Whether you’re hiking mountains, camping at the beach, or just on a long road trip, backpacking stoves are a convenient, cost-effective way to cook your food.
Wake up to a steaming cup of joe and enjoy a cozy warm meal at the end of a long day of hiking with this easy-to-use tool that will absolutely enhance your wilderness adventures.
‘No time for reading? Here are our picks for the best camping stoves.’
This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about backpacking stoves including reviews on the 5 best backpacking stoves of 2022.
Not sold on backpacking stoves? Unsure if they are really as great as everyone says they are?
Then choose an affordable backpacking stove option like the BRS 3000T. Although it has a super low price, it still has a lot of desirable qualities, like a powerful burner, lightweight design, and compact size.
One of the best things about this stove is how tiny it is, folding down to be 1.97×1.18×1.3 inches and only weighing .96 ounces. Its compact size makes it perfect for backpackers looking to save space.
Despite its small size, this little guy is powerful, with the capability to boil a liter of water in 2 minutes and 58 seconds. It’s also quick to get started, with an easy to use fire control valve.
Although you may feel hesitant to balance a pot on this small stove, it’s more than sturdy, with strong pot supports. However, one complaint of this stove was that the pot supports did end up melting over time.
Otherwise, with a titanium alloy design, this stove is built to be durable. It comes with 1 stove, 1 carrying pouch, and 1 O-ring so all you have to supply is the fuel.
- Weighs .96 ounces
- Boils water in 2 minutes 58 seconds
- 1.97×1.18 x1.3 inches
- Boils water quickly
- Small packed size
- Performance is inconsistent in tough conditions
- Some complaints about pot supports melting
One of the most talked-about camping stoves is the MSR PocketRocket. This lightweight, compact, durable camping stove is a fairly affordable high-quality option for beginner and advanced backpackers alike.
You’ll have no trouble using this stove to cook with its advanced simmer control and powerful burner that cooks food quickly. It can boil a liter of water in as little as 3 minutes and 30 seconds.
Weighing only 2.6 ounces, and folding down to the compact size of 2x2x3 inches, this minimalist stove truly could fit in your pocket, making it perfect for backpackers who are weight conscious about their gear.
You can use MSR’s high-performance isobutane-propane fuel canister to power this little stove, but it should be noted that although it’s pictured it’s not included.
This little stove is easy to operate and turn on, although it does have a little trouble lighting in the wind. Otherwise, this is a convenient, affordable backpacking stove option!
- Weighs 2.6 ounces
- Boils water in 3 minutes 30 seconds
- Collapses to 2x2x3 inches
- Simmer control
- Not great in the wind
I know, yes, this is another MSR stove, but what can I say? They are one of the best brands out there making backpacking stoves.
The MSR WhisperLite Backpacking Stove is convenient to use whether you’re on a long road trip with your buddies or a multi-day hike in the wilderness.
With a liquid fuel power source, this stove has a cheaper, easier to use, more powerful fuel source than canister stoves, allowing you to cook more complex meals. The main downside of liquid fuel is that it can be bulkier than canister fuel to lug around. However, if you’re okay with that, this is one of the best liquid fuel stoves you’ll find.
It’s extremely easy to cook on, although there is a small learning curve when you first try to operate it. Once you get it though, you’ve got it.
Only taking 3 minutes and 50 seconds to boil a liter of water, this is a pretty powerful stove. It’s even convenient to clean, with Shaker Jet technology that makes post-meal clean-up as simple as just shaking the stove.
With a durable stainless steel and brass design, this stove was built to last. It even has a lifetime warranty, so if your stove arrives defective, or breaks later on, you can get it replaced.
- Weighs 11 ounces
- Boils water in 3 minutes 50 seconds
- 6x8x8 inches
- Lifetime warranty
- Quiet for a gas stove
- Easy to clean
- Bulky canister
- Can be difficult to light
With a natural fuel source and the capabilities to cook your food and create energy for your electronics, this convenient camping stove is one of the most innovative models out there.
Feed twigs, wood chips, or even pine cones into this stove to produce heat and create electricity. While you cook up the fresh trout you just caught you can use this stove to charge your phone so by the time dinner’s done you can take a picture of it to send to your family.
It also stores power, so if you use this stove to cook, and then need power later on, you can plug your electronics in then. Its 2600 mAh battery is capable of storing 3 watts of usable electricity.
While Biolite is efficient in its usage of energy, it’s not very space-efficient, being 5x5x8.27 inches and weighing 33 ounces. Considering that it includes a fan, stove, and internal battery though, you are getting a lot for its size. Nevertheless, this is definitely a better car camping than backpacking camping option.
With fans included inside to inject air back into the burn chamber, this camping stove truly does it all. It is expensive, but that makes sense considering how groundbreaking it is. You’ll also never have to buy fuel for it, unlike the other camping stoves on this list.
- Wood powered
- Weighs 33 ounces
- Boils water in 4 minutes 30 seconds
- 5x5x8.27 inches
- Uses natural fuel
- Produced electricity
- Internal fans improve combustion
- Somewhat heavy
This is the last MSR camping stove on this list, I promise. However, although it’s the last it is certainly not the least, being one of the best quality backpacking stoves on the market right now.
