For David Lintern, nothing beats dining al fresco. He looks at a range of camping stoves suitable for backpacking in both summer and winter, as well a couple for base camping and expeditions further afield.

Camping stoves come in all shapes and sizes and firing one up at the end of the day is something of a ritual for me. It can turn an ordinary walk into a picnic, and it’s a massive morale boost at the end of a long, possibly damp day out in the elements if I’m backpacking. At least half the appeal of sleeping out in the mountains is being in nature and enjoying a cuppa or more whilst watching the light, weather and wildlife come and go. At camp, ‘fast and light’ can wait – we should make a meal of our time outdoors!

Get to grips with cooking in the wild with our guide to Cooking in camp

This is a broad test, relatively speaking. I’m concentrating on gas canister camping stoves, but that includes stoves for summer and winter use, base (static) camping and one multifuel unit that could be used when gas canisters cannot be found locally, essential where the only fuel available is diesel or organic matter. We are not considering alcohol (meths) units here – these tend to be very lightweight, almost silent and slower to boil – although for warmer weather use, they remain my favourite way to heat water.

Some gas canister camping stoves prioritise fuel efficiency using heat exchanger technology integrated into the pan, or use pressure regulators to even out fuel output and burn temperature. Others are designed specifically for all-season use, with the ability to invert the fuel canister and change from vapour to liquid feed – useful at altitude or when very cold. These units are usually heavier and less compact, but more stable. 

I’ve mentioned heating water – mostly, that’s all we’re doing. There’s only one unit here that really excels at simmering (and therefore ‘cooking’), and it’s not a unit anyone would want to backpack with. That said, some units are better at working at a lower output, whilst others are optimised for rapidly heating water or melting snow to pour into a dehydrated food pouch. 

What camping stove you choose depends on where you plan to go with it, in what conditions, and how you use your hot water. That and your budget – there’s a wide range of prices here too.

Jetboil Stash in use

Jetboil Stash in use

Our pick of the best camping stoves

Below is a selection of the best camping stoves available right now. You will find a variety of stoves and models with a range of prices to suit every budget. We’ve reviewed stoves from brands such as Primus, Alpkit, MSR and SOTO plus many others. All of the camping stoves reviewed have been thoroughly tested by our expert team.

  • SOTO Fusion Trek | $95 | £90 (Buy now from
  • Jetboil Stash | $129.95 | £155 (Buy now from
  • Primus Tupike | $260 | £240 (Buy now from
  • MSR Reactor 1L | $270 | £295 (Buy now from
  • Alpkit Koro | $75 | £55 
  • Optimus Polaris Optifuel | $190 | £255 (Buy now from
  • Optimus Vega | $95 | £105
  • MSR pocket rocket deluxe | $85 | £70 (Buy now from
  • Primus Firestick | $90 | £80
  • Vango Folding Gas Stove with Windshield and Piezo | £42 (Buy now from

What to look for in camping stoves


Gas is the most commonly used fuel – in canister form – but other fuels are available. Multifuel stoves will run on white gas, paraffin, petrol, diesel and even aviation (jet) fuel, and meths stoves can be prove incredibly lightweight, especially for trips of less than a week (when also factoring the fuel weight carried). A wood stove is lovely to use, but less reliable and more environmentally questionable in our woodland-depleted country. 


Stability can be an issue with canister stoves. The simplest – a gas head that screws onto a canister – need a very stable base to counteract the effect of perching a loaded pan on top of a stove, on top of a canister. By contrast, a remote canister stove sits on the ground with its own legs and is attached to the canister by a flexible fuel hose. It has the additional advantage of allowing the canister to be inverted in cold weather or when nearly empty.

Burner diameter

Gas stoves with small-diameter burner heads can create intense burn zones, or hot spots, on cooking pans. Others are wide but work less well with taller, thinner pots. Some stoves come as complete ‘systems’, with exchangers built into the accompanying pan to distribute heat more evenly. Pan materials also matter: thin titanium is prone to hot spots; stainless steel is better; a thick aluminium pan is best at dispersing heat.


