How to Choose the Best Backpacking Stove for Camping (2020)
The success of your backpacking adventure is going to depend on choosing the right supplies. Having a portable stove at hand is a great idea. Even if you’re packing light, you don’t have to go without a hot meal or a warm cup of coffee.
But how do you decide on the best backpacking stove for camping? What kind of fuel will you need?
This article will provide answers to some questions you might have. Additionally, we have compiled a list of some high-quality backpacking stoves. We hope our selection can help you get started.
Table of Contents
Best Backpacking Stove for Camping: Etekcity Ultralight Portable Outdoor Backpacking Camping Stove
If you’re looking for a simple but versatile backpacking stove, the Etekcity Ultralight Stove is one of the best possible options for you.
This canister stove is extremely simple to use. It uses a piezo ignition system, which means that you won’t have to use a lighter or a match to strike up a flame. Hence, this stove will perform well even on windy days.
You can use it with most types of butane and butane-propane canisters. While canister stoves aren’t the cheapest option out there, the Etekcity Ultralight Stove is in a relatively low price range. It’s fairly affordable even when you add the cost of the fuel.
Any backpacking stove can handle boiling water for coffee or instant meal. But if you decide to go for the Etekcity Ultralight Stove, you will be able to control the flame and set it to simmer. This means that you can prepare more complex meals as well.
So what about portability? This stove is small and collapsible. There is also a carrying case included in the package.
If you’re worried about durability, this stove can put your mind at ease. Etekcity offers a one-year warranty on this product.
Let’s take a quick look at the main upsides and downsides of the Etekcity Ultralight Stove.
- Leaves No Trace
Using a canister stove has a significant advantage over wood stoves. You won’t have to worry about leaving any debris such as soot. Hence, you can use this kind of stove at most campsites.
- Easy to Refill
This model’s compatibility is a huge plus. You can use it with any 7/16 thread single fuel canister. Hence, you won’t have too much trouble refilling it even if you are camping at a remote location.
- It Can Withstand Wind
The ignition button uses a spark of electricity generated by a piezo ignitor built into your stove. This means that you won’t have to worry about bringing matches or a lighter.
If you go for this stove, you are sure to get a steady flame. Thus, you won’t have to deal with wind protectors.
- Very Safe and Easy to Use
While vigilance is important, this isn’t a stove that’s likely to cause you trouble. It’s a good choice for beginners as well as seasoned campers.
The simplicity can be a big help too. After a long day of backpacking, you might not be in the mood for handling a delicate stove.
- Good for Different Types of Meals
This stove offers short cook times. Hence, you can boil a cup of coffee or tea in less than 5 minutes. This is great for instant meals as well.
But some meals require the more sophisticated flame control this product offers. If you expect to do some serious cooking during your backpacking adventure, the Etekcity Ultralight Stove is perfect for you.
- Collapsible and Lightweight
Since it weighs less than 4 ounces, you won’t have to worry about the extra weight holding you back. You also get a case for easier transport.
- Very Affordable
This is one of the best canister stoves you can get for your money.
- Comes with a Warranty
This stove is simple and well-made, so you will be able to enjoy it for a long time. The one-year warranty provides you with a bit of extra security as well.
- Uneven Heat Distribution
While this stove is relatively safe to use, any inattentiveness will lead to a burned meal. Scorch marks are a possibility too. You may want to use a metal disc to spread the heat out under your dish.
- Balance Issues
The Etekcity Ultralight Stove’s stainless steel legs are collapsible. Unfortunately, these legs don’t always spread out well. Always check whether your stove is securely placed before you start to use it.
- Ignition Problems Are Possible
You can’t always rely on piezo ignition. You may need several tries to get your fire going. However, you can always decide to use a lighter or some matches instead.
- Some Extra Assembly Required
Some campers prefer to keep their stove attached to the fuel canister when not in use. But that isn’t an option with the Etekcity Ultralight Stove because it can leak. You should also be careful to check whether the stove is connected with your canister before you start using it.
This stove is made of stainless steel and aluminum alloy. It can withstand frequent use and heavy objects. Additionally, there is a hard plastic casing which will keep your stove safe in your backpack.
Who It’s Best for:
If you want a simple and affordable option, this stove is the best choice for you. You can use it in windy conditions and the flame control is a big plus. However, you will need some extra care to set it up correctly.
To learn more about the Etekcity Ultralight Stove, click here:
Best Wood Stove for Camping: Ohuhu Camping Stove/Backpacking Stove
If you like the thought of barbecuing in the great outdoors, the Ohuhu Camping Stove might be just what you need.
This stainless steel stove will keep performing well for years. It’s easy to carry and simple to set up.
If you care about keeping your luggage weight to a minimum, you can’t go wrong with a wood stove. After all, you won’t have to bring any fuel canisters with you. All you need is some twigs, leaves, and pinecones, though alcohol tablets can work as well.
Since there are no chances of spilling fuel or losing control of the flames, this is a safe option. You might need some practice before starting a wood fire becomes routine.
However, learning how to do that is part of what makes this stove so much fun. Some campers want an all-natural experience. The Ohuhu Camping Stove is a lot like a real campfire, except you won’t have to worry about it spreading too far.
It is important to keep in mind that not every campsite allows wood stoves. You will leave some debris behind. Extra care is required when extinguishing your fire.
So what are the best things about the Ohuhu Camping Stove? What are its shortcomings?
- Great Heat Distribution
The base of this stove is supported by three solid arms. Hence, you can set it up anywhere, including uneven terrain. These arms also help distribute the heat more evenly.
- Ultralight Solution
While this stove weighs around 14 ounces, it helps a lot that you don’t have to bring fuel with you. Backpackers who need to cut back on extra weight will love using this stove.
Additionally, the legs are foldable, so they won’t take up too much space. This product comes with a carrying case as well.
- Long-Lasting Flames
If you want to cook for a bigger number of people, this is a good option for you. Once you set it up, this stove will provide you with a long-lasting and steady fire. You can simmer anything you like on it.
Furthermore, the Ohuhu Camping Stove will provide a bit of heat if you need to warm up after a long day. It also creates more pleasant scents and sounds than a canister stove.
- Very Quick Assembly
You can set up this stove in less than half a minute. Furthermore, you won’t have to worry about damaging the environment with leaks. Using fuel you find in nature can be more time-consuming but it also guarantees you won’t have to deal with faulty fuel canisters and other issues.
The Ohuhu Camping Stove is a good choice for mountain-climbing and intensive hiking in remote areas. Since this stove is simple and sturdy, you won’t have to worry about it getting damaged. It is made of high-quality stainless steel.
Wood stoves are an affordable option. After all, you won’t have to worry about spending money on refills.
- A Bad Choice for Quick Cooking
This stove is an excellent option when it comes to preparing dinner. However, if you need a quick cup of tea or coffee, setting up a fire is too much hassle. That’s why many people decide to pack more than one kind of backpacking stove.
- Not Very Wind-Resistant
If you don’t have much practice, you may find it frustrating to get a fire started. Additionally, you can’t add more wood to your stove once you start cooking. This makes it difficult to keep your fire from extinguishing in windy conditions.
We recommend packing some alcohol tablets for easier lighting. Investing in an additional wind protector could be a good choice as well.
- Legal Restrictions
This particular stove is fairly safe to use. While you’ll need to pay attention, the risk of starting a wild fire is fairly low. But this doesn’t make it exempt from fire regulations that prohibit the use of wood stoves in certain areas.
- This Stove Can Make a Mess
Burning wood leaves behind debris. You may need to invest some extra time in cleaning up before you leave your campsite. Furthermore, this stove can leave black residue on the surface of your pot or pan.
Simple stainless steel is all you need for years of successful camping. This stove has quality welding as well. Even the mesh case you keep it in is made to last.
Who It’s Best for:
If you’re planning a leisurely camping trip, this could be the best stove for you. It will allow you to enjoy the benefits of cooking by a campfire without the added hassle of building one. However, this isn’t your best option if you tend to cook in a hurry.
For more information about the Ohuhu Camping Stove, please go here:
Best Backpacking Stove for Camping in the Winter: MSR WhisperLite International Stove
Butane and butane-propane canister stoves are a great choice for most campers. However, they don’t always perform well in cold conditions. So if you expect to go camping in sub-zero conditions, you might want to go for a stove that runs on liquid fuel instead.
The MSR WhisperLite International Stove uses kerosene, unleaded gasoline, or white gas. Since it’s so versatile, you won’t have problem finding refills wherever you go. For example, this stove can easily handle gasoline that fits European standards instead of US ones.
Liquid fuel stoves aren’t too difficult to use but they do require some maintenance. Here is an instruction video that could help:
If you decide to go for this option, you’ll receive a fuel pump and a heat reflector, as well as a small-parts kit. Accessories include a wind protector and a handy carrying bag.
Here are the most significant upsides of this stove, as well as some important negatives.
- A Great Choice for Bad Weather
Kerosene and other liquid fuel types are excellent for the extreme cold. The gratis wind protector will make it easier to light a fire.
- Stable and Easy to Clean
The MSR WhisperLite International Stove comes with three extended steel legs. You can set it up anywhere and you won’t have to worry about balance issues. Additionally, it’s designed for easy cleaning in outdoor conditions.
- Short Cook Times
If you’re out backpacking in bad weather, you don’t want to wait hours until your meal is ready. This stove can heat water to boiling in less than five minutes. It provides a great deal of steady heat, so you can cook a complex meal and warm up as well.
This stove is made in Seattle. MSR is widely known and respected for its camping products. Hence, you absolutely won’t have to worry about the quality of your stove.
- A Great Option for International Hikers
People with international camping experience know that backpacking abroad comes with unique challenges. It isn’t always easy to find refills and other emergency supplies that fit your equipment. But the MSR WhisperLite International Stove is compatible with various types of fuels.
