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10 Best Backpacking Stoves of 2024

10 Best Backpacking Stoves of 2024
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 four popular categories: canister stoves, alcohol stoves, liquid fuel stoves, and wood stoves which can serve double duty as fuel tablet stands.

  • isobutane canister stoves are best for solo cooking, frequent resupply, and in places where stoves (including fires) without an on-off switch are prohibited because of fire danger.
  • alcohol stoves are best for ultralight backpacking and thru-hiking, where permitted.
  • liquid fuel stoves are best for group cooking, cold weather use, and international travel where canister fuel may be difficult to obtain.
  • wood stoves are good for wilderness backpacking where permitted by local regulations.

Below are our picks for the best backpacking stoves.

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
QiWiz FireflyWood Stove2.8 oz

Note: When comparing the weights of these products, it’s important to differentiate stoves from backpacking 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. The Pocket Rocket Deluxe Stove is also an excellent stove worth considering with a push-start igniter and a broader burner head for better heat distribution and simmering. While it’s only 0.3 oz heavier, it is significantly more expensive.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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. Read our review. We’re also fans of the Soto Amicus Stove, which has an attached pot stand that’s impossible to lose and is available with an integrated cookset.

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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. :-)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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10. QiWiz Firefly Wood Stove

Qiwiz firefly Wood stove
The QiWiz Firefly is an ultralight titanium woodstove weighing 2.8 oz that breaks down and folds up flat, making it very easy to pack and carry on backpacking trips. It has a side port so you can reload the stove with fuel while it is burning. Woodstoves are a great stove option because you can use biomass (sticks) instead of carrying a fuel canister or fuel bottle. It’s also nice to have a small fire to kick back with in camp while you cook dinner. Just keep in mind that wood-burning stoves are often banned in regions susceptible to wildfires. Be sure to check with your local authorities to see if wood stove use is permitted.

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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.

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17 comments

  1. to see that you still include the good old Wisperlight. When push comes to shove and gasoline is all there is, you will understand why internationally it is the most solid choice. Carry a funnel to fill the fuel bottle.or a piece of bicycle inner tub will fit over the gas pump nozzle and into the fuel bottle. Bill/b3

  2. I’m glad to see that you left the BRS off this list. It’s a cheap piece of junk that I wouldn’t count on for a long trip. Not terribly efficient either.

    • That doesn’t stop people from buying them. :-)

      • Would never buy one of those. Are they really that bad? I’ve never even seen one in action.

        • The BRS is a low-powered, low-efficiency canister stove so it burns more fuel than necessary to heat the same amount of water. People like it because it packs up very small, so you can carry it in a small cook pot. It’s also very easy to lose. :-) You can buy them on amazon.
          https://amzn.to/48HDUsu

    • Actually, you can get very good efficiency from the “Chinesium” BRS burner… under ideal conditions. If you use it in any wind at all, even if sheltered, it rapidly becomes useless. The key to good efficiency is less dependent on the stove design and more in how you use it. Any stove can be efficient under ideal conditions, at a low setting, and when paired with the right pot. Aside from other issues such as melting support arms, etc, you can make the BRS usable, though I personally wouldn’t recommend it. My preference is usually a Jetboil stash pot and Pocket rocket Deluxe stove. Good wind resistance, excellent quality and reliability, and fast boil times with good efficiency. But I also sometimes just use my toaks 550 and the pocket rocket Deluxe when I’m solo. Saves a few ounces.

  3. I’d like to thanks the folks in the comments from this post last year:
    https://sectionhiker.com/why-do-backpackers-like-alcohol-stoves/ for introducing me to Trail Designs stoves. They weren’t on my radar and I became a customer. I really liked using the Tri kit on trips last year.

  4. The Soto Windmaster is not available without an igniter. Perhaps you were thinking of the Amicus.

  5. A YouTube nerd tested the PocketRocket against the Windmaster. The latter was clearly superior in performance under windy conditiions.