Fuel efficiency is a trade-off between weight, speed, size, design and the conditions of use. It’s impacted by ambient temperature, altitude and wind, and is difficult to measure accurately. A heat exchanger pot or a pressure regulator can improve fuel efficiencies. In Britain the most common type of gas canister cartridge is screw-on, and most contain a mix of butane, isobutane and propane. Isobutane has better vapour pressure and offers superior performance, especially in low temperatures. Butane is the cheapest but poorest-performing fuel in the mix. 


Brands will specify their stoves should only be used with their own brand gas canisters. In reality they will work with any canister with a compatible connection (in Britain, the most common type is the screw-on). Virtually all compact cartridges contain a mix of butane, isobutane and propane. Isobutane is far superior in terms of vapour pressure, and high vapour pressure translates to better performance, especially in low temperatures. Isobutane is more expensive to source than butane, so you’ll usually find it in higher-quality canisters. Normal butane is the cheapest and poorest-performing fuel in the mix. Burning efficiency is also reduced by cold temperatures, high altitude and wind.


This increases a stove’s efficiency by shielding the flame against wind (it can double as a heat reflector). Windshields can be integrated or made from thin aluminium sheet. Either way, it’s important to keep the fuel canister away from the heat! 


Camping stoves with small diameter burner heads can create intense burn zones, or hot spots, on cooking pans. Titanium pans have thin bases so are prone to this, stainless steel is better, a thick aluminium pan is best at dispersing heat.


Stoves may have compact gas control dials, or wire hoops that fold out, which can provide finer control of the flame and reduce the risk of burning fingers or sleeves. Onboard piezo igniters are a nice convenience, but it’s worth carrying a fire steel and/or a lighter in case of failure. Multifuel stoves come with a pump system to fit pressurised fuel bottles.

How we tested the best camping stoves

David tested the stoves on walks and backpacks from glen level to Munro summits across the eastern and western Highlands. It was winter on the tops and spring in the glens. He tends to boil water for dehydrated meals, but his budget is supermarket rather than branded outdoor sachets. As such, his food needs longer to hydrate and he does a little more in-pot preparation, rather than just pour-and-wait.

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This makes a difference to what he looks for in a stove. Measuring stove performance is as hard as or harder than evaluating sleeping bags – there are so many variables – “But at least I was able to drink lots of tea as I tested,” he said. When deciding on a purchase, it’s worth looking closely at the power output and burn times in conjunction with David’s boil times, which he averaged over multiple uses in different conditions. There is no industry standard, and quoted figures need to be read with care and balanced with the comments in review. 

The best camping stoves

Below are some of the best camping stoves available. We’re mainly looking at gas canister stoves that can be used in the summer and winter months. There is a range of prices for varying budgets.

Best in test: SOTO Fusion Trek

SOTO Fusion Trek Camping stove

  • Pros: All-season remote canister design, fuel-efficient, good price
  • Cons: Slightly bulkier than other options, pan and windshield not included
  • Price: $95 | £90 (Buy now from
  • Weight: 186g

Type: pressure-regulated remote-canister stove | Fuel: gas | Dimensions: 11x6x10cm | Burner diameter: 6cm | Power: 3260W / 11000BTU | Boil time: average 4min on test | Burn time: approx 90min from a 230g canister (quoted)

The Fusion Trek is a remote-canister version of the Windmaster stove. It has a wide burner with 300 burn holes, three legs that extend securely, and pot supports that are integral to the legs. The canister attachment is well-designed and has a wired hoop control for fine flame control. The stove is fast and powerful, but can also be turned down for a more effective simmer. The canister can be inverted for cold-weather use, and fuel efficiency is excellent. The Fusion Trek is a Best Buy due to its versatility, stability, all-season-capability, and affordability.

