If you are all about the camping versus the hiking, or if you are a gourmet chef, your choices will be much different than those who are minimalist, eating to hike versus hiking to eat. Who are you?


The stove you select will be partially based on your preference for fuel type as well as type of cooking. REI has an excellent blog on selecting your stove, so rather than recreate, I’ve provided the link.

    • Propane Canisters – This is by far the most popular type used by recreational backpackers
    • Liquid Fuel – Required by some older model stoves and preferred by those who like to have a better handle on the fuel quantity they are carrying.
    • Alcohol/Heet – This is used primarily by long-distance hikers and creative sorts. Why? because it is easier to judge quantity needed, you aren’t carrying empty nor extra canister weight, you can refill your bottle, resupplying is easier.
    • Canister Stoves – These stoves attach to the top of a canister and allow for minimal simmering control (i.e. MSR PocketRocket)
    • Integrated Canister Stoves – These stoves are primarily for boiling water (i.e. JetBoil) and tend to use the least amount of fuel.
    • Liquid Fuel Stoves – These stoves allow for more control over simmering and cooking at higher elevations but are more tempermental and create a higher burn/fire risk. They are banned in some areas where there are burning restrictions (i.e. MSR WhisperLite)
    • Alcohol/Heet Stoves – These stoves tend to be homemade from soda cans, cat food cans and beer cans.


  • Capacity – Limit your size to what you need and the type of cooking you’ll be doing; consider the size of your pack and how much room you have.
  • Content – The primary choices are aluminum, stainless steel or titanium, with titanium the most expensive the lightest.
  • Quantity – Most backpackers will not carry more than one cooking vessel.


  • SPORK – This combo spoon and fork is probably the most common utensil on the trail
  • Long-Handled Spoon – For those utilizing freezer bag cooking, this is a better option
  • Knife/Scissors – This may be needed for opening packaged food, but unlikely for any food prep, unless you are a “camper” or goumet chef.

I’m currently using a Jetboil Sol Titanium Integrated Cooking System and have not had any regrets. I’ll explain my food choices in the next section and you’ll see how I’ve adapted to living on a boiled-water food plan and why this system works for me.

No-Stove Option:

Maybe you don’t want to mess with a stove. There are many foods that rehydrate with cold water. Usually a bit more prep is required in advance to find foods that can be enjoyed cold and to experiment with hydration time.

Alternative Drink/Bowl/Rehydration Container Ideas:

Soap Use:

Next Topic – Food


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