Backpacking stove

Discussion in 'Camping, Hiking, Cooking' started by Gary Knowels, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. I'm looking to get a decent quality backpacking stove on a budget. I'd love to get a used one in good condition to save money. What would you guys recommend as far as models or features for an entry level backpacking stove?
  2. You have two main options to start out with - liquid fuel or canister fuel. Liquid fuel is typically cheaper, better in colder weather and can be better for cooking large meals and on long trips, but these stoves also require a little more maintainence and are more complicated to use (priming and pumping the stove before use, refilling fuel bottles, etc). Canister stoves are usually smaller, lighter, and easier to use (turn on the gas and light), but the fuel cans can be more expensive and on long trips you have to carry around multiple cans. A good beginner canister stove will be about $20-$50, where a good beginner liquid fuel stove might be twice as much.
  3. I have two, a Jetboil and an MSR Dragonfly. If I had to do it over again, I would pick up an MSR canister stove. I can't remember the name, but it's 40-50 dollars.

    Assuming you want to boil water for mountain house meals, a canister stove is plenty. My Dragonfly was expensive and is too much stove for my basic use.
  4. For summer use I love my Gaz Bluet canister stove. It's inexpensive, light and requires no priming or maintenance. It's not that great in the cold because the gas canisters need to be warm but it works great in the summer.
  5. Easiest thing get a soda can some fuel there you go
  6. I have the MSR Pocket stove and have been using the same canister of fuel for a number of years. The pocket stove cast around $35 and the fuel $8 or so but, they last a long time. Very lightweight and packable.
  7. Exactly the same with me. For convenience and when cooking anything that requires nothing more than boiling water, the JetBoil is perfect. But for frying, sautéing or any cooking that requires a larger flat pan or simmering over a very slow flame, the Dragonfly is the ticket.

    Only problem with either (and it's a very minor gripe) is that both make a very loud roaring sound at full throttle. It's most obvious how loud they are as soon as you shut them off.

  8. I like the alcohol stoves (many available on ebay). Right now I'm using one made out of a pop can and it works pretty good. It can be a bit finicky to get going, but not really more so than any liquid fuel stove I've used. It works great for boiling water and can be used for fancier cooking too - many stoves come with a simmering ring for this purpose. The alcohol I use is Heet fuel line drier (yellow bottle). It's pretty cheap and available at any gas station, store, or pretty much wherever.

    The alcohol stoves are often really light and simple. Mine takes up no additional space than my cook pot, including fuel.
  9. Anyone heard of the BioLite Stove(link)? It uses twigs and supplies electricity via a USB connection. Handy if you need an additional light source while cooking or if you need to recharge your cell phone.
  10. I have an old Svea 123 that I bought back in '73. Still works fine. It uses white gas, and a pint bottle can easily last a week. There's nothing in/on it to break, so if you can find a used one, it should still be about as good as new.
    Alex MacDonald and East Fork like this.
  11. I've been looking lately too and I was trying to decide b/w something like the Jetboil or the MSR Pocket Rocket. Anyways, while looking aorund I ran across this and it's pretty tempting for the price. It also gets great reviews.
  12. IMHO, the real advantage of the JetBoil or MSR stoves aren't in their burners, convenient fuel cannisters, or push-to-start ignition systems. Rather what makes them so darned compelling is the clever design of their heat-sink pots that securely attach to the stove base and efficiently absorb heat.

    Yes, other stoves like the MSR Dragonfly will boil water quicker and more fuel-efficiently. But I find the integrated design and convenience of my Jetboil means it's the stove that comes along on trips instead of my Dragonfly, with its separate fuel bottle, pot and pot holder.

  13. Cup and pot Jet Boils rock. I think Dustin suggested them to me first. Made my Campingaz backpack stove expendable.
  14. Jetboils are great, but it's hard to cook a brook trout with one. I like my MSR canister stove, with pot and pot holder. Reliable and versatile. I used to use my whisperlite but it just got be a pain with the pumping and the priming.
  15. Yeah, I can see the advantages of both. I've been going back and forth b/w a Jetboil and a canister stove. Probably 75%+ of what I make on the trail just needs hot water (oatmeal, backpacking meals, coffee, etc). However, if I'm fishing I usually like to keep a couple fish for dinner and like you said a jeboil wouldn't work well for that (unless you have one of their pans).
  16. A different kind of option for areas where fuel is available. I've wanted one of these little guys for a while for stream side coffee on a long hike.
  17. The "Pocket Rocket" works fine! About $35-$40. Light.

  18. The criteria you list include:

    • Entry level
    • Budget
    • Good condition (which I take to mean reliable)
    You don't mention how many people will be served with the stove but I'll assume it will be 1 or 2 most of the time.
    There have been some good suggestions listed above. There are MANY good stoves that are affordable, reliable and durable. For what you want, I'd recommend sticking with a cartridge stove (isobutane) as they are cleaner, easier to operate and less finicky due to the extremely clean-burn nature of the fuel.
    jetBoil makes some great products, including the new Sumo model suitable for 2 or 3 campers.

    The Pocket Rocket is a great stove, and the latest generation is even lighter and more compact than the original. But I actually prefer a stove that's freestanding rather than mounted atop the fuel can.

    This is my current favorite "standard" backpacking stove: The Primus ExpressSpider - $70

    If you do want to stay ultralight, go with a canister-mounted stove like MSR's PocketRocket:

    Or better yet, MSR's MicroRocket:

    If geeking out on components floats your boat, look to the SnowPeak LiteMax Titanium.

    All of these are great, durable, reliable stoves. I've used each and every one of them.
    What's more all are good brands with a variety of good products. If you are looking for used, include these brands in your search criteria and you will have better luck.
  19. Thanks everyone! Ed so graciously gave me an old campingaz stove because he is a gear whore and had a couple extras. My piecemeal gear setup is starting to come into shape! I can't wait to get out on some trips.
  20. caldera cone tri fuel works with esbit alcohol and wood.

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