There is nothing like setting up camp after a long day on the trail and using your wood burning backpacking stove to relax around. But what is the best wood burning backpacking stove for you?
Wood burning backpacking stoves are super convenient to have on long hikes or overnight treks. They make cooking and warming yourself much simpler, and rely on mother nature’s fuel: wood. Plus, you don’t have to worry about fuel canisters!
If you are looking for a new stove or investing in buying your first one, you will need to do some research on what type will work best for you. That’s where we come in!
The most important factors of a backpacking wood stove will be different based on what you are looking for. However, most can agree that the portability, heat efficiency, pocket bellows, and size of the wood burning backpacking stove are the key factors to keep in mind.
That being said, let’s talk about the stoves a little more to help you figure out the features you want!
BioLite Campstove 2
Lixada Camping Stove
kampMATE WoodFlame Camping Stove
Unigear Wood Camping Stove
Solo Stove Lite
Firebox Bushcraft Camp Stove Kit
TOAKS Titanium Backpacking Wood-Burning Stove
Ohuhu Camping Stove
TOMSHOO Camping Stove
There are several things that every person who is planning on purchasing a wood burning backpacking stove should know. This includes the pieces that make up the stove, standard features of all wood burning camping stoves, and important aspects.
Knowing all the parts of your wood burning stove can help you understand how to keep it clean and extend its lifespan to the maximum length.
This knowledge also helps in case some part of your stove gets broken or damaged. Sometimes you can purchase replacement parts and make repairs by yourself, without shelling out the cash for a new wood burning backpacking stove altogether.
So what things matter? The different styles, heat efficiencies, shapes, and shields all matter! How they are used is a different story. You may not always need a windshield, but it is just as important to know what it is and how it can benefit your camping and cooking experience!
The heat efficiency of your wood burning backpacking stove is an incredibly important factor. Heat efficiency will define how long it takes for the stove to boil a pot of water or cook your meal.
This also impacts the amount of wood you use and how quickly you burn through it.
The best wood burning camping stoves will have higher heat efficiencies. The higher the heat efficiency, the less amount of wood it burns, the more time you get to spend relaxing instead of finding wood.
In the first stage, any moisture in the wood evaporates, making it ready to begin secondary combustion. I won’t get into all the physics and chemistry, this isn’t that important, so I’ll just let you know that tertiary combustion is when the wood is burning hot enough to heat food or boil water.
Hikers and campers are especially keen on the stove providing a fast evaporation time since sometimes the only wood around t use is damp. Plus, it speeds up the time the wood takes to get to the point where it is hot and stable enough to use for cooking.
The main question that most hikers care about over anything else, is how easy the stove is to carry around all day.
If the stove is too heavy or bulky, it can become bothersome and annoying fast, and feel like more trouble than it is worth. Now, you might be thinking, “well what makes a wood burning backpacking stove easy to travel with?”
No worries! I’ll tell you.
Let’s explore the 2 most critical aspects of portability in a wood burning backpacking stove.
The first factor of the portability of your wood burning backpacking stove is how heavy it is. No one wants to lug a backpack full of gear and a stove on top of it.
Most of the lighter models can weigh in around 9 ounces (half a pound), which is pretty light for a stove. Heftier wood burning stoves can be up to 16 to 24 ounces (1 to 2.5 pounds).
Often, the material used to build the stove can affect weight. The two most common metals are .
If you typically do not hike with tons of heavy equipment, then you may be able to purchase a backpacking stove that has a bit more weight to it, since everything else is light.
On the other hand, hikers usually have a lot of essential gear that can add up in the weight department. The majority of intense trekkers will be looking for a lighter model to decrease the strain on their bodies each day.
Generally, you can expect the lighter models to be more minimalist, since eliminating the bells and whistles lowers the overall weight.
The height and width of each stove will be different for each brand and model, but you can expect them all to be fairly small since they are made for hiking and camping.
Think of them as the length of your forearm, give or take a little bit.
Typically, the heavier stoves will be a bit taller and wider than the lighter ones, but that is just how weight works. Usually, the bigger the stove, the more features it has.
Campers are often purchasing a wood burning backpacking stove for a place to put their tea kettle or heat some food up. You will want to know the size of your kettle, pan, or pot when investigating which stove you will buy so that your cookware will fit on your stove.
You can purchase a wood burning pocket stove, which is backpacking wood stoves that are made much smaller so that they can fit in a pocket!
The stove box is exactly what it sounds like! It is the section underneath the “stovetop” that the fire burns in. It can be conical, square, open-air, or closed.
The conical shape is often preferred by many since the wider base provides more stability. Usually, the conical shape is closed with air holes punched into the top sides. This allows the fire to breathe enough to reach temperature but protect it from being blown out by the wind or drizzle rain.
