10 Best Backpacking Stoves of 2022

10 Best Backpacking Stoves of 2022 b

Backpackers and campers have a wide range of stoves available to them ranging from all-in-one stove systems to general purpose units that can be used across a wide range of temperatures and locales. Backpacking stoves fall into three popular categories: isobutane canister stoves which are best for solo cooking and short trips, alcohol stoves which are best for ultralight backpacking and thru-hiking, and liquid fuel stoves which are best for group cooking, cold weather use, and international travel. Below are our picks for the best backpacking stoves of 2022.

Make / ModelTypeWeight
MSR Pocket Rocket 2Canister Stove System2.6 oz
Jetboil FlashCanister Stove System13.1 oz
MSR WindburnerCanister Stove System15.5 oz
Trail Designs Caldera ConeAlcohol Stove System3 oz
Soto WindmasterCanister Stove3.0 oz
Jetboil StashCanister Stove System7.1 oz
MSR Whisperlite UniversalCanister & White Gas Stove13.7 oz
Snow Peak Gigapower 2.0Canister Stove3.2 oz
Zelph Fancee Feest StoveAlcohol Stove0.8 oz
Optimus Polaris OptifuelCanister and Multi-Fuel Stove16.8 oz

Note: When comparing the weights of these products, it’s important to differentiate stoves from stove systems. The latter often include integrated cook pots, windscreens, and stove stands, in addition to the stove burner unit.

1. MSR Pocket Rocket 2

MSR Pocket Rocket 2
The MSR Pocket Rocket 2 is compatible with all screw-type isobutane canisters. Compact and lightweight, it weighs 2.6 ounces and includes a built-in pot stand that’s compatible with a wide range of pots. When not in use, the arms of the pot stand fold down and fit into a small protective plastic case. The adjustable flame control is easy to use while wearing gloves and provides fine-grained control from a rolling boil to a slow simmer. The nice thing about buying a standalone stove like the Pocket Rocket 2 is that you can use it with several different best-of-breed pots and pans, instead of being locked into a single all-in-one stove and pot combination. Read our review.

Available from:
REI | Amazon

2. Jetboil Flash

Jetboil Flash Canister Stove
The 1L Jetboil Flash is a fully integrated personal cook system that includes a stove, insulated pot w/lid, stove stand, and a plastic measuring cup/bowl. It’s designed to do one thing incredibly well, which is to rapidly boil water for drinks and to rehydrate backpacking/camping meals. Weighing 13.1 ounces, the Flash can boil 1 liter of water in 4 minutes and 30 seconds  (although it can only boil a half liter at a time). A push-button ignition system eliminates the need to light the stove while a color change indicator on the outside of the pot insulation cover lets you know when your water is hot. When not in use, the stove, stand and a 100 g gas canister fit inside the cookpot, making it easy to pack. The 0.8L Jetboil Zip is very similar but more compact, while the 1.8L Jeboil Sumo is large enough for two people to use.

Available from:
REI | Amazon

3. MSR WindBurner

MSR Windburner Stove System
The MSR Windburner is another complete canister stove system that includes an insulated cook pot, stove, stabilizer, and plastic mug/bowl. The thing that sets it apart from the Jetboil Flash is its flame-less stove, wind resistance, and fuel efficiency. Called a radiant burner, it uses a completely enclosed heating element with an internal pressure regulator that makes the stove virtually impervious to outside conditions. Weighing 15.5 ounces, the Windburner can boil a liter of water in 4 minutes and 30 second minutes and is nearly twice as efficient as a Jetboil, so you get twice as many boils per gas canister. When it’s time to go, the Windburner stove system packs up into its cook pot, with space for a 110 g gas canister. Read our review.

Available from:
REI | Amazon

4. Trail Designs Caldera Cone

Caldera Cone
Caldera Cone
The Trail Designs Caldera Cone is an ultralight, all-in-one alcohol stove system with a combination windscreen/pot stand that’s fitted to one of several dozen cook pots that you specify when you order a Cone. It uses the Trail Design’s Kojin stove which is designed to perform in the lower oxygen/higher heat environment found inside the Caldera cone systems. The Caldera Cone also includes an alcohol fuel bottle, measuring cup, and a plastic caddy to roll up and carry all of the Cone’s components when not in use. The Caldera Cone is considered the gold standard for ultralight backpacking when it comes to alcohol stove systems and only adds a few ounces to the weight of your cook pot and fuel. Read our Review

