Finding a Good Backpacking Stove
By Steve Gillman
An alcohol stove is one of the lightest options for backpacking.
They are not only light, but the fuel is available everywhere,
and it is cheap. It is also safe to carry alcohol because it
isn't explosive. Finally, you can carry exactly the amount of
fuel you need, and carry it in almost any container.
The Pepsi Can Stove
This explains the popularity of the pepsi-can-stove for backpacking.
You may have seen it described in a few places on the net, but
the do-it-yourself diagrams are sometimes hard to understand.
As a result, my own Pepsi can stove is just the cut-off bottom
of a pop can that I burn alcohol in, and cook over. It isn't
the most convenient, but it works, and it weighs less than an
ounce. I usually use a few rock to put the pot on, with the stove
in the middle. Sometimes I rig a quick tripod of sticks to hang
the pot from. Whatever works at the moment.
Do You Need a Backpacking Stove?
You probably need some kind of backpacking stove, but you
don't need it on every trip. If you don't like having to cook,
just bring ready-to-eat foods. There are so many healthy and
delicious options now. You can also eat a lot of wild berries
when you are hiking.
Check out the page Edible
Wild Plants for some advice in this area. I always forage
for food along the trail, and I prefer not to cook. It is really
a personal thing, and a matter of context. I like to sometimes
bring a small aluminum pan (it weighs only two ounces)to heat
water in over a twig-fire, just so I can have hot tea made of
whatever wild herbs are available. I really don't need hot meals
to be happy, at least not for a few days. I go without a stove
more often than not, and I've been happy eating 60 granola bars
in 5 days.
Unless you really enjoy cooking, maybe you too should try
some trips without a stove. It saves weight and time. There will
be times when even misfits like me need a backpacking stove,
however. When I need to melt snow for water, for example. It
is also good to have a backpacking stove when you are with a
group, just for the atmosphere that eating a hot meal together
I don't want to make specific recommendations, because I really
don't use stoves that often, but many suppliers now have lightweight
stoves as light as 3 or 4 ounces.