What Camping Stove Should I Buy for My Next Backpacking Adventure?

What Camping Stove Should I Buy for My Next Backpacking Adventure?

Choosing a camping stove for a backpacking adventure is no small feat. Selecting the right one can be the difference between a memorable outdoor cooking experience and a disastrous one. Whether you’re a seasoned backpacker or it’s your first venture into the wild, this guide will walk you through the process of choosing the perfect backpacking stove for your next expedition.

Types of Camping Stoves

Primarily, camping stoves come in three types: Canister Stoves, Liquid Fuel Stoves and Alternative-Fuel Stoves. Each has its own characteristics, benefits, and drawbacks.

1. Canister Stoves

Canister stoves are the most popular choice among backpackers. They’re lightweight, easy to use, and require little maintenance. Canister stoves use pre-pressurized gas canisters, typically a mixture of propane and isobutane.

Their main advantage is the convenience they offer. Just screw the stove onto the canister, fire it up and voila, you’re ready to cook. But canister stoves perform poorly in cold temperatures, and you’ll find it challenging to determine how much fuel is left in the canister.

2. Liquid Fuel Stoves

A workhorse of the camping world, liquid fuel stoves are a go-to choice for high-altitude adventurers and winter campers. They run on white gas, which remains reliable even in extreme cold temperatures.

One of the significant benefits of liquid fuel stoves is that they have refillable fuel bottles, meaning you’re able to carry as much or as little fuel as you need. However, they can be a bit bulkier and require regular maintenance, such as cleaning and priming before use.

3. Alternative-Fuel Stoves

Alternative-fuel stoves use fuel like wood, denatured alcohol, or solid fuel tablets. Wood-burning stoves are lightweight and can be a fun alternative if you like the idea of cooking meals over a small wood fire. However, they’re not practical in all locations, as gathering wood may not always be possible.

Alcohol and tablet stoves are also lightweight and simple but do not generate as much heat, making them less efficient and suitable only for boiling water or heating up small meals.

Determining Your Needs

When deciding which stove to buy, ask yourself a few questions:

  • What will you be cooking?
  • What are the weather conditions you expect to encounter?
  • How important is weight and pack space to you?
  • Will you be traveling internationally?

Your answers will guide your decision in finding the perfect camping stove to suit your requirements.

Key Factors to Consider

Weight and Size

Weight and size greatly matter to backpackers. Among different types of stoves, canister stoves generally provide the best balance between lightweight design and performance.

Fuel Efficiency

While all stoves can boil water and warm food, how efficiently they use fuel can vary greatly. Liquid fuel stoves stand out in this regard, particularly in cold or high-altitude conditions.

Wind Resistance

Most stoves struggle in windy conditions, but canister stoves that feature integrated windscreens and pot support can maximize heat retention.

Simmering Ability

If you’re planning on cooking various meals, having a stove with simmer control is vital. Here, liquid fuel stoves offer precise flame control, allowing you to simmer your food without burning it.

Recommended Camping Stoves

1. Best Canister Stove: MSR PocketRocket 2

The MSR PocketRocket 2 is a backpacking classic, praised for its lightweight design and easy-to-use functionality. This compact stove fits into any backpack and offers an impressive boil time, making it the perfect partner for fast and light trips.

2. Best Liquid Fuel Stove: MSR Whisperlite Universal

This award-winning stove by MSR is known for its unbeatable performance in challenging conditions. It allows you to switch between canister and liquid fuel use, giving you flexibility and dependability.

3. Best Alternative Fuel Stove: Solo Stove Lite

The Solo Stove Lite is a wood-burning champion. It’s compact, durable, and boasts a smart design that generates intense heat using wood and twigs you find around your campsite. A big plus is that there’s no need to worry about running out of fuel.


Ultimately, the right camping stove for your backpacking adventure depends on your personal needs and preferences. Consider your cooking style, what type of fuel you want to use, and the conditions you’ll be backpacking in. Remember, the right stove not only ensures a hot meal at the end of a long day on the trail but can also add a pinch of comfort to your wilderness adventure. Happy cooking, and even happier hiking!

By Kokoda Gear Uncategorized