The integrated pots of Jetboil stoves and the MSR Windburner feature heat-trapping designs to facilitate faster boiling time and efficient fuel usage. An integrated system—like the Jetboil Flash —is unique to canister stoves, and consists of a burner, heat exchanger, and pot that all secure to the top of a fuel canister in one streamlined package. Similar to the Jetboil Flash above, the MSR WindBurner is a great integrated stove solution if your backcountry cooking routine consists mostly of boiling water. For the most convenience and ease-of-use, try an integrated camp stove system like the Jetboil MicroMo or the MSR Windburner These stoves eliminate the need for additional cookware, as they have a self contained pot. Up-to-date pricing and reviews for MSR camp stoves on the market can be found at the camp stove models website.
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Alcohol stoves can’t compete with the liquid or canister stoves above in terms of efficiency, heat output, or flame control, but they do take the cake for simplicity and overall weight. We took one on a summer backpacking trip in the North Cascades and could literally boil multiple pots of water with our MSR WindBurner is less time than it took one pot to boil with the LiteMax. The disadvantage of these styles of stoves is that none of them burn nearly as hot as integrated systems, liquid fuel, or canister stoves, so boiling water takes much longer.
Both Jetboil stoves and MSR Windburner stoves are limited to confined, optimized sets of cookware. Jetboil stoves and MSR Windburner stoves are most effectively used to boil water very quickly and efficiently. The most iconic integrated stove system, JetBoil MiniMo combines the ability to rapidly boil water with an attached cooking pot for making DIY meals.
Cooking times for alcohol stoves can be decreased with a system like the Caldera Cone , which will help block wind and hold heat against your pot to increase efficiency. When it’s time to go, the Windburner stove system packs up into its cook pot, with space for a 110 g gas canister. Backpacking stoves fall into three popular categories: isobutane canister stoves which are best for solo cooking and short trips, alcohol stoves which are best for ultralight backpacking and thru-hiking, and liquid fuel stoves which are best for group cooking, cold weather use, and international travel.
An annoying feature of the Jetboil MiniMo and many other integrated stoves is that there’s no easy way to remove the pot from the canister when there’s hot liquid inside. However, the tall and skinny pot size, small diameter burner (making it difficult to substitute a different pot), and lack of simmering capabilities mean that integrated stove systems are often one-trick ponies, used primarily as a means to boil water for dehydrated meals and hot drinks. If you’re cooking two meals a day for a week or two—not just boiling water, but cooking meals—a liquid-fuel stove is a better option.
Each fuel tablet weighs 0.5 ounces and offers about 12 minutes of burn time, but cooking is much less efficient than canister or liquid fuel systems and you have little control over the intensity. A broad burner head, or the built-in heat exchangers on integrated canister stoves, help distribute the heat more evenly around the bottom of a pot. Be aware that liquid fuel-burning stoves also require you to carry the weight of liquid fuel, unlike the compressed gas that’s inside canisters.
The overall most fuel-efficient stoves we tested are the Jetboil Flash and the Primus Lite+ because of their integrated heat exchange systems and insulated pots. The broader flame profile makes this burner good for both boiling water and cooking your own DIY meals. DIY Meals – If you plan to cook all your own meals out in the field, then you’ll need a stove that has good simmer control and a broad enough burner profile to prevent heat spots.
The main downsides with alcohol stoves are they have slow cook times, perform poorly in wind, burn less efficient fuel, and they don’t work well in the cold. Since the Reactor technology was introduced, MSR has created the Windburner, a modular Jetboil-like stove where everything is fastened together rather than having the pot sit loose on the stove. The pot supports are permanently attached to the burner head, yet fold down compactly making it easy to store the stove and a gas canister in a wide variety of cooking pots.
Weighing 15.5 ounces, the Windburner can boil a liter of water in 4 minutes and 30 second minutes and is nearly twice as efficient as a Jetboil, so you get twice as many boils per gas canister. The MSR Windburner is another complete canister stove system that includes an insulated cook pot, stove, stabilizer, and plastic mug/bowl. I’ll be the the first to admit I’m usually not the one cooking complex meals while bikepacking, so a canister stove gets the job done for me. However, if we’re approaching our trips with less waste and more fresh ingredients in mind, the pack size and weight of a good liquid gas stove starts to look pretty reasonable.
Over the past few months, I’ve been tinkering with a pair of Primus stoves: the Micron Trail and the OmniLite Ti. The Micron Trail Stove is Primus’ low weight, compact canister stove that’s perfect for ultralight cooking and boiling water. For this story, we tested seven canister stoves and four integrated Jetboil-style stoves side-by-side on adventures in five states covering almost 1,500 miles of backpacking. While we were happy to take on the WindBurner’s bulk and weight when we cook for a group, we dismissed the 1 L WindBurner as being too heavy and bulky for a solo integrated stove system.
The relatively inexpensive Jetboil Flash used to be considered the gold standard for integrated stoves, though we think Jetboil offers better technology with their MiniMo The Flash is the best backpacking stove for boiling water quickly. Oddly, in our personal tests, it always seemed to burn faster than the MSR Pocket Rocket Adventures in Stoving liked the MSR 1.8 L WindBurner over the similarly-sized option available from JetBoil, although he finds the weight hard to justify if you don’t see wind in your future. Compared with similar models, this pot on this one sits further from the burner; even with a windscreen, the flame sputtered as we boiled water.
