Backcountry Stoves

Over the years, we’ve gone through many stoves. There are countless options for backcountry cooking, but not all are equal. There are stoves that barely heat, stoves that are scorchingly hot and stoves that know how to simmer. There are lightweight options and heavy-duty burners.

Which one you choose will depend on your budget, your experience, and your fuel preference.

Check everything before you head out! (Photo: M.Kopp)

Three Fuels for Backcountry Stoves:

  1. Butane (or propane) – compressed gas cylinders. Convenient and easy, but not very environmentally-friendly. It also may difficult to find extra fuel in some locations.
  2. White gas (or multi-fuel) – more expensive to buy but cheaper to re-fill than butane/propane stoves. Need priming, but better at a variety of temperatures. Readily available in most locations.
  3. Alcohol – clean-burning but cooler temperatures than propane or white gas stoves. Not very popular.

Before you take your stove out on a trip:

  • Light it up – and stand back!  Always good to make sure that everything is running fine before the first backpacking trip.
  • Know how to clean a plugged stove (read the instructions!).
  • Make sure fuel levels are topped up.
  • Pack a spare lighting source (extra waterproof matches or spare lighter)

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