Your outdoor adventures are as unique as you are, which is why there are various stove systems for every kind of backpacker. Fuel efficiency and cooking speed should both be top considerations when selecting your personal stove system.
Integrated systems like the Jetboil Flash and MiniMo provide all-in-one purchases that include a burner, heat exchanger and pot that securely mount to a fuel canister – perfect for quick water boiling at higher altitudes.
Gas stoves offer quick and efficient methods for boiling water or creating meals in outdoor settings, though there are certain considerations you must keep in mind when choosing one for outdoor cooking purposes.
Before making your selection, take note of fuel efficiency. This can provide an indication of how much heat a stove generates; higher BTUs indicate increased heating potential – perfect for high-heat cooking like boiling large volumes of water!
Air pollution should also be considered. Both gas and electric stoves generate carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde and other particulates that can have adverse long-term health impacts if you suffer from asthma or emphysema. Furthermore, these gases may exacerbate your symptoms during physical activities like running or hiking in the mountains and pose particular danger to children and pets.
Gas stoves tend to be more economical and environmentally-friendly than electric models, as well as typically being less costly and lighter/compact, making them popular choices for backpacking trips. There are two primary kinds of gas stoves: fixed-base single burner stoves and canister-base models; the former are typically square or round bases which sit directly on tables while running off liquid fuel such as propane/butane; however these models lack sides/windscreens which makes them less stable during blustery conditions than their canister-base counterparts counterparts.
Canister-base models feature burner heads that connect directly to a cylindrical fuel canister. These stoves are more lightweight and smaller in terms of pack down size than fixed-base versions; however, larger pots or heavy loads could prove less stable on such stoves. They feature either a pilot light or electronic ignition system; with the former producing an always-burning blue flame while the latter produces sparks when activated.
Wicking stoves, which lack pressurized tanks and use small canisters of fuel like alcohol or kerosene to ignite fire in small spaces. While not as effective, these models can offer greater fire safety in tight spots like camping trips or boats.
Electric stoves tend to be more fuel-efficient than their gas counterparts, yet it is important to remember that electricity remains a fossil fuel requiring energy production, transmission, distribution and ultimately heating the stove for its effective functioning.
When purchasing a portable stove, Btus (British thermal units) should serve as an indicator of its heating power per burner. A higher Btus reading indicates increased heating capability – ideal for high-heat cooking applications like boiling water. You can also compare portable stoves by their wattage; typically speaking, higher numbers indicate larger pots being accommodated on their burner heads.
If you’re concerned about the environmental impact of your portable stove, visit its manufacturer’s website for information on how they have reduced its carbon footprint. Some electric stoves use renewable biomass sources like wood pellets while others rely on grid electricity produced primarily through burning fossil fuels.
Electric stoves differ from their gas counterparts in that they don’t require separate fuel bottles to operate; rather, they come equipped with their own fuel storage container and therefore don’t add unnecessary weight and complexity to your pack. However, liquid fuel electric stoves may not perform as efficiently at low temperatures or higher elevations.
As such, for car camping and backpacking trips in cold weather it is ideal to combine an electric stove with a smaller, lighter canister stove – such as one from Alpkit Koro or SOTO Fusion Trek which have burner heads which can be inverted for increased stability at higher altitudes – for optimal performance and stability. David Lintern awarded both top ratings during his review of camping stoves.
Portable electric stoves are built as all-in-one units that are lightweight and compact. Setting them up in windy conditions is no issue either! Plus, their clear view of remaining fuel makes estimating when to run out easier than ever! While heavier than traditional canister stoves, these portable models make an excellent option for camping trips in colder conditions.
Liquid Fuel Stoves
Liquid fuel stoves use liquid fuels such as white gas, kerosene, petrol and diesel as their energy source. These systems consist of a fuel tank with pump connected to it in order to feed this liquid fuel into a stove’s burner for combustion; some multi-fuel systems can even allow users to switch between different kinds of liquid fuel. Such versatility makes liquid fuel stoves ideal for international travel or backpacking expeditions where finding canister fuel or even an outdoor supply store may prove challenging.
Canister stoves tend to be much sturdier, featuring lower and wider designs for greater stability on the ground. Furthermore, these models tend to be easier to set up with their built-in igniters turning on when opening their burner valve and easily regulated flame control settings. But these models do require additional effort in terms of preheating by pumping and priming before each use – basically heating a small amount of liquid fuel on their burner to turn into gas efficiently for efficient performance.
Many integrated stove systems may be more costly per ounce than canister stoves; however, any additional expense could be offset by reduced fuel purchases and packing needs. Furthermore, their larger footprint can be mitigated by selecting an integrated model which combines burner, heat exchanger, pot, and pot handles into one streamlined package – examples such as Jetboil Flash and MSR Dragonfly integrated stoves are ideal in terms of fast boil times in their classes.
Solid Fuel Stoves
We offer lightweight wood or solid fuel stoves for those who prefer cooking with wood. These models can accommodate multiple fuel sources including hexamine, trioxane and META as well as wax/paraffin candles, coal, biomass or any combination thereof – some can even double up as boilers to heat a tank of hot water for cooking or bathing needs!
Solid fuel backpacking stoves are usually small and easy to use, using solid chemical fuel tablets such as hexamine, trioxane or META (most also function with fuel paste). Their compactness and lightness makes them great choices for backpacking trips; most weigh less than a cup of coffee! Unfortunately they may contain impurities that could clog parts of the stove while keeping its combustion going steadily – however this requires pot support stands to keep the burner in place.
Many stoves feature integrated systems, wherein a burner, heat exchanger and pot all securely attach to a fuel canister in one sleek package. Such stoves offer superior boiling performance in cold temperatures and high elevations but may prove more challenging during windy conditions.
BTUs provide a useful indicator of a stove’s power, though other factors may affect cooking speed and efficiency as well. A higher number of BTUs typically results in faster boiling times while lower numbers allow simmering more effectively.
If you are in search of a solid fuel stove with excellent simmering capabilities, we suggest the Esbit Solid Fuel Stove and Cookset which features a hard anodized aluminum pot and stove which weigh only 7 oz combined.
While liquid fuel stoves are simple to set up and use, alcohol-burning or wood-burning stoves may take more practice to reach full performance. Therefore, before setting out on any long trek with them in the backcountry it is advisable to familiarise yourself with them and practice using them prior to setting out into the backcountry. Also review Leave No Trace principles and local outdoor burning regulations regarding where it’s safe to build fires and how much fuel should be burned.