Table of Contents
- Why You need a Backpacking & Camping Stove?
- Top 5 Best Backpacking Stove for Winter
- Top 5 Best Camping Stove Reviews
- How To Choose The Best Camping Stoves
Are you looking for the right stove for camping or backpacking? So were we.
I lined up some of the top camping and backpacking stoves, and put them head to head in a bid to find the best camping and backpacking stove that scored well on all fronts – Design and construction, BTU, wind resistance, ease of use etc.
Why You need a Backpacking & Camping Stove?
Even if you do not go camping or go backpacking quite often, you may want to bring a stove. Aside from helping make supper, these stoves can really serve other purposes. At least, if you do not know how to set a campfire, bringing a stove will certainly make you feel safe, as well as make things quite comfortable.
Unfortunately, every year, several people get lost in the woods while backpacking & camping. And, it is quite difficult to find them. As you would know, if you do get lost in the woods, it is quite important to ensure that you can use the resources to prepare foods easily and safely, as well as make sure that the water you drink is clean. In several instances, having a heating equipment that you can count on is the only practical way to achieve both goals. Although fuel used in these stoves will not last for long, they’ll give you a chance to figure out how to make use of other resources when you’re all alone.
Even though you may be out in the woods, you’ll still like to be as comfortable as possible. This is more than likely to include sipping a fresh cup of hot coffee in the morning, and a warm meal on cold or rainy days. As you’d know, weather conditions can often make it quite difficult to start and keep a campfire burning. However, with a backpacking stove and its reliable fuel source to hand, you will always be all set to go.
After reading through several camping and backpacking stove reviews on the internet, and as my years experience using camping and backpacking stove. I added a few new models from different manufacturers. The result? More products reviewed, more questions handled, and more of your grievances addressed. Read on to find out what’s the best camping and backpacking stove that worth for the money.
Top 5 Best Backpacking Stove for Winter
1. Jetboil Flash Personal Cooking System
The Jetboil Flash Personal cooking system is constructed with a combination of sturdy materials: One litre insulated and anodized aluminium cup. It combines an adjustable stainless steel burner and a cooking vessel in a compact unit, and is powered by a Jetpower Fuel canister that lasts for 100 cups of water or 12 litres each.
Who is it for?
It is ideal for the solitary camper but if the people you are backpacking with can wait, then it will suffice. You can boil water on it or cook a gourmet freeze-dried food on it.
- Everything is designed for quick assembly and disassembly. Also, it is designed to be compact.
- It is very quick. In only two and a half minutes, you can get two cups of boiled water for an instant soup, a
- hot coffee, melt snow.
- It is made of very sturdy and long lasting aluminium and hence it is durable.
- It is small and light hence very easy to carry
- It is not ideal for large groups because it only boils or cooks in a one litre can
- Requires special care in very cold climates as the liquid fuel in the can condense and might explode on contact with open flames.
- It is not suited for slow cooking as the flame is very hot and burns very fast.
2. BioLite CampStove Wood Burning
Did you know that the BioLite Wood Burning Camp stove can charge your phone while cooking? Apart from charging your phone, this Biolite model ensures that enjoy a smokeless flame while burning wood. Its body is a composite of both plastic and metal.
Who is it for?
This wood burning stove is ideal for campers who want to lower their carbon footprint and at the same time charge their appliances while in the backwoods.
- It is smokeless hence environmentally friendly
- It can charge your phone or any USB device so you can stay entertained in the wild
- There really is not much soot left after a good burn because it completely incinerates everything. After cooking you may have a palm full of ash and any remainder ash is quickly wiped down or easily tapped out with a cleaning rag.
- It is pretty quick to use for a fuel efficient implement, and there are no seals/o-rings/pumps to worry about failing.
- It weighs in heavier than you would like, and makes quite a mess, especially if you have not handled this sort of stoves already. The fire can be quite hard to light and adding fuel at times can be dicey. Most importantly, the fire is so hot adding in new fuel can really singe you.
- Damp wood will certainly get you nowhere, and backpacking in places where there is no wood means you can hardly use this stove. However, packing in twigs and wood pellets is an option.
- It does take a little longer to put it together. And, it takes more time to start than gas fuel or liquid fuel stoves.
3. Primus OmniFuel Stove
If you are looking for a light and easy to carry a stove while backpacking, this small stove is worth looking at. It has a metallic construction with plastic parts. Also, it comes with different jets to accommodate different fuel types in the field. You can light it with matches or any lighting apparatus of your choosing.
