If you’re out on a hiking overnight trip, you’ll need a reliable stove.
The right stove can make a backpacking trip much more enjoyable because they offer you the simple joys of hot beverages and meals, which are sure-fire morale boosts on the coldest and windiest days.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of different types of hiking stoves available today and it can be difficult to figure out which one is right for your needs.
After the summary table below, we discuss the key things to look out for when choosing a camping stove for hiking, followed by detailed reviews of the best products on the market.
Our Top Pick: Jetboil Flash
Jetboil was the first to revolutionize the hiking stove world with their integrated canister stove. The Flash is their ultracompact 1L unit which puts out a lot of heat despite its small size.
This stove is the ultimate all-in-one piece of hiking gear as everything you need to cook fits right inside the pot.
The Flash lights with the click of a button and can provide .5L of water in just under two minutes. It’s even got a colour changing heat cozy around the pot that lets you know when your meal is hot. Pretty cool.
- Lightweight (400g)
- Push-button igniter
- All-in-one system
- Colour changing cozy to let you know when your food is ready
- Only for boiling water and rehydrating meals
- Small size is best for 1-2 people
The Reactor is MSR’s premium integrated canister stove. It’s designed for the harshest environments with an incredibly efficient fuel consumption rate and an impressive boil time of 3 minutes per litre of water.
A true four-season integrated canister stove, the Reactor works well in all conditions as its burner is enclosed by a unique heat exchanger that provides impeccable performance in the worst weather.
- 1 litre water boil time of 3 minutes
- Light for an integrated system (513g)
- Small (227g) fuel canister burns for about 80 minutes
- Very expensive
- Best for boiling water, not for culinary perfection
- Must use the integrated pot system
Author’s note: I used this stove in heinous conditions on a mountaineering trip in the Cascades of the USA. It boiled water in a flash and was a true morale booster in some horrible weather. It’s expensive but worth every last penny.
MSR Whisperlite International
The Whisperlite is one of the best liquid fuel stoves around. This stove is super versatile and durable for expedition use. It’s quite light and compact and is easily repaired in the field with a bit of practice.
As the name suggests, the Whisperlite is super quiet, so you can talk to your mates while you cook up dinner and not have to scream over the sound of the stove. Plus, the Whisperlite is capable of simmering, a rare trait in a backpacking stove.
- Can simmer
- Can use any pots or pans
- Uses a number of different liquid fuels
- Durable and light (460g)
- Can repair in the field
- 1 litre boil time – 3.5 minutes
- With fuel bottle and pots can be quite bulky
- Takes some practice to get good at cooking on
- Need to buy separate pots and pans
Author’s note: I’ve used the Whisperlite on countless expeditions up to a month long. It’s a hardy, durable stove whose ability to be repaired in the field is a huge advantage. I love cooking up gourmet meals on this stove and it’s a great way to eat well outdoors.
The Windburner is MSR’s rugged and compact system for solo or duo hikers who need their food cooked quickly and with little fuss.
The Windburner has the Reactor’s famously efficient stove, just in a smaller package. This stove is amazingly effective, even in high winds, so you can have your meal on time regardless of the conditions.
The Windburner even comes with an insulated cozy so your food stays warm. Plus, an integrated pressure regulator provides consistently good performance, even at altitude.
- Small (227g) fuel canister burns for about 95 minutes
- Lightweight (430g)
- In 19 km/h winds, boil time increases by only 30 seconds
- 1L water boil time of 4.5 minutes is slowest in review
MSR PocketRocket 2
The PocketRocket 2 is MSR’s next generation of their iconic design. Small and light, the PocketRocket is simply a stove that screws on to a fuel canister so you can choose a lightweight pot that meets your needs.
At just 119g, this is one light stove. The folding pot support system means that the Whisperlite is exceptionally compact and easily carried in its hardshell case. It’s not the best for cooking extravagant meals, but it’s a great quick and easy stove or emergency backup.
- Light and compact
- 1L boil time of 3.5 minutes
- Need to buy your own pot
- Not great in high wind
- Not the most stable
How To Find The Best Hiking Stove
When choosing a hiking stove, there are many features to take into account.
Perhaps most importantly, you should be aware of the different types of stoves available.
There are four main types of stoves available today, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Canister stoves are compact units that attach directly to a fuel canister. They are generally small, lightweight, and powerful.
However, they tend not to work well in the wind and using all of those fuel canisters isn’t very eco-friendly.
Although, new integrated models, where the stove and pot are attachable, are incredibly efficient, even in poor conditions.
Liquid fuel stoves tend to have many parts and be a bit heavier and more complex than canister stoves.
They’re great for base camps and for expertly cooking different types of food.
The best part – you can even simmer! While they can be complex, one of the best parts of a liquid fuel stove is that you can fix and maintain it in the field, which is great for longer trips.
Solid fuel/wood burning
These stoves tend to be very small and lightweight. They either burn twigs you collect in the field or small fuel tablets.
While this might sound appealing, the fires tend to be difficult to control or cook properly on. Plus those fuel tablets don’t smell very good and they’re quite expensive.
Alcohol stoves like the popular Trangia are often ultralight and can even be made by yourself.
One of the best parts of an alcohol stove is that you can burn all sorts of denatured alcohols which are inexpensive and generally found in regular convenience stores.
But, these stoves are best for boiling water, not cooking extravagant meals.