The 5 Best Pocket Stoves for Lightweight Camping

pocket-stove

It’s a flat-pack multi-fuel cooking device for the lightweight or solo outdoors enthusiast. It’s a simple foldable “stove” which you can use to cook small items of food or even brew a coffee, but boy is it light!

Without the smokeless fuel tablets, a pocket stoves can weigh as little as 2 to 3 ounces!

It’s designed to work by burning fuel tablets which heat a small pan to cook the food. (The tablets can add another 2 or 3 ounces.) These little guys are also a great backup for emergencies when you need to heat food but can’t make an open fire.

You won’t feed a family, but these guys are great for small outdoor cooking.

Esbit Pocket Stove with Fuel (6 pc)

esbit-pocket-stove-with-fuel

This product is good for camping, lightweight backpacking and even emergencies. One amazing thing about this small compact stove is that it can easily fold down an incredible 3 x 4 inches wide and 1 inch thick.

It will easily fit in your backpack or even just a pocket. At a mere 6.4 ounces (180 gram), it’s a no brainer for lightweight camping.

This compact Esbit cooking device is highly durable and can be used to heat pans, pots, cups and really anything you can rest on top of the tough little frame. You can choose from two selectable cooking positions, which helps you govern the heat and cooking time needed.

As an added bonus, you’ll also get the 6 Esbit fourteen-gram smokeless fuel tablets included. Each of the tablets is expected to burn for about twelve minutes. Given the design of the stove, one tablet boils 500ml of water in around 8 minutes. (There’s just something really tranquil about waiting for water to boil over a small and silent flame.)

The galvanized steel used in fabrication makes the pocket stove extremely durable. The manufacturer is so certain of its toughness, that it even comes with a 2 year manufacturer warranted.

Cleaning it (which is hardly necessary) is as simple as wiping it down with a damp cloth. When it comes to durability and ease of use, we believe the Esbit remains your best choice.

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The Bushbox Outdoor

bushbox-outdoor-pocket-stove

A great feature of the small camping stove is multi-fuel capability. The Bushbox can easily support standard Trangia burners, gel containers, an alcohol burner, and hexamine tablets.

The Bushbox is also eco-friendly in that it is designed to work with renewable resources to minimize fuel costs and carbon footprints such as cotton pads, feathers, wood shavings, pine cones, charcoal, twigs and other organic matter. Other fast burning options even include dried animal dung, charcoal, wood pellets. Holy cow!

This potentially eliminates the need to carry canister fuels and heavy items along with helping you save enough space in your backpack. Additional fuel option tutorials are also available on the manufacturer’s website.

The unique vented design keep the flame from being blown out while also giving it enough air to burn.

The product is also packable and lightweight (270 grams). It dissembles super easily and packs completely flat  (Flattest of all products on this list) into the neat cotton bag.

The material used for the fabrication of the stove is one hundred percent stainless steel.

Two trivets in the design help the product fit any pot style.

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Bushbox Ultralight Outdoor

ultralight-outdoor-pocket-stove

This is another option from Bushbox. At 70 grams this pocket stove in insanely light! It packs flat to an incredible 1.5 millimeters. Are you reading this? That’s incredible.

What’s more amazing is that it really works well. It can fit any pot design and can bear quite a surprising amount of weight. You can carry it in your backpack without even feeling the weight.

As with all Bushbox products, the Ultralight can be used with a gamut of fuel options such as hexamine tablets, a Trangia burner, wood, or gel containers.

Included in the cotton bag are trivet, base plate and three side panels. Setup takes seconds and disassembly and cleaning is extremely effortless.

The base plate can also be set in various positions depending on your requirements.

It’s made from stainless steel and just like other products on our list, the Bushbox Ultralight has sophisticated design and can be used in most outdoor conditions.

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Outdoor Micro Stove

This is the smallest pocket stove in the world.

It can even be placed right in your wallet without any hassle. It weighs a minuscule 75 grams but can hold some serious weight. The interlocking trivets keeps it very sturdy. (Although you can even use it without the trivets for lighter outdoor cooking pots and small kettles.

micro-camping-stove

It stands 6.5 cm tall and both 4.7 cm width and breadth. Being smaller, your fuel area is slightly more confined… The stove can be used with a tea candle, small alcohol burner, fuel tablets and organic material.

The super small hobo stove works really well despite it’s size and you can still have a great little cooking experience.

These make a great little gift for someone who loves the outdoors and wants a simple, lightweight way of cooking food or brewing some coffee.

For the really wild folks out there, since it packs so small, you can carry it anywhere and even have it with you in an emergency.

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Esbit 11.5g Ultralight Folding Stove

esbit-ultralight-folding-stove

OK, so this one’s a little different…

Esbit 11.5g comes with three legs and made from titanium that connect in the middle to a small fuel tray. Due to the design, this is the easiest backpacking stove to pack away. And like your favorite lightweight backpacking chair, it literally just folds up in one step.

It doesn’t pack as flat as the other options (due to the beveled fuel tray) but it ways under 12 grams. This is a no brainer when you want near weightless backpacking.

With the help of the three legs, the 14g Esbit sturdy fuel tablet is perfectly held in place properly. The open design does require you to shield the flame from any wind but this can easily be done by some nearby stones or even a separate stainless steel wind shield.

The stove can handle several pot sizes. Smaller cups can lean on the serrated edges.

You can store it neatly in the provided mesh bag and it’s ideal for ultralight and minimalist hikers.

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Some Extra Info & Videos

Here’s the Esbit Video

This great video by Bushbox compares some of the best pocket stoves

 

How To Use Your Outdoor Stove

Here you’ll find some instruction on the correct way to use a pocket stove.

Step 1: Selecting Your “Hobo Stove”

The first step is ensuring you purchase the optimal stove for your needs. Ensure to consider the flexibility, ergonomic features, durability, performance, and cost. You’ll need to look at the size of pot you’ll be using as well as how quickly you’ll want to cook food. Bear in mind that these are single flame cookers. Don’t expect to be BBQing for the whole family here. But you can certainly cook some simple camping meals in a small pan.

Step 2: The Fuel

If this is your first little outdoor stove, you should also grab six or more fuel tablets. (Our winner, the Esbit includes 6 tablets already) You can always explore alternative fuel options later, when you’re out in the wild, to see what works best for you.

There are also several options of refills available online.

Step 3: Setup

Get familiar with assembly at home, before you go camping, to see if it makes sense. You can usually set the device to two burner positions, either high or low. Experiment with these to see which you prefer.

Step 4: Ignition

At this juncture, you will have to position one tablet inside the high tensile steel construction stove. Give it a light. Most fuel tablets will burn for around 12 minutes.

Step 5: Cooking

Put the cooking pot of water or pan of food on the burner and allow it to burn hot.

You can make use of a windscreen to increase heat transfer. For boiling water, cover the pot , sit back and listen for the boil in about 8 minutes. If it’s not boiling by 10 minutes, your flame is too far from the pot and you should try a different height adjustment.

Step 6: Cleaning

After cooking, there will be a little residue left on the burner. You can easily wipe it down when it has cooled and store in a cool place for next time. The residue removed by using a small, soft brush to clear the surface of the burner of any dirt or debris. The process can also be repeated for a couple of times depending on what you want to cook.

 

Types of Fuel

Our recommendation for stove fuel are the convenient and ultra effective fuel tablets.

The benefits are that unlike wood and other organic matter, they barely smoke and leave almost no residue or ash. They effectively burn and deliver adequate heat to boil water and heat food. They can also be used as fire lighters to start your campfire effortlessly. When using the fuel tablets, the lit tablets can also be put out and re-lit if kept dry.

The tables come is various sizes, but for the above stoves, we recommend the 14 gram tablet which come individually wrapped. Each 14 gram tablet burns for about 12 minutes and can boil 500 ml of water in about 8 minutes.

The tables work even at higher altitudes and in sub-zero temperatures and can be lit with a match or lighter. They have a shelf life of 10 years which also makes them excellent fuel sources for emergency situations.

How much fuel should you pack? Work out if you will be using the fuel for heating breakfasts and dinners as well as lighting campfires. For light to moderate weather conditions, times that by the number of days of your trip and you will have your base number. Keep in mind that weather conditions can always change. Lower temperatures or wind can require 3-4 times as much fuel as in normal conditions so we recommend packing in a few extra tablets. For windy conditions you can use a windscreen to conserve fuel and in  lover temperatures, the extra fuel tabs will come in very handy.

Worst case, if you have forgotten to pack any fuel tables, there are a few alternatives which will have you warming up food and water, all be it a little less efficiently. Backup options include cotton pads, feathers, wood shavings, pine cones, twigs and other organic and fast burning matter like dried animal dung, charcoal, wood pellets.

 

Easy Cleaning Tips

Depending on the type of pocket stove you choose for your next outdoor adventure, here are a few tips that will ensure it lasts a lot longer. The way you clean and store your stove will determine how long it will last after it has been used.

Tip #1 Use a Soft Brush

Make sure you use a soft brush to clean the residue left on the burner after it has been used.

Tip #2 Cooling

Allow the device to cool before cleaning and applying any cleaning solution. This will help to prevent any staining or damage to your new stove and avoid any unnecessary burns while handling the stove.

Tip #3 Storage

The simplest way to maintain your pocket stove is to pack it back into its allocated storage spot. Do not leave the stove exposed to moisture or left unprotected in harsh environmental conditions when not in use as this will result in the stove becoming tarnished.

Keeping it together in its packaging will also ensure you have all the necessary components together for you next trip. Once you have finish using it, simply allow to cool, wipe it down with a soft, damp cloth and pack away safely. This is one of the best ways to guarantee the longevity and continued successful use of your stove.

Conclusion

Using these easy steps and tips will help you to maintain and clean you hiking pocket stove easily. If you have been pondering on a camping or folding stove for outdoor cooking, then we are confident you will now have all the info that you need to make the best selection for your needs and budget. We have covered flexibility, durability, performance, longevity, and budget so your bases are covered.

When it come to fuel, ensure that the tablet you select is adequate and effective to ensure your cooking experience is quick and easy leaving you time around camp to relaxed and recharge. Keeping the key points in this article in mind will guarantee a brilliant stove selection and one that can be used time and again. We love that these compact stoves don’t add unnecessary weight to your pack, nor do they take up much space at all but the benefit of a warm meal at your rest stop is very well worth it.

2 Comments on "The 5 Best Pocket Stoves for Lightweight Camping"

  1. A lot of solid fuel tables “Hexamaine” are made from a reaction of formaldehyde and ammonia, combustion produces hydrogen cyanide amongst other things. So fumes can be an issue.

    Andrew

    • The MyWildEarth Team | November 7, 2017 at 11:45 am | Reply

      Hi Andrew. Thanks for the info!

      You’re absolutely right. It’s very important to burn the fuel in a well ventilated area (like camping grounds) and avoid inhaling any fumes whatsoever.

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