The Best Stove for Backpacking Comparison

Backpack Camping
By: Chris Woodburn

 

Best Backpacking Stove Comparison

As most of you who spend time in the mountains with a multi-day back pack strapped to your back know every ounce in that bag counts, and every ounce adds up to a pound.  One of the most important items in your pack besides your first aid kit or water is the stove.  I know when I started out and wanted to do some real deep woods backpacking I went to the local camping store and looked at options…bought the one that simply looked like it would work, not thinking that I need to pack a large propane bottle into the mountains…  -ummm, mistakes you don’t need to make.

Here are three stoves I wanted to compare, as each one has its own unique differences and opportunities.  In Figure 1 we have 3 stoves I wanted to compare.  The reason I was looking at the newest, large jet boil is that’s the brand I’ve trusted for years and I wanted to compare it to my existing Jetboil Sol.  The other stove is combination of a TOAKS titanium pot and a small burner.

Stoves:

  • Jetboil SOL – old model that’s still kicking, similar to the new MicroMo
  • Jetboil Flash – funky colors
  • TOAKS titanium 550 with a BRS stove

First things first, I have been using an old trusted SOL for a number of years.  I think I paid 70 bucks for and it’s still kicking!  I think you can only get parts for it now.  See Figure 2.

Figure 2

A buddy of mine, Brian, bought one of the newest Jetboils out there, on sale…

Then another buddy, Jason, bought this little micro stove called a BRS and added it to his TOAKS titanium pot.  The entire combination is super lite and I think comes in at about 10 oz.  Check out the size of the BRS in Figure 3.

The purpose this article is simply to put each stove to a field test and compare how they did.  Each stove, as mentioned, has its own pluses and minuses.  For example the SUMO is large, it boils a lot of water, has a solid wind breaker, and has a nice cup and lid.  The SOL is a little smaller than the SUMO, but can boil liquid pretty quick, and has a lid that over time hardens and doesn’t snap to the top of the pot.  Also, the cup that comes with it…is fragile… I think I’ve only used that cup maybe a handful of times.  The BRS, is super tiny, see figure 3, and it’s super light.

Figure 3

 

 

Test Conditions:

  • Elevation 850′
  • Temp: 42 degrees
  • Wind: constant wind at about 10 mph and some gusts of 20 to 25 mph

I set up all the stoves, filled with 12 oz of water, started each stove and timed the test.  Take a look at Figure 4.  I wanted to see how fast each stove could bring a pot of water to boil, since that’s pretty common when back-packing into an area…and the time it takes the water to boil is going to make a difference in how fast your hunger squashed.

Figure 4

Again, each stove was filled with the same amount of water and lit.  Guess what stove came to a boil first in just over 2 minutes?  Yep, you guessed it my old trusted Jetboil Sol!!!  The next stove to started to boil near the 3 min mark was the Sumo.  I presume it has a large surface area to heat under the stove, but I’m only a back-yard scientist!  Not too surprisingly the BRS took a couple minutes longer to bring the water to a boil.  The challenge with that stove is there’s no wind protection, other than what you could do with material either in the field or in your pack up the trail.

Cost:

JetBoil Sol (new version is the MicroMo)- $139.95

JetBoil Flash – $79.95 or you can shop and find it for $65!!!

BRS stove – $16.90 plus the TOAKS 550 ml Titanium pot – $33.95  – $50.85

Stoves not tested but could be, if you wanted:

  • MSR
  • Primus
  • Snow Peak

Places you may find a deal on stoves:

Jet Boil Flash Stove

Editors Choice:

Jetboil – I simply would choose to have a stove that has multiple features, at a good cost, and i’m comfortable with in the field.  I may pay for the extra weight, but for me that’s a no brain’r.  I think that even if you’re on a strict budget you can find the Jetboil on sale like my buddy Brian did and it simply works!  So, if you can stand a funky color go with the Jetboil!

2 thoughts on “The Best Stove for Backpacking Comparison

  1. Great article. Are you guys going to break down camp stove for base camp where packing the stove into backcountry is not required?

    1. Thanks. Great question. We were just talking about this and are planning to put some info out there. Check back. Thanks again!

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