Square shaped stove boxes can be open or closed, depending on the style, model, and brand that makes them. Square shapes usually have slanted or angeled legs and have hinges to fold down the stove flat as a means of storage.
Open-air stoves can be great for keeping the fire inside alive while the stove-top is being used. They allow air to flow freely from both the inside and outside areas of the stove, which keeps the fire breathing and growing.
Open-air stoves tend to be a little bit more dangerous since they allow logs or embers to fall out during the cooking or burning process. If you choose to use an open-air stove please make sure that you are keeping a very close eye on the logs you are burning and that they are safe inside the stove.
Additionally, your open-air wood burning stove may be considered an open flame in some places, and if you are caught using an open flame is locations or forests where they are prohibited, you can be fined.
To avoid getting fined for something avoidable, please ensure that you do your research on the sight you are planning on hiking to or camping at. In some cases, you can ask park rangers or read signs about the rules at the start of trails or outside campgrounds.
If you are thinking about the size of your wood burning stove in terms of how to pack it, do not worry! Most backpacking stoves are collapsable or have hinges to fold, so they lay flat and can be tossed into your backpack or attached to the outside by a cord.
This is a feature that many hikers often find very important. If the stove is not collapsable, it can take up way more room then a model that folds up. Plus, non-collapsible models will usually become super bulky and annoying on the trail.
Vehicle campers who drive to locations and set up a camp can often buy wood burning stoves that are not collapsible since they are not carrying it for days. If that sounds like you, you probably do not have to worry about things like weight or size.
Additionally, if you only go on single-night camping trips with short hikes to and from the campsite, you may find a non-collapsible model perfectly fine for your needs.
Most hikers who go out for long, intense treks prefer collapsible wood burning stoves, but not everyone is the same. You may go out on trips for weeks and absolutely love a wood burning backpacking stove that retains its size and shape. It is all about preference.
The biggest and obvious difference between the two types of stoves is the fuel they use. The fuel-burning stoves run on chemical or synthetic fuel sources that have been chemically created to burn for extended periods at very high temperatures.
Chemical fuels often release unsavory odors into the air and can have toxic fumes if they are not made properly. The stove boxes of chemical fuel stoves must be cleaned far more often than their eco-friendly counterparts since chemical residue can build up in the box from the fumes, and cause uncontrolled fires.
Generally, chemical fuel backpack stoves are not as “all-natural” like wood and thus are not as clean or eco-friendly.
You want your wood burning stove to be stable, for obvious reasons. It must be able to hold your cookware and heavy pots or kettles of water.
If the structure itself is unstable, you run the risk of your stove falling or collapsing during cooking, which is a nightmare for many people. Unstable stoves are often taller ones since they can become very top-heavy and tip over easily if they are not perfectly balanced or flat.
Tall and wide wood burning stoves, on the other hand, are usually fairly steady. It is the tall and narrow ones you should be looking out for.
The sturdiest wood burning backpacking stoves are the ones that are wider than they are tall. This provides a much more secure foundation that cannot easily become top-heavy and tip over.
Look to see what angle the legs are directed and how many legs there are. 3 or more legs provide more stability, while legs that stick out further than a 90-degree angle also help to create an equilibrium between the ground, fire, pot, and stove.
Some wood burning backpacking stoves do not have legs, but rather aerated cylinders that get placed over the fire. Once again, the wider the base, the steadier the stove and cookware.
Look to see how big your cookware is. If the wood burning stove is very sturdy and well made, it will probably have no problem withstanding the weight that comes with your cookware. If your wood burning stove is not as strong, that can cause the pot to become wobbly and unstable, or even fall.
Most people find that when they are going out into nature for hiking or a long trek, they want to be in touch with nature. They go into the outdoors to be a part of the majesty that lives in the wilderness.
These are, often, the same people who deeply care about the health of the planet, and the way they treat the planet.
Wood burning backpacking stoves are far more eco-friendly since they do not use harmful synthetic fuels that spew toxic chemicals into the air. The fuel that wood burning stoves use is laying on the ground all over and will grow back as time turns.
This free fuel benefit is overlooked by many hikers and campers. Although fuel canisters and tablets may not cost that much, or even take up too much room in their pack, they are harmful, cost more than free wood, and they do take up valuable space in a backpack.
Wood burning backpacking stoves are also very low maintenance. They do not need constant cleaning like chemically fueled camping stoves, although they do require some cleaning.
