Best Lightweight Canister Stoves for Backpacking

Best Lightweight Canister Stoves for Backpacking

There are lots of options as far as lightweight stoves for backpacking are concerned.  The four main types are canister, alcohol, solid fuel, and wood burning.  Canister stoves are probably the most popular option among backpackers these days.  They are convenient, easy to use and maintain, and lightweight.  Canister stoves have two parts, the stove piece and the gas canister that twist together.  The gas canisters come in various sizes and easily fit into cook pots and mugs.  After attaching your stove to the gas canister, you simply twist a small knob which lets gas flow, and then light the gas with a match or lighter.  Most canister stoves have a simmer control function that allows you to change how much heat is produced.  If you want an easy to use, reliable, no fuss stove, go with a canister stove.  Here’s a list of my 4 favorite canister stoves for out on the trail.  I personally use the Olicamp Ion Micro on all of my solo outings.

Olicamp Ion Micro Titanium

This is my go to solo stove.  At 1.5 oz it weighs almost nothing and folds down to 1.25 in x 1.875 in.  The small size of the Olicamp Ion Micro makes it easy to fit into a mug or cook pot, even when including a fuel canister.  While this stove is tiny, it still has quite a bit of power and can boil a mug of water in just a couple minutes.  If you want even better performance, buy the windscreen to go with it.  You will want to be careful if you are using any pot larger than mug-size on this stove, because your pot can tip over if you’re not careful or if the wind blows too hard.


Soto Micro Regulator Windmaster

This stove is known for its great simmer control and can boil a mug of water in less than two minutes, usually closer to the one minute mark than the two.  The Soto Windmaster also functions great in the wind, as the name implies.  The minimal space between the base of your pot and the burner head helps increase efficiency and block the wind.  It has a three pronged pot support but does not fold up.  The prongs are detachable from the burner head though to help with storage.  This stove would be your best option if you will be hiking in stormy, rainy, or blustery conditions.

MSR Pocket Rocket 2

The MSR Pocket Rocket is a well-known reputable stove in the backpacking community.  I like the Pocket Rocket 2 rather than the original because it folds down to a small size and is a few ounces lighter.  The folding feature makes it easy to store in most mugs or cook pots.  This stove can boil 1 Liter of water in just 3.5 minutes.  It has a simmer feature and comes with a plastic case (0.1 oz) which is nice for storage.  The robust pot support arms make this stove accommodating to a wide variety of pot sizes.    The Pocket Rocket is not as wind resistant as the Soto Windmaster so I would probably invest in a windscreen to go with it.

Snow Peak Lite Max

The Snow Peak Lite Max is a sturdily built, but compact little stove.  From what I’ve seen it does best with small pots and mugs so its probably best for solo hikes or two people.  The Lite Max boils water in roughly 4 minutes.  Its fanned legs act as a built in wind screen.  Folded up in the stow position, this stove is about 3 inches long and can easily fit in most mugs or pots along with a small fuel canister.  Its also got a pretty decent flame control.

Recommended Canister Stoves

PhotoProductWeight Features 
olicamp ion micro titaniumOlicamp Ion Micro Titanium1.5ozFolds down to compact size
Simmer control
soto micro regulator windmasterSoto Micro Regulator Windmaster2.3ozPerforms well in wind
Excellent simmer control
msr pocket rocket 2MSR Pocket Rocket 22.6ozDurable
Boils water quickly
snow peak lite maxSnow Peak Lite Max1.9ozFolds down
Large pot support arms
Simmer control

Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know some of your favorite lightweight stoves for backpacking!    



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4 thoughts on “Best Lightweight Canister Stoves for Backpacking”

  • Thanks for a nice review on these canister stoves Katie. All the above yes are the best but I really liked the Soto windmaster because it doesn’t give me problems when there is a bad weather and its size is good that I don’t struggle to organize my things .All I can say is it’s the best carnister stove .People should try it.

    • The Windmaster is an awesome choice and really does do great in bad weather.  Its nice to have the piece of mind that you will have a stove that performs well when the weather goes south.  Glad to hear you found the right stove for you!

  • I love this site. I’m bookmarking it. I like the titanium stuff too. Anything titanium is the way to go imo. What size cup or pot do you think would be a good one size fits all for the average canister to go in? Thanks, for the nicely done site!

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