What’s the best camping stove?
A review of over 50 gas canister backpacking stoves.
This guide includes ten of the lightest stoves in the world, various remote canister stoves and every all-in-one Jetboil-style stove on the market. They are all small, portable, gas stoves and mostly single burner. (For liquid multi-fuel stoves, see here).
There’s also an explanation of all the different types of gas canister along with adaptors so you can use all of them as well as a few handy accessories.
Updated June 2018
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Reading in North America?
What you guys typically call canister stoves, in the UK we call gas stoves. Gas for us doesn’t mean gasoline, it just means not liquid/solid.
USA = Canister Stove / UK = Gas Stove
USA = Canister / UK = Gas Canister
Looking for a stove that burns gasoline/petrol, diesel and white fuel? Check out my Comparison of Liquid Multi-Fuel Stoves.
1. TOP MOUNT STOVES
Stoves that sit on top of a canister.
These camping stoves sit directly on top of a canister (as opposed to attaching to it remotely with a hose). Top mount camping stoves tend to be a little smaller, lighter and cheaper than remote canister stoves but are less stable, particularly with bigger canisters and pots.
The ultralight stoves (less than 100g / 4oz) come at a cost of being less stable for larger pots, having narrower ‘blow torch’ flames and usually more susceptible to wind.
|Vango||Titanium Gas Stove*||44g||1.6oz||Yes||No||£30||$38|
|Robens||Fire Midge Titanium*||45g||1.6oz||Yes||No||£25||$40|
|Primus||Express Stove Duo||124g||4.4oz||Yes||Yes||No||£34||$47|
|Primus||Mimer / Yellowstone Classic||227g||8.0oz||Yes||No||No||£22||$20|
|Vango||Compact Gas Stove||103g||3.6oz||Yes||No||No||£13||$19|
Screw-on/Easy-Clic = compatible canister types, Piezo = built-in lighter,
*These are all the same stove just with different brand names on. Vango just choose to report theirs as 44g rather than 45g.
2. REMOTE CANISTER STOVES
Stoves attached to a canister with a hose.
Unlike top-mounted stoves, remote canister stoves are free standing meaning they are more stable, particularly with bigger pots and canisters. As a result, they tend to be a little bigger and heavier.
|Make||Stove||Weight||Ounce||Canisters||Pre-heat||Price UK||Price US$|
|Go System||Apollo Ti||304g||10.7oz||Screw-on||No||£90||$124|
|Primus||Easy Fuel Duo||346g||12.2oz||Screw-on / Easy-Clic||Yes||£61||N/A|
|Primus||Express Spider II||200g||7.1oz||Screw-on||Yes||£45||$94|
|Vango||Folding Gas Stove||220g||7.8oz||Screw-on||No||£21||$27|
|Go System||Adapt Stove||170g||6.0oz||Screw-on||No||£24||$42|
Pre-heat = tube that allows the gas canister to be used upside down and operates much better in cold conditions. Piezo = built-in lighter
3. ALL-IN-ONE STOVES
Super efficient stoves with integrated pots
Started by Jetboil, these stoves are all-in-one units typically with a burner, heat sink, wind shield, piezo lighter and pot which all attach together.
The advantages are much faster cooking times and reduced fuel consumption. They’re also neat and tidy, with everything fitting inside the pot.
On the downside, they can be a little heavier, are less versatile and are sometimes only good for boiling water due to tall, narrow pots.
