Ever been halfway through cooking up some delicious campfire cuisine only to have the fuel for your stove cut out halfway through? Disappointed faces all round and a cold, partially cooked dinner… not really what you’d had in mind.
At A Glance: Our Top 3 Portable Wood Stoves
Well, you’re in luck, with a wood-burning stove you’ll never have to go through that trauma again. Wood burners are powered by wood, and often other organic material too, so you’ll always be close to some back-up fuel when you’re out in the wilderness – phew!
Are there any other advantages of wood-burning stoves? Absolutely! The fuel is not only all around you but its carbon footprint is way lower than traditional fossil fuels, so you’re doing the environment a favor too.
So, what’s the catch? Are they too heavy for backpacking trips? Although there are some large wood stoves out there, don’t worry, there are tonnes of lightweight, compact models too. Plus, you don’t have to lug around tonnes of fuel cans – you can just gather some fuel when you set up base – so you shed some extra pounds there too.
But what if the wood is soggy? We recommended taking a bit of dry wood with you just in case, but many of the higher-end wood stoves can also be powered by alcohol and/or gas, so you can take an emergency power source with you.
We hope you’re now as excited as we are about taking a wood burner with you on your next camping adventure. To help you find the one that’s right for you, we’ve put together a list of the best portable wood stoves around – happy camping!
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The BioLite Campstove 2 is an awesome wood stove that offers tonnes of extra features that we just can’t get enough of.
It’s absolute proof that sustainable living doesn’t have to throw you back into the ages – it’s fueled by wood, which is great for the environment, but the burning of this wood generates electricity you can use to charge your smartphone (or other gear)! Plus, it features a rechargeable battery so you can power up even without a live flame.
Thanks to the four internal fans, fuel combustion is super efficient (although slightly more smoky than we expected), meaning you can boil your water in just 4.5 minutes. And what will you boil your water in? The included kettle pot, of course! This 1.5L pot has a detachable spout and, when you aren’t cooking, doubles up as a carrying case for the stove components. It’s also super stable thanks to the scalloped pot stand and aluminum legs at the base.
We’re also very pleased to inform you that this stove comes with a super light tabletop grill attachment that’s large enough for four burgers, making this stove a good option for groups of 1-4. Other great features included the flexible light that lets you see what’s going on when you’re cooking in the dark and the smart LED dashboard that lets you observe the strength and power of the flame.
You might think that will all these extra touches, the weight and price would have been ramped right up… and you’d be half right. The price is indeed considerably higher than the other stoves we’ve looked at (but look at what you’re getting!), yet somehow the weight has remained at just 2 lbs.
If you’re looking to treat yourself, then the BioLite Campstove really will make campsite cooking a dream!
Next on our list of the best portable wood stoves is one of our favorites, the Solo Stove Lite. One of the best things about this stove is its patented design – the double-walled design and extra vent holes – which reduces the amount of smoke generated when you burn fuel – so you don’t have to cough and splutter as you tend to your cooking anymore, yay.
It also has a boil time of just 8-10 minutes, which is pretty impressive for a wood burner, thanks to the efficient fuel consumption (again because of the clever design).
It’s constructed from stainless steel, making it resistant to rust and corrosion, and comes with a nylon stuff sack to protect it from abrasions. The sturdiness, small size, and light weight (a meager 9 oz) make this stove perfect for backpacking missions. Plus, if you want to cut down on pack space even more, this stove fits perfectly inside a compatible cooking pot (purchased separately).
Because this is such a small, portable stove, it’s not suitable for cooking for large groups – we recommend cooking for two people max. Plus, it’s not as stable as heavier options, so make sure you place it somewhere as flat as possible.
It’s not the cheapest stove we’ve found but it’s one of the most popular portable stoves to date – and it’s very easy to see why!
We can hardly believe how much the Ohuhu Backpacking Stove has to offer at such a low price!
One of the things we like most about the stacked design of this stove is that you get a barbeque and stove in one! Simply place the included grill panel and hey presto – you’re good to go. Although you have to remove the upper section of the stove to add fuel, this provides excellent wind protection to make sure that your fuel lasts a while.
The stacked design means that it packs away to a minute size and, weighing in at just 8 oz, this is one fantastic backpacking stove. Because it’s so small, you might expect it to be a bit on the wobbly side… but you’d be wrong. Despite its portability, the stove is renowned for its stability thanks to its trio of serrated arms that hold your cooking gear in place.
Constructed of robust stainless steel and with a carry bag included, this stove can handle a few bumps and scrapes in transit. Again, this stove is only intended for cooking for 1-2 people, so it’s not ideal for family camping.
Introducing our first non-cylindrical stove, the Unigear Camp Stove. Unlike the stoves we’ve looked at so far, this rectangular stove is foldable and packs down entirely flat so you can pop it against the back panel of your bag or chuck it in the boot of your car and hardly know it’s there.
When assembled, however, the grill surface area is far larger than those seen on the circular models, making it a better option if you’re cooking for larger groups or want to throw a lot on a BBQ at once. The larger size does make it slightly heavier but, at just one and a half pounds, we can’t complain about the weight really. Constructed of strong stainless steel and with an included stuff sack, this stove is built to last.
On top of that, this stove is gas canister-compatible and comes with a spirit burner, so if the weather takes a turn for the worst and you run out of dry wood, you’ve got plenty of back-up options. One thing to watch is the wind direction – one aside of the flame is fully exposed so make sure you get your angles right!
