The Best Lightweight Camping Stoves That Can Fit In Your Backpack

There’s a lot to consider when looking for the best lightweight camping stove. How you will use it will play a big part in your decision. Are you going to be hiking with it? Will it just be an overnight thing, or multiple days? If you’re just going to be camping out of a car then weight might not be too important, and if the fishing rod’s packed in you may want a product that can handle a decent sized pan as opposed to something super compact.

Outdoor and sports products have become a major business with society’s focus on lifestyle and healthy living. This has prompted an explosion of products onto the market that cater to people’s every desire. Whatever niche or fancy you have, there are others doing it to, and thus products being marketed to you.

For this article we’ve rounded up five popular products that are currently available and that you may not have heard of. We’ve aimed to give you an idea of what your options are and what to expect when purchasing one of them. They are all entry level products and cover a variety of different stove types and kits.

If you don’t see something you like in this article, don’t worry. The market is much bigger than just what you see here. There are a multitude of different designs and technologies all vying for your attention. All the stoves featured below either make use of the common screw-in isopro gas canisters or they’re regular fire stoves, needing only twigs and leaves. But beyond that one can also get stoves that use Coleman style propane tanks or something more transportable like the MSR fuel bottles which will run off a number of different fuels. You can even make use of solid alcohol tablets. The list goes on.

Etekcity Ultralight Portable Stove Review

The Etekcity Ultralight Portable Stove is exactly what it claims to be, a really small product, putting up a good fight for the title of best lightweight camping stove. It is one of a number of products in the camping stove market, which serves hikers, backpackers and outdoor people in general.

The product is nothing revolutionary, but it is hard to separate yourself in the camping stove market. There are only so many ways you can design the same product. It’s four arms collapse in a unique fashion to take up minimal space and the piezo ignition system is a neat addition to save some time.

Etekcity claim this product adheres to the US Forest Service’s ‘Leave no Trace’ principle, in that it burns cleans, leaving no debris or soot behind. It’s good to keep in mind, especially with growing pollution concerns, but is probably true of the majority of the mixed-fuel stoves on the market.

Etekcity Ultralight Portable Stove

Etekcity Ultralight Portable Stove Features

  • The arms of the Etekcity Ultralight Portable Stove all fold together to result in a stove that takes up very little space. Also included is a plastic carry case to prevent damage to your stove while transporting it.
  • The piezo ignition system means it’s quick and easy to light your stove, without the need to fiddle with matches or a cigarette lighter.
  • An adjustable valve lets you set exactly how large a flame you want. The valve’s handle allows you to quickly adjust the gas flow to get your water to boil quickly or just let your meal simmer.
  • The stove is made up of a combination of aluminium and stainless-steel, so corrosion should never be a problem, even after months of using the stove.
  • The stove is compatible with a number of mixed-fuel canisters that all make use of a 7/16” thread and conform to EN417.

Pros

  • At a price of only $10, the Etekcity Ultralight Portable Stove is really good value for money, especially when comparing it to some of the big names in the industry.
  • The built-in piezo ignitor makes lighting your stove a cinch. There’s nothing worse than trying to light a match, while balancing a gas canister and adjusting the flow rate all at the same time.
  • It is a very small, lightweight camping stove coming in at just 3.2 ounces. With a width of only 1.8”, you might even be able to squeeze it into your pocket.
  • Customers have complimented the product for its ability to be disassembled, making it easy to clean and put back together.

Cons

  • If the stove is transported for a long time, it may lead to problems with the functionality of the piezo ignition system. Etekcity say that with slight adjustment any problems should be resolved, but you may want to pack in a spare box of matches just in case.
  • The flame is fairly concentrated in the centre when compared to other similar products. This is not a problem for boiling water, but you may end up burning some pasta to the bottom of your pot if you’re not careful.
  • The four arms don’t fold out that far, meaning that you’re slightly limited in the size of the pot you can use (Etekcity claim up to 7”). This will be a problem for some, but not all. Four arms instead of three also means that sometimes pots will wobble slightly.

Conclusion

Overall the Etekcity Ultralight Portable Stove is a pretty good deal, but you get what you pay for. If you’re not going to be using this often, maybe only a few times a year, then it’s probably worth it. It really is well priced, and for what you pay you get a usable stove. Make sure to test it before you go camping to make sure it’s working, although that’s advice for any new product you purchase or borrow.

