Camping, Backpacking & Hiking Gear

Best Wood Burning Backpacking Stove for Camp Cooking in 2020

best wood burning backpacking stove
Bertie
Written by Bertie

What’s a camping trip without hot food and hot drinks? The ability to cook a meal while enjoying the beauty of nature enhances your experience. To help you cook in the wild, we’ve gathered a list of the best wood burning backpacking stoves.

These are my picks for the best wood burning backpacking stoves on the market:

Specs

With a double-wall design, this stove should rid your cooking experience of all smoke. It measures 4.25 inches by 3.8 inches by 5.7 inches and weighs about 9 oz.

The Verdict

Meet a former Gear of the Year Winner—the Solo Stove Lite. It is an innovative backpacking stove that may just be what you need for your next camping trip. It’s made of stainless steel and chrome wire for a sturdy yet relatively light finish.

It’s designed to enhance airflow and optimize combustion. Air enters the stove through air intake holes at the bottom. After being heated, the air then flows through small holes at the top of the stove and back into the firebox. The latter movement of air allows for secondary combustion.

This is possible thanks to the stove’s double-wall design. Smoke-filled cookouts should be a thing of the past with this product.

In Summary

Best for people who hate smoke. Its double-wall design promotes complete combustion. When wood burns more efficiently, there’s less room for incomplete combustion. This translates into reduced smoke production. A chrome wire also adds to the stainless steel design’s sturdiness.

Specs

This stove has a sturdy stainless steel frame that should last you through many camping trips. It weighs 14.02 oz and measures 5.3 inches by 3 inches by 6.1 inches.

The Verdict

The Ohuhu stove is easily assembled, once you get the hang of it. Once assembled, you get a nice volume for your twigs and wood, perfect for a lengthy cook. 

It’s fairly easy to use and utilizes gasification features—it should look very similar to your stove at home.

The assembly guide is also quite clear. The stove should be up and ready in a few short minutes, faster after you familiarize yourself with the process.

In Summary

This is an excellent choice if you’ll be cooking in larger pots—thanks to the three-arm base support system which does an excellent job stabilizing larger pots. The stove itself is also quite sturdy and stable, thanks to its round-shaped design.

There’s plenty of room for you to add twigs and keep the stove burning for as long as you need. One problem though, you’ll have to raise the pot whenever you need to add more wood.

Specs

The Lixada is made of hardened steel and weighs in at 5.5 oz. It has a top diameter of 3.1 inches, a bottom diameter of 3.5 inches, and a height of 4.3 inches.

The Verdict

This camping stove packs a lot of excellent features inside a small package. When packed, it's one of the smallest stoves on the list. It unfolds into a small yet effective stove. 

The Lixada also has one of the lowest prices on the market.

To set it up, unfold it and then set the pin in place. Once you’re done, take out the pin, fold the stove, and back into the bag it goes.

Despite its small size, this stove is actually quite sturdy. I was even able to use it with a cast iron pan. You may run into an issue with smaller pots or cups, however.

The Lixada stove is one of the easiest stoves to use. It assembles in a flash, takes up almost no space, and has a very wide opening for adding wood.

In Summary

At 5.5 ounces, it’s one of the lightest stoves on the market. This stove is so small, you shouldn’t even feel it in your bag. It may even fit into a relatively large pocket.

Contrary to what you may expect from a stove of its size, the Lexada can hold relatively heavy cast iron pots without a problem. 

There’s a wide opening at the bottom of the stove to ensure you have an easy time feeding the fire. If your trips will involve long travels or if you just prefer to travel light, this may just be the stove for you.

Specs

The Emberlit measures 3.5 inches by 4 inches by 6 inches. It is made of stainless steel and weighs about 11.45 oz.

The Verdict

It doesn’t look too fancy, does it? Well, it doesn’t need to! The Emberlit stove is an excellent option for campers with limited baggage space—it packs completely flat for easy storage.

The Emberlit stove is constructed from 304 stainless steel, it should be durable enough to serve your most demanding camping needs. It’s easily assembled by hooking four panels together for a wobble-free experience. At the bottom, you’ll find a small hole to add fuel without having to remove your cooking pot.

Don’t worry about smaller pots not fitting nicely onto the stove. It comes with two crossbars that should allow it to accommodate smaller pots.

In Summary

Best for backpackers with limited space as it packs flat and takes up very little space in your bag. 11.45 oz is a manageable weight by any metric, but you can certainly find lighter stoves on the market.

It’s constructed from 304 stainless steel making it both sturdy and corrosion-resistant. Expect years of service from this stove.

