Best Backpacking Stove – Expert Review

Updated: February 12, 2024
Best Backpacking Stove

The MSR Windburner is the perfect stove for backpacking and camping travels. It packs away neatly and compactly. It's super lightweight and heats up quickly and is basically impervious to cold weather conditions and wind.

Traveling on a budget? The Jetboil Flash is the right winning choice for you. Being about $40 less than most other stoves of the same quality, how could you go wrong?

If you are looking for more use but less weight, then check out the MSR Whisperlite Universal for a super lightweight gas bottle that packs a punch.

Check out our list of the 5 best backpacking stoves below and we're sure you'll find the perfect one to take camping with you.

Best Backpacking Stoves (Top Picks)

Best Overall

MSR WindBurner Personal Windproof Camping and Backpacking Stove System, Red

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Best Value

Jetboil Flash

Jetboil Flash Camping and Backpacking Stove Cooking System, Matrix Blue

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MSR WhisperLite Universal Compact Hybrid Fuel Camping and Backpacking Stove

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Top Backpacking Stoves (Detailed Reviews)

We reviewed over 10 backpacking stoves for this article. Below are the best backpacking stoves that made our short list.

  1. MSR Windburner - Best Overall
  2. Jetboil MiniMo
  3. MSR Whisperlite Universal - Best Lightweight
  4. MSR Dragonfly
  5. Jetboil Flash - Best Value

Read our complete buyers guide for backpacking stoves. Also see our 3-day backpacking checklist.

1. Best Overall Backpacking Stove

MSR WindBurner Personal Windproof Camping and Backpacking Stove System, Red

5/5 Overall Rating

MSR Windburner was designed to be almost impervious to the weather conditions so that you can have a hot meal as you rough it in the outback.

It features a radiant burner and a heat exchanger which heats up quickly and is also more efficient on fuel than more typical stoves that use convective heat. It has an enclosed design so that it's windproof and its performance won't be hindered by weather conditions.

The MSR Windburner has a good sized burner, which allows food to be cooked nice and evenly instead of heating up one spot more and burning the food.

It has a stable structural design, that sits low to the ground, so that you don't have to worry about it being accidentally knocked over or being blown down by a string gust of wind.

All of its parts fit neatly into the pot with the bowl fitting over the outside, which makes it nice and compact for packing away into your bags. With an integrated pressure regulator, the Windburner can provide a steady flow of fuel, which is very fuel efficient and works well in cold weather conditions.

It has a control knob on the remote fuel cartridge which makes it very easy to regulate the flame. MSR also makes a range of other cookware that is compatible with the Windburner, so whether you're cooking for your family or just for yourself on a solo trip, the  MSR Windburner will serve you well.

Main Features
  • Integrated system with all necessary cookware
  • Enclosed design for windproof performance
  • Conveniently packs away
  • Compatible with other optional MSR cookware
What we like
  • Nesting design makes it easy to pack away
What we dislike
  • Not very fuel efficient if all you want is a cup of coffee
Key Takeaway

The MSR Windburner is the perfect stove for backpacking a camping travels. It packs away neatly and compactly, doesn't weigh too much, heats up quickly and is basically impervious to cold weather conditions and wind.

2. Editor's Choice Hiking Stove

Jetboil MiniMo Camping and Backpacking Stove Cooking System with Adjustable Heat Control (Sunset)

5/5 Overall Rating

The Jetboil MiniMo is a very simple, easy to use, canister based backpacking stove. It was designed to allow for simmer control so that you can cook more complex, delicious meals, rather than just rehydrating camping food with boiling water. 

The Jetboil MiniMo will perform reliably and consistently well down to 20˚F (-6˚C). It has a sturdy structural design to prevent it from toppling over. It includes a stove, stand, an insulated pot with a sip lid, and a plastic bowl with measurement markings.

The pot is short and wide, which makes eating straight out of it with a spoon very easy.

With a convenient nesting design, all the Jetboil MiniMo's components pack away neatly into the pot. This makes it perfect for backpacking and travelling where you have little space in your bag to work with.

The stove uses a push button ignition so you don't have to physically light it yourself. This makes it very easy and efficient to start up and is great for beginner backpackers. Its metal handles come in handy when cooking more gourmet meals as you can easily lift the pot off and back onto the stove.

The Jetboil MiniMo comes with a variety of different, colorful cozy designs so you'll always know which is yours.

Main Features
  • Valve and regulator for better simmer control
  • Push button ignition
  • Metal handles
  • Insulated sip lid
What we like
  • Very compact
What we dislike
  • Food can catch where the metal handles are set in the pot wall making cleaning more difficult
Key Takeaway

The Jetboil MiniMo is an efficient, easy to use and easy to pack away backpacking stove. It provides reliable and consistent performance, which helps you cook delicious meals while you're out exploring nature.  

3. Best Lightweight Stove

MSR WhisperLite Universal Compact Hybrid Fuel Camping and Backpacking Stove

4.5/5 Overall Rating

The MSR Whisperlite Universal is a great backpacking stove for extended trips or for cooking group meals with. It has a hybrid fuel system, which allows it to use many different types of fuels, including liquid or canister fuels.

It has a lightweight, yet sturdy design, which can easily hold large pots to feed many people with. It performs well in any type of weather conditions, as its compatible with gas fuel (better in cold weather) or liquid fuels.

It also comes with a windscreen to be used to enhance its performance. The windscreen wraps tightly around the Whisperlite Universal's pot to protect it from the wind. It's very easy to clean and maintain while you're out on a trip and has collapsible legs to improve its packability.

While a canister fuel stove is usually easier to use, the Whisperlite Universal has a simple design so, with a little practice, you'll be sure to get the hang of it.

Main Features
  • Hybrid fuel performance
  • Field maintenance systems for cleaning
  • Lightweight
What we like
  • Can use different types of fuel
What we dislike
  • Could be more stable
Key Takeaway

The MSR Whisperlite Universal is a great backpacking stove if you're travelling in a group and need to cook for more people. It's simple to use and maintain so that it will last you many trips.

4. Good Overall Portable Stove

MSR Dragonfly Compact Liquid Fuel Camping and Backpacking Stove

4.5/5 Overall Rating

The MSR Dragonfly is a very stable and durable portable stove that is best for taking with you on trips where you would have a base camp, as it isn't the most compact or lightweight design. 

Despite its larger frame, the Dragonfly is excellent for cooking meals as it features a dual-valve, which allows you to control the temperature so you can take it from a light simmer to a frothing boil.

This is great for cooking all types of meals, even more complicated ones that need more attention to detail.

The Dragonfly includes a windscreen, which helps to protect the flame on windy days, as well as keeps the heat concentrated on the pot.

It's design results in a wide, stable, low to the ground structure that can holder much bigger pots. This makes it perfect for group camping trips or other outdoor adventures.

However, it is also makes quite a loud noise when being used so isn't great for those silent nights out in the wilderness. 

Main Features
  • Dual-valve for flame control
  • Wide pot supports
  • Compatible with multiple fuels
  • Limited 3 year warranty
What we like
  • Very stable
What we dislike
  • Quite loud
Key Takeaway

The MSR Dragonfly allows you to make incredible gourmet meals, even when you're off exploring the outback. While it may be slightly less compact than other backpacking stoves, it performs well in any weather conditions and will make sure you have delicious, well cooked meals every day.

5. Best Value Stove

Jetboil Flash Camping and Backpacking Stove Cooking System, Matrix Blue

5/5 Overall Rating

The Jetboil Flash is an efficient and convenient backpacking stove. It features an insulated, aluminium cooking cup which is directly connected to the burner with the use of Jetboil's FluxRing technology. 