Additionally, wood burning backpacking stoves are usually lighter and smaller than their chemical counterparts, so they take up way less room in your pack. Portable wood burning stoves are simply useful to campers or hikers who need to cook a meal or get some water boiling.
|Image||Stove||Width||Height||Weight and Shape||Heat efficiency|
|BioLite Campstove 2||5 inches||5 inches||2.06 lbs, Cylinder||High|
|Lixada Camping Stove||3.1 inches||3.5 inches||.45 lbs, Square||Medium|
|kampMATE WoodFlame Camping Stove||6 inches||7 inches||1.1 lbs, Square||Medium to High|
|Unigear Wood Camping Stove||7.1 inches||6.3 inches||1.5 lbs, Open rectangle||Medium to High|
|Solo Stove Lite||4.25 inches||3.8 inches||.5 lbs, Cylinder||High|
|Firebox Bushcraft Camp Stove Kit||5 inches||7.5 inches||2.08 lbs, Open Rectangle||Medium|
|TOAKS Titanium Backpacking Wood-Burning Stove||4 ⅛ inches||4 ⅛ inches||.45 lbs, Cylinder||Medium to High|
|Ohuhu Camping Stove||5.3 inches||5.3 inches||.88 lbs, Cylinder||Medium|
|Sierra Stove||5.28 inches||5.31 inches||1 lb, Cylinder||Medium to High|
|TOMSHOO Camping Stove||2.8 inches||5.4 inches||1 lb, Cylinder||High|
This wood burning backpacking stove is beloved by many a camper! For those who like to stay plugged in, it has a heat-based generator that can charge small tablets and phones, or re-chargeable flashlights!
Another fun bonus is the kettle that comes with the stove. This kettle is the perfect size for the stove-top, ensuring a fast boil and perfect balance.
The stove box is a useful cylinder shape that helps promote stability and heat transfer and has a grill and stove pan that come with the complete kit.
It has a height of 5 inches and a width of the same length. It does weigh a bit more than most wood burning camp stoves at 2.06 pounds, but that is due to the accessories that it comes with.
This wood burning camping stove is super lightweight, weighing only .45 pounds! It folds completely flat and comes with a very convenient storage bag so that no damage befalls it during transit.
It also has a convenient wood placement system alongside scientifically located air vents to maximize burning efficiency and intensity.
This stove is an open-air, square style structure that is made from incredibly sturdy stainless steel so it can hold heavier pots or pans. Since the stove is so lightweight, small, and can fold flat, some say this is the best wood burning pocket stove for camping!
This stove is one of the best collapsible wood burning backpacking stoves for people who need to save lots of backpack space!
The Lixada Camping Stove has a fairly balanced height to width ratio at 3.1 inches to 3.5 inches, making it stable and strong, despite its smaller size.
This is one of the best wood burning camp stoves out there! It is a very affordable option for those who want a simple wood burning camp stove with no extras that jack up the price and weight.
Additionally, this camp stove has a satisfaction guarantee, so you can purchase with peace of mind that you are insured. The crossed stove-top ensures that your cookware will be balanced and safe.
Another great feature of the KampMATE Camping Stove is the portability of it. It has hinges that are secured when it is set up but fold down easily for easy transport, and the lightweight build (1.1 lbs) does not add to much weight to your pack.
It measures 7 inches high by 6 inches wide, giving it a great balance ratio, plus the wide, square stove-box adds to the overall sturdiness. The stainless steel frame ensures that it has a long lifespan without rust or damage.
This wood burning stove has a unique design that helps make it optimal for barbeques! The multi-utility design of this stove, however, makes it perfect for pots, pans, and kettles as well!
Unigear has a 6-month after sale-service for any problems you may encounter with your stove.
The ultra-sturdy design is also ultra-portable. The stove folds up just like a book and has its own specially made bag for easy storage.
The Unigear stove can burn from many different fuel sources, so it is perfect to have if you find your self in a wet area with no dry wood, since it can burn emergency fuels. It weighs in at 1.5 lbs, so a bit heavy, but not unbearable.
The Solo Stove Lite is one of the most critically acclaimed wood burning camping stoves on the market today and a Gear of the Year winner!
This small stove burns sticks and leaves to boil water or heat a small frying pan. This stove is perfect for hikers and campers who adventure by themselves due to its small, “solo” size.
Although it is small (3.8 inches tall and 4.25 inches wide,) it is powerful. It can boil 32 ounces of water in under 10 minutes, making it highly heat efficient. It also features strategically placed air vents to keep your fire going.
Made out of 304 stainless steel, it is durable, rust-proof, and long-lasting. The cylindrical design has a flat bottom to ensure that it will not get knocked over easily. The compact structure makes it a breeze to pack up and take on the trail.
This camping stove is a simple, yet well-performing backpack stove. This kit comes with tons of added features that increase the price, but if you are looking for ease of use, comfort, and quality materials, this is the stove for you!
This stove is not patented, but it gets the job done. It is hinged together so that it folds flat without separating and nothing gets lost.
It can burn smaller sticks or thin logs and has two places to add wood; on the front and side. It comes with firesticks to accommodate other fuel sources in emergencies, and a dampener to increase heat efficiency.
