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The best backpacking stoves for 2024

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Whether you’re hiking through Yellowstone or camping in the Ozarks, choosing the best backpacking stove to take with you can make a big difference. Of course, every traveler has their own idea of what makes the “best” camping stove. In general, you’ll need something lightweight, compact, and reliable.

According to Renee Miller and Tim Beissinger, founders of the website Thruhikers where they document their many outdoor adventures, you don’t have to spend a fortune to find a great backpacking stove. “There is no need to go with the fanciest stove on the market,” says Beissinger. “It’s a good idea to prioritize size and weight over other features.”

Our pick for best overall backpacking stove is the Soto Windmaster 4Flex. Power, efficiency, and dependability have made this canister stove a hands-down favorite among outdoor enthusiasts for years. It’s also incredibly light and packs easily—two attributes that go a long way on the trails.

We researched more backpacking stoves to suit a variety of needs. Read on for all of our top picks.

Our picks for the best backpacking stoves

Buy it now at REI

Why we like it: When it comes to reliable backpacking stoves, reviewers note the Windmaster consistently delivers. It “lives up to its name,” says one Amazon reviewer, by offering superior wind protection and a strong flame, even on the most blustery days. Backpackers love its convenient built-in igniter, powerful heat output, and four-pronged pot stabilizer, which provides a sturdier platform for cooking than three-pronged stoves. It even features an award-winning micro heat regulator to promote better simmer control and prevent burning through fuel too quickly.

Many reviewers also said that compared to longtime gold standard MSR PocketRocket, the Windmaster has the edge, thanks to its strong performance and better price. Plus, it runs quieter than other similar stoves.

Keep in mind: The Windmaster will do everything you need it to on the trails, but some backpackers say using it just to re-hydrate meals could be overkill.

Product details: Weight: 5 ounces | Fuel: Isobutane-propane | Boiling time: 4 minutes, 2 seconds (1 liter) | Dimensions: 3.94 x .71 x 6.5 inches

Best wood-burning backpacking stove: Solo Stove Titan


Buy it now at SoloStove

Why we like it: If packing liquid fuel feels intimidating or even risky, a wood-burning stove might be for you. The Solo Titan burns twigs, pine cones, leaves, and any other biomass materials you may find out in nature, offering a safe and natural alternative to burning gas. It also has a low-smoke design, so you won’t be breathing in any harmful fumes as you cook or lean over the stove for warmth.

The Titan is considered mid-size, ideal for cooking for several people. But if you’re looking for a smaller option, check out the Solo Lite, which weighs just nine ounces. 

Keep in mind: Just like a real campfire, you may have to fiddle around with how you arrange your kindling to get the hang of how to keep the flames going. One Amazon reviewer notes that Titan burns from the top down, and that it may take a few tries to become proficient with it.

Product details: Weight: 16.5 ounces | Fuel: Wood | Boiling time: 4-6 minutes (1 liter) | Dimensions: 5.1 x 7.9 inches


Buy it now on Amazon

Why we like it: With its sleek look, the Fire Maple Star X2 makes a great first impression. But it’s not just style over function. Based on hundreds of reviews, hikers say they’re impressed by this gas-powered stove’s easy assembly and compact design, which stores all the parts within the system for maximum portability. One YouTube tutorial shows a hiker praising the Star X2’s value compared to the popular, higher-priced JetBoil.

The Star X2 also features Heat Exchange Technology, which the company says provides superior wind-resistance in different weather environments, helping to reduce overall boil time.

Keep in mind: Some hikers note that the system runs loud. It also weighs 22 ounces, which some backpackers say is too heavy.

Product details: Weight: 22 ounces | Fuel: Isobutane gas mixture | Boiling time: 1 minute, 42 seconds (per half liter) | Dimensions: 254 x 265 mm; unfolded 10 x 10.4 inches

Best single burner backpacking stove: JetBoil Flash


Buy it now at Backcountry

Why we like it: The JetBoil Flash packs a lot of power into a small package. As its name implied, this single burner stove can boil water in less than two minutes, according to the company. One Amazon reviewer calls it a “game changer,” not just for backpacking, but also for other outdoor excursions, such as music festivals.

The JetBoil Flash has a convenient button igniter, so you don’t have to fiddle with matches or a separate lighter. The color-changing heat indicator lets you know when the water’s ready. It even comes with an insulating koozie to keep liquids warm for longer inside the FluxRing cooking cup.

