Gear Closet: Backpacking Stoves, Pots, and Kitchen Accessories

Gear Closet - Stoves, Pots, Kitchen, Bear Protection

Here are the backpacking stoves, cooking pots, and “kitchen” accessories, including bear bags and bear canisters, that I use year-round on a regular basis (90-120 nights/year.) Many of these items are old friends that have withstood the test of time and I’ve been using for years and years. Why the variety? I backpack year-round and like to bring gear that satisfies my needs best. These needs change with the season, objectives, locales, and my companions. That said, consider these my “top” gear picks…the stuff that I recommend to friends without reservation.

Evernew Titanium Pasta Pot

Evernew Titanium Pasta Pot
I’ve been using The Evernew Titanium Pasta Pot since 2010 and mine is blackened by fire and a bit bashed up. Weighing 3.9 ounces, it holds 0.9 liters of water, which is perfect for making the one-pot meals I like to eat. It has a silicone-coated, fold-out handle and strainer holes in the lid (good for pasta) that help prevent boil overs. The inside has measurements scored in ounces and milliliters. I use it when I cook with Esbit or wood, which is the majority of the time. I can also fit my stove, fuel, and fire-making system inside, which is a big convenience. Read my review. 

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Amazon| Campsaver

Evernew Titanium UL 1.3 Liter Pot

Evernew Titanium Non-Stick Pot
The Evernew Titanium 1.3 liter pot is an uncoated cook pot that I use for winter backpacking when I need to melt snow for drinking water. It weighs 4 oz and has a volume of 1.3 Liters, with a wide bottom that helps diffuse the heat of a high-powered liquid fuel stove. In addition to folding insulated handles and a pour spout, it has liquid measurements in ounces and milliliters scored in the pot interior. Very basic, lightweight, and compact. Read my review.

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Amazon | Campsaver

QiWiz Titanium Dual Burner (Esbit/Alcohol) Stove System

QiWiz Dual Fuel Stove

QiWiz, pronounced Chee-wiz, is a one-man cottage gear maker who specializes in titanium stoves and tools. I’m a big fan of his dual burner (Esbit/Alcohol) stove system which includes a 750 ml titanium pot (110g), a dual fuel stove (18g), titanium windscreen (15g), and stainless steel mesh pot stand (10g), although I use a different pot. I also use the titanium windscreen with other stoves, since it’s so convenient to pack in a cooking pot. Read my QiWiz Titanium Dual Fuel Stove System Review

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QiWiz FireFly Wood Stove

QiWiz Firefly Wood Stove
The QiWiz FireFly Wood Stove is a 2.8-ounce titanium wood stove made from interlocking pieces of titanium that fold flat when not in use, making it convenient to carry in a backpack. It has an integrated pot stand and mesh floor, as well as a side port that lets you feed in larger pieces of wood to keep it going. You can also purchase a very thin titanium ground guard to place under the stove to avoid scorching the ground. The Firefly is a great little stove that burns very efficiently and adds to one’s camping ambiance. You can also use it as a pot stand/wind-shield for an alcohol or Esbit stove when it rains. See my QiWiz Firefly Wood Stove Review

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Kovea Spider Remote Canister Stove

Kovea Spider Remote Canister Stove

The Kovea Spider
is a 6.0 ounce, remote canister stove that can be used with a windscreen to boost fuel efficiency since the burner is not located next to the canister. It also folds up small and can be stored inside a 1-liter pot for individual use. The Spider is special because it can burn the fuel inside a canister in its liquid form down to about 0 degrees Fahrenheit (by turning the canister upside down), giving you a 10-15 degree advantage over regular canister stoves that can only burn isobutane in its vapor form. See my Kovea Spider Remote Canister Stove Review.

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Amazon | Campsaver

MSR Whisperlite Liquid Fuel Stove

MSR Whisperlite

The MSR Whisperlite
is my deep winter camping stove, the one I use when I have to melt large quantities of snow to make drinking water and need to use a high power fuel like white gas. The Whisperlite includes the burner, which has an integrated primer cup, pot stand, fuel line, and a plastic fuel pump. MSR fuel bottles are available in a variety of sizes and sold separately. The 11.4-ounce Whisperlite is a very reliable stove and one that you can clean or repair by yourself. It takes a little practice to prime and ignites without burning your eyelashes off, but I wouldn’t winter camp without it. Read our MSR Whisperlite Stove Review.