Who is it for?
It is ideal for the solitary camper who doesn’t mind switching up fuel from time to time. It is ideal for boiling food and cooking food any way that you can.
- It is omni-fuel so this will burn pretty much anything you put into it- kerosene, gasoline, butane, diesel, paraffin, propane, half gas. You name it.
- It has a good simmering ability and flame adjustability that one can go from making pancakes to stirring fry’s and hashing browns.
- It’s relatively easy to pack and quite easy to move around with.
- It has a durable metal construction and is easy to service in the field because the parts can be improvised
- The windscreen is not good enough and could be better. However, it works.
- It is light by itself, but very cumbersome because of the various parts involved in setting it up
- The plastic parts require constant replacement and might fail while you are in the field
4. Solo Stove Titan Pot 1800 Combo Kit
When you are looking for a cooking stove that you can use anywhere without even carrying a cumbersome canister, then the Solo Stove is a great fit for you. It is made of patented stainless steel dual-wall cylinder construction that ensures complete gasification of fuel. It can be powered by wood or pine cones. It can be lit with matches or any lighting apparatus.
Who is it for?
It is ideal for the camper interested in smokeless cooking. Oh yeah, it can cook anything.
- It has a strong stainless steel frame that is capable of sustaining heavy pots without a problem
- It efficiently cuts carbon emissions because of the dual-wall cylinder construction which ensures that wood and pine cones are burnt
- It is very easy to set up in the field because all you have to do is just put in the wood or alternative fuel in the stove to get it going
- It doesn’t consume a lot of fuel because the cylinder shape ensures complete gasification of the fuel
- It is light and easy to carry around because it is small and compact
- It burns quite clean for a biomass stove with low amount of smoke.
- It burns so quickly so you will have to make sure you have ample amount of wood to keep feeding it until all ingredients are fully cooked
5. MSR WhisperLite International Multifuel Backpacking Stove
The MSR WhisperLite International Stove is a multi-fuel stove made of a stainless steel frame that is easy to assemble and clean. It can be powered with white gas and kerosene. In terms of lighting, it can be lit with matches or any lighting apparatus.
Who is it for?
It is ideal for the single camper looking for an easy to use and clean stove in the field. It can cook anything that can fit into a pan.
- The stainless steel frame is strong enough to hold a heavy pot.
- The self-cleaning Shaker Jet technology ensures easy, fast and convenient cleaning while in the field
- The stainless steel frame is very easy to put together, hence saving time on the field
- The dual fuel system ensures that you can have reliable heat at any time in the field
- This kit is field serviceable: it’s quite easy to break it apart into its components, clean it and put it back if need be.
- Lack of control over the degree of heat is a serious issue. As it is, the flame is completely off or full-on. If you’re looking for a stove that simmers well to help you fry eggs, you’ve got to look elsewhere.
- The top of the stove looks susceptible to rust when exposed to wet conditions. If rainfall is imminent, it might get quite wet. So make sure you can pack it in a waterproof container.
Top 5 Best Camping Stove Reviews
1. Coleman Gas Camping Stove
Coleman is known the world over for producing very high quality stoves. The Coleman stove features a sturdy aluminium body that has wind-blockers. It also has two burners that are capable of producing 17000 BTU together (main- 9000 BTU; secondary- 8000 BTU). More importantly, it can be lit using any light device.
Who is it for?
It is great for groups and individuals that love to cook virtually anything using a stove like this.
- It is compact and convenient and gives you the option of choosing between unleaded gasoline and Coleman Liquid Fuel
- It has a WindBlock system that shields burners from wind for maximum heat and they are adjustable to accommodate different pot sizes
- It can be easily adjusted to suit the desired temperature
- Can cook very quickly depending on how you set the flame
- It can accommodate a couple of large 10” pots
- It is very easy to set up and move around; it is very light
- The durable enamelled steel exterior and aluminium body construction ensures that it lasts for a very long time
- A built-in ignitor could have been a nice addition
- Temperature control, especially simmer flame level, is not up to mark
2. Stansport Two Burner Propane Camp Stove
The Stansport two burner propane stove is every camper’s dream stove. It has a stainless steel 2 burner stove which is powered by a propane gas cylinder that comes separately. The metal frame can support heavy pots. Also, it has an altitude pressure regulator and regulator valves as well.
Who is it for?
It is ideal for large groups and individuals. You can cook virtually anything on it that can fit in a pot.
- It is compact and light hence it is easy to move around with.
