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Finding a Good Backpacking Stove


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 brings.

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.


The Ultralight Backpacking Site | Finding a Good Backpacking Stove