Read more: SOTO Fusion Trek review


Jetboil Stash

Jetboil Stash camping stove

  • Pros: Weight, compact size, reasonable simmer control
  • Cons: No wind resistance without a windshield (not included), no pressure regulator
  • Price: $129.95 | £155 (Buy now from
  • Weight: 232g including burner, pot and canister stand (24g)

Type: unregulated pressure canister-top stove system with integrated pan and heat exchanger | Fuel: gas | Dimensions: pot 0.8 litres, 10x12cm | Burner diameter: 4cm | Power: 1318W /  4500BTU |  Boil time: average 5min on test | Burn time: approx 80min from a 230g canister (quoted)

The Jetboil Stash is a lightweight stove system with a 0.8 litre pot, a solid handle, a titanium burner, and a canister stand. It has a heat exchanger to reduce hot spots and burning, and a fine degree of flame control. It is top-heavy when full, but has a canister stand to help mitigate stability concerns. It is a steady performer and requires an additional full height windshield (not inc) to protect it from the wind.. Despite this, it is a simple, very light design that packs small and will allow basic cooking.

Read more: Jetboil Stash review

Primus Tupike

Primus Tupike camping stove

  • Pros: Genuine simmer-capable cooking stove, made to last
  • Cons: Thirsty on fuel
  • Price: $260 | £240 (Buy now from
  • Weight: 4.3kg

Type: pressure-regulated dual burner base camp stove | Fuel: gas | Dimensions: 8x48x30cm | Burner diameter: 4.6cm | Power: 3000W /  1023BTU | Boil time: average 5min on test | Burn time: approx 47min from a 230g canister (quoted)

The Tupike is a two-burner stove designed for basecamps and backpacking. It has two independent burners, two piezo igniters and two flame controls, and a griddle. It is large and heavy, but is also beautifully finished in brass, oak and brushed aluminium. It sits on two locking and folding legs and has adjustable windshields and a splashback. However, its fuel efficiency is a bit of a gas guzzler, so it should be used with larger canisters and boil/rest cycles to conserve fuel.

Read more: Primus Tupike review

MSR Reactor 1L

MSR 1L camping stove

  • Pros: Rapid boil, excellent wind resistance, compact
  • Cons: No simmer capability
  • Price: $270 | £295 (Buy now from
  • Weight: 432g

Type: pressure-regulated, radiant burner stove system with integrated pan and heat exchanger | Fuel: gas | Dimensions: 12×14.5cm | Burner diameter: 10cm | Power: 9000W / 3070BTU | Boil time: 3min or less on test | Burn time: approx 80min from a 230g canister (quoted)

The Reactor is a high-performance stove designed to melt snow and boil water quickly. It is wind-resistant and uses both convective heat and radiant light energy. It has a solid, all-metal handle that stays cool to the touch and folds away securely over a pot lid with a strainer and steam release. The pressure regulator gives an even burn and it was the only stove on test to beat its quoted boil times. It is a one-trick pony and expensive, but it is perfect for short, sharp missions to the mountains, especially in winter.

Read more: MSR Reactor 1L review

Alpkit Koro

Alpkit Koro camping stove

  • Pros: Price, inverted canister all-season use, suits a variety of pots
  • Cons: Marginally less efficient than other comparable stoves on test, pan and windshield not included
  • Price: $75 | £55
  • Weight: 126g

Type: pressure-regulated remote-canister stove with preheat tube | Fuel: gas | Dimensions: 8x8x9cm | Burner diameter: 8cm | Power: 2800W /  9553BTU | Boil time: average 5min on test | Burn time: approx 70min from a 230g canister (quoted)

The Koro is a remote canister stove made from titanium to keep the weight low and has a brass preheat tube to help vaporise gas at lower temperatures. It has three legs and three pot supports that fold securely and have no friction resistance. The hose is armoured but has some flexibility and a small flame control/regulator unit sits at the canister end. It is powerful, but there are faster units in this test. It is simple, light, packs down small and is inexpensive.