Keep in mind: While lots of hikers love the stove’s compact size, some complain that the JetBoil is a bit heavier than they expected. In one Reddit thread, some users praise how quickly it can boil water or melt snow, while others argue there are comparable options (like the MSR PocketRocket listed below) that are lighter, if you don’t mind waiting an extra 30 seconds.  

Product details: Weight: 13.1 ounce | Fuel: Isobutane-propane | Boiling time: 1 minute, 40 seconds | Dimensions: 4.1 x 4.1 x 7.1 inches

Best budget backpacking stove: BRS 3000T


Buy it now on Amazon

Why we like it: The BRS 3000T is a popular budget backpacking stove that also works as a reliable back-up. 

For just $16, this little unit can boil a liter of water in less than three minutes and is small enough to fit inside a pill bottle. Backpackers also love that the BRS 3000T weighs just 25 grams—or as one Amazon reviewer put it, “next to nothing”—when it’s tucked away in your backpack. Many hikers consider it a solid alternative to the beloved PocketRocket, but at a fraction of the price. 

Keep in mind: Some people have found the 3000T to be less wind-resistant than others. However, a good windscreen is an easy solution. It also doesn’t come with any extras, such as a cooking pot or utensils.

Product details: Weight: .8 ounces (25 grams) | Fuel: Liquified petroleum gas | Boiling time: 2 minutes, 58 seconds (1 liter) | Dimensions: 3 x 3 x 2 inches


Buy it now at Backcountry

Why we like it: There’s a reason why the WhisperLite has been called “legendary” in the backpacking community. This liquid fuel backpacking camp stove has been around for over 40 years and has a loyal following for its dependability and versatility. The latest version, the WhisperLite Universal, builds upon the great quality of the original.

It’s sturdier and sets up more quickly than the original WhisperLite. But The WhisperLite Universal’s main selling point is that it can burn multiple kinds of liquid fuels, including white gas, kerosene, isobutane, and unleaded gasoline. It’s also compatible with canister stoves, making it convenient for all sorts of trips and areas where fuel sources may vary. 

Keep in mind: The WhisperLite Universal is more expensive than other options. Some reviewers question why this model costs $100 more than the original version. But if you’re looking for a versatile stove and don’t mind spending a little extra, it’s a great option.

Product details: Weight: 11 ounces | Fuel: White gas, kerosene, MSR IsoPro | Boiling time: 3 hours, 50 minutes to 4 hours, 40 minutes (depending on fuel) | Dimensions: 6 x 4 x 4 inches

Best ultralight backpacking stove: Soto Amicus


Buy it now on Amazon or REI

Why we like it: Weighing in at just 2.9 ounces, the Soto Amicus is well known for its light weight, sleek look, and ultra-compact design. It’s also quick and efficient, with a boil time of roughly three minutes per liter of water. Multiple Amazon reviewers praise this backpacking stove’s easy assembly and four integrated pot stabilizers, which create a sturdy base for cooking in the wilderness. The price also feels right for the quality. (It costs $45-$50, depending on whether you buy the igniter.) 

Keep in mind: Some reviewers note the Amicus is too small, an important factor to consider if you plan to cook for a group. For minimalists who want to pack light and plan to cook for one or two people, it’s a solid pick. Other reviewers also say this stove runs louder than other similar stoves.

Product details: Weight: .07 ounces (250 grams) | Fuel: Isobutane | Boiling time: About 3 minutes (1 liter) | Dimensions: 3.94 x .71 x 6.5 inches


Buy it now on Amazon or Backcountry

Why we like it: The original PocketRocket is popular for its ease of use, lightweight size, and reliable performance. However, the original version had some drawbacks, including poor wind resistance and no built-in starter. The Deluxe version addresses those problems and comes with even more features.

The full kit includes a 1.2-liter cooking pot, a strainer lid, a bowl that doubles as a cup, a foldable handle for the pot, and a mesh sack to carry it all in. One Amazon reviewer says the starter on this one “works like a charm” and that an MSR fuel canister “nests perfectly” inside the kit so everything stays compact in transit. 

Keep in mind: At $140, this mighty little stove is an investment. Hikers say it’s worth every penny, but there are budget-friendly options that could suit your needs.

Product details: Weight: 13.1 ounces | Fuel: Isobutane | Boiling time: 3 minutes, 20 seconds (1 liter) | Dimensions: 5 x 5 x 5.25 inches

Our review process

To find the best backpacking stoves, we pored through hundreds of customer reviews, scrolled Reddit threads by outdoor enthusiasts, and watched more YouTube tutorials than we could count. We also read through a number of hiking blogs and consulted with folks who’ve clocked thousands of miles in the outdoors and shared their first-hand experience.

