Wouldn’t that be nice if there was one compact and lightweight stove that could be used for everything? The fact is that there isn’t a lightweight hiking stove that performs perfectly in every climate and activity. Some small compromises need to be made.
Here is the process to follow when choosing a single stove that will best suit their outdoor adventures.
- What are you cooking? Are you a gourmet camp chef, or do you like the convenience of freeze-dried/dehydrated food?
- Think environment? Target your purchase to suit the climate in which you will be undertaking most of your adventures.
- Which fuel? Think about where you will be travelling to, and the type of fuel that will be available there.
1. Canister stoves
These are the most popular, fuss-free stoves, and are probably what a majority of people picture when they think of a hiking stove. They use resealable gas canisters with Lindal valves that utilise a common thread and are interchangeable between brands.
Lightweight, compact, simple to use, good heat control, relatively inexpensive.
Poor performance in the cold (unless regulated or inverted), need to carry out empty canisters, upright models not as stable, difficult to gauge remaining fuel level, canisters can be hard to find in some areas.
Suits most users who need a versatile, straightforward stove for all types of cooking and activities in warmer environments.
2. ‘All in One’ canister stove.
Utilising the same canisters with a Lindal valve, all-in-one stoves incorporate a cooking pot and burner in the same unit. They provide quick and efficient boiling of water and usually incorporate windbreaks in their design.
Fuel efficient, quick boil times, easy set/pack up, reasonable performance in the cold.
Not as versatile (cannot simmer), cannot use other cooksets, expensive.
People travelling fast and light, ideal for use with dehydrated and freeze-dried meals.
3. Metho (ethanol) stoves
Could be categorised under “Liquid Fuel” stoves, but metho stoves deserve a category of their own on account of their uniqueness and simplicity.
Reliable, safe and durable (no moving parts), usually includes all pots, pans and windbreaks, performs in most conditions, burns silently, cheap fuel.
Slow boil time, bulky when purchased as a package with pots and pans.
A good all-around option for people who are happy to wait a little longer for their coffee, and don’t mind a bulkier stove and pot package.
4. Liquid fuel stove
These stoves burn in any condition and a wide variety of fuels. They are a little fussier to use and maintain, but some of us find that therapeutic.
Burn hot in all environments, no empty canisters to carry out, inexpensive fuel, easy to gauge fuel level, some run on a variety of fuels (diesel, kerosene, unleaded).
Heavier than canister options, require priming, expensive, require the purchase of fuel bottle, require maintenance.
Those who spend their time in particularly cold environments, or who travel remotely and need to utilise whatever fuel is available, or, if you are like me, just want one because it looks cool. Some come with a simmer control making them ideal for group cooking.
Knowing the pros and cons for each stove type will help you to narrow down your selection, but there are still further considerations within each category.
Give us a call, or leave a comment below if you want more advice on choosing the right lightweight hiking stove to suit your activities.
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