Available from:
Trail Designs

5. Soto Windmaster Stove

Soto Windmaster
Soto is a well-respected stove company known for making finely engineered stoves. The Soto Windmaster is specially designed to provide superior wind performance with a recessed burner head that acts like a built-in windscreen. This also lets pots sit closer to the burner head, improving fuel efficiency. The Windmaster comes with a clip-on 4-arm clip-on pot support that can support larger cook pots.  Weighing 3.0 ounces, the Windmaster is a very powerful 11,000+ BTU stove, that can simmer or boil wicked fast. It’s also available with or without a piezo igniter, and very reasonably priced. Read our review. We’re also fans of the Soto Amicus Stove, which has an attached pot stand and is available with an integrated cookset.

Available from:
REI | Amazon

6. Jetboil Stash

Jetboil Stash Stove System
The Jetboil Stash is a 7.1 oz fully integrated personal cook system that includes a titanium stove, an anodized cook pot w/lid, and a stand. It’s much less powerful than the Jetboil Flash listed above but also much smaller, lighter weight, and packable which is the reason it’s such an attractive option. When not in use, the stove, stand, and a 100g oz gas canister fit inside the cookpot, making the Stash remarkably easy to pack. The Stash can boil a half-liter of water in 2 minutes 30 seconds and boil up to 12L on one small fuel canister.  Matches not included. :-)

Available from:
REI | Amazon

7. MSR Whisperlite Universal

MSR Whisperlite Universal
The MSR Whisperlite Universal burns a variety of fuels including white gas, kerosene, unleaded gasoline, and isobutane-propane canisters giving you lots of flexibility no matter where you find yourself. Just switch the fuel line and select one of 3 self-cleaning Shaker jets, depending on the fuel type required. When burning white gas, the Universal can boil a liter of water in 3 minutes 30 seconds while it takes 3 minutes 45 seconds with an isobutane canister. Simmering is possible with all fuel types as well as a roiling boil, while the remote burner makes it possible to use a windscreen, no matter what type of fuel is used.  In addition to the stove, the 13.7 oz Whisperlite Universal includes a fuel pump, windscreen, heat reflector, and small parts kit.

Available from:
REI | MSR | Amazon

8. Snow Peak GigaPower 2.0

Snowpeak Gigapower 2.0 Stove
The Snow Peak GigaPower 2.0 is a standalone isobutane canister stove that can simmer or boil water. It has four pot supports that are compatible with a wide variety of cook pots, as well as a built-in piezo ignition system for matchless ignition. A solid and reliable performer, this 10,000 BTU stove weighs 3.2 ounces and takes an average of 4 minutes 45 seconds to boil a liter of water. While it comes with a protective plastic case, it can also be stored in a variety of cookpots with a gas canister. An add-on windscreen is also available to boost its impressive fuel efficiency.

Available from:
REI | Amazon

9. Zelph Fancee Feest Alcohol Stove

Zelph’s Fancee Feast

The Zelph Fancee Feest Stove and an aluminum alcohol burner with a built-in stainless steel pot support that positions your cookpot at the proper height above your stove for an optimal burn. Weighing 0.8 oz, the Fancee Feest comes with fiberglass wicking that pulls the fuel upwards for a complete burn of fuel. The boil time for 2 cups of water is about 8 minutes depending on water and air temperature. This stove works best with squat pots rather than tall skinny ones and requires a windscreen. It should also be used on a flat surface to avoid being tipped over, something that can be an issue with many simple alcohol stoves like it. Zelph makes a number of other great alcohol stoves as well.

Available from:
Zelph Stoves

10. Optimus Polaris OptiFuel Stove

Optimus Optifuel Stove
The Optimus Polaris Optifuel Stove is a multi-fuel stove that can burn canister fuel, white gas, kerosene, diesel, or jet fuel making it ideal for international travel. The stove can also operate with isobutane canisters in the upright position as a gas (3 season) or upside down (4 season mode) using a liquid feed for cold weather operation. Remote positioning of a canister fuel source lets you use the stove with a windscreen for maximum efficiency, while the integrated pot and stove stand enables use with larger pots for snowmelting or group cooking. The stove includes a liquid fuel bottle. Large 1 liter liquid fuel bottles are also available.

