Best Wood Burning Backpacking Stoves
There is nothing that beats a hot meal after a day on the trail.
But building a full fire to cook is not always convenient. That is why it is important to pack a good wood burning stove with you. A good stove can help you get your dinner cooked quickly with minimal wasted effort.
However, if space is a limitation and you want to travel light then one of the best options is a backpacking stove that is collapsible and easily fits in your bag.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at five of the best wood burning backpacking stoves available and review them so that you can make an informed purchase decision.
Why Opt For a Wood Burning Stove?
The primary reason to go with one of these stoves is the fuel. You can use sticks, twigs, branches, and even pine cones for fuel. That means you won’t have to carry propane or white gas, which equates to a lighter pack.
Wood Burning Backpacking Stove Quick Reference
We cover each of the portable stoves in our lineup in detail below, but for those of you in a hurry to hit the trail, here are the stoves we looked at:
Backpacking Wood Stove Reviews
The primary features to think about when choosing a stove are the dimensions and the material used to build it. You also have to consider the shape of stove (to make sure it fits your cooking gear), and also the weight it will add to your pack. And any additional accessories a particular stove comes with should also be a factor in making your choice.
The good news for you is that we’ve done all the work already in reviewing the best backpacking wood stoves for the money. Here are our top 5 choices for backpacking wood burning stoves:
The Solo Stove Light is a lightweight and elegant-looking wood burning backpacking stove that doesn’t require you to carry fuel. Instead, you can simply insert leaves, sticks, pinecones and other natural forms of biomass to burn. The patented design makes it produce less smoke than other wood burning backpacking stoves and it’s even won an award as the #1 wood-burning backpacking stove recommended by Backpacker Magazine. That’s a lot to live up to, but how does it actually hold up in practical use?
Quite well, actually.
As a wood burning backpacking stove, you’re going to have plenty of fuel around you when you’re out on a camping trip and this saves you a lot of effort having to carry extra fuel. The cutout on the side is excellent for adding a couple of extra twigs here and there to keep the fire going but you’ll want to keep a slightly larger stick to use as a poker since you won’t get much movement otherwise. However, the stove is well-designed and you’ll immediately notice just how much heat it can put out with a very modest amount of twigs.
Though it might seem a little heavy especially if you’re used to other wood burning backpacking stoves, it’s a fantastic piece of kit that makes your backpack a little lighter since you won’t need to carry fuel with you. It’s a simplistic wood burning backpacking stove that doesn’t offer any crazy thrills but simply works well and is efficient and flexible enough to use for a variety of camping needs such as cooking meals and heating water. Just keep in mind that due to the nature of the flame, it’ll leave a bit of soot on your cookware but as long as you’re aware of this and give it a nice clean after use, this shouldn’t be a problem.
- GEAR OF THE YEAR WINNER
- PATENTED DESIGN - LESS SMOKE. The patented design features a unique double wall that creates ultra-clean gasification and a secondary combustion. This allows fuel to burn more completely and with less smoke.
- FUEL IS FREE. No more spending money on white gas or expensive liquid canister fuel
- LIGHTWEIGHT & FAST BOIL TIME. Boils water in 8-10 mines (34 flu oz. water). 4.25" Diameter, 3.8"/5.7 tall (packed/assembled). Solo Stove weighs only 9 oz. Made of premium stainless steel and chrome wire. Nylon stuff sack included.
- COMPACT SPACE SAVING DESIGN. The compact Solo Stove design nests inside the companion Solo Stove Pot 900 (not included) leaving you with more room in your backpack.
The CampStove 2 looks incredibly different from other offerings–most likely because it has a huge piece of technology attached to it with LED indicators and even a USB port. But don’t worry, it’s not just there for show.
The big selling feature of the BioLite CampStove 2 is the fact that it has a smart piece of technology attached to it. The yellow section is actually a battery that also offers a fan option so that you can control the size of the flame. As you add biomass or wood for fuel and burn it, the fire generates electricity which is stored in the internal battery. There are LED indicators that show the status of the battery in addition to how strong the flame is and how much energy it’s producing. To take advantage of this energy, it has a USB plug which can offer 3W of power, enough to charge a phone or power different devices. It’s a brilliant idea that can help you charge your tech and it’s surprisingly effective.