  • Third-party reviews: We read through customer reviews from third-party sites like Amazon to determine each product’s pros and cons.

  • Brand reputation: There’s a reason why experienced hikers keep coming back to certain brands they know and love, even if there are newer and flashier products on the market. We considered new and improved models, as well as familiar brand names that hikers have trusted for years.

  • Ease of use: Aside from their light weight, durability, quality materials, and travel-friendly builds, these top backpacking camp stoves set up quickly and are easy to operate, according to customers.

What to know about backpacking stoves

At the end of the day, the right backpacking stove for you will depend on the kind of trip you’re taking and how you plan to use it.


You’ll be carrying tons of equipment besides a stove. That’s why it’s important to choose a compact stove that you can break down easily. Often, that means all the pieces should fit inside a small container so it won’t take up much space in a backpack.

Fuel type

Purchasing a backpacking stove is really a two-step process, since fuel is sold separately. Know the kind of fuel the stove requires (liquid, wood, etc.), as well as how much you’ll need. Look into the pros and cons of each fuel source and watch YouTube tutorials on how to use them. If you’re still torn, consider a versatile option that can burn various fuel types (like the WhisperLite Universal).


All backpacking stoves are made to be relatively light. But the lighter the stove, the less practical it may be for your needs. Consider factors like flame control and pot stability, which could impact cook time. You may not want to skimp on quality for the sake of a few ounces.

Fuel efficiency

Conserving energy is a big part of planning a successful hike. When determining how much fuel to bring, look into a stove’s fuel efficiency (REI has a helpful way to calculate that.) Consider meal planning before your trip to conserve fuel. 

Simmering ability

Stoves that excel at simmering tend to have better flame regulation, so you can increase or decrease the output as needed. This also controls how much fuel your stove is burning.

Frequently asked questions

Finding the right backpacking stove for you isn’t as straightforward as you might think. It’s important to consider multiple factors before making a decision.

What type of stove is best for backpacking?

That depends on a few things, including the backpacker’s experience. According to Miller and Beissinger, co-authors of Thruhikers: A Guide to Life on the Trail, canister stoves are a great place to start for beginners.

 “[They’re] super easy to use, are usually the most affordable, and are among the lightest available,” says Beissinger. That said, canister stoves aren’t always ideal for cold-weather camping, since the fuel canisters can lose pressure in colder temperatures. 

“Instead, universal-fuel stoves like the WhisperLite work better [in cold temperatures] because they have a pump for manual pressurization,” he advises.

This isn’t a concern with warm-weather trips, however. In those cases, Miller and Beissinger say to focus on durability, simplicity, and weight/size when choosing a stove. An ideal stove should weigh under three ounces.

Lastly, think about what kinds of dishes you’ll be preparing. Miller and Beissinger point out that lots of backpacking food can be cold-soaked in water, which won’t require a stove at all. Others rely on dehydrated meals, which only require boiling water.

How many BTUs do I need for a backpacking stove?

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, which measures the amount of energy a stove uses in order to heat a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. In short, the higher the BTUs, the more power a stove will use. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s quicker or more efficient, however. It also doesn’t mean that stoves with higher BTUs burn hotter than others. According to, “it simply means the stove consumes a lot of fuel.”

Ultimately, several factors will impact the number of BTUs a backpacking stove will have. It’s better to focus first on what you want a stove to do for you, and then go from there. That said, most backpacking stoves have somewhere between 3,000 and 12,000 BTUs, whereas larger camping stoves with multiple burners can have upwards of 20,000 BTUs.

Are backpacking stoves safe?

The short answer is yes, as long as they’re used properly. Major no-nos include using them inside of or near camping tents, which are highly flammable, and not providing proper ventilation. Backpacking stoves should always be thoroughly cleaned after use and never left unattended while they’re on. They should be placed on a stable, flat surface to prevent any fuel spills or other accidents.

“It’s a good idea to test your setup at home to make sure everything works before heading out,” says Miller, adding that alcohol-based stoves should be avoided—especially in fire-prone areas.

Kaitlin Stanford is a freelance writer and editor from New York. She’s written on a wide range of topics from news to women’s health and e-commerce for media outlets including Yahoo, Parents, and Bustle.

*Although we are sharing our personal opinions of these experiences or products with you, National Geographic is not endorsing these experiences or products on behalf of anyone. It has not performed product safety testing on any of these products, did not manufacture them, and is not selling, or distributing them and is not making any representations about the safety or caliber of these products or experiences for individual consumers. Prices and availability are subject to change from the date of publication.

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