Backpacking Guidance -- Outdoor Camping Stove Choosing (2020 )

Backpacking Guidance - Outdoor Camping Stove Choosing (2020 )

  • By - SpocampSports
  • 09 August, 2020

You may look forward a cooked, hot meal in the night, a hot coffee in the morning when you are backpack in the backcountry. You need an outdoor camping stove to realize this. When you come into a hiking gear store, you will have to consider which camping stove to choose.

Normally, you will consider from these factors:

  1. how light do you want it to be?
  2. What kind of functions this outdoor camping stove needs to have?
  3. How many people will you cook for?
  4. Where will you go camping?
  5. What kind or fuel do you prefer to use?

outdoor camping stoves choosing

The following aspects will help you decide which kind of outdoor camping stove is more suitable for you.

1). Choose according to the fuel type. You can divide the camping stove according to the fuel they use. Choose the one which is easier for you to get the fuel and store the fuel.

2). Choose according to the stove’s specifications and functions. Different stove has different burn time, boil time, weight, using comfort. These detailed functions can also help you to conclude a decision.

3). Learn about the using tips of outdoor camping stoves first. Only if you are familiar with different stoves, you can know their pros and cons and make the right decision. Moreover, this can help you save cost.

Types of outdoor camping stoves

Types of outdoor camping stoves.

There are three main categories of camping stoves:

  1. Canister stoves: This kind of outdoor camping stoves are easy-to-use and cause low maintenance cost. They are typically screw onto the threaded tops of self-sealing fuel canisters. Usually, these self-sealing fuel canisters contain isobutane and propane.
  2. Liquid fuel stoves: These kind of versatile outdoor camping stoves are normally connected to refillable fuel bottles. While most kinds of liquid-fuel camping stoves run on white gas, you do have other options available. If you’re traveling internationally, this kind of outdoor camping stoves are particular benefit.
  3. Alternative-fuel stoves: This kind of stoves uses fuel pellets or wood most.

Although you have knew about which kind of stove you may need, you still have to consider if it is really suitable for your camping this weekend. For example, you may want canister stove, but that stove may not suitable to your camping place’s environment. Therefore, you will have to choose according to multiple factors; then make the best decision.

Brief analyzing of outdoor camping stoves usage tips (for all kinds of camping stoves):

outdoor camping stove using tips

1). Do not cook food inside your tent or at other enclosed spaces. There is high fire disaster risk, also may cause carbon monoxide poison.

2). Check all the fuel lines before you lighting the outdoor camping stoves. Make sure all the fuel lines, valves and connections are installed firmly and with no damage.

3). Bring a plier or other multi-function tools, in case you may need to repair the camping stoves in the wild.

4). It is better to bring a stormproof matches in your camping backpack, so that you can take this as the second lighting choice if your piezo-igniter has problem.

5). Place your outdoor camping stove at more even and flat surface, make sure they will not fall over when cooking.


Let’s specifically introduce them one by one.

1. Canister Stoves.

canister stoves

Most canister stoves are small size, foldable and low weight (only a few ounces). Moreover, they are easy to use and maintenance. Canister type outdoor camping stoves are screw onto the threaded tops of closed fuel canisters. They normally use pre-pressurized gases like isobutene and propane. This kind of foldable outdoor camping stoves is useful for some international destinations camping and hiking. Many American trekkers like to use this kind of stoves.


A). Small size, light weight (easy and comfort for long distance hiking);

B). Easy to light (use match, lighter or piezo-igniter can light them, do not need priming);

C). Most canister style outdoor camping stoves have easy adjust flame, very well simmers result;

D). No worry about fuel spilling or leaking;

E). Some canister stoves have built-in pressure regulator. It makes sure the stove can provide consistent heat output. This kind of canister style outdoor camping stoves usually has excellent performance in cold weather and high-elevation environment.


A). This kind of outdoor camping stoves usually do not have long arms, may not be able to hold a large pot;

B). Higher cost than liquid-fuel stoves (considering from the fuel factor);

C). There is canister waste; you need to find recycling options near you;

E). The canister flame may be weak in cold weather or high-elevation environment; unless the stove has pressure regulator;

F). You may not know how much gas is left in the canister; so you have to prepare extra canister in case it run out when you are cooking your food.