It is 5 inches wide by 7.5 inches tall and folds flat into its storage bag. It weighs 2.08 lbs, so it would be considered a heavier camping stove.
If weight is an important factor to you, then you may want to check out this camping stove. Not only is it compact and made of high-quality titanium, but it weighs less than half a pound, making it the lightest stove on this list.
Titanium is way stronger than stainless steel, plus it is far lighter. This stove has received many awards for its durability and weight, so you know it lives up to its name.
The TOAKS stove harnesses combustion, which cranks the heat efficiency way up, making it a stove that can heat up and retain its heat for quite some time.
This stove has a great balance ratio of 4 ⅛ inches tall by 4 ⅛ inches wide, but when it is fully set up, it becomes top-heavy.
This option is a great choice for campers and trekkers on a budget! Although this wood burning camping stove is less expensive, it is right up there with the top dogs in quality, heat distribution, and weight.
It is made out of 304 stainless steel, ensuring rust and dent free adventures for years to come. The unique three-arm design allows the heat to transfer evenly to your cookware, so no hot spots!
The round base allows you to use your stove in windy or uneven conditions since it is sturdy and strong. Plus, serrated pot grips help your cookware to stay stable, too.
This stove is 5.3 inches tall by 5.3 inches wide, making it a well-balanced stove, that does a fantastic job for its price point.
The Sierra Stove is often overlooked, and it shouldn’t be. This wood burning stove features a fan with an attached battery pack to run the fan. The battery pack is run by 1 AA battery, so there are no heavy additions.
The medium-high heat efficiency can boil a quart of water in 4 minutes, making it a perfect solo camping stove. The Sierra runs on small sticks, twigs, and even pinecones, so you will never run out of fuel.
This stove weighs only 1 pound and has a balanced height to width ratio at 5.28 inches by 5.31 inches, making it compact and light. Perfect for solo trekkers trying to minimize the weight in their packs!
This camping stove has a unique feature it the walls of its design that allow cool air to flow in between the outside wall and the stove-box, where the air gets heated, and increases the heat efficiency of the stove!
This stove runs on small twigs, and sticks, but also has an emergency alcohol tray if needed. It comes with a grill-like tray for any of your styles of cookware or cooking.
Perhaps the best feature? A 12-month satisfaction guarantee! The TOMSHOO also has a mesh storage bag when it is compacted to 5.4 inches by 2.8 inches.
In case you did not get all the information you needed, or if you have specific questions, this section might be able to help you find the answers you are looking for.
You can, but it is not always a good idea.
This increases the chances of an ember or the stove itself falling and igniting the surrounding grass and debris of the forest.
Make sure that you are monitoring your flame consistently throughout the night. If you have a door that can close your stove box, please make sure it is closed tight.
Just because you can do something, does not always mean that it is the best idea.
Just as you would at home, but more minimalistic! Think of your backpacking stove as a singular burner from your stovetop at home. Keep in mind that your meals will have to be much less complex.
You cannot expect to whip up a 5-star French meal with 7 to 10 courses and dessert.
Preserved meats, vegetables, soups, and other things that can be quickly cooked or heated are perfect.
This is a common question since no one wants to ruin nice “for home” cookware that may have set them back a pretty penny.
Most people you ask will tell you that using cookware that has copper infused bottoms will help the distribution of heat from the smaller burner to the greater area of the pot, particularly if the whole pot does not fit on the burner.
You can find camping cookware at your local camping store that has been designed with camping and backpacking in mind. This means they are made of lighter material with enhanced durability, and occasionally, collapsible handles.
As you would with any purchase, no. Just because this particular wood burning stove can also charge your phone, do your laundry, and brush your teeth does not mean that it is necessary.
Remember, you are going camping or trekking for a long time. You do not want any extra baggage that is not important to your survival or comfort to hold you back.
If all you need is a collapsible wood burning backpacking stove, then try to focus on getting the best one you can.
This is a tricky question. Depending on your camp’s location and what time of year it is, your stove could be considered an open flame.
Even with a shield or windshield surrounding it or if it is a closed stove box, it is still a fire. Make sure that where ever you decide to go hiking or camping that you check the laws of the location before lighting anything.
When it comes down to picking the best wood burning camp stove, you must account for all the categories. The most extravagant and cushy camping stove is the BioLite with the generator. It mixes technology and ease of living with outdoor adventures.
On the other hand, the most simplistic wood burning stove is the KampMATE stove, since it has no extras or unnecessary aspects. Meanwhile, the Solo Lite Stove is best for single campers, (hence the name.)
Our pick for best for a budget is the Ohuhu, since it is ranked with the big boys but far more affordable.
We hope that this answered all your questions about the best wood burning backpacking stoves!
See you on the trails! If you want to read more reviews, you can click below: