When backpacking, you will often have to set up a campsite and therefore you must-have in your pack everything you will need to do so. Although in some locations it may be possible to build an open fire, most backpackers prefer to carry a stove with them for cooking.
There are, of course, many different types of stoves that may be appropriate for backpackers but many opt for a traditional wood-burning stove as it does not necessarily mean carrying the additional weight of fuel.
Many also think that the fire of a traditional wood-burning stove is more homely and comforting, plus of course, wood-burning stoves are cheaper to use as you do not have to continually buy fuel or carry all the fuel you will need for your entire trip.
The weight of a stove may seem excessive but today there are some which weigh as little as just a few ounces and are collapsible to easily fit in your pack. This means that the benefits offered by a stove will often outweigh the additional weight and space they take up.
Best Wood Burning Backpacking Stove of 2020
There are many different wood-burning stoves for backpackers to choose from and each one will have its own qualities, features, weight, and size. It is always best to review several before making your final choice and so here are some reviews for perhaps the best 10:
Solo Stove Campfire and Solo Stove Titan
Although these are two separate items, they are the same except one is intended for up to 4 people whilst the other for groups of more than 4. The award-winning compact design of these stoves allows for less smoke by having a double wall which also provides secondary combustion.
As these stoves can boil water in as little as just 4 minutes, they are perhaps the best wood-burning stoves in terms of performance
- Compact – They are not just compact but also lightweight
- Performance – Excellent performance
- Environmentally Friendly – They are almost smokeless
- Size – Come in more than one size
- Price – More expensive than some other stoves
- Maintenance – Harder to clean than many other stoves
Ohuhu Camping Stove Stainless Steel
Complete with its own mesh carrying bag, this stove is compact and easy to pack. Made from high-quality stainless steel the stove is durable and its design makes it easy to set up and use. The design also allows for it to be easily extinguished after use.
Supported on 3 legs this stove is stable even if set on uneven ground.
- Light and Compact – Easy to stow in your backpack
- Easy to Use – Easy to set up and start to use
- Stable – Able to set up on uneven ground
- Quick Burning – Uses fuel quickly
- Ash – Prone to quick build-ups of ash
Lixada Camping Stove
With removable sides, this stainless steel stove can easily be packed up in its own pouch making it ideal for backpacking. Not only is this stove sturdy as it is made from stainless steel but, thanks to its legs, it is also stable.
As this stove can burn on just small twigs which can easily be added while the stove is burning, not a large amount of heavy firewood needs to be gathered.
- Quality – Strong and durable
- Pouch – Its own pouch is included
- Convenient – Easy to use
- Portable – Removable panels make it more compact
- Small Parts – This stove includes some small parts which may be prone to be lost
BioLite Campstove 2
This stove employs top technology which enables it to not only provide a cooking utility but can also create electricity to charge small items such as LED lights or phones. Environmentally friendly, it can, without smoke, boil water in 4 to 5 minutes.
The stove has a built-in LED panel to display the level of battery charge, plus the fire and air levels.
- Fire-into-electricity – Allows for recharging via a USB
- Internal Jets –These jets help improve combustion
- Aluminum Legs – Increase stability
- Size – Cannot be folded
- Weight – Heavier than most backpacking stoves
CANWAY Camping Stove
Although being light and compact as well as collapsible for easy storage, this stove’s circular base makes it sturdy when in use. The stove is small but has secondary combustion which makes it thermally efficient.
The stove has 3 arms which hold small pots for heating and comes with its own carry pouch for better protection during transport.
- Compact – Light and collapsible
- Efficient – Thermally efficient
- Small – Only suitable for one person
- Weak Hinges – The hinges on the arms could be stronger
Emberlit Stainless Steel Stove
Weighing just 11.5ozs this is one of the smallest and lightest fires burning stoves. Its small size demeans its abilities as it can still boil water in less than 10 minutes. The stove is ventilated on 3 sides to allow air distribution whilst the 4th side is open to allow for the restocking of fuel.
Already small, this stove folds flat for better packing.
- Compact – Lightweight and collapsible
- Convenience – Easy to use
- Size – Small
- Design – Sharp edges
Unigear Wood Burning Camp Stove
Designed in a style more like a BBQ than a stove, this stove folds like a book for easy storage. The stove is made with stainless steel which makes it both strong and durable.
It is designed for use with different fuels and comes complete with an ashtray to make cleaning easier.
The ability to be used upside down, this stove is assembled in 3 easy steps.
- Convenience – Easy to set up
- Versatile – Multiple fuels can be used
- Cooking Surface – Large cooking surface capable of holding a frying pan
- Less Heat – Does not produce as much heat as enclosed stoves
überleben Stoker Flatpack Stove
Complete with a canvass sleeve to protect it when not in use, this stove disassembles into 5 panels, which makes it very compact. As well as being compact it is also light with a weight of the only 14.5ozs which makes it ideal for backpackers.