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Amazon | Moosejaw |

MSR Whisperlite Fuel Bottle

20 ounce MSR Fuel Bottle
I use a 20 ounce MSR fuel bottle that weighs 6.3 ounces empty with my Whisperlite stove. You can also purchase 11 and 30 ounce bottles. While MSR bottles are compatible across MSR liquid fuel stoves, I don’t know of any other non-MSR stoves that you can use them with. The MSR bottles have a locking cap to prevent fuel spills. I’ve wrapped my bottle with duct tape to help prevent a cold injury when touching it. The temperature of liquid fuel can drop below freezing and cause frostbite if the cold radiating through the metal bottle touches your skin directly.

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Amazon | MSR

Light My Fire – Fire Steel

12000 Strike Light My Fire
The Light My Fire sparking fire steel ($13.95) is a stove and fire ignition source that always works and that I never have to resupply it after a trip. Matches get wet. Butane lighters jam or run out of fuel, but a fire steel always throws sparks. Light My Fire has two models and I use the chunkier one designed for military use because it’s more durable and rated for 12,000 uses. I carry vaseline covered cotton balls as a firestarter for lighting Esbit cubes or my wood stove.

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GSI Outdoors Table Spoon

GSI Outdoors Table Spoon
I use a big GSI Outdoors Table Spoon ($0.75) to eat all of my backpacking meals because it’s hard to misplace. It weighs 0.8 oz and is heat-proof and BPA-free, of course. It also costs less than a buck at REI and is probably the least expensive thing in the store!

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OPSAK Odor Barrier Bags

OPSak Odor-proof bags
The manufacturer claims that OPSAK plastic bags are odor-proof ($10.50/2). While I can’t verify that scientifically, I’ve been using these bags for the past 10 years to hold all my food and line my bear bag or bear canister with. At 1.3 ounces each, these big Ziploc bags are quite durable and help prevent a mess when one of my food bags rips open or a bar of chocolate melts.

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REI | Amazon

Ursack Bear-Proof Bag

Ursacks are lightweight soft-sided, bear-proof bear bags made with Spectra fabric. I’ve been using them since 2008 to store my food overnight on backpacking trips and they’re infinitely easier to use than hanging a bear bag overhead in a tree. I can fit 5-7 days of food into one. They passed the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) test and were placed on its bear-resistant products list on July 31, 2014, but some national parks still prohibit their use. That’s not a problem in New England where I do most of my hiking and I know quite a few other hikers who use them. I’ve been evangelizing their use for close to a decade, since most backpackers have difficulty hanging regular bear bags well.  I was thrilled when REI started selling them a few years ago.  Read our Ursack Bear Bag Review.

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REI | Amazon

Bare Boxer Contender Bear Canister

The Bare Boxer is a small 2-3 day hard-sided bear canister good for short trips where a bear canister is required. It has three locks in the lid and weighs 26.3 ounces. I only use it for short trips when I head into bear country, where a canister is required. It’s the lightest weight hard bear canister available, perfect for a long weekend. Read our Bear Boxer Review.

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Garcia Backpacker’s Cache Bear Canister

Backpacker's Cache
The Garcia Backpacker’s Cache Bear Canister ($74) is my larger bear canister. It weighs 43.5 ounces and can fit a week’s worth of food and smellables. It’s not the lightest large bear canister available, but the Adirondack bears haven’t figured out how to open this bear canister out yet, which is where I use mine. It makes a pretty good camp seat too!

Check the latest price at:
REI | Amazon

That’s the extent of my backpacking stoves, pots, kitchen accessories and bear protection gear. Let me know if you have any questions. I’m happy to help.

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  1. Zachary G Robbins

    I use the cheap plastic cutlery from REI as well, mainly the big spoon and fork. No spork, plastic retractable, or titanium cutlery has proven better than the GSI, it is so cheap to replenish. I really don’t know why people I see camping use the other products out there.

    I’m curious why you use the odor barrier bags. I’ve seen lots of mixed reviews. I feel like there is not a substantial upgrade from freezer bags, but maybe I’m wrong. I’ve personally never bought odor proof bags because of the price point.

