The Top 5 Backpacking Stoves – It’s All About The Weight

Esbit Pocket StoveWhen compiling this list of our top 5 backpacking stoves, it became very apparent that the weight of not just the stove but also of the fuel source was the number 1 factor. This is especially true if you are an ultralight backpacker, with a weight limit of just 10 pounds total in your bag. It’s all about the weight of our top five backpacking stoves, as all of them are under 4 ounces (the stove itself, not including the fuel source). Let’s kick things off with the number 5 backpacking stove.

Coleman Exponent F1 Ultralight Stove – 2.7 ounces

[amazon_link id=”B0009VC7UG” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Coleman Exponent F1 Ultralight Stove[/amazon_link]The Coleman Exponent line of stoves features some nice backcountry stoves, including an option that will burn just about any type of liquid fuel. But the Exponent F1 Ultralight stove is one of the lightest stoves on the market today. It utilizes butane or propane as its fuel, and you can attach the tank right to the stove. This portable stove can boil a Liter of water in 3 minutes 40 seconds on high, and it also comes with additional settings for easier cooking settings. It features push button ignition, a portable foldable design for easy packing, and a flicker-proof regulator. For around $60 plus $9 per fuel canister, you really can’t beat the ability to boil water and cook food fast. The stove weighs 2.7 ounces, plus a 7.75 ounce fuel canister to total a 10.5 ounce cooking powerhouse capable of cooking on high for 50 minutes or for 2 hours on low. Click the following link to order your Coleman Exponent F1 Ultralight Stove today!

[amazon_link id=”B0009VC7UG” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Coleman Exponent F1 Ultralight Stove[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”B000PY9T0S” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Coleman Butane Fuel Canister[/amazon_link]

MSR Pocket Rocket Stove – 2.6 ounces

[amazon_link id=”B000A8C5QE” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]MSR Pocket Rocket Stove[/amazon_link]MSR is no stranger to backcountry cooking. They have several lines of stoves that are awesome for the solo hiker up to the group expedition. The MSR Pocket Rocket is a fantastic ultralight option, weighing in at just a hair over 3 ounces. The Pocket Rocket utilizes MSR’s IsoPro fuel canister (isobutane), which is a short bottle of the 230 gram (7.75 ounce) size. It is very efficient, boiling a liter of water in under 3 minutes 30 seconds. It also features a wind clip protector to enhance thermal efficiency in windy conditions. It is easy to use with no priming, pressurizing or maintenance. It also has an adjustable switch, to go from a boil to a simmer with the twist of a knob. The total package weighs in at 10.4 ounces (stove + IsoPro fuel canister), and for around $40 (not including fuel), you can’t go wrong with this amazingly light system. To get your MSR Pocket Rocket, click the following link today!

[amazon_link id=”B000A8C5QE” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]MSR Pocket Rocket Stove[/amazon_link]

Snow Peak LiteMax Stove – 1.9 ounces

[amazon_link id=”B002D4X26U” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Snow Peak LiteMax Stove Stoves[/amazon_link]Snow Peak’s LiteMax stove features titanium and aluminum construction, which enables this stove to break the 2 ounce threshold. The LiteMax utilizes Snow Peak GigaPower Fuel, which is a propane to isobutane mixture. It takes a little longer to boil a liter of water (4 minutes, 25 seconds), but it puts out more heat per ounce of fuel weight (mixture). The fuel mixture also is capable of burning down to 17 degrees F, which makes this a great 3 season or high elevation cook stove. The total weight of the system comes in at 9.6 ounces, and for around $60 + fuel, you can’t really go wrong here. If you are interested in buying the Snow Peak LiteMax Stove, click the following link today!

[amazon_link id=”B002D4X26U” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Snow Peak LiteMax Stove[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”B001GTUTSC” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Snow Peak Giga Power Fuel Canister[/amazon_link]

Esbit Pocket Stove – 3.2 ounces

[amazon_link id=”B001C1UGVO” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Esbit Ultralight Folding Pocket Stove with Six 14g Solid Fuel Tablets[/amazon_link]There are several different brands of hexamine fuel tablets, but the Esbit brand of tablets and stove is a great option, especially when you consider the price. For $10, you get the stove plus 6 tablets. These tablets will burn for approximately 12-15 minutes, and can be cut smaller for smaller burn times. It takes longer to boil water, approximately 7 minutes to boil 1 cup of water. Esbit tablets don’t burn as clean as the fuel canisters do, and they often leave a sticky brown residue on your cookwear. Each Esbit tablet weighs less than 1 ounce, so the 3.2 ounce stove plus 12 tablets (around 8 ounces), is about 11 ounces total, and will last quite a while if broken up into smaller tablets. This is a great bang for your buck option, and is one of the lightest options available today, especially since you can bring as many tablets as you will need on your trip rather than a half full canister that you aren’t sure when it will run out so you bring another full one along. Follow this link to order an Esbit Stove and some fuel tablets today!

[amazon_link id=”B001HYIHGC” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Esbit Stove[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”B005NGMJLY” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Esbit Fuel Tablets[/amazon_link]

Home Made Heet Alcohol  Stove – 1 ounce

[amazon_link id=”B000AXVOLQ” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Vargo Titanium Triad Alcohol Stove[/amazon_link]As far as the stove itself, making your own alcohol stove is the lightest possible option today. They can be made out of cat food cans and soda pop cans with ease. You can also purchase more ‘deluxe’ versions as well if you aren’t a do-it-yourselfer (like the Vargo Titanium Triad Alcohol Stove pictured to the left) . They can weigh between .5 ounces and 1 ounce, which is like basically carrying a feather. They utilize alcohol as the fuel, in either ethyl or methyl alcohol varieties. Alcohol is only about half as efficient as canister fuels, so it will take a lot longer to boil water with one of these, especially in colder or breezy conditions. It really depends on how well the stove is built, and the boiling times vary between the different models and alcohol types greatly. A bottle of methanol (Heet) weighs 12 ounces and will last for several boils, and is very inexpensive (~$2). When it comes to price and weight, the alcohol stove is the king of our survey, as they are very popular with the ultralight backpacking community. Click one of the following links to buy a deluxe Vargo Titanium stove and some fuel today!

[amazon_link id=”B000AXVOLQ” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Vargo Titanium Triad Alcohol Stove[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”B0016GXNC4″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]12 Ounce Heet (Ethanol)[/amazon_link]

For ideas on building your own, watch one of these following videos.

Backpacking Samurai Thoughts

It really is funny how the least expensive and easiest to use stoves ruled our survey. That is not to dissuade you from purchasing one of the other awesome lightweight stoves on this list, but the Esbit and the Alcohol stoves really are a favorite of our team’s on the trail. Keep in mind that they have limitations, and don’t handle cold or windy weather very well or large groups for that matter. Hopefully this list will help you to get the right stove for your needs. As always, thanks for reading, and happy trails!

What is your favorite backpacking stove? Is our top 5 completely wrong? Let us know in the comment section below. Thanks!