We Tested 5 of the Most Popular Backpacking Stoves

We tested five of the most popular lightweight backpacking stoves under various conditions to see which performed the best and which is the most affordable.

We tested five of the most popular lightweight backpacking stoves that weigh three ounces or less. All five of the stoves would work well in the outdoors, but some stoves performed better in our tests. We evaluated stoves based on cost, ease of lighting, weight, packed dimensions, burner pot support, simmer performance, maximum gas flow rate, 2-cup 72°F water boil time, average wind boil time at 1, 2, and 4 mph wind speeds and fuel efficiency.

The Results:

A chart comparing five different backpacking stoves.
* Soto WindMaster – weight with 3-support arm stove stand

Soto WindMaster was the overall best performing stove.

The best overall stove tested was the Soto WindMaster with the MSR PocketRocket Deluxe coming in a close second. The Soto WindMaster outperformed the MSR PocketRocket Deluxe in overall fuel efficiency and burner pot support function. The maximum estimated 2-cup boils per 100 gram canister is 15. This is one extra boil when compared to the MSR PocketRocket Deluxe. The Soto WindMaster tested had a removable 4-prong pot support. An optional 3-prong support can be purchased reducing the total stove weight to just 67 grams. The ability to convert from a 4 to 3-prong pot stand, great boil times, and best overall fuel efficiency makes the Soto WindMaster the clear winner.

Soto WindMaster stove attached to a fuel canister

Soto Amicus was the best affordable stove.

The best affordable stove based on the test results was the Soto Amicus. The Soto Amicus stove retails for $39.95, weighs only 72 grams, packs nicely, had quick boil times and was fuel efficient even under windy conditions. This made the Soto Amicus a clear winner for the best affordable stove.

Soto Amicus
Five backpacking stoves laying next to each other by a ruler
Left to right: Soto Amicus, MSR PocketRocket 2, Snow Peak LiteMax, MSR PocketRocket Deluxe, Soto WindMaster
Five backpacking stoves laying next to each other by a ruler
Left to right: Soto Amicus, MSR PocketRocket 2, Snow Peak LiteMax, MSR PocketRocket Deluxe, Soto WindMaster
Stove System Weight After Each Use
Stove Weight after Each use