Best Camp Stoves for Backpacking


A good backpacking stove or camp stove is one of those things that isn’t technically necessary for a backpacking trip, but we sure don’t go backpacking without ours.  Its definitely a matter of convenience.  If you don’t have a stove, you are limiting your food source to not much more than tuna packets and trail mix, and trust us, that gets old in a hurry.  Sure you could use a camp fire, but that is assuming you have had the time to build a fire with a good amount of coals, and you have a good spot to put your pot of water/food in the fire.  All of that being said, a camp stove burns hotter than a camp fire which will give you boiling water faster which will give you coffee faster; and on a crisp morning in the Colorado high country, the faster you can get some hot coffee, the better.

Stephanie and I carry the MSR Dragonfly Camp Stove on all of our trips and we love it.  It has temperature control so you can boil water in a hurry or you can turn it down low to simmer jambalaya for dinner.  It is not the most compact one, but for our purposes, it works the best.  If we didn’t carry the MSR Dragonfly, we would likely carry the MSR Whisperlite due to it’s more compact size.  That being said, the following backpacking stoves are what we consider the best for your next camping adventure.

MSR Dragonfly


  • CoolFuel Valve First ever dual-valve design offers an unrivaled range of flame control simmer to boil with a twist of the flame adjuster.
  • Extra Wide Pot Supports Three wide pot supports hold larger MSR pots or fry pans for gourmet cooking.
  • Multi-Fuel Burns white gas, kerosene and unleaded auto fuel.
  • Self-Cleaning Shaker Jet Clean out jet debris for high performance with a flick of the wrist.
  • Lifetime warranty, Fuel bottle not included with purchase


5/5 Stars – Great Stove – N. Moloney

I used the MSR Dragonfly Camp stove this past week for the first time and it was great. I went backpacking for a whole week, and another group with us had the whisperlite, and the dragonfly was obviously so much easier to use than the whisperlite. It’s heat is so much more adjustable, and therefore uses much less gas than most other stoves. Also, the stand is much easier to use, causing far less spills and more stability than the whisperlite. It heats water much faster and is more user-friendly. I definately recommend it!

5/5 Stars – Great little stove – Russell Kintner

I chose the MSR Dragonfly camp stove for several reasons

1.) Multi-fuel capability…white gas, unleaded gas, kerosene, diesel, and jet fuel. There should never be a problem finding fuel whether you’re backpacking or dealing with a power outage. And all of these fuels are very cheap compared to the proprietary propane/butane solutions.
2.) Adjustable output…my Optimus 8R had a decent range of adjustment and I really appreciate that flexibility for saving fuel and cooking meals.
3.) Stability…Large, stable pot supports give peace of mind that my dinner won’t end up being seasoned with dirt and leaves.
4.) All temperature and all altitude capability that the gas canister stoves can’t match.
5.) MSR reputation for quality…MSR has established quite a name for itself with the Whisperlite, XGK, and the Dragonfly. That means I can find repair parts readily and I can see long term reliability data. In short, this is a piece of equipment I can depend on in the wilderness or in an emergency.


Jetboil Flash

The Jetboil boils water FAST!

The jetboil camp stove really succeeds as a fast way to cook and boil liquids.

  • 1.0 Liter FluxRing cooking cup with insulating cozy
  • Cozy features color-change temperature indicator
  • Adjustable burner with efficient igniter design
  • Stabilizer tripod included
  • Insulating drink-through lid and bottom cover
  • Pot support is not included


5/5 Stars – Minimalist Backpacking at it’s Best – Ronn Berrol

The jetboil flash backpacking stove system is a must. I have been using the jetboil for four season now and it is perfect for those who just need to boil water and rehydrate freeze dried food. The system all stores in the boiling cup and snaps together and ready for use in about 10-15 seconds. It has a built in starter so in theory you don’t even need matches. The older system had a very fragile auto-starter that was prone to cracking and so in the middle of a trip you might suddenly need matches. They have since improved the auto-starter and I have found the new filaments quite reliable. The newer color change indicator is also a nice feature. It isn’t necessary, as you can usually tell when the water is coming to a boil from the steam and gentle sound of the water rolling to a boil, but the color changer is a nice touch that means you can just sit back and wait for the color orange to appear on the indicator and “presto” your water is ready for coffee, freeze dried meals, oatmeal, etc…

I don’t do any complex cooking when backpacking, and for those who want to do more than just boil water, the jetboil flash backpacking stove will do it, but other stoves probably are lighter and do it better. But if you want a system for boiling water and freeze dried food prep there is no more simple, reliable, and quick system. Clean up is incredibly simple as well and it all fits together in the cooking cup for easy packing (the butane cartridge also fits within the cup. The jetboil can be used fairly well without the tripod stabilizer, but it is another nice small feature that adds to the overall functionality of this product (after all, who wants to have their hot water spill over just as you are getting ready for lunch)

For high altitude Butane cartridges are not usually as reliable, but I have used the jetboil at 11,000 feet with good results.

