Best Camping/Hiking Stoves – Reviews and Guide 2020

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Last Update: 17.Dec.2019

Best Choice Go to Amazon Shop

Jetboil Flash Cooking System

Unlike classic camp stoves, this self-contained unit eliminates the issues of an open burner and takes the guesswork out of a quick meal. Finish your food, pack the fuel canister inside the insulated mug, and stow the whole lightweight kit away in compact style.
Best Choice Go to Amazon Shop

MSR PocketRocket 2

Back and better than ever, the MSR PocketRocket 2 Stove takes everything that you loved about the iconic original and puts it into an even smaller and lighter package for quick meals deep in the backcountry. Weighing in at a meager four ounces, the Pocket Rocket 2 uses a compact folding design to pack down exceptionally small and save you precious space in your already crowded backpack.

by Willie Test

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Last Update: 17.Dec.2019

The happiness you get from cooking your breakfast for a long day ahead or boiling water for coffee after a long thru-hike is so much satisfying. If this is the idea of your camping heaven, then you need to have the best backpacking stove to achieve this. 

Just like head torches, these camping stoves also come in a host of different sizes. They also come with a range of different features to keep them safe in windy or wet conditions. These features enable the stoves to remain corrosion and rust-free for a long time. But there are various other features that you need to consider when buying these backpacking stoves. 

In this article, we will explain all the features briefly to provide you guidance in finding the best backpacking stove for your next hiking trip. 

Let’s find the top features of the best backpacking stove!

Jetboil Flash Cooking System

Enjoy cocoa, coffee or a gourmet freeze-dried meal in a jiffy with the new Jetboil Flash cooking system
Unlike classic camp stoves, this self-contained unit eliminates the issues of an open burner and takes the guesswork out of a quick meal. Finish your food, pack the fuel canister inside the insulated mug, and stow the whole lightweight kit away in compact style.
Go to Amazon Shop
  • Technical specs

Best Use

Backpacking

Fuel Type

Canister

Auto Ignition

Yes

Fuel

Isobutane-propane

Integrated Pot

Yes

Average Boil Time (1L)

3 min. 20 sec.

Dimensions

7.1 x 4.1 inches

Liquid Capacity (L)

1 liter

Weight

13.1 ounces

Pros

Cooktime - 100 seconds

Bottom cover serves as a measuring cup and bowl

fuel canister sold separately

Easy ignition

Cons

Larger size than simple stoves

MSR PocketRocket 2

The next-generation MSR PocketRocket 2 backpacking stove takes everything good about the celebrated original and makes it even better.
Back and better than ever, the MSR PocketRocket 2 Stove takes everything that you loved about the iconic original and puts it into an even smaller and lighter package for quick meals deep in the backcountry. Weighing in at a meager four ounces, the Pocket Rocket 2 uses a compact folding design to pack down exceptionally small and save you precious space in your already crowded backpack.
Go to Amazon Shop
  • Technical specs

Best Use

Backpacking

Fuel Type

Canister

Fuel

Isobutane-propane

Burn Time (Max Flame)

Approximately 60 minutes

Average Boil Time (1L)

3 min. 30 sec

Dimensions

7.25 x 5 x 4 inches

Weight

2.6 ounces

Pros

Ideal for first-time stove buyers

Simple-to-operate design needs no priming

Includes ultralight hard-shell carry case to protect cookware

Portable and lightweight

Cons

No wind protection

MSR WindBurner Stove System

WindBurner Stove System is ideal for backcountry adventures and weekend camping alike.
In addition to the windproof construction, the WindBurner is extremely convenient to use thanks to a compact design. The system includes a solid stand that attaches to the fuel canister (sold separately), and the stove and pot integrate through a twist-lock system, so you can walk away while your water boils without coming back to a spilled pot of water. The pot is fitted with an insulated cozy, which helps to prevent burns and has a sturdy carrying handle for when it's time to pour a piping hot cup of coffee.
Go to Amazon Shop
  • Technical specs

Best Use

Backpacking

Fuel Type

Canister

Fuel

Isobutane-propane

Integrated Pot

Yes

Burn Time (Max Flame)

110g canister: 95 minutes

Dimensions

8.3 x 4.5 x 4.5 inches

Average Boil Time (1L)

4 min. 30 sec.

Liquid Capacity (L)

1 liter

Weight

15.5 ounces

Pros

Faster boil times and more fuel efficiency

Lid with drinking and straining ports

Compact, all-in-one stove

100% primary air combustion

Cons

poor stove/pot connection

no Piezo ignitor

Benefits of using camping/hiking stoves

There are various benefits of using camping/hiking stoves, from portability to ease of use, this gear is effective in every sense you can possibly imagine. Here are some of the top benefits:

  • Camping stoves don’t need any fossil fuel to run and for that reason, you won’t have to pack added weight of the fuel with you. This is a great way of reducing carbon footprint and impacting the environment. 
  • These stoves lightweight and you can easily carry them in your backpack even if you are hiking for long hours. 
  • This is a way better option than a campfire. Campfire leaves a bigger impact because wood fire can reduce biomass necessary for the habitat. 
  • You can use your camping or hiking stove for a campfire as well. It will help you in keeping the insects away from the campsite and you can always dry your clothes in a quick time. 

Types of Stoves

There are different types of camping or hiking stoves that you can find on the market and they all have their pros and cons.

