Understand Fuel Before Getting a Backpacking Stove

Two types of backpacking stoves

  • Cartridge Stoves can attach and detach to the fuel cartridge. These cartridge stoves use small disposable fuel tanks. Cartridge stoves tend to be lighter than liquid gas stoves and they are generally easier to maintain as well. This makes these types of stoves much more appealing for backpackers.
  • Liquid Gas Stoves typically cost less than cartridge stoves, are friendlier to the environment, and burn at a higher temperature regardless of weather conditions. However, they are really heavy, a huge setback for backpackers. They are the perfect choice for camping in campgrounds where a liquid gas stove doesn’t need to be carried for a long distance.

Different types of backpacking stove fuel

  • Propane Fueled Stoves, like Liquid gas stoves, are perfect for camping situations where weight isn’t an issue. Generally, propane tanks are quite large and heavy. If you plan on camping in a campsite, then a propane stove is arguably your best choice. Propane is very efficient and its eco-friendly. The biggest perk to propane is that it is convenient to find and is quite cheap to purchase.
  • Alcohol Fueled Stoves are also convenient to find and cheap to buy. Alcohol stoves are also handy when backpacking because the alcohol can double as a treatment for disinfecting wounds or killing bacteria. The only problem with alcohol fueled stoves is that the alcohol doesn’t produce nearly as much heat as the other fuel sources. This means that it typically will take twice as long to boil water when burning alcohol.
  • White Gas Fueled Stoves are a great option for long backpacking trips. White gas is much lighter to carry than propane tanks. White gas comes in gallon or quart containers. Those containers are used to fill up refillable canisters. White gas is also fairly inexpensive to purchase. The only down side to white gas is that it doesn’t have a consistent burn and will often “flare up”. These inconsistent burns make white as fueled stoves a little bit more dangerous.  
  • Butane or Isobutane Canister Gas Fueled Stoves are usually the most popular option because they are so easy to use and convenient. The canisters are disposable and recyclable. The gas is very lightweight, and has a consistent burn. The only issue with canister gas is that it’s the most expensive of the gas options and it doesn’t burn well in cold weather or high altitudes.

Safety

Safety is obviously a concern when operating a camping stove. The gas can be…

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