The latter come with everything you need to boil water—stove, pot, lid, and a heat exchanger that transfers heat from the burner to the sides of the pot. Combine a titanium pot (like the 4.2-ounce MSR Titan Kettle ) with a lightweight canister stove (the MSR Pocket Rocket 2 is 2.6 ounces) or an alcohol, wood, or tablet stove, throw in a lightweight spork, and you have a stove system in the ballpark of 8 ounces (without the fuel canister). Camp chefs will especially like the wide base and fuel control of designs like the Primus Omnilite T1 or MSR DragonFly, and those of the ultralight persuasion can cut weight by combining a screw-on canister stove (like the MSR Pocket Rocket) or alternative fuel stove with a lightweight pot.
What makes them so popular is the user-friendly design: you simply connect the 4- or 8-ounce fuel canister to the stove, light it, and you’re good to go. Further, the mixture burns very clean, can be set to either simmer or boil quickly (especially with an advanced design like the Jetboil MiniMo ) and heats very efficiently. For one, the stove doesn’t burn nearly as efficiently as the Pocket Rocket or LiteMax, so you will go through a fuel canister in a shorter amount of time (this can add up, particularly on longer trips.) Moreover, the stove doesn’t do well in the wind and will take longer to boil at full power. Along with the WindBurner above, the protective housing, efficient burner, and stable design make it one of the best stoves we’ve tested for cooking in tough conditions.
MSR has recently added the Duo and Group stove systems to the WindBurner line, which feature larger pots, remote canister attachments (for better cold-weather performance), and the ability to simmer. We love the windproof design: after lighting the stove and snapping everything into place, the enclosed burner brings water to a boil quickly, even in gusty conditions (this can be a weakness of Jetboil models, which leave more of the stove exposed). At 9 ounces, the Solo Stove Lite is not ultralight like the wood-burning Vargo Hexagon below, and it certainly cannot keep up with liquid or canister stoves in terms of boiling time.
And it’s worth noting that we tested the stove in a controlled, non-windy environment—boil time would likely slow significantly in wind or cold weather (we highly recommend adding a windscreen to your cooking setup). It’s slower to boil water, more exposed to wind and rain, and you will need to find a flat surface for placing the canister directly on the ground (the legs of liquid fuel and integrated systems give you a little more surface area and flexibility to work with). The integrated canister stoves did well for stability because the burner and pot are designed to mate, but they are quite tall and can be easy to knock over when full.
Liquid fuel stoves are relatively more fuel-efficient because they come with windscreens to shield breezes and focus the heat on the pot. Its remote canister design separates the burner from the fuel like a liquid fuel stove, so a windscreen is ok. Canister stove manufacturers advise against a windscreen that encloses the burner and fuel can, as this can heat the canister to a dangerous level and cause an explosion.
The first boil time was with no wind, and a full 4 oz MSR ISOPro fuel canister (or 11 oz fuel bottle for the liquid fuel models). JetBoil stoves have always had a confidence-inspiring burner head and pot attachment, and that’s true here. Jetboil leads the way in fast-burning stoves, in large part to the fully integrated system that eliminates fuel wastage at every point.
The solution to some of the downfalls of an isopro canister camp stove is to go with a classic white gas/multiple fuel camp stove like the MSR Whisperlight or the Optimus Polaris Stoves like these and others primarily use refillable white gas tanks, which are more environmentally friendly and burn notably better in cold weather. Liquid fuel canisters are typically connected to the burner via a fuel line, so a full windscreen can be erected around it without overheating the fuel canister. Liquid Fuel – Reusable liquid fuel backpacking stoves are manually pressurized and can burn a variety of widely available fuels (most commonly white gas).
Some stoves perform better in windy conditions (integrated canister stoves) and others perform very poorly (alcohol stoves, wood stoves, and solid fuel stoves). Like alcohol stoves, solid fuel stoves have much slower cooking times, so patience is required. Liquid fuel stoves are much heavier and bulkier than other backpacking stoves, so they’re not nearly as common these days as they used to be. They also require much more maintenance over time than canister stoves, which can be annoying.
You won’t need to carry a pot stand or windscreen with a canister stove and their fuel is more efficient than Esbit and alcohol An empty 100g isobutane fuel canister weighs about 3.3oz, which is a small penalty to pay for a huge increase in convenience, speed, and temperature control. But I’ve been burning Primus canisters on JetBoil stoves, MSR canisters on Snow Peak stoves, Coleman canisters on Soto stoves, and every other combination under the sun for years, and no danger has befallen me yet. If you have to melt snow for drinking water, we think you’d be much better off using a more powerful fuel and one that is immune to temperature like white gas, which is why we like the MSR Whisperlite Universal so much, because you can burn canister fuel or white gas with the same stove.
A stove system includes everything you need to boil water or cook food including a stove, a cookpot, windscreen, and a stove stand, making it a very convenient and economical way to acquire the stove components you need for backpacking or camping. Weighing 3 and 3/8 ounces, it’s not the lightest weight canister available or the most powerful (6666 BTU), but it’s compatible with all screw-type isobutane canisters and can boil water or simmer meals just like the name brand canister stoves listed above. The Caldera Cone is considered the gold standard for ultralight backpacking when it comes to alcohol stove systems and only adds a few ounces to the weight of your cook pot and fuel.
The latter often include integrated cook pots, windscreens, and stove stands, in addition to the stove burner unit. Most of the bikepackers I’ve met rely on a lightweight canister stove for cooking and boiling water. It also takes much longer to boil water with than the MSR WindBurner or similar Jetboil models. Be sure to visit camp stove models for the best msr camp stoves on the market to buy.
For these moments, I rely on the Jetboil Flash Using a cleverly-designed pot that’s attached to a large burner — it looks (and sound) like a jet engine — the Flash can boil 16 ounces of water in less than two minutes. With a decent fire built up, the BioLite CampStove 2 can bring a liter of water to boil in less than five minutes and produces plentiful heat for cooking. Like all lightweight backpacking stoves, the PocketRocket Deluxe will only run on self-sealing isobutane fuel canisters.