Specs

There are two versions of this stove: the STV-12, and the STV-11. The STV-12 weighs 5.4 oz and measures 3 ¾ inches by 3 ¾ inches by 7 ¼ inches when assembled. The slightly bigger STV-11 weighs 7.9 oz and measures 4 ⅛ inches by 4 ⅛ inches by 8 inches when assembled. 

Both options are made of titanium.

The Verdict

Have you seen a more premium looking backpacking stove? This TOAKS Stove is entirely made of pure titanium, without any coating. It is available in two sizes: the STV-11 and the slightly smaller STV-12.

The stove is made of cylindrical pieces stacked inside each other. It also comes in a strong nylon sack. 

The titanium construction makes this stove both durable and lightweight. It’s also cleverly designed to enhance stability, sturdiness, clean-burning (producing clear smoke).

In Summary

Best for durability thanks to the pure titanium design that makes this one of the toughest stoves out there. The titanium also gives it a premium feel.

When it comes to the two size options, we think the STV-12 size is the better choice—it packs smaller. Both versions are relatively easy to assemble, but there are easier stoves to unfold out there.

Specs

This stove measures 3 inches by 4.75 inches and weighs in at 4 oz. Its main body is made of titanium. This equipment also comes with a tin-plate X-case kit that weighs just over 3 0z. The total weight of both the stove and case is, therefore, still on the bearable side.

The Verdict

The Folding Firebox Nano, as some like to call it, is one of the easiest backpack stoves to assemble. Even the word “assemble” is an overestimation. You only have to unfold the stove to use it.

Simple as it is, there’s also something quite innovative about it. Any camper will tell you that fire burns longer when the wood is crossed. This stove has two holes, one on either side, for firewood. That translates into a longer and less fuel-consuming burn.

Four simple arms on the stove should accommodate all pot sizes. Also, note that these arms raise the stove slightly off the ground. This allows for increased airflow into the stove for optimum burning.

In Summary

This stove is best for convenience. It offers light carrying weight, ease of assembly, and innovative diagonal feeding access.

You can use the stove for smaller cooking pots by turning the stove’s arms inside—to reduce the hollow area on the top. Otherwise, for larger pots, turn them outside to increase the hollow area and stability of the stove.

Specs

This stove is made of stainless steel and weighs about 12 oz. It is 5 inches by 2.5 inches by 6.75 inches.

The Verdict

The SilverFire Scout is relatively larger than your average backpacking stove. To its credit, however, it folds up into a manageable size for storage and transportation. 

This stove is easily assembled. Start by taking the primary ventilation ring and setting it on the ground. Next, shake the combustion chamber to get the bottom to fall, and then stack it on top of the ventilation ring. Put on the pot support after filling the stove with fuel, and you’re good to go.

This assembly creates what is called a double wall, which allows for gasification—improving efficiency and reducing smoke.

It’s made of stainless steel, so you can expect it to be durable. It also comes with a stainless steel ash plate to catch any live embers. 

This specific model comes with a few accessories to complete the package. You’ll get an MSR Pot, a fire starter, and folding stainless steel utensils.

In Summary

It is durable, fuel-efficient, and does not smoke as much as the average backpacking stove. It’s perfect if you have kids around because it comes with an ash plate to catch live embers. This prevents accidentals burns and mitigates the risk of starting a fire in the camping zone.

It may be too bulky for the adventurer that wants to minimize baggage. In such a case, the Firebox Ultralight Titanium Nano would be a better choice. Only note that you’ll be missing out on the accessories that come with the SilverFire Scout.

Specs

This stove is made of steel but weighs in at just under 1 pound. It measures 4 inches by 4 inches by 2.75 inches when folded and 4 inches by 4 inches by 4 inches after assembly.

The Verdict

This stove easily has the easiest assembly and packing on the market. All you have to do is open it up like you’re opening a tiny storage unit. It may seem, at first glance, that the opening is too big for your smaller pots. That’s far from the case, this stove is actually quite smartly designed.

QuickStove’s unique shape makes it quite versatile. If you stand it flat face down, you get a wide opening that works excellently for larger pots. Otherwise, you can flip the stove over and use the flat face to suit your smaller pots. This setting will also give you better access when adding wood from the bottom.

With the small plate accessory, the stove comes with, you can set it to burn on solid alcohol fuel, a much greener option.

The QuickStove is made of durable steel, and it also comes with 2 QuickStove fire starters.

In Summary

This is among the best stoves for adventurers who are shopping for versatility. No matter the size of your pot, it’s possible to accommodate it on the QuickStove. The only thing that will change is whether the stove will be used on its face or on its back.

This stove will also allow you to benefit from a diagonal wood assembly. Place the firewood appropriately, light up, and then put the stove on top of the burning pile.

Specs

This stove is made of hardened stainless steel and weighs in at 13.6 oz. When assembled, it measures 5 inches by 2.7 inches by 7 inches.

The Verdict

Lightweight, check. Compact, check. Flexible, check. 

The J-Creater stove is an excellent choice for backpackers who want a simple stove.

It is made of hardened stainless steel for durability, and the design is focused on promoting combustion for effective stove performance. It’s quite tall and can pack a decent amount of wood. 

There are a few holes at the bottom, for improved airflow. You can expect very fast boiling times (water boils in under five minutes).

The J-Creater stove has a small and narrow cylinder on top to accommodate smaller pots. On the flip side, it only has one hole on the side for firewood, no diagonal placement of wood with this stove.

In Summary

The J-Creater stove is the best stove for reliability thanks to it’s sturdy and durable hardened stainless steel frame. It will survive bad falls, rough handling, and heavy use.

The round design also makes it quite stable on the ground. Holes at the bottom boost optimal airflow for better and easier cooking. On the flip side, the stove’s single firewood hole doesn’t allow for diagonal placement of wood. 

If fuel-efficiency is very high on your priorities, consider the QuickStove QS-01-AS.

Buyer’s Guide

There are tons of options when it comes to wood burning stoves. The choices can prove overwhelming.

While they all serve the same function, they come in varying shapes, sizes and materials. Let’s break it down, so you know what stove to pick relevant to your backpacking needs:

Features

Think of your requirements. Are you using the wood stove to boil water, or are you looking to cook meals? What sort of environment do you camp in? How frequently will you use it? How compact do you want it to be?

Size

The size of your wood backpacking stove will affect your camping trip in a number of areas, chiefly the space in your pack. If you just want to boil water, then get a small one to fit your pot. If you’re looking to cook, find sturdier stoves to hold larger pots. 

Even in their folded positions, backpacking stoves vary in compactness. Don’t just go for the smallest unfolded wood stove without considering its packing size. 

Consider your exact needs. With your camping equipment, do you have space for a bulky stove, or are you looking for the least possible footprint?

The assembled size of your backpacking stove is also important. If you’ll be using it exclusively inside a tent, you must make sure it’s small enough to be safe for such usage.

Moreover, take into account the surface area of the stove’s top. Whether round or square, backpacking stoves are designed to hold pots or cups larger than their tops. If you’re looking to use smaller items on your stove, make sure you get one with a small enough diameter, a flat top, or with crossbars to hold your pots.

Weight

The more durable stoves are generally heavier. Balance durability and weight and settle for the stove that best suits your needs. On a long hike, you don’t want to be the guy with a heavy stove.

That said, titaniums stoves are both durable and light. The privilege comes at a higher price, though. 

Durability

Your desired durability should influence your choice of material. Remember also that this may increase the weight and price of the wood stove. For example, titanium stoves are lighter than their stainless steel equivalents, but they are priced much higher.

If you’re a frequent camper, pick something that’s very durable, even if pricier. If you want a backpacking stove for that odd adventure every now and then, pick something of average price and durability. This way, you won’t be paying extra for features that you don’t need.

Other Considerations

When the afore-mentioned considerations don’t make for a clear winner, there are few other factors that, when considered, could tilt the scales in favor of one or the other:

Ease of Assembly

While most stoves are generally easy to assemble, some may be a bit complicated. You typically get three options:

  • The first option is an unfoldable rectangular stove that can be assembled in seconds. 
  • The second option is a rectangular stove that comes in individual pieces that latch together and take slightly more time to assemble.
  • Finally, you have round stoves that stack above each other; these are hardest to assemble. 
Access/ Need for Adding Wood

All stoves are probably going to need extra wood to finish cooking, but some more than others. Go for a stove that has easy access for adding wood, otherwise, you will need to remove the pot for top loading.

Safety 

Opt for sturdy stoves that can hold their own against the realities of outdoor life. Check out the design of their legs or stands to make sure they are stable. Also note any sharp edges on the stove, which might prove dangerous during assembly or usage.

Accessories for Backpacking Stoves

Are you after protection from the wind or do you want a quick-burning flame? Choose  accessories for your wood stove accordingly. The most popular accessories include: 

1. Windshields

Think of windshields as tall walls that surround your wood burning backpacking stove. They make sure the wind doesn’t blow out your flame or, even worse, tip over the whole stove.

