Gasoline backpacking stoves contain three parts: a fuel container, burner unit and a support for the pot or pan to prevent tipping. Depending on the type of stove, the fuel container may be built into the stove or be a completely separate component. There are several kinds of backpacking stoves available on the market, and they have different purposes.
Easy to operate and featuring a compact design isobutane stoves run off butane that is compressed into a single-use pressurized canister. Making cooking smaller meals an easy task, these stoves require very little to zero maintenance and are ideal for weekend backpacking trips. One drawback to isobutane stoves are the added bulk and weight of the canisters. Popular isobutane stoves on the market are the MSR Pocket Rocket and MSR WindPro.
White Gas Stoves
Frequently used for extended backpacking trips white gas is stored in an easily refilled fuel bottle. More reliable in severe weather conditions than an isobutane stove, white gas stoves offer an inexpensive fuel option for backpackers in North America. The MSR Dragonfly and WhisperLight are two examples frequently used white gas stoves.
One of the greatest advantages of multi-fuel stoves is the ability to burn different types of fuel making it easier to find replacement fuel when traveling in countries that may not carry white gas. Since these fuels generally do not burn as clean as white gas the stove will need frequent maintenance to avoid buildup. Coleman's Exponent Feather 442 Dual Fuel is well-known model frequently used by backpackers around the world.
Choosing a Stove
Consider your cooking needs and how many will be traveling when narrowing your choices. Checking the packed weight and compactness when stowed are also key components to choosing a stove that will suit your needs.
Article Written By Patricia Poulin
Patricia Poulin is a freelance writer based out of the western slope of Colorado. Poulin's travels and insight have chronicled in print media resources, such as "Inside Outside" and "Breathe" magazine. She is also a regular contributor for other various publications including "USA Today." Poulin holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara.