Are you planning your first ultralight backpacking trip ever or at least this year? If so, then the best place to start your planning is where I do, with what to eat! It is no lie that we have to eat even out on the trail. You may be thinking that in order to keep weight down you will have to forego real meals and focus only on packaged and dehydrated foods. While you certainly want to do this it is not the only way that you have to eat. In fact, I feel like after a hard day of backcountry hiking we deserve a hot meal! If you agree, then these top three ultralight backpacking stoves may be an option for you!
Quick Look Top 3 Ultralight Backpacking Stoves
Our review took into consideration the weight, cost, wind resistance, and portability. While the list is ranked each of these areas was weighted equally. It is important to note that no product was provided free of charge for testing so each of these reviews is unbiased and honest. All prices provided below are at the time of review.
Top Ultralight Backpacking Stove Considerations
Before I dive into the top list there are a few considerations that I would like to mention first. If you are 100% ready to hit the ultralight trail then feel free to dive a little deeper on the page. Otherwise, it is important to understand what your requirements are for an ultralight stove. Have you weighed your pack? Do you know the space that you have for a stove? Are you building your pack around the stove that you will carry? These are questions that you should ask yourself before purchasing a stove.
Once you are ready to select your stove you should evaluate and set a price that you are willing to spend. If this is your first time out on the trail you may want to select something a little less expensive and then level up the stove as you get better.
Finally, don’t forget that you also need to consider what type of fuel is being used and how you will transport that! The stove won’t be any good if you don’t have fuel to go along with it. So, please make sure that you take that into consideration as you are laying out your pack!
Fuel Type: Butane
Dimensions: 4.4 x 4.4 x 5.1 inches
Weight: 7.1 oz
BTU Output: 4500
Boil Time: 2.5 minutes
What is Great: Super-efficient burn, lightweight, comes with an anodized aluminum pot, versatile cooking, compact storage for transport
What to watch out for: Must bring lighter or matches, cost, fuel canister not included
Our Take: The Jetboil Stash is a fantastic item for maximizing the pack size and reducing weight. While not the lightest of our top three it certainly makes up for it with its ingenious packing method. The Jetboil Stash comes together in its provided pot to store the fuel canister, burner, and legs conveniently in one location. No longer do you need to combine multiple different things together. Instead, everything is all in one and you are sure to get food in you faster with a 2.5 boil time on a cup of water!
Fuel Type: Butane/Propane Canister
Dimensions: 1.9 x 3.0 x 1.7 inches
Weight: 3.0 oz
BTU Output: 11,000
Boil Time: 2.5 minutes
What is Great: Lightweight, efficient, quiet, push-button light, stable, best wind performance
What to watch out for: Shape makes it bulky, can leak fuel when connecting, noted potential regulator issues at startup
Our Take: The Soto Windmaster, our number two top ultralight backpacking stoves, has two different cooking options which makes it very adaptable. The data above reflects the greatest of each of these options. The primary difference is in the way that it can support a pot with either the tri-flex or 4-flex systems. For only a few extra ounces you can support larger pots for friends while out on the trail. The burner itself is incredibly lightweight and has a tremendous ability to prevent issues with wind. Not to mention it has a high level of efficiency and can boil two cups of water in two and a half minutes! With the 4-Flex option, it can get a bit bulky to carry in the pack if the shape is one of your concerns. Overall, this is a fantastic burner that is efficient, lightweight, and lowers cost!
Fuel Type: Butane/Propane Canister
Dimensions: 2.0 x 2.0 x 3.0 inches
Weight: 2.6 oz
BTU Output: 8,600
Boil Time: 3.5 minutes
What is Great: Lightweight, secure canister connection, wind protection, supplied storage container (adds weight), dispursed flame, simmer control
What to watch out for: Non-responsive gas flow, heavier fuel use, no built-in ignition, fuel leakage
Our Take: The MSR Pocket Rocket is the lightest of our top three ultralight backpacking stoves. At only 2.6 oz (without the supplied case) it is sure to not feel like you have much in your pack to help you cook. It also is so compact that it won’t take up much space! You will need to purchase the fuel separately and this can add additional weight as it is not able to pack neatly away together.
While size and weight are fantastic this is our slowest pot to boil water at 3.5 minutes and this may be a problem as the burner does use more fuel than others. This is largely due to the fact that the burner does a better job of dispursing the flame for even cooking. There is also some wind protection which will help prevent this from blowing out. Overall, with the low cost, weight, and size this is a fantastic entry or continuing use ultralight stove.
Final Top 3 Ultralight Backpacking Stove Thoughts
While we limited this list down to our top three there are many options available for ultralight stoves. The three provided will get new ultralight backpackers out on the trail faster with efficiency and low cost. They also provide seasoned ultralight backpackers with some options. We found that these three have been the most consistent with use and options. It also goes to show that the most expensive options may not always be the best. So why not hit the trail and enjoy a hot meal! Because really, ultralight backpacking doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice delicious food!
Tell us your most recent ultralight backpacking stories in the comments below, on our Facebook, or Reddit! We would love to hear what you have been cooking up on your new ultralight backpacking stove!