Camping stoves, also know as portable stoves ,are stoves crafted to be lightweight for backpacking, camping, hammocking or if you’ve been banished to the backyard and are in need of a hot meal, they can also come in handy. ⛺️
In this post we’ll cover the history of camping stoves, run through the different types of camping stoves, and give you our expert picks for the best camping stoves on the market today.
No time for reading? Here are our picks for the best camping stoves.
The History of Portable Stoves
Though many people think think camping stoves are a modern invention. The Japanese have been using portable stoves since the Edo period (1603-1868). Historical evidence shows the Japanese used a “Shichirin“, which is a lightweight charcoal grill and literally means “seven wheels.
A “Shichirin” can be used for about 3-5 hours, with only a small amount of charcoal and may even have been used in ancient times with a more primitive form.
But it wasn’t until the 19th century that the portable stove took off worldwide with Alexis Soyer’s “Magic Stove”.
Alexis shared this stove with the world where it even made it atop of a Egyptian Pyramid for a gourmet meal outdoors.
Featured in magazines and known as a revolutionary and innovative chef in his time Alexis patented this camp stove design which took off around the world for rich bureaucrats wanting the pleasure of dining indoors brought outdoors on expeditions.
Now in modern times the digital revolution continues to bring innovation to portable camping stoves. Based on the fuel time and design of the camping stove there are a few categories stoves can fall into.
Modern Portable Camping Stoves
- Unpressurized liquid-fuel stoves
The unpressurized single burner camping stove design is the simplest of camping stoves. The burner contains the fuel and and once lit the fire burns until it is either extinguished or the fuel is exhausted.
Bring portable and lightweight, these camping stoves are the common favorite by ultralight backpackers.
Single burner alcohol stoves for camping, similar to the modern Trangia brand, have been in use since the early 1900s.
- Pressurized liquid fuel stoves
Frans Wilhelm Lindqvist, gets credit for introducing the first pressurized burner portable stove in 1892 and more compact camping stoves were developed in the early 20th century that used petrol similar to “white gas” (no additives)
Once lit, the heat from the burner holds the pressure within the tank until the flame is put out. One of the original camping stoves is the Svea 123, introduced in 1955, it was among the most popular of these “self pressurizing” stove designs, and is generally considered to be the first compact camping stove!
- Solid-fuel stoves
Solid-fuel stove may consist of no more than a metal base plate and container to hold the fuel, a set of legs to keep this assembly out of contact with the ground, and some supports for a billycan or other cooking vessel. This design is scalable, and may be used for anything from tiny backpacking stoves to large portable woodstoves. Fuel may be manufactured, e.g., hexamine, or natural, e.g., woody forest debris.
To qualify these camping stoves needed to be under 3lbs, economical (under $200), safe for travel and badass.
Without further ado here are the top 13 backcountry camping stoves.
The Cadillac of Camping Stoves.
MSR’s liquid fuel stoves are the industry standard for performance and reliability. Mountain Safety Research crafts time-tested camping stoves that backpackers, mountain guides and outdoor chefs swear by.
Is it their all-season performance, stability, multi-fuel capabilities or quality craftsmanship that makes them so hard to resist? Probably a combination of all that at only 1.65lbs.
- Superior Cold Weather Performance
- Great for extended backcountry trips
- More economical fuel cost over time
Patent-pending AirControl technology delivers optimized performance across all fuel types, in a lightweight package that won’t slow you down. 11.5-ounce minimum weight and one-pound, 3.4-ounce packed weight.
Fuel Options for Days:
- 110-minute burn time with 20-ounce canister of white gas,
- 75-minute burn time with eight-ounce canister of MSR IsoPro fuel
- 155-minute burn time with 20-ounce canister of kerosene
The WhisperLite includes limited lifetime manufacturer’s warranty; and is crafted in Seattle, WA, America! ??
For a more economical alternative you can save $30 bucks with the MSR WhisperLite International Stove
The Optimus Polaris Optifuel Stove is an ISPO award winner in the Camping Stove category for a number of reasons.