Canister Stoves

If you prefer easy-going, then these canister stoves are suitable for you. These stoves have quick boiling times and are very lightweight. This is your ultimate ultralight backpacking stove. They also have a very compact design and are fairly simple to use. However, these stoves are expensive and they are not good at sub-zero temperatures.

Liquid Fuel Stoves

Among the best backpacking stoves, the ones that run on liquid fuel are highly considerable. If you have a large group of people with you, then this stove will come in handy. This stove works pretty well in freezing temperatures it is a cheaper alternative of a canister stove. These stoves are versatile in terms of fuels as well. 

Nevertheless, these stoves are heavy and you will need to buy the fuel to run them. They don’t offer ease of using and you have to look after them properly for maintaining their durability.

Alcohol Stoves

Alcohol stoves are suitable for a long-distance hiker. This small backpacking stove is cheap and ultra-lightweight. You require Heet to run them and it is easily available as well. 

It proves to be the smallest cooking stove of all the options available. Nevertheless, these stoves have slow cooking time and they don’t work very well in freezing temperatures or windy conditions. Apart from that, these stoves do burn fuel pretty quickly. 

Solid Fuel Stoves (Esbit)

Go for solid fuel stoves when you have time on your hands and you prefer to pack lightweight. These stoves are effortless to set up and use. The best part is that these stoves are very cost-effective. 

However, these stoves also have slow cooking time and they are expensive to run. They run on tabs and they can be very tricky to find. These tabs are not odorless so things will get smelly. Another disadvantage is that these stoves are not great in rain or wind. 

Wood Stoves

This portable backpacking stove is the greenest of all options and you don’t have to carry your fuel. Additionally, you won’t have to pay for fuel. Wet kindling is going to be an issue, however. 

You can’t use them in places where fires are banned. These stoves also have slow cooking time. 

Integrated Stoves vs. Non-Integrated Stoves

Integrated

Integrated systems are unique to canisters. These systems feature a burner, a pot, and a heat exchanger. They are all secured right on top of a canister of fuel in a streamlined manner. This all-in-line construction keeps the heating process efficient and makes this stove the best backpacking cooking system. 

Everything is tightly connected with each other and it consumes less fuel without compromising on the heat generation. So if you are looking for the best hiking stove with fast cooking times, then integrated systems will be your best hiking partner.

But there is a catch with these best hiking stoves! The skinny pot size of these systems reduced simmering capabilities and you cannot use a different pot either. So you are trading off quick cooking times with a lot of other stuff. But these stoves are good for dehydrated meals and you will just need to add water and start consuming. 

Non-integrated

The stoves with these systems come with two units that are spate from one another. There is a fuel source and there is a stove right at the bottom. You will place the pan or pot right on top of it. The integrated systems don’t come with heat exchanger just like that in an integrated system, and for this reason, they won’t have quick cooking times. 

Furthermore, the flame is a lot more exposed to the wind and rain and you will need a windscreen for this. So there is a lack of convenience for sure with these non-integrated systems.

However, these stoves are more versatile than integrated ones because you can use different sized pots and simmer your meal. As these stoves use white gas, they are highly effective in colder climates and high altitudes. Moreover, non-integrated stoves are cheaper and lighter than their integrated counterparts. 

What to look for when buying a camping/hiking stove

Camping and hiking endeavors vary significantly in terms of trip length, campsite conditions and activities. The gear you carry must be aligned with the type of trip you are planning.

We have developed this buying guide to help you get started in skimming down the options available and find the top backpacking stoves with maximum functionality!

Weight & Packability

Just like other backpacking gears, one of the critical considerations is the stove weight. The comparison is going to be somewhat difficult between different stoves in terms of weight because you will need to consider the fuel types as well. 

If you are looking for ultra-light and small backpacking, then you need to go for canister stoves with integrated systems. But this will only work when you are planning to cook dehydrated meals. 

Simmering Capabilities

For the simmering capabilities, a non-integrated model is the best stove for backpacking. If you are looking to simmer your food rather than using dehydrated meals, these stoves will work better for you. 

Many stoves come with a knob to control the height of the flame. These inbuilt features improve the overall functionality of a stove and enable you to cook a lot quicker. 

Cooking at Altitude and in the Cold

Fuel can have a direct impact on cold weather as well as altitude. Therefore, if you are planning to travel in these conditions, then carry liquid fuels because they perform better in such conditions. 

Additionally, you will be able to reduce the fuel pressure using the pump. 

Canisters are not going to perform well because they have a tendency to depressurize in such weather conditions. The flame is going to be weak and it will result in slow cooking. 

Value

Both integrated as well as non-integrated stoves, work well in terms of functionality. The integrated stoves are better for dehydrated foods and for individuals. 

On the other hand, non-integrated stoves are better for groups who are looking to simmer food. They both have their pros and cons and they both offer value in their own ways. 

Fuel Efficiency

A liquid fuel hiking cooking stove is the best option for you to consider when it comes to fuel efficiency, especially in a cold climate. You also get the added benefit of using different types of fuels depending on the availability. 

Wood stoves prove to be fuel-efficient in the sense that you won’t need to buy or carry wood with you to fuel the stove. 

Boil Time

The integrated stoves are great when it comes to a fast boil time. The non-integrated stoves will not work for you in such a scenario. This will prove to be helpful if you are looking to consume dehydrated meals on your trip.

Conclusion

The smallest camping stoves are better for lightweight backpacking on multi-day hikes. There are also different types available. Make sure to do proper research and determine, which type of stove can be the most beneficial for your hiking trip. Go through the different types of stoves and their pros and cons to make your decision.

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