However, if you’re going camping on a regular basis, it’d be better to get something a bit more solid, and most likely, a bit more expensive. Although the Etekcity is well-built, it won’t stand up to regular, extended use, especially when using large or heavy pots. This is supported by several customer reviews that complain about the product’s durability. If something does go wrong though, you can always fall back on to Etekcity’s 1-year warranty.

When trying to decide what the best lightweight camping stove is, you have to consider your own needs for the product. $10 is not a lot of money, but if you’re wanting to buy a product to last you several years, then $30 isn’t a lot of money either.

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12pc Bisgear Camping Set Review

If you’re going hiking or backpacking, there is one thing that can easily turn an otherwise enjoyable outing into an endless slog, and that’s an overweight pack. When you’re trying to keep your pack light and end up taking food out, you start to worry. That’s why you try to make sure that your essential equipment weighs as little as possible to start with. That way you can pack all the snacks you need (or want).

It’s no use having the best lightweight camping stove, if your pots and pans all just stack up the pounds in any case. As such Bisgear have put together an amazing cooking kit, perfect for the new hiker or outdoorsman, and lightweight to match. This twelve-piece kit includes two pots, cutlery, a stove, fuel canister holder, carabiner, cloth and a bottle opener.

All of this in one kit, that costs less than $30. If you don’t need one for yourself, you can purchase it as a gift for a friend or family member who’ll be sure to get good use out of it.

12pc Bisgear Camping Set

12pc Bisgear Camping Set Features

  • Both pots are made from FDA approved anodized aluminium. This means the pans are not only non-stick, but it makes them easy to clean as well, something which can often be tricky when out in the wilderness
  • The pots form a nice container in which the entire kit can fit. It even has space for a standard 8oz fuel canister. All this is held together by the supplied mesh bag.
  • It is an all in one kit, providing everything you need for your first outdoor trip.
  • The provided cutlery is full size, with folding handles. This means they’re easy to use, but can be packed away easily.
  • The kit includes some extras which people often don’t think of, such as a collapsible tripod for your fuel canister as well as a handy carabiner and dishcloth.

Pros

  • This is a very well-priced product, especially for people just starting out and not wanting to invest lots of money in a hobby they may only undertake periodically.
  • It includes everything you need to get started, sans a fuel canister.
  • The product comes with a mesh bag to hold everything together and it makes packing easy.
  • The stove included in the kit has a built-in piezo ignitor. This means no more struggling with matches to get your stove going.

Cons

It’s really hard to find something to complain about when looking at this kit. It has received no 1- or 2-star customer reviews and has an average 4.7-star rating. That being said, there are a few things one should be aware of.

  • The pots are a bit small. The medium size pot is 4.8” across and 4.1” high while the small pot is 4.5” wide and 2.4” high. This equates to just over 2- and 1 cups of water. Enough to get by with, but not particularly large.
  • The included stove looks like an unbranded Etekcity lightweight camping stove, and while a good stove, may not be for everyone. You can read its review elsewhere in this article.
  • A few people have complained that when packed together the separate pieces of the kit rattle around. This should not be a major problem, but may annoy some people.
  • The pots are non-stick, but the supplied packaging indicates that one should not use any metal cutlery with the kit as it might damage the non-stick coating. As such you might want to pack in a small wooden spoon on your first camping expedition.

Conclusion

For $28 you can’t really go wrong. Many people will pay that and then some to have the best lightweight camping stove, never mind additional pots and cutlery. If you’ve been through this review and understand exactly what you’re getting, if you understand the size of the pots and what that entails, then you shouldn’t be disappointed with this purchase.

As mentioned, customers of this kit generally only have good things to say about the product. A 4.7-star customer feedback rating is almost unheard of. It’s a solid little kit with everything you need to get started. Although you won’t be cooking for more than one person, it is adequate for most people’s needs.

If this kit doesn’t quite meet your tastes, you can also have a look at Bisgear’s two other products, their Orange and Black kits. They all come with the same stove and cutlery sets, but feature different pot configurations and an additional spork at a marginally cheaper price to the 12pc kit. You’ll also find a number of other kits featuring almost identical equipment in a variety of combinations.