However, it’s still a wood burner at heart and in this regard, it offers a fantastic experience. It gets hot enough to boil water in just under 5 minutes and you can even cook an entire barbecue’s worth of food on it if you have the patience. It’s sturdy, built well and is small enough to pack with you wherever you decide to camp. It also manages to double as an excellent little stove for areas that commonly run out of power thanks to the energy generation feature and the reliance on natural sources of fuel like biomass and wood.
Overall, it’s a brilliant wood burning backpacking stove that offers a very helpful feature of generating electricity. It’s built well, it’s sturdy and will last you a very long time thanks to its versatile nature.
- Turn fire into electricity! CampStove 2 generates 3 watts of usable electricity and stores it in it's internal powerbank for USB charging of LED lights, mobile phones, and other devices. The internal, rechargeable 2600 mAh battery stores excess power to charge devices, even without a live fire.
- USB charge output with 50% more power than our previous CampStove 1, with updated thermoelectrics creating even more electricity from fire, and Smart LED Dashboard gives you real time feedback on fire strength, power output and fan speed settings
- Internal jets have 4 fan speed settings to circulate air for improved combustion and efficiency to boil 1 liter of water in 4.5 minutes
- Lightweight aluminum legs fold up for nested portability and durability for camping, backpacking or power outages
- The FlexLight is a portable, pliable USB gooseneck for quick, controlled light
The Firebox Bushcraft Camp Stove Kit is a versatile little kit that offers a surprising amount of flexibility. One of the biggest gripes of the Firebox Bushcraft Camp Stove Kit is that it’s simply annoying to put together. While many other wood burning backpacking stoves are simple to use and often come in a single unit, this type of wood burner can be a little annoying to set up so if you need a quick meal or want to just heat up some water, prepare to practice the setup process. It’s also a little on the heavy side because it uses a rather thick metal which is great for durability but not so great for portability.
It comes with a bunch of useful accessories such as a detachable ash pan, firesticks which can also work as food skewers and lots of different setups that make it feel like the swiss army knife of wood burning stoves. However, getting used to the different variations can take a bit of time but that shouldn’t hurt your decision to purchase this ultra-versatile camp stove kit.
In short, the Firebox Bushcraft Camp Stove Kit comes with many different accessories, making it a very versatile stove that can be used in many different situations. While it can be a little heavy and difficult to put together, it’s well worth learning all the different variations and making space for this in your backpack.
- MOST VERSATILE with more available accessories, a detachable Ash Pan and 4 Firesticks (which work as food skewers) means more possible setups / positions (Search YouTube "Firebox Stove Demonstration"). Plus the Firebox can be fueled several different ways (side, top or pre-fuel) including the revolutionary Swedish Torch Method (over an hour cook time with no fire management! Search YouTube "Firebox Stove Swedish Torch Breakfast")
- HIGHEST BTU OUTPUT Hinged damper for additional exhaust capacity allows more combustion air to support pre-fueling (other stoves with less exhaust capacity are forced to exhaust out the feed hole causing flame to pan bypass). Firebox always maintains flame to pan contact. Boil 2 cups of water as fast as 2:40 (Search YouTube "Firebox Stove Boil Test") The Cross Feed Fuel Delivery with upwards angle for flame velocity and crossed sticks for turbulence is the perfect recipe for efficiency.
- MOST DURABLE thicker stainless steel and an engineered expansion management system make the Firebox the strongest stove on the market with the least amount of warp (Search YouTube "Firebox Stove Engineered Warp Control") barrel type hinges are stronger and don't flex or slide like other hinge designs (Search YouTube "Firebox Camping Stove Strength Test!")
