Home Camping Tips Best Portable Campfire Stoves for Backpackers
Best Portable Campfire Stoves for Backpackers

5 min

September 9, 2023

Heading into the wilderness with a reliable stove can make a world of difference, enhancing the whole camping and backpacking experience. 

Portable campfire stoves have become crucial for outdoor enthusiasts, providing warmth, boiling water, and cooking meals. 

As 2023 rolls around, we decided to evaluate the best portable campfire stoves available to cater to every backpacker’s needs. 

Let’s get started!

Top 5 Best Portable Campfire Stoves for Backpackers

Given below are our top picks for portable campfire stoves:

The MSR PocketRocket 2 

The MSR PocketRocket 2 is the embodiment of ultralight and ultraportable. Weighing only 2.6 oz, it can easily fit in the corner of your backpack without adding any significant weight. 

Despite its diminutive size, the stove doesn’t skimp on power, offering a strong burner that allows you to boil a liter of water in under 3.5 minutes. Its excellent simmer control and wide burner disperses heat better than most, and it can accommodate larger pans. 

Jetboil Flash Cooking System

The Jetboil Flash is an integrated canister stove designed with efficiency in mind. This stove boils water incredibly fast, reaching boiling point in just over 2 minutes. 

The built-in heat indicator on the cozy turns orange when water is hot, adding a safety feature that also saves fuel. Additionally, it can pack away neatly, with room for a small fuel canister inside. 

Soto Amicus Stove Cookset Combo

The Soto Amicus is a great option for backpackers starting out and those on a budget. It is a high-performing stove that comes with a cookset, which although not the best quality, is quite sufficient for most needs. 

The stove itself is compact and sturdy, with a powerful burner that cranks out 10,200 BTUs, providing fast boil times and a four-prong pot support for better stability. 

MSR Reactor 1.7L Stove System

This stove system is for serious wilderness enthusiasts who don’t mind paying extra for high-end performance. The MSR Reactor 1.7L is known for its outstanding performance in cold and windy conditions. 

Its radiant burner is completely enclosed, providing extraordinary wind resistance, and the integrated heat exchanger on the pot ensures fuel efficiency. 

Jetboil MiniMo Cooking System

If you’re looking for a stove that can do more than just boil water, the Jetboil MiniMo is a fantastic choice. It offers excellent simmer control, allowing you to cook a wide range of meals, not just dehydrated pouches. 

The wide pot design also makes it easier to eat directly from it. This stove, however, takes a bit longer to boil water compared to its sibling, the Flash, and costs more. But if you value meal versatility and enjoy cooking on the trail, the MiniMo is worth the investment.

Quick Buyers Guide

Given below is a list of features that you should look for when purchasing a portable stove. 

  • Fuel Type: The type of fuel your stove uses can significantly impact its performance. Canister stoves are easy to use, require less maintenance, and provide a clean burn, but they may struggle in freezing temperatures. Liquid fuel stoves, on the other hand, perform well in cold conditions but require priming and more frequent maintenance.
  • Weight and Size: Weight is a critical factor for backpackers. An ultralight stove is easy to carry, but it might compromise on performance and durability. Additionally, consider the stove’s packed size; a compact design will take up less room in your backpack.
  • Cooking Versatility: If your meals mostly consist of boiling water for coffee or dehydrated meals, a basic, fast-boil system will serve you well. But if you prefer a broader menu, look for a stove with excellent simmer control that can handle more complicated cooking.

Stove Types

  • Alcohol Stoves: Popular among ultralight and thru-hiking communities, these stoves are simple, light, and easy to refuel. However, they lack efficiency, heat output, and flame control compared to liquid or canister stoves.
  • Wood-Burning Stoves: These use organic matter like sticks and leaves as fuel, making them ideal for long-term forest trips. They require careful maintenance and don’t match the ease or output of traditional stoves. Local fire and twig collection regulations also limit their use.
  • Solid Fuel Tablet Stoves: These ultralight stoves run on solid fuel tablets. While not ideal for regular cooking, they are a great backup option. However, some locations have regulations against them due to the lack of a shutoff switch.
  • Integrated vs Non-Integrated Stoves: Integrated stoves, like the Jetboil Flash, consist of a burner, heat exchanger, and pot that attach to the fuel canister in one package. Non-integrated stoves are separate units allowing you to change the pot size, simmer meals, and use different types of fuel. 

In conclusion, the right backpacking stove depends on your needs and priorities. If you value efficiency, convenience, and are only boiling water, an integrated canister stove may be your best bet. 

For those venturing on longer trips, particularly in cold weather, a liquid fuel stove could be the better choice. Ultimately, the decision will be based on a balance between weight, packability, boil time, stove efficiency, and burner power. Happy camping!

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