There is nothing like waking up on top of the mountains or in the middle of a secluded forest to a warm cup of coffee or cooking a nice fresh meal after a long and tiring hike.
Luckily, there are tons of different portable stoves for camping that you can buy, most of which are very affordable. But my favorite would have to be a wood burning stove.
Wood stoves are a great option among lightweight backpackers and people like me who enjoy doing things the old-fashioned way. I’ve spent quite some time searching for the best wood burning stove out there and I’ve found the top five.
Today, I’ll be going through the types of wood stoves you can get, the benefits of using a wood stove, the things to consider when buying, and the top five picks!
Types Of Stoves
There are a few types of stoves that you can use for camping. Even though the focus of this article is on wood stoves, I’ll quickly go through the other types so you have an idea of what other options are out there.
1. Canister Stoves
Canister Stoves make use of an isobutene fuel canister to create a fire. They are normally light, compact, easy to use, and heat up really quickly. They also give you the closest feel to a normal cooking stove.
The problem with canister stoves is that they don’t work as well during extremely cold temperatures (below 20F), but they work fine for the remaining three seasons.
2. Liquid Fuel Stoves
Liquid fuel stoves make use of liquid fuel or white gas. They are great for winter camping or big group outings; however, they are usually heavier and bulkier and need more maintenance over time compared to other backpacking stoves. White gas is also less expensive than butane for canister stoves, and they are actually refillable.
3. Solid Fuel Stoves
Solid fuel stoves make use of Esbit fuel tabs, which burn a low to medium flame for around twelve minutes. Solid fuel stoves are compact, quiet, and inexpensive. Although, they have slow cooking times and the fuel is expensive. They also don’t do too well during windy conditions and sometimes release an unpleasant odor.
4. Alcohol Stoves
Alcohol stoves are light, simple, affordable, and uses fuel that is readily available, even in small towns. A common fuel used for alcohol stoves is Heet, which you can find in many places such as gas stations or stores with an automotive section.
The problem is that alcohol stoves don’t stand up well during the winter and they cook food relatively slowly. Still, they are a great inexpensive choice that you can also make yourself if you want.
5. Wood Stoves
Wood stoves are usually a popular option among lightweight backpackers or people who like doing things the old fashioned way. Wood stoves are like a smaller, compact version of a campfire where you use wood or other organic material such as leaves to create a fire.
The best thing about wood stoves is that you won’t have to carry any fuel with you because you can find it wherever you go. This is why it is a popular choice among ultralight hikers as well.
They do require a bit more time and effort though, and probably a bit of practice to get it done, but it’s still a great choice because you use renewable fuel as your source, plus it gives you this amazing nostalgic feeling.
Benefits Of Using A Wood Stove
With all the different options of stoves that you can use out there, why use a wood stove? What exactly are the benefits to using one? Well…
Lightweight And Space Saving
Wooden stoves are generally lighter than any other portable stove for camping. What’s great about wooden stoves is that there are even some designs that are collapsible, where the whole stove folds down flat. Also, since you don’t have to carry any fuel with you, you reduce your pack weight and save space.
Reduces The Consumption Of Fossil Fuels
If you’re like me and you are careful about the things you use and how it affects the environment or your carbon footprint, using wooden stoves allows you to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels. Other stoves make use of fuels that don’t come from a renewable source and are manufactured in ways that can be harmful to the environment. When you use a wood stove, you only need a handful of twigs or branches and you’re good to go.
Great For Warmth
What’s good about wooden stoves is that the fire can burn a lot longer than other stoves since you have a lot of wood available around you. Think of it as your own, mini, personal campfire.
I personally enjoy using wooden stoves because of the nostalgic feeling I get. A big reason why I enjoy camping so much is to get away from the world and technology for awhile and just be one with nature.
Using a wooden stove makes me feel more natural in the sense that I don’t need to use any other type of manufactured fuel to get my fire going.
Thing To Consider
Of course, before making your purchase, there are just two things you should consider and look at when you’re selecting your wood stove.
