When you’re out in the backcountry nothing tastes better than a hot meal after a long day of hiking. Getting that hot meal requires a stove you don’t mind carrying that provides the performance you need. Unfortunately picking out the best hiking stove from a crowded market is a lot harder than you’d think. Today we’ll be covering what makes for a great hiking stove and reviewing some of the best models available.
- 1 Best Hiking Stoves
- 1.1 MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe Stove
- 1.2 Jetboil Flash Hiking Stove Cooking System
- 1.3 Soto WindMaster Hiking Stove
- 1.4 Camp Chef MS200 Stryker Multi-Fuel Hiking Stove
- 1.5 Snow Peak LiteMax Titanium Hiking Stove
- 1.6 Jetboil MicroMo Ultralight Hiking Stove
- 1.7 MSR Pocket Rocket 2 Ultralight Hiking Stove
- 1.8 Trangia Spirit Burner Hiking Stove
- 1.9 Coghlan’s Folding Hiking Stove
- 1.10 MSR WhisperLite Universal Hiking Stove
- 2 Buyers Guide for Buying the Best Hiking Stove
- 3 Final Thoughts
Best Hiking Stoves
The best hiking stoves have to be lightweight, powerful, and easy to use. After all, you’re going to be humping it over miles of hills and rocky trails.
Carrying something that’s too heavy or that won’t get the job done when it counts just isn’t possible. With that in mind we’ve picked out some of the best ultra lightweight hiking stoves we could find to review.
These include models running on a variety of fuel sources at a range of price points.
MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe Stove
The MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe is an ultra lightweight canister style stove designed for backpacking. It’s just a few inches on each dimension and weighs a feather light 2.9 ounces.
It’s designed with a broad burner that’s capable of boiling a liter of water in just 3.5 minutes. One 8 ounce canister of IsoPro fuel will burn continuously for up to an hour.
It also includes a built in piezo spark igniter so you can quickly get it going. The control arm allows you to finely adjust the temperature and fuel usage for effective simmering.
This gives you the option to rapidly boil water for a dehydrated meal or slowly cook up something from scratch.
Overall the Pocket Rocket Deluxe is a lightweight and highly effective hiking stove. It offers a lot of useful extras while still maintaining a very packable weight.
Jetboil Flash Hiking Stove Cooking System
The Jetboil Flash is designed to be the fastest and most efficient hiking stove available. It’s a canister style stove that’s capable of boiling water in a lightning fast 100 seconds.
It’s actually a three piece system. The burner itself uses a wide ring and has a built in wind guard. The included one liter FluxRing pot is insulated and has a color changing heat indicator to let you know when the water is boiling. The FluxRing helps maximize the retention and distribution of heat from the burner.
It comes with a protective plastic cover that doubles as a measuring cup. It securely snaps over the burner when not in use and makes it easy to pack away. This system is great for boiling water quickly but does add to the weight and bulk.
The whole thing is just over 13 ounces and also includes a set of stabilizing feet.
The Jetboil Flash is one of the fastest and most fuel efficient hiking stoves available. It includes everything you need for cooking a backcountry meal and is relatively lightweight.
Soto WindMaster Hiking Stove
The Soto WindMaster is a canister style hiking stove designed for windy and cold weather conditions. It weighs just 3.1 ounces and is capable of boiling two cups of water in just two and a half minutes.
It uses a four part pot support system called 4Flex. This gives you a stable base for larger pots and is designed to hold the pot closer to the flame.
This helps prevent heat loss from strong winds. Because it has a built in regulator it doesn’t suffer from nearly the same cold temperature performance loss. It also has a built in piezo electric igniter, allowing you to keep your entire stove system in a tiny package.
The Soto WindMaster is a great stove system when hiking in wintry or high wind conditions. It’s ultra lightweight yet still capable of standing up to strong winds.
Camp Chef MS200 Stryker Multi-Fuel Hiking Stove
The Camp Chef MS200 Stryker is a canister hiking stove designed to run off both IsoPro and standard propane bottles. It’s on the larger side for a hiking stove, coming in at 19.4 oz, but does include everything you’ll need for preparing a meal.
The system includes a burner, insulated pot, tank stabilizer, lid and a mesh carry bag. It’s able to boil half a liter of water in just two minutes thanks to its wind guard and heat ring technology. This also helps reduce fuel consumption by 30%.
It has a built in piezo electric igniter and has useful measurement markings right in the pot. The ability to run off both IsoPro and propane is seriously useful when hiking in remote areas. It gives you a lot more flexibility in sourcing fuel and allows you to carry larger canisters of propane for extended trips.
The Camp Chef Stryker is a well made and affordably priced hiking stove. It functions well in windy conditions and gives you a fuel flexibility that’s great for remote hiking.
Snow Peak LiteMax Titanium Hiking Stove
The Snow Peak LiteMax is a canister style stove designed to be as light and portable as possible. The whole thing weighs just 1.9 oz and is capable of boiling water in just over 4 minutes.
It’s made from a combination of titanium and anodized aluminum to be rugged yet lightweight. It has a three fin pot holder that doubles as a wind guard. It doesn’t include an igniter but is easy to light with a match, lighter or portable sparker.
