Emerging from your tent in the morning and soaking in the sights and sounds while you eagerly await a fresh cup of coffee has to be one of the best ways to start the morning when you’re on a backpacking adventure. And you can’t beat a hot meal as the sun goes down after a day of hiking either. Plus, we all need those essential tea and biscuit stops every 30 minutes along the way, right?
Having a backpacking stove of your own really can make all the difference to your backpacking experience. If you’ll be using it on the trail, you’re definitely going to want something dependable and lightweight. But there are loads of other factors to consider too, such as fuel type, ignition method, and performance in windy conditions, just to name a few.
Clearly, deciding which stove to go for is no easy feat, and that’s why we’ve put together a list of the best backpacking stoves around. We’ve provided a range of stoves, from ultra-lightweight to wood-fuelled to budget options, so that you can be sure to find one that’s right for you – enjoy!
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The first on our list of the best backpacking stoves is the MSR Pocket Rocket 2. This stove is a consistent favorites of backpackers around the world, and it’s easy to see why.
This simple standalone backpacking stove is ultra-light and folds down to an impressively small palm-sized bundle, making it a great choice for carrying around with you on your adventures. It even comes with a protective case that can handle a few bumps and scrapes, although this will add a couple of ounces to the weight.
The flame is easily adjusted from high to low and has great simmer control, and the protective wind clip will keep your flame alive for longer in windy conditions – but you might still have to check it every now and then. The boil time is pretty impressive too, with a full liter of water taking under 4 minutes to begin bubbling.
The supportive arms are serrated to stop your pots and pans from sliding around, and we love that this backpacking stove is compatible with a huge range of crockery produced by various brands. It’s also fuelled by any screw-in isobutane or propane canisters, which are super easy to get hold of.
Overall, this fuel canister stove makes an ideal backpacking companion thanks to its lightweight, compactness, and compatibility – oh, and it’s very reasonably priced too!
If you’re seeking an incredibly lightweight stove that won’t break the bank, then look no further than the BRS Ultralight Stove.
Weighing in at an astonishing 0.89 oz, and compressing down to a tiny size too, you’ll barely even know you have this backpacking stove in your bag. But don’t let the tiny size fool you, this stove can still heat up a liter of water in about 3 minutes, which is great if you’re on a chilly mountainside and need that cup of tea pronto.
It may not be the most durable option out there, and it certainly takes a no-frills approach towards portable cooking but, for the price, we wouldn’t expect it to come with all the trimmings.
This stove is a great introduction to anyone umming and ahhing over whether or not to get a stove. Its lightweight, compact, surprisingly affordable, and it does everything you’d expect – what are you waiting for?
If boiling water ASAP is your top priority, then we’d definitely recommend the Jetboil Flash. Thanks to the super-rapid boiling time, those emergency hot drinks are never more than 100 seconds away.
But that’s not the only reason we love this backpacking stove. The push-button ignition means heating things up couldn’t be easier, and there’s even a heat-sensitive color indicator to let you know when your water’s ready – cool huh? And also pretty essential healthwise if you’ll be boiling stream water to drink on your adventures.
This isn’t just a backpacking stove either – it comes as a set of cooking gear including a pot with a lid, stove plus stand, and a bottom cover that doubles up as a bowl. This does mean it isn’t as light, compact, or affordable as the other options we’ve looked at so far, but you’ll shed some weight (and save some money) by not having to bring/buy some extra items, and the stove, stand, and fuel canister can all be conveniently stored inside the pot itself to reduce bulk. Oh, and it comes with a 1-year warranty too.
Unfortunately, there’s no simmer control on this canister stove, so if you’re planning lavish slow-cooked meals then this might not be the stove for you. However, if you’ll be in the back and beyond and want something dependable and super speedy with some nice extra features, then this stove is a fantastic choice.
