Backpacking has always been celebrated as an unmistakable part of any culture, some would even consider it to be a rite of passage from adolescence to adulthood. For the past few decades, the best backpacking canister stove has seen several developments when it comes to features and functionalities.
But what is a canister stove?
Features of the Best Backpacking Canister Stove
Camping stoves, in general, can be described as being compact and light, with the ability to burn compressed fuel. What makes canister stoves different from the rest is that they also double as pot stands since they are usually screwed on top of a wide bottomed fuel canister and the height considerably places the food above ground level.
The best backpacking canister stove is easy to set-up and does not require any complicated instruction or specialized tool. You just need to screw it on top of a compressed fuel canister, make sure its tight and ignite the burners to start cooking up a feast, or at least a lighter version of a feast.
Canister stoves use compressed fuel to maintain a steady flame and the most commonly used fuel source is blended fuel. No, gasoline is not mixed with another fuel inside a blender. Blended fuels mean that the compressed gas is a mix of propane and butane.
You may be thinking, “Why not use just propane instead? We use that for our homes right?” Propane is usually the fuel of choice for home cooking but it is not as stable as butane at ambient temperatures. This inherent stability of butane allows it to be stored in a lightweight container, like a canister, while propane must be stored in a heavier steel tank.
Another benefit of using blended fuel is that it lets you adapt to the weather better. At cold temperatures, butane will stop vaporizing which means that it will stop the stove from cooking and providing you heat. Propane does not stop vaporizing even at a below-zero temperature which makes the combination of this two kinds of fuel to be ideal for backpacking and mountaineering as you never really know what kind of temperatures you would be dealing with.
The makers of several canister stoves often use the same screw valve which would fit most screw-threaded canister, making canister stoves highly flexible and adaptable.
Here are three of the best canister stoves on the market:
Icetek Sports Ultralight Canister Camp Stove
The Icetek Sports Camp Stove weighs in at 3.9oz and comes with its own carrying case that is made of hard plastic. This canister stove is equipped with the Piezo Ignition system that lets you control the flames through an adjustment knob.
The Icetek stove works with any screw top canisters from any brand. This unit is made up of a mix of copper alloy and stainless steel that gives it the high durability of steel and better thermal conductivity of copper.
- Compact and Lightweight. The Icetek Ultralight Canister Camp Stove is very light and once folded, it can fit into a cigarette case-sized container that can fit into almost any backpack pocket.
- Built-in Ignition. This camping stove comes with its own ignition system which is something new for canister stoves as it doesn’t usually come with the package. This makes cooking easier and the ignition system also lets you control the strength of the flame to suit your cooking needs.
- No Harmful Fumes. The burnt fuel of the Icetek Ultralight does not emit harmful smoke during operation and there are no harmful fumes as well, which means that the blended fuel is sealed tight.
- Can Be Toppled Over. Like most canister stoves, the Icetek Ultralight can easily be topped over if more than enough weight is applied from any side. Make sure that you are using this stove on top of a flat surface for better stability.
TopOne Rocket Camp Stove
The TopOne Rocket Camp Stove weighs in at less than four ounces and comes with a screw valve that matches with almost any screw top canister. This canister stove also comes with a serrated non-slip support that can fit small- to medium-sized cookware.
- High Temp Cooking. The TopOne Canister stove can boil water in less than five minutes at high temperature, and it can also heat food quickly using its 3500W burner.
- Compact and Lightweight. This canister stove packs into a compact size that can fit into any pot or pan. It is also very lightweight and you would hardly remember that you are carrying it.
- Case Not Include. Out of the box, the TopOne stove is just as it is and would have been packaged better if a pouch was included so that it can be packed quickly and easily.
- Small Burner. This camping stove can fit personal-sized pots and pans but will have a hard time supporting larger ones as it may become out of balance and eventually be toppled over.
Petforu Ultralight Canister Stove
The Petforu Canister Stove weighs less than a pound and is designed to fold into a compact bracket design. This stove also comes with a ceramic ignition system and a screw valve that fits most screw top canisters.
This canister stove is made of a combination of high-grade aluminum alloy and stainless steel which lends flexibility and strength to the entire unit. The folded Petforu stove can be stored in the drawstring bag that it comes with.
- Fuel Efficient. The Petforu Canister Stove consumes less fuel as compared with other canister stoves even if it is left running for quite some time.
- Fits to a Tee. The folded canister stove fits inside a pot and it can even fit inside a coffee mug. It is very lightweight and is not bulky once stored.
- Steady Flame. The Petforu stove does not have any flame adjuster so you are left with the same flame strength which makes it hard to cook food that requires low heat.
- Slow Ignition. The ceramic ignition system does not always work and would require several tries before a fire is started. You can opt to bring a butane lighter or some matches to help light it.
- Flimsy Support. The serrated support is short and feels flimsy which makes it difficult to use cookware that is larger than personal-sized one.
The Icetek Sports Ultralight Canister Camp Stove is the best canister stove among the three as it is one of the lightest of its kind right now. The ignition system is flawless and the flame adjustment knob helps a lot when it comes to cooking at the campsite. This knob also saves on fuel and acts as an emergency extinguisher as needed.
The only disadvantage of this model is its stability, but it is easily solved by using canisters with a wider base, as well as using it on a flat and balanced surface. This is a common flaw among canister stoves but it is also the easiest to get around with. And much like anything else, make sure that you practice caution when using any product and always have a secondary plan prepared for worst case scenarios.