Consider the stability of the windshield in terms of material used and whether it has pegs that you can stick into the ground. However, note that it will increase your carried weight. 

2. Fuel Tablets

If you can’t find enough wood for your wood stove or want something to accelerate the burning, fuel tablets will do. 

3. Pocket Bellows

Pocket bellows come in different lengths to keep your face safely away from the flames. Consider the material, weight, and most importantly, length if you’re buying this accessory individually. 

Benefits of Wood Burning Backpacking Stoves

When researching a backpacking wood burning stove, you might come across other types of stoves and think to yourself, why don’t I just get that?

Well, while other types of stoves surely have their benefits, a wood stove might fit you better because of a few things:

Backpackability

Fuel or gas-operated stoves require you to carry fuel canisters, which add unnecessary weight and volume. As for wood burning stoves, you simply carry the generally compact and lightweight stoves without any additional weight. Even if you use supplementary ignition sources, they’ll be the tiny fuel tablets mentioned above.

Sustainability

Another benefit of not having to carry any fuel is not having to buy any fuel. This also means that you won’t end up running out of fuel.

Nostalgic Elements

Remember the good old days when you could just start a campfire anywhere? Many campsites nowadays have understandably banned campfires or restricted them to particular areas. A recent study shows that humans are responsible for around 85 percent of wildfires.

While this is a positive step, we’re still allowed to miss the good old days. Wood burning stoves are a safe way to fire up wood.

Chow Down & Warm-Up

Get double benefits from a backpacking wood burning stove by cooking your food and warming up your tent, simultaneously. Just make sure that the stove is tent-friendly first.

Tips for Using Wood Burning Backpacking Stoves

You may feel a bit intimidated against using wood stoves, but rest assured, they’re actually quite simple. All you have to do is understand the dos and don’ts and you’re set.

Picking the Right Twigs and Sticks

The great thing about wood burning backpacking stoves is that you have an abundance of fuel right at your campsite.

You won’t even need a saw, and you shouldn’t be running around sawing on trees anyway. All you need is a few dry wood sticks or pine cones of about average thickness. Break up your twigs for top loading stoves, or feed longer sticks to the stove via a side hole.

The most important thing is to go for dry wood as these produce more heat, and promote complete combustion. Water is your enemy here, but you can bypass the negative effects of using wet wood by settling for a fuel tablet if you can’t find any dry wood.

Starting the Fire

After you’ve picked up your wood sticks, the first step is to set them up diagonally. Crossing sticks to start a fire makes them burn more efficiently and with less smoke.

The next step is to actually start the fire. This is simply done by lighting up a piece of newspaper in the middle of the twigs or pine cones. If that doesn’t work for you, using a fuel tablet will surely do the trick.

Remember to make sure that enough air is entering your stove to promote complete combustion. Most wood burning backpacking stoves have holes at the bottom to enhance airflow. However, if your wood stove doesn’t have that, try to elevate it. That should create enough room to allow more air in.

Safety Considerations

Be Attentive

You should never leave an open flame unattended. This is especially true for wood burning stoves. It’s advisable to buy sturdy camp stoves that will not blow over and put them on a flat surface, but that’s not enough. Keep an eye on the camp stove when in use.

Risk of Embers

As the flame keeps burning up the wood, some hot embers may fall down the wood stove. Most stoves have a safety plate at the bottom to catch these embers. However, to be extra safe, you should place a flame-retardant mat below the camp stove.

Keep Flammables Away

If you have any flammable items, it’s best to keep them far away from the wood stove at all times.

Isolation Bad, Ventilation Good

Burning wood produces a lot of carbon dioxide. Incomplete combustion of wood produces carbon monoxide, which is a very dangerous gas. You can’t smell it or feel it in any way, and breathing large amounts can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

Make sure your tent is well-ventilated when using these stoves.

Final Verdict

We feel that more sophisticated stoves are somewhat overdoing it, and we’d rather go for the simple option. 

The Firebox Ultralight Titanium Nano struck us as an excellent candidate. It’s compact and lightweight and has proven sturdy too. It’s extremely simple to unfold and use, has good airflow, easy access for cross-feeding, and rotating arms for stability and using smaller pots.

The QuickStove QS-01-AS is a close runner-up. It’s easy to operate, relatively cheap, and sturdily built.

 

About the author

Bertie

Bertie

I’m Bertie and I’ve been enjoying the wilderness for as long as I can remember. I get out camping, hiking and backpacking whenever I can. And when I can’t, I enjoy writing about outdoor-related stuff!

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