We’ve covered some of the best stoves for car camping, but those behemoths won’t do you any good if you’re hitting the trail for a long day of backpacking. In that case, you’ll want a stove that’s lightweight but packs enough of a punch to quickly boil up some water for a well-deserved meal. Backpacking stoves are categorized by fuel type, and the type of fuel source you choose will depend on your individual needs. With that in mind, here are some of the top recommendations in each category.
Top Canister Stove—Jetboil MiniMo
The Jetboil MiniMo is packed with features that hikers will love. It comes with a pushbutton ignitor, and the bottom has metal coils, which translates to an incredibly fast boil time. It’s a bit heavier than some other canister models, but the speed and “all-in-one” convenience make the extra weight worth it.
Top Liquid Fuel Stove—MSR WhisperLite
MSR has long been a leader when it comes to lightweight backpacking stoves, and the MSR WhisperLite is one of the best examples. It’s incredibly light and compact, and it’s relatively inexpensive when compared to other stove options. It’s very easy to use, and with a bit of maintenance, it will last a very long time.
Top Alcohol Stove—Trail Designs Caldera Cone
This stove is top in its category all because of the design. The cone-shaped platform blocks wind and focuses all of the heat against the bottom of your cooking container. Alcohol generates lower heat than other forms of stoves, so that focused point of energy makes it one of the fastest alcohol stoves on the market.
Top Solid Fuel Stove—Esbit Folding Pocket Stove
Solid fuel stoves burn small tabs to generate heat, and the Esbit Folding Pocket Stove is one of the best models you can find in this category. It’s easy to setup and use, and it comes with six fuel tabs to get you started. You may want to throw in a sheet of tinfoil in your pack, though, as these stoves often need a windscreen.
Top Wood Stove—Solo Stove Lite
This is an incredibly efficient and effective stove. Simply gather some kindling and feed the fire as you cook your meal. You don’t have to worry about a windscreen with this stove, and even though you’re cooking with an actual fire, it’s raised off the ground so you don’t have to worry about causing damage to the forest floor. The biggest benefit, though, is that you don’t have to worry about carrying fuel, so long as you can process dry wood.