Trail Stoves: What to Choose and Why

Since many national parks and woods have already banned campfires to prevent forest fire, it is imperative that you take along a reliable stove on your excursions.

After all, who wants to miss a chance to enjoy bonfires in the wilderness?

When it comes to choosing a stove for backpacking, most backpackers are left with two choices: canister fuel stoves and liquid fuel stoves.  Each of them have their own advantages and limitations, of course. So why not glance at a comparative study between them?

Canister Fuel Stoves vs. Liquid Fuel Stoves

Canister Fuel Stoves:  Basically, these stoves operate on pre-pressurized gas canisters (generally propane, butane or isobutene.)

The “pros” of canister stove include:

  • Quite user friendly.
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Excellent flame control
  • Does not spill fuel
  • Leaves lesser soot on cookware
  • Gives maximum heat output
  • Does not require priming, which is, preheating of the fuel line so that the stove converts the liquid fuel into vapor.

The “Cons” of canister stove include:

  • The fuel is more costly
  • Performs poorly in cold weather conditions
  • Canister fuel is hard to find outside the USA

Liquid-fuel Stoves: Most commonly, these stoves run on white gas by means of refillable fuel bottles.

The “pros” of Liquid fuel stove include:

  • They provide superb cold-weather performance.
  • The fuel it uses is inexpensive.
  • Takes only the amount of fuel that you require.

The “cons” of Liquid fuel stove include:

  • Most of the models call for priming to operate.
  • Usually, they are heavier.
  • Fuel spill is possible with it.
  • Needs separate purchase of fuel bottle.

Nowadays, you can find newer forms of backpacking stoves in the market. Such as:

  • Solid Fuel Stoves: They are the lightest and most compact of all the kinds.

  • Alcohol stoves:  Such stoves are quite inexpensive, and they are very light and compact. Nevertheless, the liquid fuel adds to bulk and weight.

  • Multi Fuel Stoves: They can run on white gas, kerosene, jet fuel, diesel fuel as well as unleaded gas. However, they are the most bulky of all types of backpacking stoves.

So choose your backpacking stove considering the activity you are going to pursue. Here’s some help:


  • Summer backpacking

  • Winter /  high elevation use

  • To boil water

  • Group backpacking

  • “Gourmet” camp cooking

  • Light backpacking/ day hiking
  • International Travel
Recommended Stove Type


Liquid fuel stove

Canister stove

Liquid fuel stove

Any model with stable base or flame control

Canister/ alternative fuel stove

Multi-fuel stove

If you feel confused while choosing the right backpacking stove for your needs, you can make a safe choice with the Primus Classic Trail Stove.

A favorite with many frequent backpackers, the product features:

  • Built-in windscreen
  • 10,000 BTUs of heat
  • Three-minute boiling time
  • Lightweight
  • Also, the product includes nylon storage and transport bag.
The trail stove boasts of a very high rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars at And if you want to have it for a great price, a visit to Amazon is the way to go.

So, that’s all about it. Happy Backpacking!