Made from stainless steel this stove is anti-corrosive and durable.
- Light – Weighs 14.5ozs
- Compact – Folds flat
- Durable – Made from stainless steel
- No Instructions – Although relatively easy to assemble, comes with no instructions
TOAKS Titanium Backpacking Wood Burning Stove
Designed specifically with backpackers in mind this stove only weighs 4.5ozs and its 3 parts fit inside each other, making it compact as well as light.
As it burns on twigs, no heavy fuels like logs are needed in order to boil water.
- Lightweight – 4.5ozs
- Convenient – Easy to assemble and use
- Slow Cooking – Cooking takes longer than many other stoves
- Smoke – Produces more smoke than many
Firebox Bushcraft Camp Stove Kit
This is a very versatile stove as it can be set up in several different ways in order to be used for different purposes. This stove comes with useful accessories such as an ashcan and skewers for cooking.
It is very efficient and effective as it can boil 2 cups of water in less than 3 minutes with relatively no smoke.
Made from thicker stainless steel, this stove allows for a flame that can be adjusted in both size and angle.
can be adjusted in both size and angle.
- Versatile – Adjustable flame
- Multi-functional – Can be used for varying tasks
- Smokeless – Produces very little smoke
- Accessories – Accessories included
- Convenience – Easy to use
- Weight – At a weight of 3lbs it is probably more suited to campers than backpackers
Buying Guide for a Wood Burning Backpacking Stove
With many different types of stoves available for campers or backpackers, often a backpacker will opt for a wood-burning stove as it can double up as a personal heat source as well as a stove for cooking.
What they should however remember is that all types of the stove can be a fire hazard and so they should not use it near flammables or inside enclosed tents.
If you have decided to buy a wood-burning stove for backpacking, here are some of the things you should consider before making your purchase:
Although the price is always a concern to many backpackers, they should remember that usually the more you pay the better quality you get and this instance may include, not just the quality of the materials, but also the efficiency of the stove.
You should check the dimensions of any stove you intend to buy for backpacking, to ensure it will fit inside your pack.
Any additional weight you carry can be an added burden when backpacking but at least if you buy a wood-burning stove, no additional weight for fuel may have to be carried.
You must check to see how easy the stove is to set up and also is it collapsible which will make packing it back up easier and quicker.
Whilst backpacking it is not often that you will know what the condition of your next campsite might be and so you should be prepared to set up on the uneven ground.
This means that you will want to choose a stove which is stable, one which can be set up safely on uneven ground.
Although how portable a stove may be will largely depend on its size and weight, many stoves are made more portable by being able to be disassembled or even just folded.
This feature may not make a stove any lighter but it will make it easier to stow in your backpack.
Safety is always a factor that needs to be considered and with backpacking stoves, this usually means that it is stable so as not to be easily tipped over.
There may be stoves with additional safety factors though such as ash catcher.
All stoves will probably affect the environment to some degree or other but wood-burning stoves are considered to be friendlier, in this regard, to liquid fuel stoves.
If you are prepared to pay a little extra money, it is also possible to get smokeless wood-burning stoves and these will leave the smallest environmental footprint of any stove.
Type of Fuel
Although they may all be called wood-burning stoves, some are capable of burning small twigs only whilst others may require larger, almost log like chunks.
If you are planning to backpack through wooded areas this may not be a problem but if not, remember you will have to carry the type of fuel needed.
Most wood-burning stoves will work with pellets which, although may add to the weight you carry, not only be more convenient at a campsite but may also be more friendly to the environment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why a wood-burning stove when canisters are easier?
Canisters may be easier especially after a long day’s hiking but canisters will add weight to your pack, especially if you intend to do several days backpacking.
They are also traditional and some people like the idea of a campfire at night, and be it a mini one.
Stainless steel or titanium?
It is really personal preference as although stainless steel may be tougher and handle heat better, titanium is lighter. Titanium may warp quicker but both are suitable for use when camping.
Is a wood fire bad for the environment?
Smoke from a wood fire is bad for the environment but its footprint can be reduced by using wood pellets as they produce much less waste and side effects or, buy a more expensive smokeless stove.
Is a wood burning stove bad for your health?
It can be if you do not use it according to the instructions. Use it correctly and avoid using it in confined spaces though and they will not be harmful to your health.
How do you start a fire in a wood stove?
Make 3 layers, 1 of compressed paper, 1 of cardboard and then 1 of small, dry pieces of wood. Light the paper and then the rest should catch and start your stove.