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Backpacking Stoves

Stoves vary drastically in type, function and weight (see chart below).  The lightest stoves typically burn alcohol or solid fuel.  These stoves are known for providing a low heat output compared to the heavier stoves that burn canister fuel (butane, isobutane, butane and propane mixtures, etc.) or liquid gas (white gas, diesel, auto-gas, kerosene etc.).  Canister type stoves are ideal for providing variable heat output because the flow of fuel can be easily adjusted.  However canister stoves may show poor performance in freezing or sub-freezing temperatures.  Knowing the exact amount of fuel left in a canister is also a common problem.  Liquid gas stoves usually perform better than other fuel types at colder temperatures and provide good heat output comparable to canister stoves.  However liquid gas stoves are usually more difficult to start, heavy and requires more experience to operate than canister stoves.  The stove systems shown below operate most effectively with a specifically designed pot.  These specialty pots are limited in function and may not meet your backpacking needs.



Stove Name Weight
Fuel Type Boiling Time
Water Boiled w/100 grams
of Fuel
Cost to boil per liter Cost
JetBoil Flash Stove System 15.25 Butane/Propane 162 11 liters $0.33 $99
JetBoil Helios Stove System 28 Butane/Propane 168 10.43 liters $0.34 $149
MSR Reactor Stove System 19 Isobutane 225 10 liters $0.36 $160
MSR Dragon Fly 14 White Gas* 232 6.7 liters $0.12 $130
MSR Whisperlite Shaker Jet 11 White Gas 238 7.3 liters $0.11 $80
MSR Pocket Rocket 3 Isobutane 238 6.6 liters $0.54 $40
Snow Peak Giga Power 3.25 Isobutane/Propane 256 7.6 liters $0.47 $40
Triangia Mini 28-T (w/pot) 5.75 Alcohol 720 2.9 liters $0.32 $35
Vargo Outdoor
Triad XE**
1.5 Alcohol 761
unavailable $33
Esbit Pocket Stove 3.25 Solid Fuel 840
6.5 liters $0.53 $10

*MSR Dragon Fly also burns diesel, auto-gas and kerosene **Boiling times estimated from heat
output data and () shows two cup boiling time.  Cost per liter calculated based on $3.95 canister (110 grams), white gas $6.25 quart, alcohol $6.95 quart and Esbit Solid Fuel tablets $5.95 for 12.  The stoves listed above represent only a small fraction of the available stoves.  The stove systems also include the weight of the cooking pot.  The weight does not include the fuel or canister weight. The boiling time is based on heating 1 liter of 21.1 degree (C) water to boiling or 100 degrees (C).  Weight data and boiling times provided by REI.

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