- Relatively Heavy
This stove weighs less than 16 ounces, which is light enough for most backpackers. But you also have to factor in 20 ounces of fuel. If moving fast and light is important to you, look for a different model.
- No Flame Control
If you want to avoid burning your dinner, you will need to focus on what you’re doing. After all, this stove doesn’t come with a flame control option. Additionally, it takes some practice to spread the heat out evenly.
- The Price
Unfortunately, the MSR WhisperLite International Stove is fairly expensive. While liquid fuel isn’t costly, you may need frequent refills. If affordability is your main concern, this isn’t the best option for you.
This stainless steel stove is sure to last you a long time. Every component is designed to withstand the extreme cold.
Who It’s Best for:
The MSR WhisperLite International Stove is designed with globe-trotters in mind. It can provide you with warm meals in the most extreme weather conditions. Although this stove is a considerable investment, the durability can make up for the cost.
If you’re interested in this liquid fuel stove, click here for more information:
A Few Great Alternatives
Different backpackers have different needs. Some require a way to quickly heat up a ready-made meal. Others plan on doing some serious cooking while they’re on vacation.
Thus, it can take a while to decide on the best backpacking stove for camping. In addition to our top selection, here are three high-quality camping stoves. One of these might just be the perfect fit for your needs.
If you’re looking for a good way to heat up a hot drink or some cup soup, you might want to consider the Jetboil Zip Cooking System. It comes with a separate cooking cup and it is an extremely efficient stove. Downsides include the price and the lack of compatibility with different fuel canisters.
The Esbit Ultralight Folding Pocket Stove is a durable and very eco-friendly German product. It uses solid fuel tablets and doesn’t create any smoke. This is a very affordable stove. However, the special fuel is an additional investment and it isn’t always easy to acquire.
Alcohol stoves are affordable and the fuel is inexpensive and widely available. If this sounds appealing to you, you might enjoy using the Trangia Spirit Burner. The slow cooking times are a downside but the quick setup might make up for that.
Shopping for the Best Backpacking Stove for Camping
Here are some important factors you should keep in mind while shopping for a great backpacking stove.
The ideal weight of your stove will depend on your personal needs. You can get ultralight stoves that weigh less than 4 ounces. However, heavier stoves are usually sturdier.
Slow-Cooking or Quick-Boiling?
Cook time can vary a great deal from stove to stove. Since you can get a variety of ready-made camping meals, boiling water could be all you need to eat well. People who prefer more elaborate meals should make sure to go for a slow-cooking stove or one with flame control.
Some stoves require a great deal of preparation before you can use them. These are a good option for you if you enjoy the ritual of cooking under an open sky. Wood stoves are great for this.
But if you prefer to get your cooking done as quickly as possible, make sure to get a canister stove.
Environmental and Safety Concerns
Before you take a stove with you on a camping trip, check the local laws and regulations that apply to your chosen campsite. Furthermore, good safety practices are important with any kind of stove.
A Few Words on Different Fuel Types
Let’s take a quick look at the different types of stoves you can go for.
- Canister Stoves
If you want efficiency and ease of use, you can’t go wrong with a canister stove. These stoves will warm your meal up very quickly. Additionally, they do not create any debris.
You can find high-quality canister stoves at any price range. However, buying an isobutene canister is an extra investment. International campers might also have difficulty finding appropriate fuel.
- Wood Stoves
This is an ultralight option and it can be extremely pleasant. But people who camp in extreme conditions may find wood stoves frustrating. They can’t really handle intense wind and the cook times are too slow.
Because these stoves leave soot behind, you have to consider fire restrictions. Hence, you should always look up the rules of your campsite before you decide on a wood stove.
- Liquid Fuel Stoves
If you expect to go backpacking in sub-zero conditions, a liquid fuel stove is your best option. These use fuels such as white gas or kerosene and they can be extremely powerful. Liquid fuel is usually affordable and easy to find.
But there are some downsides as well. These stoves tend to be too big and clunky for backpacking. Leaks are always possible, so this isn’t the most environment-friendly option out there.
- Alcohol Stoves
Alcohol stoves are portable and affordable as well. The fuel is affordable and easy to find. This is a fairly environmentally friendly option, as these stoves don’t leave any soot.
The most significant downside is that cooking with these stoves can be dangerous. Alcohol spills are a potential problem you have to look out for. Additionally, an alcohol stove takes longer to cook a meal than a canister stove.
We recommend alcohol stoves to experienced campers. Investing in a windscreen is a good idea as well. After all, it can be a challenge to keep these stoves from extinguishing.
Wrapping It Up
Finding the right camping stove takes some time and dedication. Once you select the perfect lightweight model, you can take it with you wherever you go.
You’ll be surprised by the difference a good stove can make. After all, you will perform better if you start the day with a hot beverage of your choice. It is also easier to take on any challenge when you know you have a hot meal to look forward to.