    • I like the size which works very well with my ursack and they keep the Inside of my Ursack clean. They also last a long long time without needing to be replaced. Force of habit perhaps, because my first Ursack came bundled with one, but I’ve kept using them ever since.

      • Zachary G Robbins

        I understand, I know a few other people who use them as well out of habit. They started using them because of Mt. Whitney packing out poop and haven’t stopped.

  2. Philip do you still use the olicamp pot with heat exchanger or have you narrowed your choices past that?

    • I used it for a few years and still think it’s a good value, but moved away from it when cooking with a wood stove and never really used it again. That pot gas a plastic lid, which doesn’t work well with an wood flame. Anyway, the Olicamp fell out of use and off my inner list. That Evernew Titanium Pasta Pot is my main cook pot, yes the silicone insulation on the handles burns off eventually…but the handles still work fine.

  3. Thanks Philip, your out there all the time and nice to see how you have refined your equipment. It’s an education.

  4. Philip – What are your thoughts on the Wild Ideas bear canister? My wife and I are moving to Upstate NY next year and will be frequent regulars in the Adirondacks. I like how the Wild Ideas has a larger opening then most other canisters.

  5. Love my Ursack but I switched to using two nylofume bags or turkey roasting bags (double bagged) with Gear Aid twist ties. About the same size as the opsack and I don’t have to futz with the seal.

  6. Any particular reason for not using the QiWiz titanium pot that comes with his stove?

    • It’s the same pot sold by Esbit (and a very nice pot), but I already owned one. I also just like my Titanium Pasta Pot slightly, very slightly, better because the lid sort of locks on.

  7. I noticed that you named the Solo wood stove “Gear of the Year” 3 1/2 years ago and gave the Emberlit FireAnt good reviews in 2015. What tipped the scales in favor of the QiWiz FireFly for you?

    • I like the fact that it folds flat and comes with a scorch shield to protect the ground. My wife also gave it to me as a birthday present, but that’s after what I told her to buy. Those other stoves are still good. I just like the firefly the best, still.

      • I’ve gotten some really nice backpacking specific anniversary presents from my wife… after bunches and bunches of hints! Number 47 comin’ up tomorrow. I’ll see how well the hinting worked this time!

  8. I hope there’s a review of the new Ursack AllMitey in the works.

  9. Phillip – I skimmed an old post of yours on the Kovea LPG adapter. I’m curious if you’ve revisited that option mated to your Kovea spider remote canister stove for “deep winter” use. I used the LPG adapter with a Kovea stove and 1 LB propane tank down to -20 F on a few occasions this winter with great success.

    Calculating the total system weight compared to the MSR white gas system is very comparable and the simplicity of a canister stove was greatly appreciated at those temps!

    • Been meaning to since it’s been blessed by my sensei hikin’ jim as reasonably safe. Glad it worked. figured it would. what is a 1 pound propane bottle? Is that a standard green Coleman gas bottle?

      • Yes I was referring to the standard green propane canister that holds approximately 16 oz, or 1 pound, of propane. Weight of a full canister is around 30 oz.

  10. I can use some advice. I use an alcohol stove in the summer and a Whisperlite in the winter. The last 3 winter camping trips my whisperlite failed me. I couldn’t keep it running. I have replaced and lubed all of the pump parts.

    I remove the pump out of the bottle at night, and reassemble it in the morning just prior to cooking, but still no luck. My thinking is that the issue is an ice buildup within the lines somewhere and that by disassembling it I am preventing the problem, but it doesn’t help. When I test the Whisperlite during warmer months I have no trouble.

    Any suggestions?

    Any suggestions?

    • Cal MSR support and talk to them. I bet they’ve seen this before.

    • One of my hiking buddies had a similar issue with the MSR Dragonfly stove and the issue was a tiny hairline crack in the plastic bottle top. We were tipped off after we noticed the bottle didn’t have the pressure it should have had after pumping it up. Not sure if that is your issue or if you have heard back from MSR, but their customer service has been good in my experience.

  11. What?! No camera? For some of us, essential equipment also includes camera, lens(es), extra batteries, extra memory cards, lens cleaning stuff, small tripod…

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