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Good Small Backpacking Stove

Question:

I've been looking into getting a small stove to take backpacking with me, but I'm not exactly sure what to look for in one. I want something small that I can take backpacking with me. What should I be looking for in one?

Answer:

Stoves are a touchy subject with a lot of people. Everyone seems to have their own theories as to why one is better than the other. I base my opinion off of two things, speed and simplicity. First you'll want to think about what you plan on cooking. If you're like me, cooking while backpacking needs to be simple. There's a lot of guys out there who try to get all kinds of creative with their cooking while backpacking. That's not me. I like a stove that boils water quickly so I can add the hot water to by 'just add water' food, eat, and be done. If you're like me there's a couple of stoves I'd recommend. We haven't been able to get them all up on the site so I'll fill you in now. The Jetboil personal cooking system and the MSR reactor stove. Both are designed on the sample principal and both boil water fast. The reactor is a bit faster and holds a bit more water. I've used one on a couple of trips this summer and was very pleased. The jetboil also does a fine job and is a little less expensive and a bit lighter. Here's some links so you can check them out.

Reactor (click here)

JetBoil (click here)

With either of these two stoves things like soups, pastas, mountain house dehydrated food, etc are a breeze to make.

The other school of thought is maybe you want to be the camp chef. Maybe you want to get all gourmet with your backpacking meals. In that case I've always been a big fan of the MSR dragon fly. It's been around for a while and is a little work horse. If you ever have to cook for a large group, this is the ticket. It's one of the few camp stoves that has a simmer option. It can burn just about any kind of fuel (MSR fuel works best of course) and it's not too heavy (it's also not the lightest), but for big groups who are only using one stove, it can't be beat. It's a bit harder to light because it's not a canister stove (you have to prime it), but with practice it really isn't that tough. Check the Dragon fly out.

Dragon Fly (click here)

Hopefully that helps a bit. If you have any other questions don't hesitate to get back to me. Thanks for checking out the site and check back often, we're just getting started. Oh, and...tell your friends.

Cheers,

-Tim

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