What a Choice! Lightweight Backpacking Stoves

When in the market for a lightweight backpacking stove, there are a lot of options to choose from as well as information to consider before purchasing a stove. Lightweight backpacking stoves start at about three ounces and go up from there. Some models are made more for snowy weather and high altitudes, where others are made to make a quick meal on a day hike. Some stoves you can purchase at a store and others, especially for hard core backpackers, can be made from scratch.

Weather Conditions

Certain types of lightweight backpacking stoves are not made for extreme weather or high altitudes. A titanium Snowpeak Gigapower, as its name implies, is a lightweight backpacking stove that is made for just those conditions. It can be used at altitudes of 12,500′ and at temperatures hovering around zero degrees Fahrenheit. It warms quickly and has the capacity to melt snow for water without waiting all day long.


Another issue backpackers face is transporting the type of fuel needed for the stove. Since weight is an issue, liquid fuels are not always the best option to use in an lightweight backpacking stove. The choices of fuel range from a typical gas or kerosene stove, which are not usually very fuel efficient, nor very safe, transporting the amount needed for the stove in the pack. White gas is another option for a fuel source, but the same basic issues apply. Some of the newer models of stoves that require these fuel sources are becoming more and more fuel efficient, so that they are a more viable option as a lightweight backpacking stove than they were in the past.

The lightest fuel sources for lightweight backpacking stoves are alcohol kits and esbit tabs. Both of these sources are lightweight but more planning is required with the esbit tabs, calculating the amount needed to fuel the stove for the amount of food to be cooked. Esbit tabs are also more expensive than the other fuel sources, so it might be more beneficial to put on a more rugged pair of lightweight backpacking boots to support the couple of ounces more that the alcohol or gas fuel source requires.


The last issue to consider when buying a lightweight camping stove is the shape of the stove. As with packing food supplies, it is more efficient for the stove to be compact and flat, rather than oval or round in shape. It is also helpful of the cooking utensils nestle within each other and possibly the stove, so that everything becomes one compact unit.