This helps to prevent heat loss while you're cooking so that it will be quicker to prepare your meals or hot drinks. It also has an integrated windscreen that provides protection from bad weather so that you can use the Jetboil Flash in any conditions.

It has an electric igniter, which makes it easy and convenient for beginners to use as well.

The FluxRing cooking cup has a built in neoprene lining that ensures your food or drink stay warm for a long time after cooking.

The Jetboil Flash also has a very useful colour changing temperature indicator on the cooking pot so you know when it's hot or cold. An insulated sip lid covers the top of the cooking pot, which helps to prevent heat loss while you're eating, as well as prevents spilling.

The bottom of the cup has an extra plastic structure that provides protection and can also be used as a measuring cup or an extra bowl.

Thr Jetboil Flash is a very safe and easy to use backpacking stove. It can also be packed away neatly into the FluxRing cooking cup so that it's easy to store and travel with.

 You can also fit the Jetpower fuel canister (sold separately) it uses into the cup. Make sure you only use quality Jetpower fuel canisters from reputable stores to ensure safe use.

The Flash also comes in a range of different colours so you can choose which you like best and be able to tell yours apart from your friend's. Jetboil also offers many compatible accessories and cookware that you can buy separately and use with the Flash.

Main Features
  • FluxRing cooking cup
  • Colour changing temperature indicator
  • Electric igniter
  • Adjustable burner
What we like
  • Colour changing temperature indicator
What we dislike
  • Doesn't come with a pot stand
Key Takeaway

The Jetboil Flash is a great choice for a backpacking stove. It's easy to use and heats up quickly so that you don't have to spend long waiting for your food to be cooked.  

 Backpacking Stoves - Buyer's Guide


Weight is a key feature to consider when looking for a backpacking stove. If you're traveling a lot and need a stove to fit into your backpack then the lighter the better. You don't want to be lugging around a heavy stove with multiple different parts to weigh you down.

The fuel canister also contributes a lot to the weight so that should be considered as well. A larger stove will require more fuel  so if you're using a bigger stove to feed multiple people then you can try distribute the weight among you.


The portability of a backpacking stove is a very important feature to consider. If you have limited space, then a stove the packs away neatly into its own pot should definitely be your top choice.

Most portable stoves are quite small but if you need to feed a  group, the pots are going to be bigger and take up more space. This would be fine on trips where you're not having to carry the stove everywhere with you, but if you do have to, then definitely look at stoves with foldable stands and nesting designs so that they take up as little space as possible. 

Pot Sizes

Most backpacking stoves will come with one cooking pot that holds 1 litre of contents. This is usually fine if you're using it just to feed one or two people, but if you need to make meals for a group then you'll need a bigger pot.

Many stove manufacturers make bigger pots that are compatible with their backpacking stove models, which you can purchase separately.

Cleaning and Maintenance

A backpacking stove needs to be easy to clean and take care of while you're in the outdoors so that it can last and perform well. Most stoves have a simple design which is easy to clean, but others have smaller parts that may catch food so be sure to have a look carefully at cleaning instructions.

Fuel Type

Another key feature to look at is the type of fuel a backpacking stove uses. Stoves that use canister fuels are often easier to use while liquid fuel powered stoves can be a bit more difficult and take some practice.

Beginners are recommended to use canister fuel stoves as they are lower maintenance and the flame is easier to adjust. All reviews stoves are suitable for novice and pro campers alike.

Weather Resistance

An important feature for a backpacking stove is its weather proofing. Many stoves come with an extra windscreen to wrap around the stove and protect the flame, while others have them built in to their design. This is important for when you're trying to cook meals in windy and less-than-ideal weather conditions.

About the author 

Mark Whitman

Mark has trekked extensively in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa. He founded Mountain IQ in 2014 with the sole aim to be the best online information portal to some of the most popular mountain destinations around the world. When not writing for Mountain IQ, Mark is out exploring the outdoors with his wife!

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