Choosing the Right Backpacking Stove

Primus StoveTime to choose a backpacking stove! Let’s see what we have. OK. Well this one blows out some fire. But so does that one. Actually, they all seem to blow out fire. That one is kind of pointy where as this one is sort of roundish. Is pointy better than round? Some of these stoves are shiny, but that one is green. Will a green stove cook my ramen better than a shiny backpacking stove? Well, it’s time to choose. Eeeny, meeny, miny…

That internal monologue is to be expected unless you already know what to look for when choosing a backpacking stove. A stoves main purpose is basic. Create a flame to boil water or cook food. However, all stoves do this. So how do you choose the right stove for camping and backpacking? Is there something to look for, do you choose the cheapest one, or is it really just a guessing game? Here are a few things you should keep in mind when choosing a stove for backpacking or camping.

How will you use your stove?

This is the most important question to ask yourself when choosing a camping stove. A mountaineer who needs to boil water on top of a mountain in whipping winds and freezing temperatures needs a different stove than a weekend car camper who wants to fry up some bacon. The nature of your activity, weather conditions, environment, duration of use, the number of people you’re providing for, and your cookware will all factor into choosing the right backpacking stove.

  • If you’re packing your stove, you want a lightweight compact stove.
  • High elevations and cold or windy conditions call for liquid fuel stoves, which typically work better in these environments.
  • Some stoves are better at regulating fuel usage, and some provide flames that are better for cooking or boiling water than others.

Is weight an issue?

If you’re backpacking, the answer is yes. Look for a lighter stove that will still fulfill all of your cooking needs.

Is size an issue?

Again, backpackers need to make the most of their space. Car campers can lug around a big two-burner camp stove but hikers don’t have this luxury. Some stoves can fit int he recess of a fuel canister, reducing dead space in the pack.

What type of fuel does the stove use?

Different stove use different types of fuel. Stove that use integrated fuel canisters are typically the easiest to use and require the least amount of maintenance. They perform well in all but the most extreme conditions. Liquid fuel stoves on the other hand, provide the best performance and can handle most environments. They do, however, require more maintenance than integrated fuel canister systems.

What type of burner do you need?

Some stoves have a centrally focused burner while others provide a more dispersed flame. Titanium cookware, which doesn’t transfer heat evenly, works better with wide burner stoves. Cast iron works well with any type of burner since it transfers heat evenly. A focused burner can create hot spots, however this isn’t much of an issue if you’re simply boiling water.

We would love to help you pick out the backpacking stove that’s right for you. Stop by our store in Fayetteville Arkansas and let us lend a hand!

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