Compact Cookers: 10 Best Backpacking Stoves

Photo: MSR PocketRocket 2

Backpacking – the activity in which one takes an extended on-foot trip through the wilderness with only that which will fit on their back – is an impressive feat to accomplish, even if just for a day or two. It’s hard carrying everything you need to survive in a single bag. But that can be made a measure more easy by bringing along space- and weight-saving gear.

For instance, everybody needs to eat. But bringing along food plus a full set of camp cooking gear is completely out of the question. That’s why some brands have developed compact versions of one of the most handy camping tools: stoves. Backpacking is all about shaving down your gear to the lightest load possible. And that’s why we’ve rounded up the following 10 backpacking stoves. They’re small, packable, versatile, and will help you achieve your backpacking goals with as little struggle as possible.

Esbit Ultralight Folding Pocket Stove

Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, this folding stove is about as simple as they come. Built from galvanized steel, this 6.3-ounce folding tool uses included fuel tablets, coal, wood, and other fuel to cook food or boil water while out on the trails. And it’s strong enough to support the weight of a cooking pot, if you’ve included one in your backpacking gear. Once you’re done, just clean it off, fold it back up, and head back out.

Fuel Type: Alcohol Tablets, Coal, Wood, Etc.
Weight: 6.3 oz
Size: 3.9″ x 3″ x 0.9″

Purchase: $11

Etekcity Ultralight Backpacking Stove

This collapsible butane camp cooker is made from a strong aluminum alloy that offers both excellent strength and light weight. Plus, it folds down into a super compact size, to make storage even easier. It does, however, require a butane fuel canister in order to function. Still, that means it burns clean, doesn’t leave any ash, and is very quick and easy to use.

Fuel Type: Butane, Propane
Weight: 4.8 oz
Size: 3.5″ x 1.8″ x 2.3″

Purchase: $11

Ohuhu Backpacking Stove

Though it’s a bit on the heavier side of the spectrum, this compact stove is also one of the most versatile and the sturdiest. It has a wide base for excellent stability, three support arms to hold a pot on top of it without spilling, and works with a wide variety of fuel types – including alcohol tablets, wood, and more. It also collapses pretty small and comes with its own carry bag.

Fuel Type: Wood, Coal, Alcohol Tablets, Etc.
Weight: 14.2 oz
Size: 5.3″ x 3″

Purchase: $16

Snow Peak Giga Power Stove

Japanese brand Snow Peak is one of the top names in outdoor gear when it comes to the unique meeting point of function and style. Take, for instance, their Giga Power Stove. This gas-fueled is as simple as it is good-looking, offering both minimalism and strength via its folding 4-leg design. And it also folds down to about the size of a fist for easy and convenient storage. Just remember that, if you want to use this stove, you’ll need a fuel canister to go along with it.

Fuel Type: Butane, Propane
Weight: 3.2 oz
Size: 4.2″ x 2.6″

Purchase: $36

MSR PocketRocket 2 Stove

If you need some excellent and specific mountaineering gear, chances are MSR makes it. And backpacking stoves are no exception. Their PocketRocket 2, for instance, is a sturdy folding 3-arm folding camp stove featuring a built-in wind shield – all while weighing hardly anything at all. It can also burn for up to 60 minutes per canister, can boil water in 3.5 minutes, and comes with a secure carry case.

Fuel Type: Butane, Propane
Weight: 2.6 oz
Size: 7.25″ x 5″ x 4″

Purchase: $45

Morphcooker Electric Camp Stove

The first of its kind, the Morphcooker is kind of like a collapsible hybrid griddle, pan, pot, and oven all rolled into one. And while it doesn’t collapse lengthwise, it can fold down to a depth of just 0.7″ total. Even better, it doesn’t use any traditional fuels at all – opting instead for electric power, which it can actually gather from the sun. This might actually be one of the most versatile and environmentally friendly backpacking stoves ever made.

Fuel Type: Electricity, Solar
Weight: 26 oz
Size: 13.5″ x 8″ x 0.7″

Purchase: $96+

Jetboil Flash Personal Cooking System

Second perhaps only to MSR, Jetboil has the market cornered when it comes to camp cooking of all sorts. And, when taking into account their Flash Personal Cooking System, it’s clear that they’ve got backpacking covered, too. Only slightly more bulky than some of the folding camp stoves on our list, this system has some major legs-up; namely an external heat indicator, a 2-minute boil time (for 2 cups of water), a built-in windscreen, and an insulated cooking cup with a drink lid.

Fuel Type: Butane, Propane
Weight: 14 oz
Size: 4.1″ x 7.1″

Purchase: $100

MSR WhisperLite International Stove

While folding stoves have the benefit of being very compact and easy to store, they inherently sacrifice a measure of strength and stability, as a result. But MSR’s Whisperlite, which is built from stamped steel, curbs those drawbacks while still being small enough to pack with the rest of your gear. Sure, it doesn’t fold, but it does disassemble and – when taken apart – has the ability to fit inside most of the brand’s pots. That means, if you’re bringing along a vessel in which you took, you can just toss the stove right inside of it and take up no more room than you already would be. It also includes a fuel pump, windscreen, a heat reflector, instructions, and a carry sack. Plus, this one is made in the USA.

Fuel Type: Unleaded Gasoline, White Gas, Kerosene
Weight: 14.9 oz
Size: 6″ x 8″

Purchase: $100

BioLite CampStove 2

Granted, the Biolite CampStove 2 is far bulkier than most hardcore mountaineers would like – weighing in at a whopping 2.06 pounds. But you must remember, despite its size and weight, this camp cooking fan favorite offers far more than just a place to make your food. It also collects heat energy given off by the fire and turns it into usable electricity, which it also stores in its own onboard battery. You can then plug any USB-compatible device (your phone, a smart watch, a GPS unit, flashlights, etc.) and power it up even when you are far from civilization. While all the other stoves on this list just cook food, this one does a whole lot more – and that more than earns it a spot on the list.

Fuel Type: Any Renewable Biomass (Wood, Sticks, Twigs, Etc.)
Weight: 2.06 lbs
Size: 5.0″ x 7.91″

Purchase: $130

Jetboil MiniMo Stove

Camping while you’re out on the trails doesn’t have to be basic and boring. You also don’t have to heat up your food once and woefully watch it get cold as you chow. Not, at least, if you have Jetboil’s MiniMo stove. this canister cooker offers the best simmer control available on the market – so you can keep your food warm enough to eat without burning it or letting it get cold. And the height and stance are optimized for easy eating, regardless of your terrain. It’s on the pricier side, but if you care about your trail food, it’s definitely worth it.

Fuel Type: Butane, Propane
Weight: 14.2 lbs
Size: 8″ x 6″

Purchase: $135

Best Camping Cookware Sets

Getting out in the great outdoors doesn’t always mean hauling through the landscape with as little gear as possible. If you plan to stay around and enjoy the scenery a while, you might want to prepare your meals in one of the best camping cookware sets.