Review: Backpacking Stoves

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Time for backpacking stove reviews! Here we’ll give you three backpacking stove reviews, looking at three very different backpacking stoves: one budget friendly option, one strong and sturdy, and one particularly lightweight. 

The cheap: Etekcity Ultralight Portable Camping Stove

If you don’t have much to spend on backpacking gear you’re probably looking for a stove that won’t cost you a fortune, and the Etekcity Ultralight Portable Outdoor Backpacking Camping Stove with Piezo Ignition certainly meets that criteria.

It is made of aluminum alloy and stainless steel and is a cheap backpacking stove that performs as well as other stoves that cost a whole lot more. It burns butane or butane-propane mixed fuel, and is compatible with a large number of fuel canisters: all those with threaded 7/16 NS Lindal Valves. It is collapsible, but also easy to set up, The output is 1.680 kilocalories, and it can accommodate a pan with diameter of up to seven inches, though smaller may be more effective. When folded up, it only has three inches tall and two inches wide. It weighs just under five ounces, so won’t be much weight for the trail. 

Downsides? The workmanship on this stove isn’t the best; although it works, it feels a little flimsy and has a tendency to leak gas when you’re screwing it on. The flame does not have a very wide surface area. All that said, it’s  worth what you pay for it.

The sturdy: MSR Reactor Stove System

Have you got the extra cash for a nice stove? Consider the MSR Reactor 1.7L Stove System. Here’s a stove (and high-efficiency pot) you can use for your solo backpacking adventures but also to cook for as many as three team-mates.

It is a sturdy, high quality stove, and works well even in cold and windy climates. Since pot and stove fit together seamlessly, your fire will burn away happily no matter what is going on outside. That same pot/stove integration is responsible for this stove’s high fuel efficiency. Water boils very fast; one liter in three minutes is the norm. As an added perk, when you put it away, both the stove and the fuel go into the pot for optimal portability.

What are the downsides? Well, it’s not as light as it could be; that high-efficiency pot certainly adds to the weight little over 1 pound all told. Then there’s no piezo igniter, you will have to carry your own matches or lighter separately, or else strike something with flint and steel.

Still, 1.09lb isn’t that heavy, and waterproof matches might be a good thing to carry around with you anyway. If you are a serious backpacker who camps in cold, windy conditions and is often with a friend (or two), this stove is definitely a worthwhile purchase. 

The lightweight: MSR PocketRocket 2 Ultralight Stove

Want something that is really light? If you are not worried about cooking in the wind the MSR PocketRocket 2 Ultralight Backpacking, Camping, and Travel Stove is a quality stove that weighs only 2.6 ounces and measures 3.1 by 1.7 inches.

It is a simple little thing, and it includes a piezo igniter, so no worries if you forgot the matches. You will need to have your own pot.  It’s not as fuel efficient as, say, the Reactor, but it does come with WindClip wind protection and the focused burner pushes a persistent, solid flame. For ultra light backpacking and short trips where you don’t want to take something heavy, this little thing is pretty cool.  It’s fast, too: it boils a liter of water in 3.5 minutes.


There you’ve got it: three backpacking stove reviews for three very different products.  You can compare their specs in the table below, and choose the one that better fits your needs.

What is your favorite stove? Submit your own backpacking stove reviews in the comment, wed love to read them!