For any trips in the backcountry a good hiking stove is a must-have piece of equipment.
It is important to choose something that is easy to carry, that is reliable and doesn’t have a negative impact on the environment.
Remember that forest fires are always a risk, so open campfires are prohibited in many wilderness areas, meaning the hiking stove is really the only real choice to prepare a hot meal.
Types of Hiking Stoves
There are a number of choices in relation to the camp or hiking stove.
A canister stove is the most high-tech set-up fueled by pressurized butane, while the more basic set-ups include fire enclosures which runs on forest debris and twigs.
The availability of the fuel of choice can have an influence on the proposed camp stove. Easy to carry fuel options include propane/butane, naphtha, and alcohol mixtures.
Plus, it is worth checking the regulations of the destination before you leave home to ensure you don’t break any park or forest rules and regulations.
Here are four of the best hiking stoves for outdoor adventure:
Build One from Rocks and DebrisDebris stoves are often the easiest option for hikers. They use natural dried pine cones, leaves and twigs around the campsite as a source of fuel.
But, this isn’t the simplest set-up and it can help to have basic fire-making skills. In parks or backcountry areas where the open fire is prohibited, the debris stove might not be the most practical option.
However, if the weather is wet, it might benefit to pack a back-up stove, such as the alcohol-based stove.
AlcoholAlcohol stoves are a reliable and safe source of heat. Fueled on Heet (or similar alcohol gas) or Everclear (or similar grain alcohol), these stoves have minimal parts that can get blocked and are resilient and efficient in virtually all climates – except extreme high altitudes and sub-zero temperatures.
A stove with low BTU output is more hard-wearing when traveling in regions with temperate weather conditions.
NaphthaNaphtha stoves are the most efficient type of stove and designed to work on any track or trail no matter the climate conditions.
But white-gas or naphtha stoves need a higher level of skill to operate at a safe standard. Naphtha can be volatile with the risk of explosive reaction, so the manufacture operating and lighting instructions cannot be ignored.
A naphtha hiking stove needs the occasional clean (seals, valves, and tanks) to maintain its working efficiency.
Plus, this stove is about 50% more efficient, which means less fuel to carry and shorter cooking times.
Propane and Butane mixturesStoves that use canisters of a propane/butane mix are the easiest for hikers to use.
The stoves are very simple since the pressurized fuel means they don’t need priming and they operate in a variety of temperatures and altitudes.
To cover all bases, you may wish to consider a hiking stove that is interchangeable with naphtha since propane/butane canisters can be hard to obtain when hiking in the more remote backcountry regions.
So, for those that prefer hot meals or planning an overnight hike, one of the must-have pieces of equipment to feature on the checklist and carry in the backpack is the hiking stove.