Available from:
REI | Amazon

How to Select a Backpacking Stove

When choosing a backpacking stove it’s best to consider:

  • the stove’s weight
  • the availability and cost of the fuel required to run it
  • whether it’s best for individual or group use
  • the operating temperatures in which it must perform

Stove and Cooking Fuel Types

There are five main types of backpacking stoves:

  • White gas (liquid fuel, Coleman fuel) stoves
  • Canister stoves that burn an isobutane/propane mix
  • Alcohol stoves that burn denatured alcohol
  • Wood stoves that burn twigs and small sticks
  • Solid fuel stoves

White gas stoves burn a refined form of unleaded gas. They’re good for group cooking and winter cooking because they generate a large amount of heat.  They can be bulky, however, which is why most solo hikers don’t use them. Canister stoves are best used for individual use or couples. Some can simmer, but most are specialized for boiling water. Alcohol stoves are very simple and preferred by thru-hikers and ultralight backpackers, in part because it is so easy to resupply denatured alcohol on a long distance hike (sold in supermarkets, drug stores, and hardware stores.) Wood stoves can be convenient if natural fuel is easily available, but fire bans in dry states often prohibit their use. Solid fuel stoves burn prepackaged fuel cubes and are also very lightweight, but the fuel can be hard to resupply on a long trip.

Backpacking Stove Systems

A stove system includes everything you need to boil water or cook food including a stove, a cookpot, windscreen, and a stove stand, making it a very convenient and economical way to acquire the stove components you need for backpacking or camping. While group stove systems are available, most of them are designed for single users and solo backpacking. Most stove systems are based around canister stoves and are quite windproof, which increases their fuel efficiency. They are limited in their capabilities, however, and more geared toward boiling water quickly, rather than simmering meals.

Winter Backpacking Stoves

Winter stoves are designed to burn fuel at lower temperatures, usually in a liquid form. White gas stoves can burn down to external temperatures of 40 below zero, Fahrenheit, while canister stoves that can burn a liquid feed (called inverted canister stoves) can burn down to about 10 degrees, Fahrenheit. Winter stoves are designed to melt snow to create drinking water and usually lack the ability to simmer meals since they’re glorified flame throwers.

Backpacking Stove Power

Stove power is measured in BTUs. The higher the number of BTUs, the more heat the stove will put out and the faster it will boil water.

Backpacking Stove Ignition

Many canister stoves are available with integrated sparking units called piezo igniters, so you don’t need to carry matches or a lighter to ignite your stove. While they are incredibly convenient, they have a tendency to wear out if you use your stove frequently. They are usually replaceable, but many people buy stoves without this feature to save money if they plan on using their stove heavily.

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Disclosure: The author has received sample products mentioned in this article over the span of many years from MSR, Soto, and Trail Designs. The rest he’s purchased with his own funds.

SectionHiker is reader-supported. We independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our affiliate links. Help us continue to test and write unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.

30 comments

  1. After reading the list, I realized that I’m backpacking stove collector. Currently have 11 in my collection! Hate to admit how many water filters I’ve collected…

  2. Having used a Jetboil Stash for a while now (formerly used Jetboil Flash) I can attest that for one person who really just needs to boil water (like me) it works perfectly. Very light and compact as well.

  3. By “windscreen,” I meant the metal and plastic housing on the other Jetboils that the pot locks into, with the plastic bits that hang down – I’ve never really noted that it made a huge difference, but I always assumed that was supposed to function as a windscreen.

  4. I believe the Soto Windmaster is 2.3 oz with the smaller TriFlex Pot Support and 3.0 oz with the larger 4Flex Pot Support shown in photo. Your links take you to Soto Windmasters with 4Flex Support which is better for everything from small to large pots. The smaller TriFlex can be purchased separately and is for small pots. Really like this regulated canister stove and have both supports for different trips. Thank you for a good stove overview, only missing an Esbit stove, which few use or like.

    • I mainly use esbit and have for years (although I do still use canister and liquid fuel, mainly for car camping). But you can use any piece of metal as an esbit stove, like a bottle cap or a can lid. The most important thing is having a wire stand to put your pot on.

      • Glad to hear that you use them, many dislike them. My two lightest cook kits are a 2 oz DIY Esbit kit used for many solo trips over the years. And a heavier 6 oz Caldera Cone cook kit when not solo. Now unfortunately here in the Mountain West, Sierra Nevada, anything without a “shut off valve” is banned because of “additional fire hazard associated with these stoves,” (since 2013). No Esbit, no Alcohol. So my cook kits gained over 5 oz for that canister.