Read more: Alpkit Koro review

Optimus Polaris Optifuel

Optimus camping stove

  • Pros: Multi-use unit, all-seasons and worldwide-compatible, windshield and pump included
  • Cons: Weight, noise, intermittent burn with gas canister, pan not included.
  • Price:$190 | £255 (Buy now from
  • Weight: 330g burner only, windshield 50g, liquid fuel pump 148g

Type: remote canister and multifuel stove 5 | Fuel: gas (canister), white gas, kerosene, unleaded fuel, diesel, jet fuel | Dimensions: 14x10x9cm (burner only) | Burner diameter: 4.8cm | Power: 5300W/18000BTU (gas canister), 4200W/ 14340BTU (liquid fuel) | Boil time:  approx 5min (gas canister), 4min (liquid fuel) on test | Burn time: approx 105min from a 230g gas canister, or 100min from 400ml of liquid fuel (quoted)

The second wild card in this test is a remote-canister gas fuel stove that can run on a wide range of other fuels. It has a circular burner unit with three foldaway legs that support the pot, and is very stable with the legs extended. It performs best with white petroleum, but is noisy and fussier in canister gas mode. A fold-down wire hoop offers fine flame control, but simmering is not a practical option.

Read more: Optimus Polaris Optifuel

The next set of camping stoves are part of a previous test done by Judy Armstrong, but still worth thinking about if you’re looking for a new stove. 

Optimus Vega

Optimus Vega review

  • Pros: Stability, weight, performance, versatility, quality, windshield
  • Cons: Nothing
  • Price: $95 | £105
  • Weight: 185g + 55g case + windshield
  • Rating: 5/5


Dimensions: 65mm / 85mm | Burner diameter: 50mm | Power: 4760 BTU / 1400 W | Efficiency mode: 12,625 BTU / 3700 W 4-season mode | Boil time: 2min 20sec (Efficiency Mode) | Gas used: 8g

This exquisite little stove is a thing of beauty in performance, aesthetics and build quality. Vega is a lightweight, remote canister stove with ‘integrated 4-season mode’ which simply means you can invert the canister when cooking in cold temperatures or at altitude, or when extra fast boil times are needed.

Read more: Optimus Vega review

MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe (£70)

MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe

  • Pros: pressure regulator, efficiency, boil time, simmer control, build quality
  • Cons: Nothing
  • Price: $85 | £70
  • Weight: 82g + 17g case
  • Rating: 5/5

Dimensions: 180mm / 65mm | Burner diameter: 47mm | Power: 10,400 BTU / 3200 W | Boil time: 1min 35 secs | Gas used: 9g

I have long been a fan of MSR stoves, for their versatility and performance, and this is no exception. The Pocket Rocket Deluxe is lightweight and compact, has a very fast boil time yet is efficient and easy to control with a lower flame. The built-in Piezo is positive, firing with a single click, and close to the canister so distant from the flame.

Read more: MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe review

Primus FireStick (£80)

Primus Firestick

  • Pros: compact, wool pouch, separate piezo, reasonable in wind
  • Cons: small pan support area, lack of stability
  • Price: $90 | £80
  • Weight: 105g + 29g case/piezo
  • Rating: 3.5/5

Dimensions: 180cm / 50cm | Burner diameter: 30mm | Power: 8530 BTU / 2500 W | Boil time: 3min 30 sec | Gas used: 12g

Firestick certainly stands out from the crowd. It is supplied in a wool storage pouch which acts as a pan holder: this is novel lateral thinking by Primus, and is genuinely useful. Also in the pouch is a cigarette-sized Piezo ignition stick, which works by clicking the end, like a biro.

Read more: Primus Firestick review

Vango Folding Gas Stove with Windshield and Piezo (£42)

VANGO Folding Gas Stove with Windshield and Piezo

  • Pros: price, stability, good for larger cookware, can tilt canister
  • Cons: weight, stiff hinges, small control knob, piezo under burner
  • Price: £42 (Buy now from
  • Weight: 242g + 50g case
  • Rating: 4/5

Dimensions: 75mm / 85mm | Burner diameter: 50mm | Power: 8850 BTU / 2600 W | Boil time: 2min 30 sec | Gas used: 10g

This is a reasonable example of a remote canister stove and worth considering on a tight budget. It has a large pan support area, and a low off-the-ground height, which both aid cooking stability. Each of the support arms is 55mm long; adding in the wide burner gives a massive radius of 85mm – 170mm across full width – so can safely take large cookware.

Read more: Vango Folding Gas Stove with Windshield and Piezo review