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Backpacking is one of the best ways to spend your day.
The fresh forest air, the exercise, and the excitement of exploring somewhere new makes it a favorite pastime for millions of backpackers.
And after a day of hiking your way through wild hills and forest shrubbery, there’s nothing better than a nice hot meal! Which is why picking the best backpack camp stove is so important.
In this post, I’ll show you my top picks for the best backpack camp stove. If you’re in a rush, you can jump over to Amazon and check out my favorite, the Jetboil Flash Cooking System, by clicking here.
How to choose the best backpack camp stove
When it comes to choosing a backpack camp stove, there are a couple factors you should pay close attention to:
- Stove Weight: Every ounce in your pack adds up. The stove that you pick for a long thru-hike will be different from the stove you pick for a weekend of car camping.
- Fuel Efficiency: The fuel efficiency of a camp stove dictates how long the stove will burn with a given amount of fuel. The longer it can go, the longer your fuel will last.
- Boil Time: Boil time is important because it is a factor in how long it will take to cook your meal. It also dictates whether you can use your camp stove to simmer foods or not.
- Ignition Type: Does your stove light with matches or with a built-in starter? Piezo-igniters are a popular choice because the push-button design will spark even in wet conditions.
- Stability: Certain camp stoves are more stable than others. Nothing’s worse than having your food spill everywhere after a long day of hiking!
Now that you know what to look for in a camp stove, take a look at our top picks for the best backpack camp stove! We’ve separated our favorites into three categories: premium, midrange, and budget.
Premium Camp Stove: Jetboil Flash Cooking System
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The Jetboil Flash Cooking System is the premier name in the backpacking industry.
Engineered in 2001, the Jetboil Flash Cooking System was an instant hit and it’s stayed a popular choice among backpackers ever since.
The brand is easily identified by its signature FluxRing cooking cup. Featuring an insulating cozy, the FluxRing technology works by increasing the surface area of the bottom of the cup, making it possible to heat the cup with maximum efficiency.
This is where the Jetboil’s real claim to fame comes into play. The cooking system offers fast boil capability, with it averaging a boil time of .5 liters per 100 seconds. With a volume of 1 liter, that means your typical boil time for a whole cup of water is only about 3 minutes!
The key word when talking about the Jetboil Flash Cooking System is “easy.”
The ignition type is an easy to use push button, the vessel connection is effortless to take off and put on, and the design ensures that you don’t have to worry about your pots or pans falling off. It even has a thermochromatic color-change heat indicator!
- Lightweight at 13.9oz
- 100 second boil time per .5 liter
- 1-liter FluxRing cooking cup with insulating cozy
- Push-button igniter
- Bottom cover doubles as measuring cup and bowl
- Compatible with other accessories within the Jetboil line
- Thermochromatic color-change heat indicator
- High price point
- Hard to keep at a simmer
Want to know more? Check out more info about it over on Amazon!
Midrange Camp Stove: MSR Pocket Rocket
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The MSR Pocket Rocket 2 is one of the most popular camp stoves around are wildly popular with both weekend and hardcore backpackers.
The MSR Pocket Rocket 2 is ultralight and compact, weighing in at a mere 2.6 oz and measuring 2x2x3in. It can be folded up and stored in just about any space and is so small you’ll hardly notice it’s there.
Not only is the MSR Pocket Rocket 2 lightweight, but it’s also functional. It can boil a liter of water in 3.5 minutes and the flame can be adjusted so that you can even simmer foods on it, a feature you won’t find on many camp stoves.
It’s powered by isobutane-propane canisters, which can be bought at just about any supermarket or outdoors retailer.
- Lightweight carrying case included
- Serrated pot supports to support a wide range of cookware
- One of the lightest camp stoves around at 2.6oz
- Compact size at 2x2x3inBoils 1 liter of water in 3.5 minutes
- Simmer capability
- Fueled by isobutane-propane
- More expensive than most backpack camp stoves
Want to get one for yourself? Click over to Amazon for more info!
Budget Camp Stove: Etekcity Ultralight Backpacking Camp Stove
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For those of you who aren’t quite sure if they want to invest in a high-end camp stove just yet, the Etekcity Ultralight Portable Outdoor Backpacking Camp Stove is your go-to budget stove!
Made of stainless steel and aluminum alloy, the Etekcity Ultralight is built to withstand high heats and heavy weights (such as a pot full of food!). It’s compatible with any 7/16 thread single butane or butane-propane mixed fuel canisters, which can be found just about anywhere.
The Etekcity Ultralight is perfect for the no-frills camper.
The compact design folds down into a tiny carrying case and weighs in at a mere 8.8 oz. The piezo ignition system allows for quick and easy lighting and features an adjustable control valve which allows you to cook at full heat or lower the flame to a simmer.
- Compact design folds down to 1.81” x 2.36” x 3.15”
- Fits pots and pans up to a 7” diameter
- Burns clean without any soot or debris
- Stainless steel and aluminum alloy for a sturdy build
- Compatible with 7/16 thread single butane and butane/propane mixed fuel canisters
- Weighs in at 8.8 oz
- Electric spark piezo ignition system
- Adjustable control valve for maximum flame control
Honorable Mention: Canway Cooking Stove
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While the other backpack camp stoves on this list are all powered by butane or a butane-propane mix, the Canway Cooking Stove takes a different approach to cooking.
For those of you who prefer to leave the smallest carbon footprint possible, the Canway is a great option due to its use of wood as a cooking fuel. Made of stainless steel, it’s fairly simple to use. Simply fill the inner chamber with wood, twigs, or pellets and then light it on fire! The secondary combustion chamber keeps the fire burning for at least twenty minutes after it’s been lit.
Collapsing down to 5.5” x 5.5” x 3.38”, the stove is fairly compact and comes with a stowaway bag that you can put in your pack or tie to the outside. The sides are ventilated to keep the flames hot and the 3 arm pot base provides a stable cooking platform that distributes heat evenly.
- Although it’s a little heavy at 1.3lbs, this is offset by the fact that you don’t need to carry fuel with you
- Compact size at 5.5” x 5.5” x 3.38”
- Double-walled stainless steel ensures a durable build
- 3 arm pot base keeps food secure while cooking
- Secondary combustion chamber
- Ventilated sides
- It’s heavier and larger than many other backpack camp stoves, but this is offset by the fact that you don’t need to carry your own fuel
- Suitable fuel can be hard to find if you’re in a wet environment
You can read more about this product, including real user reviews, over on Amazon.
If you need a backpack camp stove for your hiking ventures, you have several options available.
The higher you go in price, the more bells and whistles are available to you and you’ll also be looking at shorter cook times, something that is handy when you’ve been hiking all day.
However, if you’re just starting out or don’t have the money to shell out for a premium stove, the budget options out there are respectable as well.
What’s your favorite backpack camp stove? Leave a comment and let us know!