- EASY TO USE Firebox Firesticks are not cumbersome like other "trivets" and when stored serve to hold the Firebox closed in its folded position. Having two smaller feed ports (rather than one large hole) prevents debris from falling out even with a full burn chamber. Our four panel hinged folding design is more rigid and solid (not at all floppy like six panel accordion designs)
- 100% stainless steel construction is easily maintained with a light coat of oil between uses. Used world wide since 2011.
If you’re looking for a budget option as a beginner camper then the kampMATE wood burning backpacking stove is perhaps the best solution. At such an affordable price, this stove is perfect for cooking with wood, charcoal or any kind of biomass available. It’s lightweight, collapses to fit neatly into your hydration backpack and even comes with a carry case. The size is very generous and it’s even suitable for emergency use–not just camping!
Unlike other similar kits, the kampMATE is very easy to put together and only comes with a couple of parts. This makes it quick to assemble which is perfect for a quick snack or coffee break while you’re camping. Another advantage of this simplicity is that it’s very easy to maintain and clean, meaning you won’t need to worry too much about long-term care. However, it does use quite thick steel which is a double-edged sword. While it makes the stove a lot more sturdy than the alternatives at this price point, it does also make it significantly heavier which could be a problem if you’re solo camping or trying to travel light. Of course, it’s still much lighter than bringing a heavier stove with some kind of fuel source, making this a considerably more convenient option.
Overall, there’s really nothing to complain about with the kampMATE. It’s affordable, it’s functional, it’s easy to carry around and it’s a breeze to put together. If you’re just looking for a simple and effective wood burning stove to carry around on your camping trips then this is a great option.
- 100% Money back guarantee - Large size for easy cooking - Great air ventilation allowing for hot cooking temperatures - Easy set up and take down
- Light weight & collapsible wood burning camping stove - Folds flat for easy storage - Carry case included with purchase
- Perfect for cooking with Wood, Charcoal, Cedar Pucks, Esbit Tablets, Stereo Fuel, ReadyFuel or any kind of Bio-Mass
- Weight: 520g / 1.1lbs - 304 Stainless Steel - 0.8 mm thick
- The original WoodFlame Stove
If you’re not looking forward to carrying around a steel wood burning backpacking stove then the TOAKS will be great for you. It’s a much lighter metal which means you’ll have an easier time carrying it around, ultimately giving you more mobility and less weight to worry about. It comes with a handy carrying case so you can keep everything in a convenient bag and there are a couple of TOAKS accessories such as a pot which can help improve the amount of functionality you get.
The tall size of the TOAKS wood burning backpacking stove makes it fantastic for group use. It can hold more fuel than the alternatives so it burns for longer with less maintenance. It’s fantastic for general cooking tasks such as boiling water and is perfect for whipping up entire meals as well. While it might seem tall enough that it could tip over if you’re not careful, it’s actually surprisingly sturdy and with something heavy on top, it’s definitely not going to budge or spill. There’s also a couple of extra accessories that you can purchase from the TOAKS store to get even more value out of it.
While the size and shape of this stove might be a little off-putting, there’s really no problem once you’ve grown accustomed to it. The expandability and the lightweight nature of the TOAKS Titanium Backpacking Wood Burning Stove make it a truly portable camping stove solution that deserves consideration.
- Material: Titanium (no coating)
- Weight: 7.9 oz (225g)
- Dimensions: Packed: 4 1/8" (D) x 4 1/8" (H) (105mm x 105mm) Assembled: 4 1/8" (D) x 8" (H) (105mm x 205mm)
- Origin: Designed by TOAKS in California and made in China
- Notes: 1. Received Outdoor INDUSTRY AWARD 2015 Friedrichshafen, Germany. 2. TOAKS Titanium Backpacking Wood Burning Stove is compact/light, very easy to light the fire and of high efficiency. 3. The stove comprises of three parts, which can be stacked into each other and packed inside a fine and strong nylon stuff sack. 4. It can nest inside TOAKS 1100ml and 1600ml pots. 5. It can nest TOAKS 450ml Cup from outside.
Making Your Selection
If you’ve never seen a wood burning back packing stove before, here is a good YouTube video comparing several models: