Choosing the Right Outdoor Stoves: Camping vs. Backpacking

Although the terms ‘camping stoves’ and ‘backpacking stoves’ are used somewhat interchangeably to describe any and all types of outdoor stoves, the fact is that they are actually two different things entirely. Depending on the situation that you’re in, you may very well find that one is preferable to another.

As the name indicates, a backpacking stove is generally meant to be a stove designed to be taken on backpacking trips – in which case both the stove and the fuel source that it uses should be able to be carried around in a backpack. On the other hand a camping stove is not under this limitation and is more designed towards camping trips where you drive to the camping site and unload it to an area just a couple of feet from your vehicle.

In short, a backpacking stove is meant to be more portable – and so it should be lighter and smaller.

That being said, if you’re going on a backpacking trip with a large group of people (for example, 8 or more) you may find that the small backpacking stoves aren’t sufficient to your needs. If you want you could always carry two or three backpacking stoves among your group, or alternatively you may want to opt for a larger camping stove to be carried by one person while their other items are split up among the group.

By choosing the outdoor stove that you take with you based on the size of your group you’ll be able to cater to its specific needs. Some of the other factors you might want to also take under consideration include:

  • The number of burners on the outdoor stove as well as their placement to determine how much of a cooking area you’ll actually have to work with.
  • Whether it is a free standing model with legs or not. Free standing models are nice and give you a larger working area, but tend to require assembly which may not be ideal.
  • Type of fuel required so that you know what you’re going to need to carry, and how much of it you can expect to have to take with you on your trip.
  • How long it takes to boil water and whether or not it has easy options to control the simmer for more gourmet-type cooking.

Take your time choosing the outdoor stoves you need. Look at it from every angle, and decide on the one that is right for your trip – whether it is a camping or backpacking stove.

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