- It is very easy to put together as long as you stick to the instruction manual. Also, it can accommodate very large and heavy pots because of the frame
- The adjustable valves ensure that you can cook food according to the desired temperature
- The high pressure altitude setting ensures it operates optimally at very high altitudes where other cookers fail.
- Matchless lighting is at its best here, thanks to a piezoelectric lighter.
- It is kind of hard to clean if you have a spill-over and it goes into those slots around the top which you cannot access from the bottom.
- Though it’s good enough to hold two large pasta pots, it sometimes feels like it is built with rather cheap materials.
3. Iwatani 35FW Portable Butane Stove Burner
This well-built, portable single burner camp stove has an aluminium body. It comes with a plastic carry case that has magnets that secure the burner in place while in transit. The burner comes with an automatic safe stop mechanism. It has a built-in wind breaking design and is lit with the piezoelectric ignition.
Who is it for?
It is great for the solitary camper because of the single burner. As long as you have pan or a saucepan, you can cook anything on it.
- It is fairly compact and easy to set up and use.
- It has an automatic safety stop that cuts off the flame when the cooker is not in use.
- You can adjust the burner so that you can cook it a low flame
- The plastic carry case ensures that it is safe
- Its aluminium builds ensures that it lasts for a very long time
- The burner’s heat panel makes sure that the gas canister is fully utilized
- When one turns the flimsy knob, which is not tightly fitted, so it rotates in place before it hits a lever for the flame to be turned down.
- While the high flame feature is good, it just does medium and super high heat flame. It, however, won’t play in the middle; it’s either one or the other.
4. Camp Chef Everest 2 Burner Stove
The Camp Chef Everest is one of the top rated camping stoves you must consider when you have a camping trip with more than two people. It is made of stainless steel and features high output burners with adjustable knobs. The burners have a high tensile nickel-coated stainless frame. It is powered by a propane tank that is sold separately.
Who is it for?
It is ideal for more than two campers. It can cook virtually anything provided you have a pot or two.
- The high output burners ensure that the user has optimal cooking temperature
- The adjustable knob ensures that you can cook food at the right heat level
- The simmering ability of this model is quite impressive. Not only does it allow one to conserve your propane resources, but it also avoids charred mess.
- The high tensile nickel-coated stainless steel frame is capable of withstanding heavy pots and ensures that it is long lasting
- The flame dial is quite powerful; crank it all up and you get one of the most powerful backpacking stoves at work.
- For a stove its price, you’d expect more than two burners. But its ability to meet cooking demands with ease more than makes up for it.
- The stove doesn’t have a wind-resistant design yet several backpacking stove reviews confirm that users have found it to be better than average in terms of wind resistance.
5. Camco 58031 Portable Propane Camp Fire
The Camco 58031 “Little Red Campfire” features a single burner propane stove, a rubber hose, adjustable burner and log pieces. It can be lit using either matches or a lighter.
Who is it for?
In terms of group size, this fire source can accommodate more than one person very comfortably. To cook food on it, you have to buy the Little Red Campfire Cooktop.
- It is compact, light and easy to transport
- Can set it up just outside your tent for an evening around a lovely no smoke campfire. Turn it off when you are done, wait for it to cool down, and bring it in after popping the top back on.
- The elevated fire tray ensures user’s safety
- The flame is decent, but not as hot as you would imagine. Since the flame is adjustable, one can simmer food on it.
- You can cook for a large group provided you have the Little Red Campfire Cooktop on it
- It is easy to carry and store because it is compact
- This thing is not fancy. Yes, it works as advertised, and looks great but it will not look like the built-in fireplaces.
- It requires very special care, especially the rubber hose. It requires constant monitoring while it is in use.
- The parts require constant checking to ensure that it is functioning optimally.
How To Choose The Best Camping Stoves
Camping can be wonderful, but after a long trek through the wilderness, you might feel like having a warm meal. Of course you can light a fire to keep you warm and boil water, but a warm meal might be nice. There is no quicker and easier way than using a camping stove.
When it comes to choosing the right stove you need to consider several factors like where you’ll be using the stove, how far you have to carry it as well as other factors like the kind of fuel you may need to use to light the stove. Now, I will show you 4 main factors to pick a good one.
1. Main Fuel Types
For short overnight stays, propane camping stove or isobutane fuel systems are good.
- Pros: They are compact units and easy to use as well.
- Cons: On the downside, they cost a lot and the fuel is hard to gauge.
White gas, also known as naphtha, which is highly refined, works well in high altitudes and extremely cold temperature.