Versatile fuel options and with a decent grill size… we’re surprised that this stove doesn’t come with a higher price tag!
The Titan, as the name suggests, is larger and slightly heavier than the Solo, and the increased surface area contacting the ground is what provides its added stability. Plus, the larger capacity means more fuel can be added at once, which pretty much halves the boil time – an absolute win if you like whipping up cups of tea in no time on the trail.
Featuring the same patented design as the solo, you’ll still benefit from a minimal amount of smoke and super-efficient fuel combustion, and there’s a compatible cooking pot available (purchased separately). Despite its slightly larger dimensions, it remains a 1-2 person stove, but at least it’ll get the job done quicker.
Overall, it’s up to you to decide What’s more important out of pack space versus stability and boiling time – but we’re sure that, whichever stove you go for, you’re to be as a bug a fan as we are!
The CANWAY Camping Stove is one of the best all-around wood stoves we’ve come across.
One of the things we love most about it is all of the included accessories. You get various layers that you stack on top of one other depending on what fuel you’re using – wood or solidified alcohol. On top of that (literally), you get the choice of adding a triple-armed, serrated potholder or a BBQ grill as the final layer.
It’s also constructed of stainless steel, packs down nice and small, comes with a carry sack, and weighs just one pound – perfect for backpacking adventures!
Like other stoves of its kind, the small size reduces cooking capacity and stability somewhat but, overall, for a very reasonable price you’re getting an extremely versatile, portable wood stove.
Introducing the lightest wood stove on our list… the Lixada Camping Stove. At roughly half the size of the Unigear Camp Stove, and weighing an astounding 2.5 oz, this has to be one of the most portable stoves around. This does mean that it’s best suited to solo cooking, although it’s available in a larger size if you’d prefer.
The no frills-design packs down entirely flat for ease of storage and transportation and is incredibly simple to assemble. Constructed of stainless steel and with a carry sack included, you don’t need to be too careful with this in your bag. It’s also available in a titanium version, although it will cost you more. Oh, and speaking of cost, this is actually the cheapest wood stove on our list. Plus, it has a dish in the center that means you can use liquids such as alcohol as back-up fuels.
We wish it came with a grill attachment but, at this price, we guess you can’t have everything. Overall, if you’re after a super portable stove and don’t want to break the bank, then this is a great choice.
Last but by no means least on our list of the best portable wood stoves is the kampMATE Ultra Lightweight Stove.
This compact, lightweight stove is constructed from stainless steel, folds completely flat, and comes with an included carry case, making it a very portable wood stove.
The simple design is super easy to set up and maximizes airflow (but makes it slightly vulnerable to wind), and the dish in the center means you can fuel your fire with alcohol, or even petroleum gas, if you need to.
There’s no BBQ attachment or other fancy features but, for a very affordable price, it will get the job done.
So, there you have our list of the best wood stoves currently on the market. As you’ve seen, there are a lot of features that set them apart from one another, but what are the key things you should look for in any portable wood stove?
Weight is key to portability. If you want something that’s easy to carry around, keep your eye out for lightweight materials such as stainless steel and titanium – these also have the added bonus of being durable and easy to clean. Make sure you avoid heavy materials such as iron as they’ll drag you down unnecessarily.
There are two aspects to size – packed size and the size when the stove is operating. We want to minimize packed size while maximizing the functional size, so make sure you check out both dimensions.
If you’re looking for a super portable stove, then you probably aren’t expecting to be able to feed a group of ten. However, portable wood stoves do come in different sizes, with some designed for solo campers and some for groups of up to four. An increased capacity will increase the cost, weight, and dimensions though, so think about how many people you’ll actually need to cook for.
We’ve looked at cylindrical and cuboid stoves, and each has its own pros and cons. The cylindrical stoves tend to be lighter, whereas the cuboid stoves tend to have a larger cooking area. They’re both about equal in terms of compactness – it’s up to you whether you prefer a tiny 3D bundle or a basically 2D rectangle in your pack.
Okay, so we know that we’re talking about wood stoves here, so clearly the focus is using fossil-free fuel for our stoves. However, when you’re out in the back and beyond it can pay to have some back-ups in place. This might simply be some dry wood in a dry bag so you never get left without the means to light up or, alternatively, you might want to go for a stove that can also accept gas canisters or liquids such as alcohol. The choice is up to you, just make sure you know what your options are before you purchase anything!
Still struggling to pick a stove? We don’t blame you, there are so many great options out there! Here are our top three to try and make that tricky decision a little bit easier:
If you’re looking for a portable woodstove with great features that won’t break the bank, then we definitely recommend the Ohuhu Backpacking Stove.
It’s incredibly lightweight, folds down nice and small, yet remains surprisingly stable. Powered by both wood and liquids, you’ll never get caught out without fuel. Plus, for this incredible price, you get a stove and a BBQ – what a winner!
Our best all-around portable wood stove just has to be the Solo Stove Lite. We just can’t get enough of its near smokeless performance!
Plus, it’s super lightweight, folds down into a teenie bundle, and boils water in no time – everything you could ask for in a portable wood stove.
But which portable stove takes first prize? It’s the BioLite Campstove 2. We were just blown away by the amount of quirky extra features this stove has – it can charge your phone, light up your campsite, boil a kettle in no time, and grill up to six sausages… yet it weighs just 2 lbs? Somebody pinch us because it feels like we’re dreaming…