Cook a proper meal on the trail with one of these backpacking stoves
Whether you’re thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail or out for a weekend in woods, backpacking stoves are a must-have. Protein bars and trail mix are fine for day hikes, but they won’t sustain you over the long haul. You can make morning coffee, snacks, and full meals with a backpacking stove. Plus, they pack down small for easy transport. Which stove is best for your style of cooking? Today we’re taking a look at the best backpacking stoves out this year.
An efficient cook system:
The JetBoil Zip is the camp stove I pack when I need a mug, measuring cup, strainer, and fuel canister stabilizer. The Zip is a personal cooking system that does everything. The bottom cover doubles as a measuring cup and a bowl, and the drink lid has a built-in pour spout and strainer. Talk about handy! The Zip is fuel-efficient and compatible with other JetBoil accessories so that you can make everything from morning coffee to a full meal. The entire system weighs only 12-ounces, and it tucks away nicely in any sized backpack.
Won’t weigh you down:
The REEHUT Ultralight uses the Piezo ignition system. You push the trigger, and the REEHUT lights up instantly. This is true in any weather. Stainless steel is married with aluminum alloy in the REEHUT, and the combo withstands high temperatures, corrosion, and high altitudes. This model has an adjustable flame and all-in-one design that folds up small and weighs next to nothing. The REEHUT is compatible with any 7/16 thread single butane and butane-propane mixed fuel canisters.
Packs down small:
MSR PocketRocket 2
A favorite with thru-hikers, the MSR PocketRocket 2 weighs in at just 2.6-ounces. It’s capable of boiling a liter of water in three and a half minutes. The flame adjusts from simmer to rolling boil quickly so that you can play master chef on the trail. The collapsable PocketRocket 2 needs no priming, preheating, or pressurizing, and it collapses down small enough to tuck in any backpack pocket. The PocketRocket 2 works with isobutane-propane fuel canisters and is compatible with a wide range of pots and mugs.
Savor fresh coffee, hot cocoa, or a real meal with the JetBoil Flash. Water boils in 100-seconds, making this cooking system one of the fastest on the market. The included insulated mug changes color from blue to orange when water is hot and ready-to-use, so you never have to lift the lid to check progress. The 16-ounce mug boils enough water for two and is big enough to cook a hearty trail meal. The JetBoil Flash uses isobutane-propane fuel canisters.
The Emberlit Fireant is an ultralightweight, collapsable stove made of featherlight Titanium. It weighs a mere 2.8-ounces and folds down flat. If you don’t like the idea of carrying fuel canisters, the Fireant is perfect. It burns twigs, leaves, and small kindling. It can also integrate with spirit burners, solid fuel tablets, and tea candles. If you need a backpacking stove that’s versatile and lightweight, you’ll be thrilled with the Emberlit Fireant.
No fuel canister needed:
Ohuhu Wood Burning Stove
There’s nothing like a wood-fired meal after a long day on the trail. Ohuhu’s camping stove is my go-to for group backpacking. The stainless steel build is sturdy but lightweight, and Mother Nature serves as a heat source. Use twigs, kindling, leaves, or whatever else is around to start a fire. There are no canisters to mess with, and no alcohol needed. And the entire system packs down into a 5″x3″ stuff sack. The Ohuhu is easy to set up and can cook enough food for up to three hikers.
Go old school:
REDCAMP Mini Alcohol Stove
Alcohol-powered stoves were some of the first backpacking models, and they’re still one of the most efficient ways to cook a meal or heat water on-the-go. The REDCAMP has a brass stove, aluminum alloy stove stand, and a windscreen on the base. The flame regulator controls the strength of the flame while a rubber seal prevents alcohol leaks and evaporation. The alcohol burner from REDCAMP is strong enough to support camp pots and pans yet lightweight enough to carry all day.
My tried-and-true recommendations
I spend large chunks of the year thru-hiking. Backpacking stoves are on my gear list every time I strap on a pack. Some of my most-used stoves come from JetBoil. JetBoil has been putting out lightweight backpacking stoves since the early 2000s, and every product in their lineup is polished and well-thought-out. The JetBoil Zip is a complete cook system. It comes with a 0.8-liter insulated cooking cup, a bottom cover that doubles as a measuring cup, and a strainer. The entire system weighs only 12-ounces. If you require an all-in-one cook system, this is my favorite model.
If you need a backpacking stove that’s versatile and lightweight, go for the Emberlit Fireant. This model weighs less than 3-ounces, works with multiple fuel sources, and packs down flat.
Sometimes old school is the way to go. We love REDCAMP’s alcohol stove for its innovative take on an old favorite. The REDCAMP is compact, weighs only 5-ounces, and is sturdy enough to support pots, pans, and even coffee equipment.
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