How to Choose a Backpacking Stove

How to Choose a Backpacking Stove
By using a backpacking stove to cook your meals in the backcountry, you are less of an impact on the land than campfires and will also be able to cook more quickly and more efficiently in all conditions. Choosing the right backpacking stove for your personal needs depends on where you intend to camp, how long your trip will be and what you like to cook.


Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Prime or not prime? That is one of the questions you ought to ask. Stoves that use a butane or propane cartridge do not need to be primed, but simply can be turned on and lit. Stoves that use white gas or liquid fuel need to be primed because they do not vaporize naturally without heating first. Though liquid fuel stoves may take a minute longer to heat up because they need to be primed, they burn hotter once they are lit.
Step 2
Know your budget. Liquid fuel stoves are less costly to operate, and also don't need a new cartridge each time the fuel runs out. The same fuel canister can be refilled and reused.
Step 3
Decide where you will be going with this stove. If it takes one type of gas only and you are going to be traveling around the world, you may get stuck. If you intend to do some international backcountry cooking, stoves like the MSR WhisperLite Internationale can burn white gas, kerosene or unleaded auto fuel if need be.
Step 4
Consider what temperatures you will be using this stove under. Cartridge stoves don't work as well as liquid fuel stoves in extreme cold temperatures, except for isobutane, which works well below freezing and at high altitude, but this is best just for short winter trips. If you winter camp for more than a few days, then you will want to buy a liquid fuel stove. On the other hand, if you never intend to winter camp and generally only go out for a few days at a time in mild temperatures, a cartridge stove may be less of a hassle to operate.
Step 5
Buy a stove that is easy to repair and buy the repair kit too. When all you want to do is boil some water for a hot tea and some pasta after a long day, you don't want to have to fix your stove, but if you have to, it shouldn't be excruciatingly difficult. The fewer parts, the easier it's going to be to repair. Simple liquid gas stoves like the MSR WhisperLite are pretty easy to repair.
Step 6
Consider weight and size and how a stove packs down. These features are important, especially if you are mountaineering or embarking on an alpine expedition. Stoves generally weigh around one pound, but also consider the weight of cartridges versus refillable containers for long trips.

Article Written By Naomi Judd

Naomi M. Judd is a naturalist, artist and writer. Her work has been published in various literary journals, newspapers and websites. Judd holds a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.

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