Unlike the Flash, the MiniMo comes with some great features for those of you with more elaborate cooking skills. These include simmer control, so you can slow-cook those fancy meals and sauces, and it also has metal handles and a broad pot for ease of eating on-the-go. The broad pot also makes cooking food a lot more efficient in general. And the boil time is by no means slow, taking roughly 2 minutes to get those bubbles going, it’s just not as speedy as the Flash.
Like the flash, the MiniMo comes as a cooking set, has a push-button ignition, and has a 1-year warranty included. It’s also rather heavy and bulky, and a little on the pricey side. There is also a slightly smaller version called the MircoMo which we have compared in this post.
Overall, if you want something reliable for cooking gourmet meals out of a backpack, then this really ought to be your stove of choice.
Isn’t it a real pain when your fuel runs out halfway through a trip? And it’s almost as annoying to get home with a load of unused fuel canisters you’ve lugged around for days… Well, no more. Introducing the only stove on our list that can be fueled entirely by wood, the Solo Stove Lite.
The double-walled design and careful construction mean that air is channeled through the stove in a way that maximizes burning efficiency and minimizes smoke. This is great as it means you’ll spend less time foraging for firewood and you won’t smoke out your campsite either. Plus, the earth won’t get scorched like it would if you cooked on an open fire.
The stainless steel construction combined with nichrome wiring makes this a sturdy little stove that can handle being shoved in a backpack, and it comes with a stuff sack too to stop it from getting scratched. This stove isn’t super lightweight, but it’s not the heaviest option either and you’ll save on weight and space by not having to carry fuel canisters around with you.
The stove comes with a cooking ring that helps to hold a compatible pot in place (sold separately) and also protects the flame against the wind. Unfortunately, there’s no simmer control and it can take up to 10 minutes to boil a liter of water with this stove, making it one of the slower options out there, but at least you aren’t paying for the fuel consumption.
Overall, this a unique, eco-friendly stove that’s great for backpackers and survivalists alike. If you never want to get caught out without fuel, then this is the stove for you!
The Etekcity Stove is another great option for anyone new to the world of backpack cooking.
Like the BRS Ultralight Stove, this stove doesn’t bother with all the fancy touches, but it is very reasonably priced and it will certainly get the job done.
It weighs in a little heavier than the BRS but, at just 4 ounces, it’s still a very lightweight option. It also comes with a trusty little carry case to keep it safe on your travels, which is probably a good thing as it isn’t the most robust stove on the market, although it does come with a 1-year warranty and is more durable than the BRS.
This stove also comes with good flame control and a push-button ignitor, one of our favorite features.
For a cheap and cheerful stove with a few extra touches, there’s not much better out there.
We’ve all been there, you’re sat around waiting for your water to boil when you suddenly think ‘wait, hasn’t this taken while?’. You peek underneath the pot only to find that your flame has gone out in the wind and you’ve been sat watching your water slowly cool down…
With the MSR Windburner you’ll never be in this position again, thanks to its outstanding windproof performance. This is possible because this stove operates using a flameless radiant burner that’s totally protected from outside conditions. This system makes this a very fuel-efficient stove, which is great for the environment and your wallet. Plus, the flame will stay smooth thanks to the simmer control system and an internal pressure regulator – clever eh?
The stove is a little on the heavy side, but that’s to be expected from an integrated system that includes a stove, pot, lid, stabilizer, and detachable bowl. Similar to the Jetboil products, we love that you can pack it all away inside the pot for convenient transport, and there’s even an included cozy with a handle (although it’s pretty floppy) to keep your food and drinks warm.
It is a little on the expensive side, but we don’t think it’s too bad considering that you’ll save money thanks to the efficient fuel use and the included pot and bowl.
If you want a reliable stove that will operate even on a blustery mountainside, then this one is the way to go.
The Snow Peak LiteMax is, as you might have guessed from the name, another ultralight stove that’s great for outdoor adventures. Not quite as light as the BRS Ultralight Stove, but weighing a meager 2 oz, this is a great option if you’re keen to shed some pounds.
The durable titanium and aluminum construction have helped this stove to maintain stability while still weighing next to nothing. It’s also extremely compact, but don’t worry, the three foldable arms can still hold up a decent sized pot and have the added bonus of keeping out a little bit of wind.
It also functions in temperatures as low as 17°F, and the flame can easily be controlled while wearing gloves, so it’s definitely a wise choice for snowy trips.
The main drawbacks of this stove are the price – it’s a fair bit more than other simple lightweight options – and the longer boil time than most of the stoves we’ve looked at.
Overall, it’s lightweight and extreme compactness, combined with its compatibility with colder weather, make this a fantastic companion for snowy backpacking adventures.
The Soto Amicus Stove is produced by a renowned outdoors brand and comes with some high-end features yet, luckily for us, lacks a high-end price tag.
The stove is available with and without an ignitor, but we’d definitely recommend going for the ignitor option. It hardly makes a difference to the overall price, and the ignitor is located inside the burner spot so it can withstand some bumps and scrapes. It has great simmer control too, so you can sauté to your heart’s content.
We also love the raised ledge surrounding the burner that means this stove works well even in windy conditions. It’s lightweight and compact too, but the four arms and solid construction mean this stove can still hold your pots up safely.
In terms of cons, the time it takes to boil water could be a little quicker… and that’s about it! This really is a great little stove to take with you into the wilderness.
So, you’ve seen our selection of the top backpacking stoves, but what are the main things you should bear in mind when choosing one that’s right for you? Here are a couple of pointers to get you started:
There are some ultra-lightweight options out there, and some of them are cheap and cheerful, but if you want something light with extra features then the cost will go up considerably. However, the lighter stoves also tend to lose a bit of stability, so they might not be so good for heavy-duty cooking.
If you’re into serious cooking, you might want to go for an integrated stove system. It will weigh more than a basic stove, but you’ll save weight as you’ll get a pot and some other bits and bobs included. Another nice thing about integrated systems is that they tend to fold away into one neat bundle, which saves you precious room in your backpack.
Ultimately, how important weight and portability are will depend on the type of trips you’ll be going on. If you’re day-tripping, then your pack probably won’t be too heavy and a couple of extra ounces might not make too much difference. However, if you’re on a multi-day hike, and you’re already carrying a few days’ worth of food and drink on your back, then you’re going to want to shed as much weight and save as much space as possible.
You don’t want the dial to be so sensitive that a tiny turn ramps up your flame from barely lit to a roaring flame. Good simmer control means that the flame won’t respond so much to your dial, so you can give the dial a good crank before you see a change, and this makes the whole process of adjusting the flame way less stressful.
We probably don’t need to explain this one to you… but windshields are a great feature for obvious reasons. They might be in the form of raised edges around the burner or an internalized heater, but either way, they can save you a lot of trouble.
It’s no fun waiting around with freezing hands for that cup of tea… the faster stoves can get your water to boiling point in a couple of minutes, while the slower stoves might take up to 10 minutes. Keep an eye out for the capacity stated in the boiling time too – you don’t want to compare how long one stove takes to boil a liter with how long another takes to boil half of one!
Finally, in case you’re still in a muddle over which stove to go for, here are our top budget, all-round, and integrated stoves:
Our best option if you’re on a budget has to be the Etekcity Stove. For under $20 you’ll get a pretty lightweight, super compact stove with a handy push-button ignition. You’ll even get a travel case and 1-year warranty thrown in too – what more could you ask for at this price?
Our best allrounder is the Soto Amicus Stove. This is one of the cheaper stoves made by Soto, but that doesn’t mean they’ve held back on quality. Great simmer control, good performance in windy conditions and light and portable too… it’s difficult to say no isn’t it?
If you’re a food lover and after a stove-pot combo, then the Jetboil MiniMo is definitely the way to go. The great simmer control means there’s nothing holding you back from gourmet meals on-the-go, and the broad pot means you can get that spoon angle just right.
With a push-button ignition, rapid water boiling time, and bowl, pot and stove included, this set has everything you could for luxurious backpack dining.