Top Pick since it’s a wood-burning stove. Of the canister backpacking stoves, only our #3 pick lacked an ignition. And again, the design of our Top Pick is stable so additional stabilizers weren’t needed. However, for canister models, a stabilizer is essential to prevent your stove and fuel from tipping over. If stabilizers are a priority for you, we recommend you focus on our #6 and Best Quality recommendations. But other important features that might be of interest include cooking accessories (Top Pick, Best Quality, and #6)
Best Backpacking Stove Buying Guide
The Most Important Factors to Consider
- Stove Type
Backpacking stoves are all meant to be portable, but there are a range of options. The most common choices you’ll find when shopping for this item are canister stoves, liquid fuel stoves, solid fuel stoves, wood stoves, and alcohol stoves. Most people opt for canister stoves because they’re the easiest to use, but the other stoves have their advantages and disadvantages too depending on where you’ll be using it, how much gear you’ll be bringing and ease of use.
This might seem like an odd factor to consider, but not all backpacking stoves are ideal for use at high altitudes, or if you can’t find locally sourced fuel. For example, liquid fuel stoves are the best option when you’re at high altitudes or outside in below-freezing weather. In contrast, wood stoves can be ideal if you know you’re camping in the woods and are surrounded by firewood. However, that stove wouldn’t be useful in environments where there aren’t any trees.
- Burn & Boil Time
No one wants a stove that needs to be frequently refueled while you’re out enjoying the great outdoors. Burn time refers to how long a stove can operate before it must be refueled. Likewise, boil time refers to how quickly you could boil water. Both of these figures go hand-in-hand, as you don’t want a backpacking stove that has a slow boil time but a short burn time isn’t ideal. However, canister stoves tend to have the fastest boiling time with decent simmering abilities, liquid fuel stoves boil water quickly even in colder weather, and stoves that rely on other fuel sources are meant mostly for boiling — but at a slower rate.
As the name implies, backpacking stoves are meant to be mobile. But depending on the type of stove you pick, some can weigh more than others — especially if you have to bring fuel with you. These stoves can range from ultralight designs that barely weigh an ounce to liquid fuel power-burners that can weigh close to a pound. In theory, you should go for the lightest option that still satisfies your needs. But as you shop for a backpacking stove, keep in mind that this won’t be the only item you’ll be carrying. Especially if you’re bringing all your gear on your back over rough terrain, that extra pound or two might make the difference between early fatigue or an easy hike.
Depending on how frequently you go camping or the features that you find most important, price is going to be a factor. If you’re looking for the most budget-friendly backpacking stove, solid fuel and alcohol stoves are the cheapest options, although they give you the least control over the flame and don’t cook as quickly as other options.
- Additional Features
With backpacking stoves, you should also consider value-added features that improve the functionality and safety of your unit. Specifically, features like piezo-igniters or stabilizers are ideal. A piezo-igniter acts as a starter to help start a flame and is ideal if you forget to bring matches or they get wet. And stabilizers are a key safety feature — helping to prevent upright stoves from tipping over and starting a fire.
Backpacking Stove FAQs
Do I need a backpacking stove?
If you plan on camping overnight or for prolonged periods, a backpacking stove can be the difference between eating cold food and something warm and satisfying. However, you do need to consider the number of people you’ll be cooking for and the number of days that you’ll need your backpacking stove. These figures will impact how much water and fuel you’ll need to use. It’s recommended that you plan to boil one liter of water per person, per meal. So, you’ll need enough fuel to support those guidelines.
How long does backpacking stove fuel last?
While actual burn times can vary based on your usage behaviors, an eight-ounce canister of fuel is designed to burn on high continuously for around three hours. Knowing this, if you opt for a canister backpacking stove, be sure to bring enough fuel to cover your cooking needs for the duration of your camping trip.
What is the difference between a lightweight stove and a propane stove?
A lightweight stove is ideal if you’re going to be on the move and you want to make simple meals when you take a break. But if you’re looking to cook a larger meal, a propane stove is a better option, especially for when you make camp for the night. But propane tends to produce carbon monoxide so be careful and bring a carbon monoxide alarm with you.
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