When I started spending more time in the great outdoors I also started bringing more equipment to extend my time out and experience overall. It’s tough to bring everything you want without sacrificing being comfortable. Since cooking requires heat and so does beverages such as coffee I started bringing portable stoves and burners with me. That is why I have put a list of the top 5 backpacking stoves – so you know what options are available.
You might be thinking why not just make a fire? Well often times there is a fire ban in my area so creating a fire isn’t always reasonable especially since most days I want to head out are the hot days of summer.
Check out my top 5 list below and leave a comment if you’ve used any of these and what you recommend:
1. MSR Pocket Rocket
This is the top choice out of the 5 backpacking stoves ranked here due to it’s lightweight (9.9 oz) and extremely compact design along with durability. You might see burners tops for cheaper but from experience it’s better to go with the better constructed option for reliability.
Purchase the MSR Pocket Rocket here.
2. Jetboil Flash Camping Stove
Eliminate the need for a kettle with the Jetboil Flash that boils water in 100 seconds. To ignite simply push the igniter button, also eliminating the need for a match book or lighter.
The setup is quick – all you need to do is put a butane canister in the stabilizer and then screw on the jet boil and you are ready to go. Additional positives on the Jetboil are that you can use it with an attachment as a coffee press, the bottom cup doubles as a measuring cup and bowl and holds 12 oz of water.
The only downside to the Jetboil is that you will need to bring a burner to attach to the tank if you want to use a pan for cooking.
Purchase the Jetboil Flash Camping Stove here.
3. Coleman Propane Backpacking Burner Stove
Coleman backpacking stoves have been around for a long time and is a simple option. This is currently what I bring with me while fishing. The burner fits a 16 oz (1 lb) propane tank and is the perfect size for a kettle or a 8” pan if you are doing a catch and cook.
The base is sturdy, made of solid plastic and has a snug fit for the propane cylinder. If you’re going with this option be sure to bring along matches or a lighter to ignite the flame.
The only drawback is that the propane tank is somewhat large when considering the size of your backpack. The benefit though is enough propane to get you through the day so you never have to worry. Time to boil may take longer then some modern devices but is still fairly quick.
Purchase the Coleman Single-Burner Propane Stove here.
4. BioLite Wood Burning & USB Charging Camp Stove
The Biolite is a device I’ve used many times and is in a totally different direction then the rest of the backpacking stoves in this list.
Instead of propane or butane, the Biolite is fueled by sticks and twigs. A bonus is that the Biolite has a USB port so you can charge your mobile devices. You may need to keep stocking the sticks to get a full charge. This camp stove generates 3 watts of electricity and has a rechargeable 2600 mAh battery for added power.
View the smart LED dashboard for real time feedback on fire strength, power input and fan speed which drives away smoke.
The water capacity is perfect for brewing coffee with any method (French Press, Turkish cup) boiling 1 liter of water in 4.5 minutes. Compact storage adds value to this option when thinking about backpacking as it has foldable durable aluminum legs.
Purchase the combo kit and you will have a kettle pot specifically built for the BioLite that actually fits the BioLite inside for compact storage. The only drawback is that at 2.06 lbs this may be heavy in your pack.
Purchase the BioLite Wood Burning & USB Charging Camp Stove here.
5. TOMSHOO Camping Ignition Stove
One of the most lightweight compact backpacking burner options, the Tomshoo has everything you need while keeping space occupancy minimal.
This device comes with an anodized aluminum pot and small pan with folding handles for the option to not just boil water but cook as well.
Take out the folding burner, attach to a butane fuel can, unfold the pot and fill with water. You’re ready to go (don’t forget a fire source for ignition). The weight is 12.9 oz and the pot measures 4.7” in diameter and 4.1” in height.
Purchase the TOMSHOO Camping Ignition Stove and the Cookware bundle here.
The Bottom Line – Backpacking Stoves
These 5 backpacking stoves have different features but all do the same thing in the end – heat your dinner or beverage. Newer technology provides opportunity for charging your device, while older simplicity has always gotten the job done such as the Pocket Rocket.
There are different fuel types for each so think about what works best for you, is it propane? can you refill the propane yourself? Or do you think you can find enough dry branches for the BioLite? These are all things to factor in but if you need my suggestion it’s always going to be the Pocket Rocket – it’s never failed me and has a compact design!