Weight And Packability
The weight of stoves will also vary greatly among the different stove types, but when it comes to wooden stoves, they will usually weigh below 20oz, with the lightest one probably at around 2 to 3oz.
What you need to consider more is whether you need the extra space in your backpack or not? If you’re going ultralight or need space, I suggest going for collapsible wooden stoves or ones that nest together.
Top Five Best Wood Burning Stoves
#1 Solo Stove Lite
First on the list is the wooden camp stove from Solo Stove. It is a compact, wood burning stove that weighs only 9oz. making it great for backpacking.
It makes use of a unique, patented design that allows the wood to burn more efficiently without creating too much smoke and it can boil 34 fluid oz. of water in about 8 to 10 minutes.
The Solo Stove is actually rated the number 1 wood-burning stove in Backpacking Magazine and is recommended by Matt Graham, a serious survivalist from the Discovery Channel.
The stove measures 4.25” in diameter, 3.8” when packed, and 5.7” when assembled, making it a great, compact stove. The Solo Stove even nests inside the Solo Stove Pot 900 (which you can purchase separately or as a package), giving you even more space in your backpack.
#2 Vargo Hexagon
This next stove comes from Vargo – a company known for making titanium outdoor gear and ultralight backpacking gear. They make stoves, pots, mugs, bottles, backpacks, and apparel.
The Vargo Hexagon wood stove is a pretty cool wood stove that collapses flat, saving you a ton of space in your backpack. This is another great wood stove for ultralight backpacking or extended hiking trips.
It is made of titanium and weighs a very light 5oz. There is enough metal on the pot to support a 2L pot filled with water. It makes use of a conical shape that focuses heat upwards towards the pot for quicker and more efficient cooking.
#3 Bushcraft Essentials Bushbox Pocket Stove
Next on our list is the wood stove from Bushcraft Essentials. The Bushbox is made of ultralight titanium and is a titanium version of Bushcraft Essentials’ multi-fuel pocket stove.
Like the Vargo Hexagon, this wood stove collapses flat to save as much space as possible, making it perfect for ultralight camping. It also comes with a nice carry pouch for you to put in all the pieces.
The Pocket Stove measures 3.54” x 0.2” x 4.53” and weighs 5.6oz, but it also comes in an XL size that you can get on Amazon.
The stove comes with two trivets, which you can adjust for any pot size. The trivets can also be used as a windshield or pot support for other burners.
#4 Ohuhu Portable Stainless Steel
Next is the wood stove from Ohuhu. It is made of high-quality stainless steel and weighs about 14.2oz. The stove nests together and comes with a mesh carry bag that you can pack it inside for easy transport. The stove is also quick and easy to set up.
The Ohuhu Portable Stove makes use of a 3-arm base support system for better stability even on uneven terrain
#5 KampMATE Woodflame Stove
Our last stove is the kampMATE Woodflame Stove. It is bigger than the other camp stoves on the list, measuring 6” x 7.5” x 0.2” and weighs about 17.6oz. It’s larger size makes it great for cooking for a family or a large group of people since it can accommodate bigger pots and pans.
Just like the Vargo and the Bushbox, the kampMATE collapses flat and comes with a nice carry case to put it in. It has a well-ventilated design that allows for hotter cooking temperatures.
It is also a very durable stove that stays strong even after repeated, long-term use.
And The Winner Is…
I would have to say the winner for the best wood stove is the Solo Stove Lite. It’s hard to argue against a stove that has already been recommended by many other users, as well as Backpacking Magazine and survivalist Matt Graham.
What’s great about it is how easy it is to keep a fire going and the design that minimizes smoke. It is also lightweight and compact.
But, if you’re looking for an ultralight option, I would suggest the Vargo or the Bushbox. Since these stoves collapse flat, it will save you a lot of space and weight in your backpack.
Ultimately, the choice is up to you, but these are my top five picks for the best wood burning stove that you can get this 2017. Don’t forget about fire safety when using these especially in the backcountry or in forests!
NOTE: Please remember to be careful when using wood stoves and fires especially when you’re in the backcountry or in forests. Note down all fire safety tips!