This guide first appeared on our partner company, Mighty Hatchet
There are alot of camping stoves out there. Our Gear Guide below focuses on what are commonly referred to as "Backpack" Stoves...
Liquid Fuel Stoves
Liquid Fuel stoves use white gas, which burns hot and clean due to lack of impurities. Its cost per ounce is cheaper than gas canister, and it performs well in cold temperatures. Many of these systems can use other types of fuels such as diesel, kerosene, car gas or even jet fuel. This versatility makes liquid fuel systems a great choice where the fuel source is unclear.
These stoves are often more stable in terms of their low positioning
Reusable fuel bottle (as opposed to having to discard fuel canister)
Better cold temperature and high-elevation performance
Fuel level is easy to determine, as fuel is stored in a bottle with an operable top.
They tend to be heavier than canister systems
These systems usually require maintenance and priming
It is possible to spill fuel
If you use fuel other than white gas, impurities can cause system to require more maintenance/cleaning
Cost is higher than other systems
Canister stoves are used by make campers because of their size and ease of use. Many models fold up tiny and weigh only a few ounces. Canister stoves mount onto threaded gas canisters that contain a mixture of propane and isobutane.
Size and weight
Self-sealing canister when not is use
Good flame adjustment
They require no priming, and light very easily
Pressure regulators on some models keep output consistent over life of canister and in varying temperatures
Fuel cost is greater as compared to other systems
Some models have smaller arms that can limit the size of cooking vessel.
It can be hard to know how much is "left in the tank"...sometimes this requires a second canister to be brought along
Canisters output can weaken in cold weather,
Canister needs to be disposed of properly
You generally cant fly with these canisters, making international travel a potential challenge
Integrated systems feature the stove screwed on top of the gas cannister in a stacked fashion. This configuration can get water boiled quickly, however this tall configuration can lead to tip over.
Remote canister stoves sit on its own base, and used a hose to connect to a fuel canister.
This type of stove sits on its own base and has a fuel hose that connects it to the canister. Although lightweight, the hose will add a few ounces to your pack. Some of these models can have larger arms to accommodate larger cooking vessels.
Alternative Fuel Stoves
Solid Fuel Tabs
Solid Fuel stoves are extremely light and small
These systems are inexpensive
LIghtweight and small
Fuel tabs are easy to light and are reusable
It takes a bit longer to bring water to a boil
Fuel tabs can have a distinct odor and may leave residue on cooking vessels
Wood Burning Stoves
Gathering wood and sticks at campsite allows for no fuel to be transported
Simple and lightweight
There are some versions that ca actually be used to charge devices
Need to find dry fuel
These may be prohibited in areas that have fire risk
Denatured Alcohol Stoves
These stoves can be extremely light and easy to transport.
Few parts, simple stoves
Denatured alcohol is cheap and easy to find in the US.
Windscreens usually required
Alcohol does not burn as hot as canister fuel
Denatured alcohol may be hard to find internationally