- Backpacking stoves are vital for preparing hot meals and coffee, no matter how far in the backcountry you are.
- The best are fuel-efficient, lightweight enough to fit in your backpack, and reliable in inclement weather.
- Our top pick, MSR’s WindBurner, is fast, powerful, and efficient, and weighs less than 3 ounces.
There are few things as refreshing as enjoying a hot meal at your campsite following a long day of hiking. Energy bars and trail mix do well to curb hunger during the day but when it’s time to relax for the night, you’ll want something a bit more substantial. That’s where a reliable camp stove opens up the options for meals, snacks, and hot beverages, making your time in the backcountry much more enjoyable.
I spend much of the year, regardless of season, either out on a multi-day backpacking trip or planning my next one — and I’ve learned that prioritizing how and what I’ll eat is always a vital consideration. This means making sure I’m able to start each morning with a cup of instant coffee and a few bites of rehydrated scrambled eggs so that I’m replenished enough and able to take on however many grueling miles lay ahead.
Refueling at night is just as important, too. A satisfying evening meal goes a long way to making my legs feel less tired and my body less sore, despite having hauled a 30-pound pack for several hours prior. Satisfying those meal needs always comes down to the type of backpacking stove I bring along. Even on shorter trips, it always finds its way into my pack — it’s that important.
Over the years, I’ve tested an array of camp stoves, both good and bad. What I’ve found is that I keep coming back to the same two brands: MSR and JetBoil. As you’ll notice by which stoves ultimately made the following guide, those two brands have the backpacking camp stove market almost entirely covered — and recommending another model just for the sake of doing so isn’t worth it. These are the best for a reason.
Here are the best backpacking stoves:
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