 

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Lightweight Large Burner Camping Stove Review

If you’re looking for the best lightweight camping stove, you can’t get much more compact than this camping stove from niceeshop. While it is marginally heavier and larger than some other products in the market, this is not a bad thing. Quite the contrary, as it allows the ends of the arms to be 7” apart. This is noticeably wider than most stoves and means it’s perfect for large pots and frying pans.

But we said it’s compact, right? Yes. The main burner unit and the stem dismantle. Couple this with arms that fold in, and they’ve made this as small as possible for packaging and transport, while still allowing it the large support area.

Lightweight Large Burner Camping StoveLightweight Large Burner Camping Stove

Lightweight Large Burner Camping Stove Features

  • The stove has a very large work area and burner. From edge to edge, the stove’s arms measure 7” in diameter. Most other products in this range have a support diameter of less than 5”. This makes it great for cooking large meals, such as that fresh fish you just caught.
  • It makes use of the standard iso-butane/propane canisters, making it easy to find a compatible fuel canister. The connection mechanism also allows for repeated connecting and disconnecting of the stove to the fuel canister and making it easy to transport.
  • The stem contains a fully adjustable valve to help you control the flame. This allows you to cook with anything from a full burn to a gentle simmer. The valve grip folds away to prevent damage and for easy packing.

Pros

  • It is really cheap. It’s probably not possible to produce a camping stove for less than what they’re charging for this one. And it comes with a travel pack and free shipping.
  • The stove burner and stem can separate to help make packing easier. Many people prefer the flat way this stove compacts, as opposed to the longer shape of other stoves.
  • This stove can support much larger pots than most other lightweight camping stoves, with a support diameter of 7”. Perfect for cooking bigger meals.

Cons

  • Although the stove can separate from its stem, it still takes up more space than most other products. Also, at 7.9oz, it is twice as heavy as some other lightweight camping stoves. To be fair though, 7.9oz is hardly an amount to complain about, when you’re carrying a pack that weighs 25lb.
  • This product ships from Hong Kong. Depending on where you live and how soon you want the product this could be an issue. Currently there is an expected 4-7 week shipping time to the US. So if you’ve got a camping trip planned this weekend, you may want to select a different product to make sure you have a stove to take with.
  • The design makes use of four support arms. This means it can support a slightly heavier load, but some people don’t like the resulting unevenness of the pot on the stove. A three arm stove does not have the same problem.

Conclusion

This is a really well priced product. Some would say cheap. This cheapness results in some people having had quality issues with the product, mainly relating to build quality. Customers have complained about the folding arms not being stable, the device not operating properly after a few uses and some manufacturing defects as well.

A lot of customers were under the impression that this would fit the Coleman propanol canisters, mainly due to the wording of the item description. This has been updated to try and clarify the situation. However, it does not fit the Coleman propanol canisters, although an adapter is available. The device is designed to fit the same fuel canisters that the MSR Pocket Rocket attaches to, those conforming to EN417, making use of a 7/16” thread.

That being said, it costs less than $7 (including shipping) and taking into account the negative reviews, it still receives an average 4.4-star customer rating, supported by hundreds of positive reviews and people praising the item, especially for its large cooking area.

If you’re looking for a cheap camping stove, then this is it. If you’re ordering it for a specific trip, make sure to give yourself enough time to receive it and replace it if need be as there have been some quality control issues. Otherwise you’re almost guaranteed a solid little stove that competes well with others in the market.

Even if you’re not taking it hiking, and aren’t concerned about saving weight or space, it’s a great lightweight camping stove to have in your storeroom that you can pack in for any outing.

 

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kampMATE Ultra Lightweight Wood Burning Stove Review

kampMate have done an amazing job with their wood burning stove product. They’ve managed to get it to pack up into the thinnest lightweight camping stone ever. It’s seriously thin, coming in at only a quarter of an inch. This is made possible by the sheets of 304 stainless steel of which the stove is constructed. Each sheet is only 0.8mm thick and is embossed to provide extra rigidity.