Within canister stoves, they also have divided types:

Integrated canister stove

Integrated system canister stoves: a tall cooking system. They have a burner which screws onto the fuel canister. And they are gathering seamlessly with twisted on cooking pot and the lid with drain holes and pour hole. A small fuel canister is nest inside this kind of integrated outdoor camping stoves.

Usually, this kind of camping stove is designed to quick boil water. They are not very suitable for cook or simmer food. They can fast boil water, because they have a built-in windscreen. Comparing with standard canister style outdoor camping stove, they are heavier and easier to tip over.

canister outdoor camping stove

Remote style canister stove: This kind of outdoor camping stove usually sits on a base. It uses a fuel hose to connect to the canister. Although it is heavier and larger (only a little) than standard canister style camping stove, but it is still very small and lightweight.

Some canister style outdoor camping stove is allowed to use in an inverted position. This can improve the burning performance in cold weather. Moreover, these camping stoves may have wide supporting arms to keep the stability of a large pot.

View details of the above outdoor camping stove at Spocamp Outdoor Camping Gears.


 Using Tips of canister style outdoor camping stoves.

Using Tips of canister style outdoor camping stoves.

1). If you are camping at cold environment, it is better to keep the canister in a warm place. For example, put it in your sleeping bag, or put in your pocket. Warm environment can help keep the canister’s pressure and easier for you to use.

2). Normally, new fuel canisters contains a few air near the top. After bleeds of these air, the fuel will flow out and get ignited. If the canister or the outdoor camping stove tips over a little, then the flame may change yellow color.

3). If you use canister stoves cooking on a snowy ground, it is better to place a piece of foam under the canister. Otherwise the ice may froze to the bottom of the stove.

4). Although many outdoor camping stove manufacturers recommend that you should use their own brand fuel canister with their stoves. In the U.S. most canisters has standard threading Lindal valve. It means these different brand canisters are interchangeable.

5). At high elevation places, outdoor camping stove with pressure regulator can burn more efficiently. The fuel will not get wasted.

6). Previously, fuel canisters are hazardous waste. But now, some places allow you to recycle these empty canisters. Please check with the recyclers near you to confirm they will accept them or not.


2. Liquid-fuel Outdoor Camping Stoves

All liquid-fuel outdoor camping stoves use white gas. White gas has several advantages. It is highly refined, has few or no impurities. It still burn very well in cold temperature environment (even below-freezing condition). In addition, compared to canister fuel, it is cheaper.

 liquid-fuel outdoor camping stove

Some multi-fuel outdoor camping stoves allow some or all kinds of fuel: unleaded auto gasoline, kerosene, jet fuel or diesel.

The versatile fuel capability makes these multi-fuel stoves very popular among international travelers; because the fuel choice may be limited in other countries. (Note: We do not advice using unleaded auto gas from a gas station pump. Gasoline additives may damage your stove.)


A). Liquid-fuel outdoor camping stoves are low-profile, more stable even placing them on uneven ground;

B). At high-elevations and cold temperature places, liquid fuel stoves have better performance than other kinds outdoor camping stoves.

C). You can easily check how much fuel you have left by peering into the fuel bottle;

D). You only need to buy one fuel bottle, it is reusable, will not cause fuel canister trash.


A). This kind of outdoor camping stoves needs priming and maintenance;

B). They are heavier that canister stoves;

C). There might be fuel spills happen;

D). Except white gas, other fuels have more impurities; these impurities will clog your stove parts, such as fuel tube, so you need to maintain or repair them sometimes.

E). Multi-fuel stoves are more expensive than common single type fuel stove.


Using Tips of liquid-fuel outdoor camping stoves:

1. Alcohol should be your first choice for liquid-fuel stoves. It keeps your stove soot-free.

2. When filling the fuel into the tank, do not fill it fully. Leave some room for the air, because you will need the air to pressurize it. Moreover, leave a space can prevent excessive pressure buildup (fuel will expand when it gets warm).

