Backpacking stoves are an extremely important part of a hikers gear. To be able to boil water for a cup of tea while on a long hike is fantastic and should be something that you consider if you are hiking in the wilderness. The backpacking stoves have become very light and easy to carry but the one problem is choosing which one to use! If too much is overwhelming for you, this post should point you in the right direction.
What to consider with a backpacking stove
This is your number one consideration when picking a backpacking stove. The lighter they are the more you are going to want to carry it with your gear, too heavy and it will be the first thing you leave behind.
There are wide range of prices when it comes to backpacking stoves with cheaper ones still be ok but may not be as durable as others that can cost more than $100. We encourage to use a higher budget if you are wanting your backpacking stove to last for years to come.
Type of stove
There are a wide range of types including canister stoves, liquid fuel stoves, wood stoves, alcohol stoves and solid fuel stoves. Which one to choose will depend on what you want from your backpacking stove.
To be able to control the flame range is an important aspect of a backpacking stove. To be able to cook a range of more complex hiking meals you will need one of the canister or liquefied gas stoves.
Boiling or cooking
Do you just want to boil water for drinks or for re hydrating food? Most backpacking stoves are designed to quickly boil water but aren’t so great for cooking as they can be hard to control the temperature.
Using the stove in winter conditions
When you are hiking in the winter you will want to be able to melt snow for drinking water. As you will be using the stove more often you will need more fuel and one that can work in freezing conditions. Liquid fuel stoves are the best for this as they can cope with the extreme cold the best.
With a lightweight backpacking stove, stability can often be compromised as they will be less stable cooking with even smaller pots. If you need to cook larger meals in bigger pots then a stove with a wider base will suit your needs.
One thing that backpacking stoves really don’t like is wind. If you are in strong winds your stove can become quickly not efficient. One solution is a windshield which are perfect with alcohol stoves, solid fuel stoves and wood stoves but won’t work with canister stoves. Shelter is extremely important in strong winds.
This is essentially preheating the stove. You need to light a small amount of fuel and give it time to warm up. It is easy to do but can be confusing for new users with most liquid fuel stoves needing priming and some alcohol stoves. The great thing about canister stoves is they don’t require priming.
Our top pick for the ultimate backpacking stove in all conditions except for below freezing. These are light and compact with rapid boiling times. They are easy to use, have little to no maintenance and have no smell when they burn. They can be a bit more expensive to buy the fuel and aren’t as great in the extreme cold.
Liquid Fuel Stoves
This is the choice for extreme winter conditions and its fuel is less expensive. Fuel bottles are refillable and are perfect for melting snow in the cold. The downside is they are trickier to use so will require some practice as the fuel can be dangerous if spilt. The stoves can be more expensive to buy and some can be very noisy.
These stoves are very light and simple being a great inexpensive option. They are easy to make, find fuel and are very quiet. They can however have slower cooking times and the fuel is less efficient. Not useful for winter trips they also don’t have temperature control making it tricky.
We hope this helps you to work out what is best for you when it comes to the best backpacking stoves. It is one of our favorite parts of our gear that we carry on long hikes!