      • I made a very light Esbit stove for section hiking by riveting two aluminum cat food cans together back to back. I drilled a bunch of holes in the sides of the bottom one and another bunch through the junction between the stoves. This was to allow air to come in through the bottom and flow upward past the burning Esbit cube. The top can is my pot support and wind screen. I drilled some more holes around it to enhance air flow.

        The stove works quite well. One cube will bring about 24 oz. water to boil in my Olicamp pot with heat exchanger in under ten minutes. I use that time to do other camp chores.

        My stove, extra Esbit, and matches fit into the Olicamp pot. Although the soot from the Esbit is relatively easy to wash off to an acceptable degree, I put the stove into a Ziploc to keep soot off the inside of the pot and I put the Olicamp into another Ziploc to keep soot off my pack.

        A problem I’ve had lately is that REI in Dallas, Jacksonville, and Charlotte has been out of Esbit when I tried to purchase some. Fortunately, my hiking buddy had some but if it’s going to be hard to come by, I’ll have to use another stove on my next section hike, which won’t be hard to solve with my collection of stoves.

    • You’re right about that weight. Checked the soto specs. Thx.

  5. I have finally pulled back from the latest n greatest hook and paired down my stoves to 3. All this reading and buying gets a little expensive. I hate to think what money I have lost to reselling my “lightly used” camp gear! Ha!

  6. Big fan of Soto Windmaster stoves here. I use 4-flex, since I use wider pots, which are more efficient and 4lfex gives it extra stability. MSR pocket rocket deluxe is a close 2nd choice for me.
    In places where alcohol stoves are banned (aka JMT some years), soto or MSR are great choices. efficient, light and canisters of various sizes are widely available.

  7. Good write up, wide comparison of stove types and brands. I own a couple of the stoves in the comparison. As an engineer, glad to see no knock-offs included. Companies spend R&D money to produce a good product versus reverse engineering a design. I bought a Svea 123R from REI on sale for $29.99 back in the mid 1980s. I use the Svea when feeling nostalgic, it is loud, but make me smile.

    • When it comes to stoves, you really are better off buying the name brands in terms of the engineering and quality. They are much much better which becomes important if you have to depend on them.

  8. Curious why a wood stove did not make the list? Firebox Titanium packs flat, weighs only 17 oz and you don’t have to carry fuel.

    • Wood, esbit, and even alcohol have largely gone the way of the dodo due to fire bans. When push comes to shove it also doesn’t really matter which wood stove you use since there’s no real fuel efficiency penalty as there is with other stove types. Sorry to be so reductionist, but I’ve used a lot of different wood stoves over the years, and whatever floats your boat will work just fine. People need the most help in picking good canister and liquid fuel stoves where design and engineering matter a lot more.

  9. Good cross section of stoves and good reviews.

    MY BACKPACKING STOVES:
    1.) Brunton CRUX folding canister top stove.

    2.) Trail Designs Sidewinder titanium Caldera Cone and Inferno woodburning insert
    (Most versatile stove I own.)

    3.) MSR Whisperlite Universal. (I’ve only used it in Butane and white gas so far)

    • BTW, years ago I chose the Btunton CRUX (AKA the Optimus CRUX) partly for its WIDE burner that avoids hot spots.
      Even the upgraded Pocket Rocket still has a burner that is too small.

  10. My old Bluet stove hit the dust while bike packing a few years ago. Based on your reviews I purchased the Amicus Soto. What a great stove. It packs into its own little pot though I often carry other cooking vessels like the older MSR Bugaboo solo with a lid that can be used as a frying pan.(the new version is bigger!) I also carry a folding Esbit and cubes. This gives me a back up if I run out of fuel or just want a second flame. I know there are reasons for having multi-fuel stoves, but for my current purposes this fills the bill nicely. I’m not going over seas or camping in winter. Big fan of the Soto stoves.

  11. I’ve been testing a few alcohol setups lately in my lab (garage) and the most efficient system I’ve found is a
    Zelph Starlyte Burner raised 1 inch off the ground coupled with a Caldera Cone and Evernew 500 ml pot-mug.
    Would be great for a long trip,saving weight. Alcohol is quiet, letting you “hear” the woods. Thanks.

  12. Spec for the Jetboil Flash and the MSR Windburner is 1 liter in 4.5 minuets. You state Windburner is twice as efficient as the flash. Could you provide something in the way of a specification to explain that?

  13. Is there a “safe” alcohol stove out there? One that won’t set the woods on fire?

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