Best Backpacking Stove: What are they?
A backpacking stove is a portable cooking device used for cooking food or boiling water. There are several types of stoves available today. Some stoves use fuel like charcoal, coals, or wood while others rely solely on natural gas (LPG) or propane.
Stoves come in different sizes and shapes, some are designed to boil water while others can only heat up food. All stoves have one thing in common though; they all provide warmth when turned on. They do not work without being turned on first!
The most popular type of stove used by hikers is the Gas Canister Stove. These stoves use a metal container with a screw top that holds liquid fuel such as gasoline or kerosene. A lighter sits inside the container which is used to ignite the fuel. You simply unscrew the lid and pour your favorite beverage into it.
The stove heats up liquid fuel and creates a flame, so you don’t need any other equipment to light it up.
There are many brands of stoves available today, but there are two main types: those made from aluminum and those made from steel. The main advantage of the aluminum stove is that it is very lightweight. The main advantage of the steel stove is that it’s very durable and more able to stand up to rough treatment on the trail.
Types of Stoves
There are basically four types of stoves:
A solid fuel stove uses solid combustible fuel such as hexamine blocks, methylated spirits or ethanol. This fuel is in a solid form and must be turned into a liquid before it can be used. The most common way of doing this is to place the fuel in a cup with a sheet of newspaper and set it alight. As the fire from the newspaper burns down, it also burns through the fuel and turns the solid block into a liquid.
The fuel is then poured into the stove and ignited.
Liquid fuel stoves are similar to solid fuel stoves except that they use a liquid such as petrol, kerosene or diesel instead of a block or sheet of solid fuel. The liquid is poured straight into the stove and ignited. The fuel swill then burn either until it is used up or the stove is turned off.
Multi-fuel stoves are similar to liquid fuel stoves, except that they can use either a liquid or a solid fuel tablet. These tablets are made of various waxes and oils and can be made from diesel, kerosene or even jet fuel. The tablet is placed into the stove, poured with the liquid fuel and when ignited, burns for a short period of time. After that, the stove can be turned off and the tablet allowed to cool down.
It will then be safe to pack away until you want to use it again.
Gas stoves use pressurised gas in the form of bottled propane or butane. The gas is poured into the stove and then ignition occurred either by a hot spark (similar to lighting a gas stove in your kitchen) or using a flint.
Best Backpacking Stove: How do I choose the right one?
There are several factors you need to consider when choosing a backpacking stove. These include fuel type, size and weight as well as how it operates and the features it offers.
The type of fuel your stove requires depends on which type of stove you choose. Most use a flammable liquid such as gasoline or white gas (Coleman fuel) and some use a pressurised gas.
If the fuel is in a bottle, make sure the bottle is firmly secured so it doesn’t move around and cause the stove to tip over.
Solid Fuel Stoves:
These stoves burn solid blocks or sheets of solid fuel. The most common types of solid fuel used in these stoves are hexamine blocks, which are almost the same as the solid fuel tablets used in the Trangia alcohol stove. These are cheap but don’t put out a lot of heat. White gas or Coleman fuel can be used instead, which produce a lot more heat but can be dangerous if not handled correctly.
Liquid Fuel Stoves:
These stoves use a liquid fuel, such as kerosene or white gas. They can be dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. The stove must be level and stable for the fuel to flow under the burner properly. The heat output from these stoves is variable and can be adjusted by altering how much fuel you pour under the burner.
The more fuel you add, the more heat will be produced.
These stoves use a pressurised gas cylinder such as those used for camping gas bottles. This is the most common type of stove to be found in developed countries and are becoming more popular with hikers. The heat produced is high and can be turned down by altering a valve, in the same way that your gas oven at home works. A pressure regulator around the bottle opening controls the release of gas and stops over pressurisation of the bottle.
Size And Weight
The size and weight of a stove is determined by several factors. If it’s a simple sheet of metal that has been coiled up, then it will be light but not take up much room in your pack. A large, rigid pot support adds weight but also gives more support and can be used to cook more at once.
The size of a stove is also important. If you want to cook for yourself and you’re a hungry hiker, then a small single burner will do. If you want to cook for two or three people, then get a larger stove.
Operation And Features
All the stoves on the market are fundamentally the same and operate in the same way. The major differences come in how easy they are to set up and use, the fuel efficiency and how many people the stove will cook for at one time.
If you’re looking to save on weight and money then you might want to consider a multi-fuel stove. These stoves are designed to use several different types of fuel, just by altering the burner plate inside the burner. This may sound a bit iffy but there’s no real reason why it shouldn’t work, as long as you use the correct type of plate.
The most popular stoves on the market are petrol/gas stoves. These have the highest output and put out a lot of heat, which is great if you’re in a tent or in an emergency situation where survival is key. However, these should never be used in a closed up space due to the fumes.
Finally, there are stoves that use solid fuel tablets. These are lights weight and very easy to use, just light the tablet and put it under the stove. The tablets burn for around 15 minutes and produce a good amount of heat. The major downside is that the tablets are not cheap and they are not always easy to find in the local store.
The Future Of Camping Stoves
The future of camping seems to be in plastic. Most new stoves on the market are made from lightweight, hard-wearing plastic, which are both sturdy and flexible for packing. The flexible construction allows them to be folded up when not in use, then pulled out when it’s time to cook.
Add a tag for each stove made by the same company. For instance, if you own a Vango stove, add a tag with the name “Vango”. Then, each new piece of equipment you buy from this manufacturer can be added to the same tag.
This helps because:
1) If someone asks you what equipment you have, you can tell them to look at the tag simply by giving them the URL of the page.
2) It helps organize your inventory.
If you add everything to one tag and decide you want to sell it all, you’ll have to make one ad on Craigslist instead of 20.
3) It allows others to see what you have.
If someone is looking to buy all your equipment, they can see everything you have without having to message you.
Camping without a stove or a fire may be possible, but it’s not the same experience. All the fun, laughter and friendship of a campfire can be experienced with a camping stove or two. It’s not essential, but it is definitely worth taking the time to find the right one.
Sources & references used in this article:
Windscreen for backpacking stoves by R Lindsly, R Zandbergen, L Zandbergen – US Patent 7,967,003, 2011 – Google Patents
Windscreen for Backpacking Stoves by L Zandbergen, R Lindsly… – US Patent App. 13 …, 2013 – Google Patents
Backpacking stoves by H Petitjean – Journal of Chemical Education, 1982 – ACS Publications