And nothing beats a wood fire. Whether backpacking, camping, or just on a trip for the day, you can pack in this stove to enjoy the delights of having wood flames to cook your food. Wherever you go you’ll be sure to find something that will burn and give you the flame you require.

kampMATE Ultra Lightweight Wood Burning Stove

kampMATE Ultra Lightweight Wood Burning Stove Features

  • The stove packs up into a provided nylon carry case that is arguably thinner than any other product. It’s only a quarter inch thick. Total packaging dimensions are 6” wide by 7.5” long.
  • You can power this stove with anything that you can get to burn. Whereas other similar stoves may require very specific configurations of twigs and leaves, you can burn anything in this stove. You can source pine cones and sticks on your campsite, or you can bring your own solid fuel tablets or other small combustibles.
  • It has a large front aperture to allow you to easily feed additional fuel to the fire to keep it going longer and aid in food preparation.

Pros

  • If you’re going camping you don’t have to worry about packing this in. It’s so thin when folded up that you could slide it in anywhere and hardly notice it. You could even leave it in your car to have it ready whenever you need it, and it won’t get in the way.
  • It’s hard to understate not having to carry a gas canister with you. Yes, the stove is slightly heavier than others, but that is made up for in the fact that you can gather your fuel when you arrive at your campsite. While on a 1- or 2-day hike you might not notice the difference, but on longer voyages you will be thankful for the lighter load.
  • The stove holder on the top goes right across the flame, without any hole in the middle. This means that regardless of how small your pot is it will be able to be set on the top of this stove.
  • This is a seriously strong stove, with one customer demonstrating this by loading it with a Dutch oven pot and 6 quarts of water. The stove held it all up without any hassle.

Cons

  • This is not a rocket stove. The fires made in this stove burn very much like a normal campfire. This means you will sometimes get flames coming out the side of the stove, so not all the heat is focused on what you’re trying to cook.
  • If you are burning natural products such as wood and leaves, this is going to result in a soot build-up on your pots. This will make them appear black and dirty. One customer has suggested rubbing some dish washing soap onto the outside of the pot before you put it on the fire as a way to counter this.
  • As lightweight as this construction is, it does weigh more than a conventional gas fuelled stove and a small fuel mixture. If you’re only hiking for a day or two, the weight advantage may not be worth it.

Conclusion

While this isn’t the lightest or best lightweight camping stove, it isn’t excessively heavy or bad. It weighs just over a pound, which some might complain about, but it’s far easier to pack in than most other forms of camping stove.

And people have taken note of this. Although it is a relatively new product to the market, with just under a hundred reviews, only three of these have been complaints. One is a person who said the stove was bigger than what they had expected, even though all the dimensions are given in the product information. The other two were people who were concerned that the stove was not as rigid as they had hoped.

Counter to this however is a slew of positive reviews giving the product an overall 4.6-star rating. The stove is stronger than most other stoves in this size range, meaning large pots can be heated on it. At just under $30 it is well priced and competitive against the more established brands such as Emberlit. As has been mentioned, this stove is not for everyone, but if you’ve read through this and the cons don’t affect you, then it is well worth the purchase.

 

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Ohuhu Portable Stainless Steel Wood Burning Camping Stove Review

While there’s a lot to be said about the compactness and ease with which you can cook on a gas or other lightweight camping stove, it’s hard to beat the atmosphere created by a wood burning fire. There are other reasons to purchase a portable word burning stove (which we’ll get to), but there’s something about being outside, under the stars and being entranced by the light flickers of a wood fire, even if somewhat concealed by a stove.

There are other advantages to a wood burning stove, the biggest one being that you don’t need to carry a heavy fuel canister with you when you’re hiking, but can simply make use of the sticks and leaves lying around your chosen campsite. It also creates a safer environment for wood fires which are a forest fire risk, by containing the flames and embers and protecting them from the wind.

Ohuhu Portable Stainless Steel Wood Burning Camping Stove

Ohuhu Portable Stainless Steel Wood Burning Camping Stove Features

  • The stove is made out of high quality stainless steel. This results in a stove that can withstand high cooking temperatures and is strong enough to support heavy cooking items. It also improves the durability of the item when transporting it.
  • You don’t have to pay for fuel, or carry it anywhere. You can simply use twigs, leaves and pine cones for fuel. If you are going somewhere and you’re concerned there might not be natural fuel, this stove can also use solid alcohol cubes instead.
  • It’s compact and lightweight. With a diameter of 5.3” and a height of 3”, it is only marginally larger than a standard 8oz isopropyl fuel canister. At 14.2oz it is also only slight heavier than a fuel canister which has a gross mass of 13.1oz (and that’s before you add on the weight of a gas stove).

