What Type of Stove Is Best for Backpacking?

By Michael Ferguson

When it comes to camping, one of the most important pieces of equipment that you need is a stove. Whether you are car camping or backpacking, you need a reliable and efficient way to cook your meals.

But when it comes to backpacking, the type of stove you choose is even more important because weight and size are two key factors. So what type of stove is best for backpacking?

The most popular type for backpacking stoves are liquid fuel stoves. These usually run on either white gas or isobutane and propane fuel mixes.

They tend to be more powerful than other types, so they are able to boil water faster and can handle larger pots and pans. Plus, they work in cold temperatures and at high altitudes better than other types of stoves. The downside is that they tend to be heavier and bulkier than other types, so they may not be ideal for longer trips where every ounce matters.

Another popular option for backpacking stoves is canister stoves. These run on small canisters that contain either a blend of isobutane and propane or just plain propane.

They tend to be lightweight, compact, and easy to use, making them ideal for shorter trips where weight is a concern. Plus, the canisters are widely available so it’s easy to find fuel when you’re on the go. However, they don’t work as well in cold temperatures or at high altitudes.

Finally, there are wood-burning stoves. These are becoming increasingly popular with backpackers due to their eco-friendly design and low cost (you don’t have to buy fuel!).

They also work well in cold temperatures and at high altitudes since you don’t need any special fuel sources to get them going. The downside is that they require more effort since you have to gather wood each night before cooking your meal.


When it comes down to choosing a stove for backpacking, there isn’t one clear answer as each type has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on your specific needs. If weight isn’t an issue then a liquid fuel stove might be your best bet due its power and versatility in various conditions.

If weight is an issue then a canister stove might be the way to go as it’s lightweight yet powerful enough for most backpacking tasks. Finally if eco-friendliness is important then a wood-burning stove could be your best option as long as you’re willing to put in the extra effort each night gathering wood.