- Pros: Ideal for cold temperatures and at high altitudes
- Cons: Liquid fuel systems are a heavier option and they require priming
Wood (as an alternative fuel source)
Wood as an option is ideal for long-distance hikes and very light
- Pros: Wood is easy to source even if you are on the go.
- Cons: Need constant attention; tricky to control especially in windy situations
Alcohol (as an alternative fuel source)
You can find alcohol in most remote parts where hiking or backpacking is common. Look for denatured alcohol, preferably high ethanol content alcohol. Never use methanol, it is toxic.
- Pros: commonly available in various countries and it also fits a wide range of systems
- Cons: If the alcohol is not pure enough, it can produce heavy soot.
Solid Fuel (as alternative fuel source)
These are compact fuel tablets made of hexamine. They are lightweight and great for emergency situations.
- Pros: Light and easy to light
- Cons: They burn for a short time and tend to be more expensive than other systems
When you’ve decided on the fuel you can now consider other factors that will make your stove ideal.
How Big Should Your Camping Stove Be?
The size of your camping stove will depend on the number of people you’ll be cooking for. Generally there are two sizes to choose from: A two-burner that sits on a tabletop or a freestanding stove
Group of 2 or less
If you are a backpacker and love traveling, do not forget this stove in your backpack. Someday, it will save your life if you are alone and lost your way: MSR Dragonfly Stove
Group of 4 or less
For small groups of people just camping for a few days, a compact two burner will work just fine. Look for a camping stove that is light, will easily fit into the trunk of your car and has enough cooking power to suit a small group. With a Coleman Chef Everest you can use a 16-ounce canister or use a larger propane tank. Space is limited with this model so be sure that the usable cooking space fits your pot. Some products can only accommodate a 12” skillet and others can accommodate the same size skillet with the wind flaps removed. There are models that can fit two 12” sized skillets so before you buy a camping stove, pay heed to the dimensions but remember that they can only help you in deciding if the stove has enough cooking space. The size and placement of the burner are a good indication of the usable cooking space on the stove.
Group of 8 and more
Eight is a large number and you may need more than a standard two burner stove. Freestanding models are great for large groups. The advantage is that they don’t need a tabletop. Check out camping stoves that have more powerful burners and prep trays, which give you more cooking, space. You need to keep in mind that freestanding stoves take time to pack and unpack and they take up a lot of space. If space is an issue you might want to get two compact two-burner stoves.
Groups of seven or less
If you have a mid-sized group of say, seven, choosing the right camping stove can be hard. It might help to know what you’ll be cooking, or how long you expect to be out in the wilderness. Start off with a two-burner stove and include one more if the demands increase. A freestanding burner might be too bulky and too much of a hassle to lug around and assemble. With a two-burner stove you can cook meals that you’d typically cook at home like a Pasta and Sauce meal.
Coleman and other brands offer different versions of two-burners stove. The difference with these versions is the space for the pots. Standard versions work well for small families or groups but with a little creativity these can be used to even cook for as much as ten people. A campfire can always be used to heat up some dishes.
BTUs & Power
The power of a camping stove is measured by how many BTU’s (British Thermal Units) it. BTU is a measure of the amount of energy required to heat or cool one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. So the more BTUs a camping stove has, the more power it has. This should not be the only factor that you consider when buying a camping stove, you should also consider the cooking space it has.
Look at the time it takes to boil water
All stoves should be able to boil if the temperature is ideal, wind conditions are moderate and the group size is fairly manageable. However, before you choose a camping stove you should know how fast it could boil water. This is crucial if you have a big group and time is of the essence. Boiling water for your morning coffee should not be a two-hour event. The number of BTUs should be an adequate indicator, but it is not always the case.
Simmering capability and wind resistance
Most products that are tested can boil water relatively fast but they are unable to keep a small flame to simmer down. You should look for a model that can boil water fast but also keep a small flame without turning off when the burner is lowered. The fact that you are using a camping stove should not mean you should expect it to perform any less than your stove at home.
When it comes to wind resistance things are more straightforward. You can buy a camping stove with a windscreen or you can forego the windscreen and create your own by putting your stove in a protected area. If you camp in extremely windy places then its best to invest in a camp stove with a powerful burner and a windscreen.
There are many products on the market. I have spent years testing out the best camping backpacking stoves out there to bring you information of how well they work and how they stack up in terms of price, conditions and performance.
Go through all camping backpacking stove reviews posted here and you should find the camp stove that is ideal for you. “Good stove, good trip”.