Pros

  • Can be fueled by either organic matter such as leaves, twigs and wood, or can burn solid alcohol cubes.
  • This item only costs $20. This is one of the best priced products in the range of wood burning stoves.
  • It packs up neatly into a small package and is supplied with a mesh bag to keep it all together while travelling plus it only takes 10 seconds to assemble it again.

Cons

  • To help the flow of air through the fire, and improve the heat efficiency of the stove, the top of the stove is mostly enclosed, meaning that it is difficult to add fuel to the fire while you have a pot or other item on the stove. Customers have noted that they do have to add extra fuel to the fire when boiling water.
  • Many hiking and camping areas do not allow fires to be made, especially in times of drought or during the dry months of the year. Although the Ohuhu makes a good effort to enclose the flames, it may still not be allowed in certain areas.
  • If you’ve counted on finding a spot to camp full of dead leaves and pine cones, only to experience some bad weather, you’re going to be out of luck trying to get wet materials to burn in your stove.

Conclusion

The Ohuhu lightweight camping stove is perfect for boiling water or cooking small meals while out and about. It is specifically designed to be small and light so don’t expect it to handle large pots and pans. At the same time very small pots won’t work either as the stove has a rather large aperture for the fire, with the arms only starting halfway from the center of the stove.

This product advertises itself as being environmentally friendly because it doesn’t make use of any fuel canisters, and it doesn’t have any chemical emissions. Now this is a murky area, and not one to be argued here, but there is an ongoing argument about the air pollution effects of burning wood and its release of greenhouse gases when compared to natural gas burners.

This camping stove is well priced and highly rated, receiving an average customer review rating of 4.6 stars. Most complaints seem minor and relate to small build quality issues experienced on receiving the item. Mostly customers are extremely satisfied with the product stating that it is exactly as advertised and meets their expectations. If you can get your hands on the fuel and get the fire going, a jet-like flame is produced and water boils easily. Definitely recommended for those of you looking for a natural wood burning stove that packs easily into your pack. Although it may not be the best lightweight camping stove, it does come close.

 

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Summary

Now that you’ve got an idea for some of the products on the market you should be in a better position to choose the right fit for you. If you’ll likely be doing a lot of hiking and backpacking, then a lightweight camping stove will always be a critical part of your kit. And the lighter the better.

Fire based stoves offer the benefit of not having to carry a fuel source, and thus negate some weight. They’re also great for a bit of extra heat on a cold night and add a lot of atmosphere to the campsite. They are usually heavier than gas based stoves, so the weight benefit only pays off after several days of hiking. If you’re just going camping though and can chuck one in the car to transport it, this is then a non-issue.

On the other hand, often the last thing one wants to do when arriving at camp is to start scrounging around for sticks and kindle to get a fire going. You also never know exactly what resources are going to be available at the campsite when you arrive there. It might have rained the day before meaning you struggle for hours to get a fire going, and little makes a person grumpier than cold food.

There are also many places that don’t allow open fires, whether on a permanent basis or due to environmental conditions. Although portable camping stoves often do a good job at containing fires, they can still be a risk.

Gas stoves on the other hand offer a number of advantages. They’re very reliable and easy to use. You screw the stove onto your fuel canister, light it, and you’re set. You don’t have to worry about the stove being too hot, or not hot enough because you can easily adjust it. If you get one with a built-in piezo ignitor like reviewed in this article, you don’t even have to worry about matches.

And all of this is just looking at one aspect of hiking or camping. A stove. If you’re not buying a kit, you still need a full set of cutlery and crockery, or at least a minimal supply of a bowl, knife, fork and pot.

If you’re just starting out the Etekcity stove is a good, cheap starting point. You can see if it does the job for you, or if you want something else. If you don’t have pots and other cutlery, the 12 piece Bisgear set is a great kick-start to any camper’s arsenal. The woodstove’s have their place, but be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.

While there’s a lot to choose from out there, we hope this article at least gives you an introduction to the subject to help you choose the best lightweight camping stove for you.

 

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