Sifting through trying to find the best camping stoves that’ll suit your type of trip can be quite a tricky process. There are dozens of different types to choose from – some fully integrated and some smaller than a pocket knife – and several types of fuel. Each has their advantages and disadvantages, so we’re here to unravel the secrets.
For backpacking, what you specifically need to be looking for is something that is light to carry, that can boil water quickly and that’s fuel efficient. Another important thing to consider is the type of fuel the stove runs off and whether that will be easy to find in remote places.
What Is The Best Type Of Stove For Backpacking?
Most of the portable stoves here are gas ones, because in the British weather and for trips no longer than a week we’ve found it to be the best all-around type of fuel. Petrol and paraffin stoves tend to be used on very long journeys in very cold conditions where you’re only likely to find a snowmobile refilling station rather than a Cotswold Outdoor.
The other more common option are stoves that use methylated spirits or alcohol (the best ones also allow the use of solid fuel tablets and wood). Stoves of this kind are also very simple with few specialist parts. Some people even fashion their own out of an aluminium can. However, you can’t control the flame as well, and it won’t be as powerful – that pasta could be a long time coming. If meths stoves are something you are interested in, look at Trangia’s Triangle or Alpkit’s Bruler.
“The stoves reviewed here were all included in either our Winter Outdoor 100 or our Summer Outdoor 100.”
Gas stoves using butane/propane canisters are the easiest to use, they’re the most common, and they can in some instances be the lightest option for your type of trip. Gas stoves tend to fall into two categories: those that screw directly into the top of the canister and low-profile stoves that attach to the canister with a hose. The former are lighter and more compact and excellent for solo use but can be unstable. The latter tend to be steadier and would be recommended for bigger pans. Some hose linked stoves are useful for cold weather when gas doesn’t burn so well as they can be inverted to run off the liquid contents rather than gas.
Another consideration is whether the system integrates the stove and the pot. Of the stoves tested here, the JetBoil MiniMo, Primus PrimeTech, Coleman FyreStorm and MSR Reactor are integrated. This means the pots, often with heat exchangers, can attach directly to the stove. This is more efficient for fuel usage and burning time, but they tend to be heavier, and only some can be used with other pots.
Final points to consider (phew) are the size of the burner – the wider the burner, the more the flame can spread just like the burner on your stove at home. Many stoves also come with a Piezo ignition that allows you to spark it up. However, always carry matches as these fail a fair bit in our experience. All these stoves have a flame control allowing you to simmer or boil water rapidly. Some also come with a windshield as well. It makes a significant difference, so if it doesn’t come with one, it’s worth picking up a cheap foil one.