    I own the PR Deluxe with piezo igniter. It’s a great performer above 10F. The piezo failed to ignite fuel once during horizontal rain conditions. Like the Windmaster, it’s a regulated stove, which means it economizes fuel consumption depending on conditions.

    QiWiz’s Firefly twig burner is good for what it is. You wouldn’t want to depend on it during harsh weather, it could actually blow away it’s so light in weight, but once going it heats water quickly. It does not accommodate smaller cups because the gap at the top is too wide. I carry the Firefly instead of gas during summer in norther deciduous forests and desserts where there is scrub. Otherwise I don’t find it useful, and I truly dislike creosote on my cooking pot.

    OT I do believe that QiWiz’s “Little Buck” ultralight saw is the best backpacking wood saw on the market. Weighs nothing practically, very solid when assembled (there is a knack required for assembly, you have to hold the thing together while placing the blade in the pins and this sorta needs three hands, but not really), and it cuts logs and branches up to 6 inches quickly. This was a shameless plug for a small merchant.

    • Was it faster or more fuel-efficient? The distinction is very important if you want to make your canister last as long as possible.

      • Good point.

        He ran clean scientific tests, I wish the link was at hand. The data showed the Windmaster was both faster to boil and it used less fuel in comparison with the PR. This fellow, who I believe is from Oklahoma, measured the windspeed and boiled the same pot filled with the identical quantity of tap water, enough to rehydrate a typical 1-1.5 cup meal.

        The Windmaster proved materially faster to arrrive at a rolling boil. The tester then measured fuel volume with water displacement method in a market bucket and also weight measurements on a scale. The fuel volume between the two was pretty close.

        He attributed the better performance of the Windmaster to the burner head design, saying the Windmaster was deeper and the jets better layed out so the winds didn’t attenuate the flames and heat as much as the PR.

        Surprised I recall all that; I watched the video circa late 2022. It should be out there and maybe I’ll look for it later. Thank you for your reviews!

        (sorry if this is a duplicate/triplicate post; I am experiencing odd behavior client side)

    • Firebox stoves are superbly designed. Perhaps you might include a link in your listing of woodburning stoves. Each can be adapted for gas, or alcohol. I’ve used everyone of their stoves in adverse conditions. They fold to lie flat, so no need to consider your freezing fingertips trying to put a stove together. If you have good kindling, and an efficient firestarter, you can burn damp wood in them, as you would in a firepit.. Good cooking, and great ambience. fireboxstove.com

  6. Very good list Philip. The Soto Amicus with Alu pot is a great deal at 4
    $45. Piezo but no regulator. One should never rely on a Piezo igniter.. They are a convenience. Bic light without fuel puts out plenty of spark to light a gas or alcohol stove.

  7. It’s kind of pointless to discuss stoves instead of stove systems (stove + pot) but this is a pretty good rundown of the major options. Depends also on the use case, i.e., how many people, boiling water only or cooking, efficiency or speed most important, etc. But if you want to compare stoves, the backpackinglight.com folks have done impressive analyses of a variety of stoves to come up with actual relative performance numbers that can be compared to each other.

  8. My first backpacking stove was the Snow Peak Giga Power w/igniter. It’s been my go-to for several years. The igniter stopped working so I removed it.

    I also have the current Snow Peak Lite Max, its lighter than the Giga Power and I’m surprised it’s not on your list.

    Side note, I did experiment with the BRS and it damaged the bottom of a titanium pot. I think that the flame/burner on the BRS is too focused and acted like a blowtorch concentrating all on one spot. So I will only let me son use it with a heavier metal pot. There are many better options out there.

    • Yes, I always remove the piezo igniter whenever I get a stove with one. More about the principle of the thing than weight saving, of course, but I’ve never seen a reliable one and sitting there pressing the “idiot button” repeatedly until you get a light seems kind of dumb when I’m always carrying a lighter anyway. Just seems like unnecessary futz to me.

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