You can adjust the temperature from barely on to full blast quickly and easily. This lets you cook just about anything over it without issue.
We really liked the durability and light weight of the LiteMax. It folds down into a tiny little package but was easy to set up and get going.
If you’re looking for one of the lightest hiking stoves available the Snow Peak LiteMax is a great option.
Jetboil MicroMo Ultralight Hiking Stove
The Jetboil MicroMo is designed to be the fastest and most fuel efficient hiking stove possible. It uses Hetboil’s FluxRing technology to capture the maximum possible heat from the windproof burner.
It has a highly adaptable regulator that lets you adjust the temperature from a light simmer to a rolling boil. This also allows it to perform well down to about 20℉. The MicroMo includes a piezoelectric igniter that’s easy to use and starts it up on the first try.
It comes standard with a canister stabilizer and pot support. This makes it a very stable and easy to use stove even on rough terrain. It weighs 12 ounces and is capable of boiling a half liter of water in just two minutes 15 seconds.
If you’re looking for the most fuel-efficient camping stove possible and aren’t afraid of a few extra ounces the Jetboil MicroMo should definitely bear some consideration.
MSR Pocket Rocket 2 Ultralight Hiking Stove
The MSR Pocket Rocket 2 is an updated version of their original stripped down ultralight hiking stove. It’s about as bare-bones as it gets, weighing just 2.6 ounces, yet provides all the performance you could ask for.
It’s capable of boiling a liter of water in just 3.5 minutes and gives you a burn time of about 60 minutes per 8 ounce canister. This is pretty good for an ultra light camping stove with no windguard.
It doesn’t have a built in igniter but is capable of adjustment all the way from a gentle simmer to a blazing torch. The folding pot supports are broader than on the original Pocket Rocket. This makes it better able to hold larger pots.
The Pocket Rocket 2 is one of the best ultralight hiking stoves on the market today. It’s tiny, weighs almost nothing, and is dependable when it counts.
Trangia Spirit Burner Hiking Stove
The Trangia Spirit Burner stove is a legend in the hiking community. It’s been made since the 1920’s to a simple and robust design.
It can run on multiple fuel sources and is capable of boiling a liter of water in 8 minutes. It weighs just under 4 ounces without fuel and is designed to seal tightly closed when not in use.
The small burner itself fits down into the two part Trangia windshield. This serves the dual purpose of protecting it from the wind and helping to channel the heat into your food.
The Trangia stove has been used by hikers, soldiers and outdoorsman for decades. It’s a simple and reliable system that works. If you’re looking for something without a lot of moving parts or upkeep required the Trangia Spirit Burner stove is a great option.
Coghlan’s Folding Hiking Stove
Coghlan’s has been making camping and outdoor gear for decades. Their folding hiking stove is a small metal enclosure designed to act as a pot support and wind guard for any small alcohol or solid fuel stove.
It’s designed to fold flat for easy storage when not in use yet is sturdy enough to support even larger pots. The boil time for water will depend on what kind of fuel you’re using and how much of it you’re burning.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive, dependable, and bare bones cooking system for your hiking trip the Coghlan’s Folding Hiking Stove isn’t a bad place to start.
MSR WhisperLite Universal Hiking Stove
The MSR WhisperLite is a unique concept among hiking stoves. It’s designed to run on both liquid fuel like white gas and IsoPro canisters.
This gives you considerable flexibility it how you fuel it and makes it easy to find fuel anywhere in the world. It accomplishes this with an AirControl regulator that connects to the burner with a braided aluminum tube.
It can boil a liter of water in just 3.5 minutes and weighs about 11 ounces excluding fuel. That’s a bit on the heavy side for a hiking stove but very acceptable considering how flexible the setup is.
The MSR WhisperLite Universal is the perfect stove for the backpacker who goes anywhere. It’s able to run off lightweight canisters when available or unleaded fuel when not.
Buyers Guide for Buying the Best Hiking Stove
When you’re comparing hiking stoves all the features and extras can get confusing quickly. We’ve tried to explain the key points of the different types of hiking stoves and cover the most important factors when deciding on the right one for your needs.
Hiking stove are more affordable now than ever before. You can get a quality stove that will last years for right around $50-$70.
Many smaller or more basic stoves can be had for just $10 to $20 while high end models with all the bells and whistles can easily run over $100. Generally speaking alcohol and solid stoves will be the most affordable while canister and especially liquid fuel stoves will be pricier.
Size and Weight
Hiking stoves have never been as portable and lightweight as they are now. They make stoves nowadays that weigh just a few ounces and will burn for hours.
The lightest possible stoves are generally ultra portable wood/twig stoves, followed by solid fuel and canister stoves. It’s important that you consider performance alongside weight.
You can often get a significant performance improvement with just a one or two ounce increase in weight.
Types of Stove
Hiking stove types are separated based on the type of fuel they use. The most common are canister, liquid fuel, alcohol, solid fuel, and wood.