|Make||Stove||Weight||Capacity||Size||Piezo||Simmer||Notes||UK Price||USA Price|
|Alpkit||BruKit||1,000ml||17 x 13cm||Yes||No|
|Alpkit||BruKit Jackal||750ml||16 x 11cm||Yes||No|
|Alpkit||BruKit Wolf||1,100ml||19 x 12cm||Yes||No|
|Jetboil||Zip||800ml||17 x 10cm||No||No|
|Jetboil||Flash||1,000ml||18 x 10cm||Yes||No|
|Jetboil||MiniMo||1,000ml||15 x 13 cm||Yes||Yes|
|Jetboil||Sumo||1,800ml||21 x 13cm||Yes||Yes|
|Jetboil||Joule||2,500ml||20 x 17cm||Yes||Yes|
|Kovea||Alpine Pot Wide||1,000ml||18 x 13cm||Yes||No|
|Kovea||Alpine EZ Eco||1,000ml||18 x 13cm||No||No|
|MSR||Reactor Stove||1,000ml||15 x 13cm||No||Yes|
|MSR||Reactor Stove||1,700ml||19 x 15cm||No||Yes|
|MSR||Reactor Stove||2,500ml||22 x 19cm||No||Yes|
|MSR||WindBurner*||800ml||17 x 11cm||No||Yes|
|Optimus||Elektra FE||950ml||17 x 12cm||No||Yes|
|Primus||Lite||650ml||13 x 10cm||Yes||Yes|
|Primus||Lite+||650ml||15 x 10cm||Yes||Yes|
|Primus||Lite XL||1,000ml||15 x 12cm||Yes||No|
Piezo = built-in electric lighter
*AlpKit BruKit is also sold in Asia as the Fire Maple Star FMS-X1 Cooking System. MSR WindBurner was previously called the MSR WindBoiler. Wind Burner and Wind Boiler are exactly the same stove. Primus Lite and Lite Plus were previously called Primus Eta Lite and Eta Lite+.
For Imperial measurements (fluid ounces, ounces and inches), see the original source spreadsheet
Primus Lite+ Review
A beautifully crafted little stove that oozes quality and is perfect for one person. Read the Primus Lite+ stove review here
MSR WindBurner Review
A super-fast, wind proof stove that’s really well designed, save for a few rough bits around the edge. Read the full MSR WindBurner review here.
AlpKit BruKit Review
For £35 you get a full stove set up that does the job at under half the price of the competition. However, it’s very cheaply made with a few elements of poor design.
The piezo lighter on my had already fallen off when it arrived (and it’s design leaves that to easily happen), the stove unit is quite fiddly to get in and out of the pot, the attachment of the pot to the stove is quite sticky/stiff which makes it awkward to detach when full of boiling water, my neoprene cover started to burn and melt from the heat of the stove, and lots of 230g canisters won’t fit inside the pot at the same time as the stove unit. It’s more efficient than a regular stove/pot combination but much slower than JetBoil or MSR stoves.
Overall, the AlpKit BruKit is not in the same league as the MSR, Jetboil or Primus but then it’s not in the same price category either. An OK stove at a bargain price.
Discontinued September 2016. BruKit Jackal review and BruKit Wolf reviews coming soon.
4. PIERCEABLE CANISTER STOVES
Stoves that use the old ‘puncture’ cartridges
Campingaz are the only big brand that still make pierceable canister stoves. If you want one, either try Amazon or Ebay (links below), or get one when you arrive in the country that still uses them (e.g. France). Better still, get an adaptor.
|Manufacturer||Stove||Weight||UK Price||USA Price|
|Campingaz||Camping 206||280g (10oz)||£15||$33|
|Campingaz||Bleuet 206||370g (13oz)||£29||$29|
5. FAMILY CAMPING STOVES
Heavier stoves for vehicle camping or base camps.
There are hundreds of these big camping stoves suitable for families and base camps. I’ve just picked a handful as examples of what you can do with the different types of gas canisters available.
|Manufacturer||Stove||Canister||Weight||Notes||UK Price||USA Price|
|Campingaz||Bistro 300||Easy-Clic||1.5kg (3.3lbs)||PZ||£30||n/a|
|Summit||Portable Gas Cooker||Aerosol||1.6kg (3.5lbs)||PZ||£12||$19|
|Primus||Duo Twin 2B||Screw-on||1.8kg (4lbs)||Two burners||£15 !||$70|
|Primus||FireHole 100||16.4oz||5.9kg (13lbs)||Two burners, PZ||£190||$150|
6. STOVE ACCESSORIES
Here are a few extra bits and pieces that you might find useful with your camping stove. Windshields and ‘fire steel’ strikers, in particular, are really useful.
Canister stoves are very susceptible to wind. A cheap wind shield can make a big difference.
They take a bit of practice but work when wet and last for thousands of strikes.
Good if your stove doesn’t have one built in and you don’t like strikers.
Probably safest used with all-in-one stoves but hanging kits are now available from most stove manufacturers.
Throwing away canisters seems like a horrible waste. Jetboil make a little gadget so you can crush them then recycle.
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I hope you found that useful. Please do ask any questions below or let me know if I’ve missed anything.