Ultralight Backpacking Stove Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best

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Going on a backpacking and camping trip is an exciting adventure. Imagine the smell of the trees, the picturesque view of the mountains, and the cool people you get to hang out with. However, before you get all worked up, there are many things you need to cross off your checklist. One them includes packing an ultralight backpacking stove among many others. A cooking set is crucial to your survival in the wilderness.

A stove is an essential tool to keep your energy refueled after a long day’s hike. Cooking allows you to enjoy and combine a culinary and outdoor experience in one adventure. Having the proper equipment for cooking can help enhance your outdoor skills and improve your cooking style.

Ask yourself what are the things you need to know so you can pick the right ultralight backpacking stove for you? Here are some tips.

What you Need to Know

  • Different types of backpacking stoves
  • What to look for in an ultralight backpacking stove
  • The best ultralight backpacking stoves

Different Types of Backpacking Stoves

Before anything else, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the different types of backpacking stoves for your camping.

  • Canister Stove

A canister stove is light, compact, and very easy to use. You won’t have to pump the stove and it doesn’t require any maintenance. All you need to do is set-up your stove, light it up, and you’re good to go.

This type of stove is easy to pack and carry on your back. An empty isobutane fuel canister weighs about 3.3 ounces. The weight is nothing compared to the benefits you’ll be reaping once you get a taste of your favorite meal.

However, it requires a compatible isobutane fuel canister. The good thing is, you can easily get this at any outdoor shops but expect that it can be a bit pricey. Also, if you are planning on hiking in extremely cold areas, an isobutane fuel canister may not function in temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

For most backpackers and hikers, a small canister stove is still their top pick for outdoor cooking. It is more convenient, weighs less, easy to use, and even the boiling time is faster.

It doesn’t leave a burning smell. Plus, you can even recycle the fuel canisters for your next adventure.

  • Liquid Fuel Stove

A liquid fuel stove is recommended for longer expeditions. This type of equipment requires more knowledge and practice on how to operate. It comes with a number of parts and you need to figure out how to build it together. This type of stove requires preparation time.

The advantage, however, is that a liquid stove appears to be the most versatile among other stoves. Most liquid fuel stoves are multi-fueled which means you can start a fire using diesel or white gas. This makes it more appropriate for international climbs because its fuel is easier to buy.

In terms of cooking capability, some liquid fuel stoves can simmer your meals. This way you can prepare and devour more complex meals. It is also suitable for use in cold temperatures.

On the downside, most liquid fuel stoves require priming, maintenance, and is bulkier to carry,

  • Alcohol Stoves

Alcohol stoves are widely popular, especially in ultralight backpacking communities. This type of stove can burn different types of alcohol such as methyl, grain, denatured alcohol, and gelled fuel. It is simple to operate. Just add the fuel, light it up, and cover to put out the fire.

It is simple to use and light to carry. On the downside, it produces a low fire which is not suitable for heating large amounts of water. Also, the flame is hard to control.

If you are planning on cooking a delicious meal, you may have a hard time using this stove. However, it can be efficient for boiling water and warming up your meal.

What to look for in an ultralight backpacking stove

Now that you’re familiar with the different kinds of stoves, the next step is to identify the factors in choosing an ultralight backpacking stove. Here are some of the things you should look out for:

  • Fuel efficiency – A fuel efficient stove is crucial because you don’t want to end up running low on fuel in the middle of your camping trip. We recommend you check and identify the amount of fuel you need for your entire hike. This way, you can carry only what you need especially since you need to save enough space and weight on your backpack.

What we think: For fuel efficiency, we recommend using a liquid fuel stove.

  • Boiling time – A lot of backpackers prefer to cook and prepare simple meal plans that usually just require boiling water. Most stoves are specifically designed for this purpose. It depends on the type of food preparation you will require.

What we think: We strongly suggest you go for the small canister stove where boiling is quicker.

  • Duration – You should identify how long you plan to stay in the wilderness. This will help you plan for the best type of stove and the amount of fuel consumption for the entire trip.

What we think: We recommend using a small canister stove for shorter trips because they are easier to use and lighter to carry. For longer expeditions, we strongly suggest you use a liquid fuel stove because its fuel can last longer.

  • Number of people in the group – Another important factor to consider is how many people you need to feed. There are some ultralight backpacking stoves designed for one or two persons. However, if you have a bigger group, you should bring an extra stove. Otherwise, your fellow campers might end up going on a hunger strike while waiting for you to finish cooking their meal.

What we think: Since liquid stoves are more stable and can accommodate a bigger pot, we suggest you use this especially if you are cooking for more than two people.

The Best Ultralight Backpacking Stove

After evaluating the types of stoves and the things you need to consider when buying an ultralight backpacking stove, here are some products worth mentioning based on their features and functionality.

When looking for a product make sure you combine most if not all the factors we mentioned above. One product worth mentioning is the MSR Pocket Rocket Stove. It weighs only 3 ounces and you can barely notice the weight in your backpack. Since it has a full cooking function and flame control, you can boil water in just under 3.5 minutes. Plus, it’s small, compact and has a solid performance.

ultralight backpacking stove

The OUTAD Alcohol Stove weighs approximately 4.59 ounces. This stove is equipped with foldable handle and simmer ring on the regulator for flame control. It is safe to use and prevents the alcohol from evaporating and leaking. This stove comes with a windscreen to help keep it stable.

Just Enjoy the Outdoors

Now that you have an idea on how to choose the best ultralight backpacking stove for you, the only thing left for you to do is plan your next adventure. It’s really up to you to decide which one you think will work best for you. Just remember to take into consideration the type of stove, features, and functions.

These tips should be able to help you pick the best ultralight backpacking stove for your outdoor adventure. If you have any questions about this article, please feel free to comment. We’d love to hear your feedback and stories.