Canister Stove – Canister stoves can be some of the smallest and lightest stoves available. The smallest are basically just small burners with arms that screw right onto a canister of fuel.
They generally run on a mixture of isobutane and propane called IsoPro and are highly adjustable. The smallest versions weigh just a few ounces and easily fit in a small pouch or pocket. They’re low maintenance and incredibly easy to use.
Canister fuel is available in just about every hiking or camping store and is very affordable. Keep in mind that the bulk of canister stoves use a standard Lindal valve. This means you can safely use any isobutane fuel canister with your stove.
The downsides mostly relate to cold weather and their size.
Larger pots are too much for most small canister hiking stoves to handle. Because they use pressurized fuel a low temperature environment can cause them to depressurize. This creates a very weak flame that’s difficult to use.
Liquid Fuel Stove – Liquid fuel stoves rely on a metal fuel bottle connected to a burner. They’re designed to run on white gas but many versions will function on multiple fuel sources, including unleaded gasoline.
They’re very popular among hikers traveling through the developing world because of their flexible fuel use. Because of their shape and separate fuel bottle they can be more stable than canister stoves.
One thing to keep in mind though is the required maintenance. If you burn anything other than white gas in your liquid fuel stove you’ll need to periodically disassemble and clean it. Otherwise it can clog up and stop working.
Alcohol Stove – The oldest hiking and camping stoves run on denatured alcohol. They burn cleanly and are nearly odorless but produce a relatively cool flame.
Alcohol stoves are just about the simplest type of camping stove available. If you’ve ever seen the warming candle beneath a chafing dish you’ll understand the basic concept.
A small metal canister holds the alcohol and burns when lit. Finding fuel is easy in the US and very affordable.
If you’re traveling internationally though it can be harder to find fuel.
Solid Fuel Stove – Solid fuel stoves are just about the lightest possible stove option for an ultralight hiker. They’re just small tablets of solid fuel that burn inside a tiny metal frame.
They’re designed to weigh next to nothing and can be extinguished and used multiple times. The downside to solid fuel tablets is their low temperature and oily residue.
If you’re using a high end ultralight pot you’ll need to carefully clean it off after each use.
Wood Stove – Wood stoves and wood fires have been used by campers and travelers for millennia. Modern rocket style stoves are designed to maximize the transmission of heat from small twigs and brush to your cook surface.
You can burn just about anything in them and get your fuel for free. They’re generally lightweight and are easy to use and pack away when you’re done.
Unfortunately if there’s no fuel, or no dry fuel, you won’t be able to cook your meal. They’re also prohibited anywhere with a burn ban in effect.
Heat Control – Boiling and Simmering
Different hiking stoves give you different control over the heat. Simpler models often have just a simple on/off switch. This is great for quickly boiling water but makes it difficult to cook anything over it with finesse.
Canister stoves are generally the most flexible in their heat control with alcohol and solid fuels the least flexible.
Number of People you’ll be Cooking for
There’s a huge difference between camping stoves intended for one or for a group. If you’re alone weight and portability are going to be key.
In a larger group or when out car camping you can afford to spread larger items out among more people. A single burner stove is good for about every two people.
It allows you to boil water for rehydrating food and making tea or coffee. You can definitely get by on one stove for more people but you won’t be able to cook as quickly.
With that in mind you should always try to get at least one burner per pair of people you’re taking on your trip.
When you’re out in the backcountry it’s unlikely you’ll be cooking on a flat table. This is especially true if you’re participating in something like mountaineering or hiking over rough terrain.
Compare the base footprint of different stoves and consider getting something with add on fins or a large and stable surface. Canister stoves often rely on the gas canister itself to hold them up. Stability quickly drops as you increase the size and weight of the pan resting on them.
Cooking outdoors leaves you totally at nature’s mercy. If you’re going somewhere with substantial wind conditions make sure you pick a stove that will still work.
Ultra lightweight canister stoves generally don’t allow the use of wind guards for example. There are larger versions that have them built in but they cost and weigh more.
For winter hiking and camping it’s really important you consider temperature extremes. Canister stoves in particular don’t function well under low temperature conditions.
Solid, alcohol, and liquid fueled stoves are all better options under low temperature conditions.
Most hiking stoves don’t come with a built in ignition system. Larger models will sometimes have a piezoelectric striker but make sure you check before heading out.
Cleaning and Maintenance
All stoves will need periodic cleaning and maintenance. Depending on what kind of stove you have there will be more of less frequent maintenance.
Canister stoves use clean burning fuels at a high heat. As long as you keep them dry and prevent any debris from getting into the small gas holes it’s unlikely you’ll have a problem.
Liquid fuel stoves, especially ones run on gasoline or another alternative fuel, require the most upkeep. You’ll need to regularly disassemble them and clean any residue from the components.
Alcohol, wood, and solid fuel stoves don’t require a lot of upkeep but you will likely need to clean out char and ash on a regular basis.
When it comes right down to it weight and fuel availability are the chief factors when comparing hiking stoves.
To find the best hiking stove for your needs you should carefully consider where you’re traveling, how long you’ll be there for, and what kind of performance you need.