How to Cook With a Backpacking Stove

How to Cook With a Backpacking Stove
Camping in the backcountry means operating a backpacking stove. There are a bevy of options on the market, but the most reliable types of stoves include butane stoves, alcohol stoves, and the JetBoil. All three options require different procedures for cooking, but each can cook a small meal in a relatively short period of time. It's important to be aware of all safety precautions prior to using these stoves.


Difficulty: Moderate

Using a Butane Stove

Things You’ll Need:
  • Butane stove Butane Alcohol stove Denatured alcohol JetBoil JetBoil fuel canister
  • Butane stove
  • Butane
  • Alcohol stove
  • Denatured alcohol
  • JetBoil
  • JetBoil fuel canister
Step 1
Read any and all manuals prior to using the stove. Make sure to pay special attention to fuel canisters and proper storage. Be sure to test your stove at home, outdoors, before you take it into the backcountry.
Step 2
Buy butane for a butane stove. Fill the metal fuel canister (available at all outfitters) with butane.
Step 3
Connect the hose from the canister to the base of the stove.
Step 4
Open the fuel valve that will let fuel into the hose.
Step 5
Use the fuel valve on the stove to let a small amount of butane into the stove. Close the fuel valves.
Step 6
Light the stove. The small amount of butane will prime the stove. After the stove is hot, slowly release the fuel valve to let a steady amount of fuel to feed the flames. The stove is ready to use.

Using an Alcohol Stove

Step 1
Pour one ounce of denatured alcohol into the alcohol stove.
Step 2
Make sure there is a residue of denatured alcohol on the top of the stove. Light this residue.
Step 3
The flame will catch the remaining fuel in the stove. Soon the jets will "blossom."
Step 4
You can now place your pot stand over the alcohol stove and begin cooking.

Using a JetBoil

Step 1
Carefully screw the JetBoil pot onto the fuel canister.
Step 2
Make sure the seal is tight.
Step 3
In one motion, release the fuel valve and push the ignition button. This will light the "jet" flame.
Step 4
If the ignition button doesn't work, you can also very carefully use a lighter to set the fuel on fire.

Tips & Warnings

Make sure all flammable materials are far away from any fuel. Make sure to light your stove on a flat surface, away from flammable gear, clothing or leaves.

Article Written By Duncan Jenkins

Based in Eugene, Ore., Duncan Jenkins has been writing finance-related articles since 2008. His specialties include personal finance advice, mortgage/equity loans and credit management. Jenkins obtained his bachelor's degree in English from Clark University.

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