The Polaris Optifuel Camping Stove utilizes Single Jet Technology, meaning both LPG gas canisters and liquid gas (kerosene, diesel, jet fuel and white fuel) are compatible without having to change anything on the camping stove!
The Polaris comes prepared with the MAGIC cleaning needle, allowing you to quickly clean the stove–even in the middle of cooking.
With 4-season mode you can boil water, even in freezing temperatures. Quick-priming burner cuts down on pre-heating time allowing you to boil water in under four minutes. When you’re finished cooking with the portable stove, the self-purging FLIPSTOP pump safely clears the burner of fuel and depressurizes the fuel bottle, permitting you to safely dismantle it before loading it back in the stuff bag.
At only 0.3 lbs this $20 camping stove is a bargain!
Made with aluminum alloy and stainless steel which can stand high temperature and weight the design is perfect for ultralight camping and backpacking.
Compatible with any 7/16 thread single butane/butane-propane mixed fuel canisters (EN 417)
The EtekCity Camping Stove adheres to “Leave No Trace” principles set forth by the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and National Park Service. Burns clean, with no debris or soot left behind.
This camping stove is super easy to Ignite with the Piezo Ignition system allowing for the Etekcity Ultralight Camp Stove to have a quick ignition and with a strong valve connection the flame stays consistent and strong even when adjusting from high to low settings.
The Ultralight Camp Stove is strong, but extremely lightweight, resulting in a very fuel efficient flame that can make a disposable butane canister last for days. The stovetop also accommodates for up to an 7 inch (18 centimeter) diameter pan.
The included carrying case further adds to the portability as it can simply be tossed in a bag without worry.
Crafted with high quality stainless steel which can stand high temperature and weight the Ohuhu Wood Burning Camping Stove is a steal at under $20 bucks.
A common issue with camping stoves is pot stability, you don’t want your stove to flip and start a forest fire but the Ohuhu 3 arms pot support system creates a stable cooking platform and distributes heat evenly.
The best part is… no fuel canisters, no chemical emissions no added weight. It’s great for your backpack and the environment. Free Fuel is the best fuel, use twigs, leaves, pinecones and wood as fuel to power your Ohuhu stove!
Ohuhu Camping Stove Specs: 5.3″ x 5.3″ x 3″, 400g / 14.2 oz]
- Stove and cookset is constructed from lightweight, hard anodized aluminum that weighs only seven ounces
- Stove uses Esbit’s unique, proprietary, solid state fuel cubes (sold separately)
- Kit includes 585-milliliter pot, lid, and wind deflector/pot stand, and stores in included mesh bag
- Pot includes volume indicators in both liters and ounces, and has two hinged stainless steel grips that fold flat against body of the pot
- Ideal for backpackers and campers who like to travel extremely light
This lightweight, self-contained complete cooking system is constructed from hard-anodized aluminum and works with solid fuel. This portable camping stove is ideal for heating water or food on the trail, such as a quick cup of coffee, tea, or soup.
It includes a windshield type stove and a pot with lid. The stove fits in the pot, which has folding handles and a small pour spout, making it space and weight efficient for hiking and backpacking.
The durable 585 ML pot has graduations in both ounces and milliliters that you read from the inside when pouring in the liquid.
The pot’s folding handles have silicone grips for protection from heat and it all fits in the included mesh stuff sack.
Features:- constructed from extremely light, hard-anodized aluminum.- pot with volume indicators in milliliter/oz.
With 2 hinged, stainless steel, silicone-coated grips.- wind deflector to be used with Esbit solid fuel tablets (fuel not included).
Esbit Camping Stove Specs:
- Dimensions-packed: 3.4″ x 4.4″ (8.6 cm x 11.2 cm)
- The best part is the weight: Only 7 oz. (198 g)
For less than $15 dollars this portable camping stove has a clean design and weighs under 5oz. The holes on the stand increase the air ventilation so to put out your fire it’s as easy as putting the extinguish lid on the burner.
- What you get: 1PC stove bracket,1 spirit stove.