3. A windscreen can help improve your fuel using efficiency.

4. Do not spill the fuel on your bare skin. It can evaporate quickly. This can cause frostbite in extremely cold environment.

5. If you will stove the liquid-fuel outdoor camping stoves and not use them for a long time, make sure to empty the fuel tank first.

6. If you are camping or backpacking in a cold weather or for a long days, we advise you to use a heat exchanger. It can channels heat to the pot, so that water can boil faster. This is a good way to help you save the fuel.

7. White gas will degrade as time passing. Therefore, we do not commend you to use aged white gas. If the white gas color changes, show some light color, it means it’s past its prime, and you’d better not use them.


3. Alternative-fuel Stoves.

Alternative-fuel stoves are suitable for long-distance backpacking. They can also be used for a home emergency kit. Their weight differ according to different types.

Here are some common seen types of alternative-fuel style outdoor camping stoves.

1). Wood-burning stove.

Alternative-fuel outdoor camping Stoves

For this kind of outdoor camping stove, you will not worry about the fuel. You can only pack the stove with you. The twigs and leaves are easy to get in the backcountry. This is a good choice for long-distance camping.

In addition, wood-burning outdoor camping stove is simple and lightweight. Some of them are foldable so that you can pack them small. Also, some models can generate electricity when you are burning the wood. This can help you to charge your cell phone or other small tools.

However, it is not suitable to use in rainy days or wet environment. Also, during the burn ban period or at high-elevation places, wood-burning stoves are prohibited to use.

2). Denatured Alcohol Outdoor Camping Stoves.

This kind of stoves is attracting more and more backpackers. They are super lightweight (only one or two ounces). The fuel is also very easy to get: a bottle of alcohol (volume according to your trip need).


A). Cheap, very easy to find in U.S.;

B). There is a few parts that needs to maintain on the denatured alcohol outdoor camping stoves;


A). Needs more time to boil water, and more fuel;

B). Must need a windscreen;

C). It is hard to find denatured alcohol outside the U.S.

3). Solid-fuel Tablet Outdoor Camping Stoves

This kind of stoves is also very hot choice to these ultralight backpackers. Some types are even small enough to fold up and put into your pocket.


A). Cheap;

B). Light;

C). Size is very small;

D). Easy to light, extinguish and reuse.


A). Tablets may leave greasy residue on the pot’s underside;

B). Need very long time to boil water;

C). The tablet of solid-fuel outdoor camping stove may have an odor;


Features and functions of outdoor camping stoves:

outdoor camping stoves

Here, we would like to share some other features and functions of outdoor camping stoves. You can also take these features and functions as the key factors when you are choosing a stove for your backpacking, camping or hiking.

1). Weight of the stove. If you are backpacking for a long period, for example, a 10 days camping in the Rocky Mountains, you may need to choose light weight outdoor camping stoves. If it is just a weekend picnic, and you will drive your car to the backcountry, then you can choose heavier one.

2). Average fuel consumption. You can compare the average fuel consumption of different outdoor camping stoves, so that you can know which stove saves your cost.

3). Time cost for boil water. Different type stoves may cost different time to boil the water. For integrated system canister stoves, they boil water fast, but they may not suitable for simmering. Canister stoves boil water quickly, some of them also suitable for simmering. Liquid-fuel outdoor camping stoves performance has different boil ability according to different models. But they can still perform very well even in cold environment. Alternative-fuel stoves are slower when boiling water, usually takes few minutes. They are mainly for boiling.

4). With or without a piezo-igniter. Some canister style outdoor camping stoves has this kind of spark produce. This is also a very useful function. When you are camping in a wet and moisture mountain, and your matches got wet, the piezo-igniter will save you!

5). Stability. The flame stability, stove structure stability are all important aspects you need to consider about. Since you need to make sure the flame burns well and consist, the stove cannot tipping over when you are cooking your food.


Quick Link: Outdoor camping gears    Camping stove

(At The End If you think this article is good and helpful to your future outdoor camping and hiking, you can bookmark the link of this article so that you can read it again at any time in the future. Also, if there is any aspects we have miss to mention in this articel, you can leave us a comment, so that we can make this article the best and most comprehensive guidance for outdoor camping stoves choosing)

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