5/5 Stars – Jetboil in Afghanistan – Maxfarrand

I am in the Marine Corps infantry and I am hard on my stuff….needless to say. I carried, and used, my Jetboil Flash Backpacking Stove everywhere. It kept working all through the deployment, even when a brick roof fell on it!

MSR MicroRocket

MSR MicroRocket ultralite camp stove

The MSR microrocket is a small camp stove, but the light weight is good for ultralight camping

  • Ultralight: Weighs just 73 g (2.6oz.)
  • Strong: Robust pot supports offer excellent stability
  • Compact: Folding legs pack exceptionally small, fitting into an MSR Insulated Mug
  • Wind-Resistant: WindClip wind protection and focused burner pushes a persistent, solid flame
  • Fast: Boils 1 liter of water in just 3.5 minutes


5/5 Stars – MSR Has a Winner – Benjamin R. Wilkinson

I’ve had the MSR MicroRocket Camp Stove for a few months now and I’ve used it about 3 or 4 times. MSR has a winner here. The first thing I noticed is the better than average build quality all while being both lighter and smaller than the Pocket Rocket. The pot supports are heavier duty compared to the Pocket Rocket but my favorite thing about this stove is the excellent simmer control. Its easy to light and easy to control the flame, much better than my Optimus Crux or Soto OD-1R stove in that regard. The small plastic case is also a nice touch (pocket rocket has one too, but larger). The only negative thing I can find here is that the pot supports although nice seem to open up a tad wide. If you have a smaller “solo” type pot its barely going to fit. The wide supports would better match a wider flame pattern for a wider pot base. This flame pattern is pretty concentrated. This is nitpicking though and this thing is an outstanding performer for sure. Great product and good job MSR!

5/5 Stars – Micro Rockin Rocket – Kayaktom

Purchased the MSR Micro Rocket Camp Stove after much searching and reviewing of other options. My initial expectations were greatly exceeded once I received the stove in the mail. The quality of this stove is second to none. I’m very impressed with the innovative design and just how small this stove really is… Once I was done admiring the design of the Micro Rocket, I connected it to a MSR canister, gathered the family around it and fired it up. I knew instantly that I had made the right decision. You can adjust the flame down to a very modest output or crank it up to what I can only describe as full afterburner! I have used it several times to boil water and have found it to be very fast and efficient. I cannot find anything to fault on this superb little stove. If this is any indication of what to expect from all MSR products, I’m sold!

MSR Whisperlite

The MSR Whisperlite is a lighter version of the MSR Dragonfly

Take all of the good stuff about the MSR Dragonfly and put it into a bit smaller size.

  • Shaker Jet technology makes cleaning as simple as shaking the stove.
  • Made to last with durable stainless steel and brass.
  • Burns cleanly on White Gas and white gas varieties.
  • Minimum Weight: 11 oz. (305 g) Packaged Weight: 14.5 oz. (410 g)
  • Lifetime warranty


5/5 Stars – Awesome Stove – jc392039

The MSR Whisperlite backpacking stove is GREAT! My husband and I use it for backpacking, and so far, it has held it’s flame through 35 mph winds (with a wind screen of course, but still!) and has never gone out even when it was nearly blown off the table (be careful not to start a fire if this happens to you). It packs up small and 1 bottle of fuel (the bigger one) lasts through three days of cooking meals, boiling water to make coffee & tea, and to clean dishes, hair, etc. The ONLY downside to it is that the flame is extremely HOT, which means you can’t set your food down on the burner to cook it because it will scald (this is not a problem when boiling water, however). You have to hold it a couple of inches above the flame to prevent scalding. This one downside is definitely outweighed by this plus: the stove cooks food really fast, which means it not only uses less fuel, but your already cooked food doesn’t get cold while you are cooking the other items that go with your meal.

5/5 Stars – Works well for solo hiking – Flingylingy

I use the MSR Whisperlite Backpacking Stove for any backpacking trip more than 2 days. It’s more compact than my JetBoil, but takes more time to setup and heat water. I find the stove gets very very sooty on the legs, on the bottom of the burner, and on center of the stove. However, a leaf can be used to wipe off the soot so that it doesn’t get on everything. The bottle supply sometimes causes the stove to tilt but once the pot/cookset goes on the stove it levels out. The supplied wind screen and undersheet are very useful. The undersheet keeps burning fuel from the start cup from going on the ground/table, and the wind screen keeps the heat in and around the cookset. Otherwise, things catch on fire from dripping fuel (if you don’t start the stove well) and wind will blow the heat away from the cook set. I keep a small bottle filled with fuel with the pump attached to it, and carry a larger bottle with fuel for refilling the smaller bottle. All in all, this is a very nice stove.