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Backpacking Stove Fuel Types: How to Choose

Backpacking Stove Fuel Types: How to Choose

Camping is an extremely popular activity which excites many people all over the world. In order to enjoy a camping trip, there are many things to be considered before starting the trip. All necessities and requirements should be planned and included in backpacking. One of the major requirements of a camping or backpacking trip is a stove. There is a wide range of backing stoves available today. Campers can choose the most suitable backpacking stove and the fuel type according to their necessity and comfort. However, it is extremely important to choose the best one which is completely suitable for your camping trip.

It is very important to choose the right fuel type. In the early years, the best choice of stove fuel type was gas sealed in a canister. Some people also used to consider liquid fuel, which was available in a bottle. Both gas and liquid fuel types have their own pros and cons. Both types of stove fuels are equally used by people according to their convenience and requirements. Therefore, in order to choose the right type of fuel, you need to analyze the duration of your trip, the location, the weather conditions, etc. You should choose the best backpacking stove and make the most of your camping trip.

Categories of backpacking stoves

The type of fuel to be used for a particular stove totally depends upon the type of the stove. Wide ranges of backpacking stoves are available in the market and are suitable for different fuel types. The three main categories of backpacking stoves are given below

  • Canister Stoves: These stoves require sealed canisters filled with a combination of pre pressurized gases like propane and isobutane. Butane camping stove and propane camping stove are also some of the best options for camping trips under this category.
  • Liquid stoves: These stoves require a refilling fuel bottle. However, there are many other fuel options available in order to use these stoves. Sometimes white gas is also used as a fuel and white gas camp stove is very famous. This makes it versatile in nature
  • Alternative fuel stoves: These stoves can run on elements such as wood, twigs, etc. Wood burning camp stove is also one of the preferred options.

The above mentioned categories of backpacking stoves might contain subcategories as well. All the three categories of stoves have their own pros and cons. These are designed with excellent features and are suitable for all kinds of backpacking tours and trips. These just require the right kind of fuel in order to be beneficial. Therefore, a suitable backpacking stove should be picked based on the availability of the necessary type of fuel.

The three different categories of backpacking stoves have a wide range of advantages and disadvantages. The type of backpacking stove and the fuel can be chosen based on the pros and cons.

Liquid Fuel Type Vs Gas Fuel Type

There is no comparison between liquid and gas fuels because both the types are completely different in nature. Both the types are equally beneficial based on the conditions and circumstances in which these are used. The advantages and disadvantages of both liquid fuel types and gas fuel types are listed below. Based on the points given below, any one fuel type can be chosen

Advantages of liquid fuel types:

The stove is generally connected to a refilling fuel bottle or white gas. Other liquid fuels such as kerosene, auto gas, etc can also be used.

  • This type of fuel is extremely suitable for cold weathers and high altitudes.
  • This type of fuels is easily available
  • These fuels are available in remote areas
  • The amount of fuel required is fixed.

Disadvantages of liquid fuel types:

  • There is a process called priming which should be performed in order to light up the stove.
  • The stoves which use these kinds of fuels require a lot of fuelling and maintenance.
  • Stoves which use these types of fuels are generally expensive.
  • Liquid fuel stoves are generally heavier than the other fuel stoves.

The liquid fuel types have equal number of advantages and disadvantages. On the basis of the above mentioned points, you can decide whether to pick this fuel or not.

Advantages of gas fuel types:

Generally, the stove is connected to a gas filled sealed canister. There is a blend of two gases inside the canister.

  • It is a suitable way to control the flame
  • It is very light and easy to carry
  • Priming is not required to light up the stove.
  • This fuel type is generally low priced and affordable. 
  • Maintenance of fuel for longer durations is easier.

Disadvantages of gas fuel types:

  • The stoves which use this kind of fuels are difficult to ignite during cold weather conditions.
  • You have to carry an extra quantity of fuels.
  • The fuel is a bit harder to find.
  • When there is less fuel, there is a lag in performance.

The advantages of gas fuel types are more than its disadvantages. This does not mean that the disadvantages can be ignored. As mentioned earlier, each of these fuels can be used only under certain circumstances.

Features of a best backpacking stove

It is definitely a hard task to decide and choose the best backpacking stove for your trip. Some might advise you to go with a 2 burner stove for convenience while some others can select a wood burning camp stove. Given below are some criteria which would help you to select the best backpacking stove based on its features.

  • Average stove weight: It is generally advised to travel light. Keeping this in mind, you can pick a stove type and a fuel which is light in weight and does not require extra elements especially for hiking and mountain climbing trips.
  • Boiling time: Efficiency of fuel is a major priority. Some models offer the fastest boiling whereas some others are very slow in terms of boiling. This again depends upon the type of fuel chosen as well.
  • Burning time: This is again based on the fuel type. You can analyze how long does a stove take to ignite based on a given type of fuel.
  • Special Igniter: There is a kind of push button available on some stoves in order to produce a spark quickly. This feature can be considered as it would be helpful if your matchsticks are over or lost
  • Special Stabilizers: In the early years, this element was generally sold separately. But nowadays, there are modules which have special stabilizers attached to the bottom in order to provide support to the stove and prevent it from tripping and thus avoiding fire accidents.

The best backpacking stove and the fuel type can be chosen based on the above mentioned features.  The best backpacking stoves would definitely contain all of the above mentioned features. The features of your stove should be used efficiently in order to make it a valuable experience.

Major Tips for Using Backpacking Stoves

It is important to know the features of your backpacking stove, but, at the same time, it is also important to know its operation. If you carry a backpacking stove and its fuel without knowing its operation or usage procedure, then it would bring in a lot of difficulties and problems. Given below are some of the general tips and tricks in order to use any kind of backpacking fuel stove effectively. These tips should be kept in mind and used irrespective of the type of backpacking stove or the fuel.

  • It is not recommended to use the stove in close area like tents as there is a risk of fire because of the gases.
  • The stove should be operated on a leveled surface
  • It is important to check all the lines and valves before lighting up the stove in order to prevent unexpected accidents
  • If your stove model has an inbuilt Igniter, match boxes should be carried and used if the Igniter fails.
  • There should be a proper Base in order to place your stove for operation. Therefore, you can use sand by spreading it evenly or an old license plate as the Base. 
  • You should definitely carry a tool box in order to perform emergency repairs.
  • All the necessary procedures should be carried out in order to use the stove effectively.

The above tips should be recalled and followed in the case of emergency situations. Precautions should be taken in order to avoid accidents and facilitate effective usage. Therefore, it is extremely important to plan well before you go on a camping trip. You can prepare a checklist and choose the best backpacking stove fuel type. You can surf the Internet in order to gather full information about the location of your trip such as the weather conditions, the temperatures, the humidity, etc and then decide the type of fuel. Choosing the right things will help you to live the most memorable trip of your lifetime.

About The Author


We are a group of friends who are passionate about camping related stuff, gym rats, Netflix subscribers and also enthusiasts of outdoor equipment and tools. "Get out there and play!" they said, and they are right!

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