- Bottom Diameter : 90mm, Height: 60mm
- Net Weight: 130g/4.59oz
- Fire lasts around ~45 minutes for every 100ml of alcohol.
- Material: hard anodized aluminum.
- Packed weight: 300g/10.58oz
If you are looking for a reliable portable stove this is a wonderful option for backpacking, hiking, camping and even emergencies.
For an extra few bucks it’s a slight upgrade over the Alocs alcohol stove above and this includes a foldable handle/simmer ring on the flame regulator to control and extinguish flame.
The four vents on the base enhance air flow making fire lasts about 45 minutes on 100ml of denatured alcohol.
- Mini ultra-light camping stove
- Net weight: 130g/4.59oz
- Base dimensions: 3.86 x 3.86 x 2.29 inches.
Another ideal portable stove for for backpackers, campers, hikers, hunter, geologists, and anybody that is on a budget. The stove body is divided from gas cartridge adding another point on the safety scale.
The piezoelectric ceramic ignition, ensures for easy fire ignition and the strong bracket ensures stable support.
- Brand: LIXADA
- Material: Stainless steel, copper, aluminum
- Power: 3000W
- Gas consumption: 50-100 g/h
- Unfolded size: Approx. 17 * 7cm / 6.7 * 2.8in (D * H)
- Stove weight: Approx. 238g / 8.4oz
- Plastic box size: Approx. 12 * 8.5 * 7.5cm / 4.7 * 3.3 * 3.0in
- Total weight: Approx. 290g / 10.2oz
- Note: Gas cartridge in NOT included here
Includes camping stove + plastic box!
They Jetboil is one of my personal favorites, it’s sleek design makes for great outdoor photos, it’s lightweight and it boils water in 2 minutes! I’ve used the Jetboil on countless camping trips and my favorite extension for it is the french press, who doesn’t love some hot coffee on the trail?
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- The Jetboil Zip to provides hot food and drinks quickly and conveniently when you need them the most.
- The Jetboil Zip is so compact and lightweight, you’ll keep it on hand for weekend hiking trips close to home and overnight adventures!
- 0.8 Liter FluxRing® cooking cup with insulating cozy
- Adjustable burner
- Match ignition
- Drink-through lid with pour spout and strainer
- Bottom cover doubles as a measuring cup and bowl
- Compatible with all Jetboil accessories
- Able to store a 100g Jetpower fuel can
- Fuel Canister Stabilizer included
- Pot Support and Jetpower fuel sold separately
The MSR PocketRocket 2 Stove is the best camping investment under $50 you can make. If you need to keep your pack weight to the at a minimum this MSR stove is the best option for portability and functionality.
- Item Dimensions 4 x 4 x 8 inches
- Item Display Weight 1.05 pounds
Another personal favorite, a friend of mine owns this one so I got to test it and it’s magnificent.
The Solo Stove is the most popular wood-burning backpacking stove recommended by Backpacker Magazine and serious survivalists including Discovery Channel’s Matt Graham. Winner of 2014 Gear of the Year award from 50 Campfires & Section Hiker.The patented Solo Stove design features a unique double wall that creates ultra-clean gasification and a secondary combustion. This allows fuel to burn more completely and with less smoke.Fuel is Free: No more spending money on white gas or expensive liquid canister fuel. Solo Stoves use twigs, leaves, pinecones and wood as fuel. Free up more space in your backpack and eliminate the need to carry heavy, polluting and expensive canister fuels.
Lightweight & fast boil time: Boils water in 8-10 mins (34 fl oz water). 4.25″ Diameter, 3.8″/5.7” tall (packed/assembled).The best part is that the Solo Stove weighs only 9 oz it’s made of premium stainless steel and nichrome wire & a nylon stuff sack is included.
Space Saving & Travel Friendly Design: The compact Solo Stove design nests inside the companion Solo Stove Pot 900 (included) leaving you with more room in your backpack.
Solo Stove Pot 900 is:
- 4.5” (height),
- 4.7” (diameter).
- Weight 7.8 oz.
- Max volume 30oz.