The MSR WindBurner Personal Stove includes everything you could possibly need to cook, including a secure 1-liter lock pot, a personal mug, and a coffee press. Everything it includes makes its expensive price much more worth it.
Where this camping stove really shines is in its ability to function even when faced with windy conditions. Its primary combustion and internal pressure regulator enable it to be unaffected by surrounding weather conditions.
It even functions on all terrains, with high profile stability. Its folding canister keeps it from tipping over while its sturdy design also works to keep it upright.
This extremely efficient stove has radiant burners and a heat exchanger which enable its fairly fast boiling time of 4 minutes and 41 seconds. It’s fuel-efficient as well, but something to note is that although a fuel canister is pictured with it, it doesn’t actually come with it.
Although mostly convenient to use, it does not have an automatic lighting button, but that is a fairly rare feature for backpacking stoves. For its price though, you would think it would include one.
- Weighs 4 ounces
- Boils water in 4 minutes 41 seconds
- 4.5×4.5×7 inches
- Protected from the wind
- All-in-one stove
- High quality
Types of Backpacking Stoves
Although every backpacking stove reviewed above is incredible, that doesn’t mean every one of them is the right stove for you.
To know which will work best for your situation you have to decide which kind you want. Below I have described the 4 main types of backpacking stoves: canister stoves, liquid-burning stoves, alcohol stoves, and wood-burning stoves.
Because of their lightweight and compact design, canister stoves are the most popular option for backpackers. They are durable, easy-to-use, and perform well in harsh climates.
Canisters typically have pressurized isobutane or propane gas inside them that is self-sealed. To use them you simply have to screw the canisters onto the stove and then light them.
Canister stoves are easy to start and easy to use, often including flame control which can enable you to make more complex meals. More advanced canister stoves may even include cooking pots, mugs, or even coffee presses.
Of course, canister stoves do have their downsides. Their fuel is expensive and can be hard to find if you’re traveling. They also don’t work very well in cold temperatures.
If you are camping or backpacking in extreme conditions, then liquid-burning stoves are a great option for you. These flexible stoves burn all kinds of cheap fuel, including gas, kerosene, diesel, and unleaded fuel. This makes them a great option if you are traveling to remote places because you can easily restock on fuel for your stove.
These stoves tend to have stable designs and be on the larger side, so they are excellent for feeding groups. However, most require priming before you can use them, and regular maintenance.
They do tend to be bulkier than canister stoves, and louder, which may disturb nature or your fellow campers. They also can spill, which is a huge deal, especially if you are backpacking and don’t want to smell like gas for the rest of your trip.
While much less common than canister and liquid-burning stoves, because of how lightweight they are, alcohol stoves are a popular option amongst backpackers. They are powered by denatured alcohol, which is pretty inexpensive and easy to find.
They work best for boiling water, brewing coffee, and cooking dehydrated meat. Because of how quiet they are, you don’t have to worry about waking up other campers when preparing an early morning cup of joe.
However, they aren’t very fuel-efficient and are extremely sensitive to wind. They also take a very long time to cook food and boil water
If you love cooking food over a campfire, but wish that the campfire cooking process was quicker, then you’ll love wood-burning stoves. Powered by twigs, wood chips, and pine cones, your fuel for these stoves is all around you in nature.
Although they may seem expensive, because you never have to buy fuel for them, wood-burning stoves are actually a great, affordable backpacking stove option. The downside of their fuel source is that if you’re experiencing wet weather, and all the twigs you find are wet, it could be hard to get a fire going.
These stoves can also be heavier than other backpacking stove option. I love the delicious campfire smell that they emit though.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do You Have to Factor in Group Size When Picking a Backpacking Stove?
A standard backpacking stove is typically capable of feeding 2 people. However, more compact, ultralight ones may only fit one person, while some bigger liquid-burning stoves could feed as many as 3.
Which Backpacking Stoves are Best for Winter Use?
The best backpacking stoves for winter use are liquid-burning stoves. Use white gas, which can burn down to a temperature of 40 below Fahrenheit for the best results. If you use a stove in the winter, it should be able to melt snow for drinking water.
How Do I Use a Backpacking Stove?
Backpacking stoves will typically include instructions for use with them, but there are some key tips to keep in mind:
- When setting up your stove you should find the flattest spot possible for it to avoid any spilling.
- Never use your stove inside a tent. Not only is it a fire hazard it can also cause carbon monoxide poisoning by trapping gases within the tent.
- Make sure that the matches you bring are waterproof so that even if there is wet weather you can light your stove.
With these tips, and your particular stove’s instructions you’ll have no trouble using your backpacking stove.
Now you know everything you would possibly need to know about backpacking stoves. This list highlighted some of the best backpacking stoves on the market right now, with great affordable, premium, durable, and convenient options.
Let me know which stove you decided on in the comments below, and if you found this list helpful be sure to share it!