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Wood Stoves for Camping and Backpacking

Wood backpacking stoves burn wood or other biomass. "The most significant reason to use a wood burning stove is simply that in nearly all locations you have an unlimited supply of free fuel! No need to buy," says Brian Vargo, founder of Vargo Designs, which makes several wood stoves.

Pros

  • burn wood, a renewable resource 
  • fuel can be free
  • traditional

Cons

  • harder to use
  • can't be used with fire bans
  • heavier
  • need access to fuel
  • may not be Leave No Trace

Top Picks

Toaks Titanium Backpacking Wood Burning Stove (small)

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3 reviews)

Super light titanium wood gas stove, this is the smaller version, and fits nicely into a Toaks 750ml pot making a 250 g cook kit that you don't have to carry fuel for. Will burn twigs, sticks, pinecones, almost anything you're going to find on the forest floor.

Reasons to Buy

  • Light
  • Compact
  • Don't have to carry or worry about fuel

Reasons to Avoid

  • Expensive

                    The stove nests in the Toaks 750 ml pot in its own nylon stuff sack.                       The stove is made up of three piece and is simple to assemble.                    It takes about 5 min. before the stove starts complete combustion.Great lightweight backpacking wood burning stove. Some people can go stove-less, I, on the other hand, almost always carry two stoves. Usually a wood stove that I don't have to worry too much about fuel with and I'll typically also carry an alcohol stove for backup.

Read more: Toaks Titanium Backpacking Wood Burning Stove (small) reviews (3)

Emberlit FireAnt Titanium

user rating: 4 of 5 (3 reviews)

The Emberlit Fireant TI is a flat packing wood burner that can also be used with a spirit burner, solid fuel like Esbit, or alcohol gels. It can take a bit to get the hang of putting it together, but makes a solid base for pots and kettles.

Reasons to Buy

  • Packs flat
  • Light
  • Foraged fuel
  • Good alcohol stove stand

Reasons to Avoid

  • Setup can be challenging at times
  • Soot mess and odor

  Nice package Depending on the trip, I have been carrying the Emberlit FireAnt TI as either part of my primary cooking system or as a backup for the last two years. It was a bit of an investment at the time, but has become a useful tool that has a lot of value in my pack. Let me tell you a bit about it and then I'll show you a video demonstration that should answer most any leftover questions. Construction: The entire kit, no caboodle The stove pieces are stamped from thin titanium plates and come packed in a vinyl pouch to protect the sharp edges.

Read more: Emberlit FireAnt Titanium reviews (3)

Solo Stove Lite

user rating: 3.5 of 5 (20 reviews)

An efficient gasifier stove that allows one to use found wood for fuel rather than carrying fuel. While it can be used with any pot or pan that can handle open fire, the Lite nestles within the Solo Stove Pot 900. Best used for boiling water or heating foods for 1-2 people. Recommended for those who don't mind the brief ritual of collecting and preparing natural fuel whenever they wish to use the stove.

Reasons to Buy

  • Proven design provides very efficient use of fuel
  • Simple construction and use
  • Enclosed design keeps ashes in the stove
  • Works with Trangia-style alcohol burners (not included), too
  • Competitively priced (compared to similar, handmade options)

Reasons to Avoid

  • Learning curve to optimize use
  • Requires tending while in use
  • Heavier than some woodburning options
  • Susceptible to environmental factors

The two-piece Solo Stove Lite with drawstring pouch The Solo Stove Lite is a gasifier stove. Note: The following review is of a wood-burning stove. All testing of this stove was conducted in accordance with local fire and firewood regulations. When using wood-burning stoves (or campfires), always adhere to local guidelines for fire use. In the United States, the United States Forest Service maintains a Wildland Fire Assessment System, from which are derived Smokey Bear's Fire Danger Today posts.

Read more: Solo Stove Lite reviews (20)

Kelly Kettle Stainless Trekker Small Kelly Kettle

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

Great product! Easy to use with no need to pack fuel. I highly recommend one...and the quality is great.

Reasons to Buy

  • No fuel to pack.
  • Boils water really fast!

I used one of these on a biking trip, and it worked great! It boils water in a couple of minutes after you get a fire going and the fuel is all around you. I used pine cones when I had them, and would carry one along as a spare.  I also brought along these solid fuel tabs, and two will boil water on those rainy days or when you don't want any smoke...such as stealth camping.  It weighs 1.7 pounds or so, and if you think that is heavy think again. Take that tiny gas stove and add a couple of cans of gas and the weight adds up fast.

Read more: Kelly Kettle Stainless Trekker Small Kelly Kettle review (1)

Top Alcohol Stove / Solid Fuel Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove / Wood Stove

Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti-Tri

user rating: 5 of 5 (2 reviews)

After more than three years of constant use, I can confidently say this is still my favorite stove and piece of gear that I own! The light weight, versatility of fuel types, and heating efficiency of the Sidewinder Ti Tri have exceeded all my expectations. Minor negatives include the multiple-part setup, price, and being sized for one pot per stove.

Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight
  • Versatile (wood, alcohol, solid fuel)
  • Very stable
  • Fuel efficient—carry less in forests
  • Sturdy construction and durable
  • Simmers well
  • Don't have to carry all fuel type components
  • Quite as a mouse

Reasons to Avoid

  • Setup takes a little practice
  • Price
  • Unique sizing to just one pot per stove
  • Multiple parts
  • Alcohol stove durability (same as other can stoves)
  • Blackening of pots (and hands)

After an initial review in 2014 and a minor update in 2015, I decided to completely rewrite this review as it didn't do justice to this great stove! I could rave on about this stove for hours, but will try to keep it to a couple chapters…as much as I love this stove if you are a simple "boil water and put it in a bag" person then I’ll save your time right now and suggest you go a different direction. However, if you love the camping aspect as much as the hiking part of backpacking, actually “cook” some meals, or just prefer the ultimate flexibility of multiple fuel sources then look no further or at least seriously consider the Sidewinder Ti-Tri!COOKING APPROACH After spending almost 30 years dabbling with canister, white gas, wood...

Read more: Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti-Tri reviews (2)

180 Tack 180 Stove

user rating: 5 of 5 (2 reviews)

Very Light and compact backpacking stove that eliminates the need to buy and carry fuels. The 180 Stove weighs the same as a micro stove and one small fuel canister. Never worry about fuel again. Cook with twigs, grass, leaves, etc. Stainless steel and folds into very compact case that keeps the smoky parts on the inside. Very cool!

Reasons to Buy

  • No need to carry fuel
  • Very stable
  • Made in America
  • Light and strong
  • Made to last
  • Better for the environment

Reasons to Avoid

  • Requires fire-making skills
  • Smokes up the pan

I have been using a 180 STOVE for more than two years now and find it liberating. This is a compact, light-weight cook stove with a stable, generous 6”x7” cooking surface. It only uses a handful of twigs to cook dinner. I don’t have to sweat how much fuel to buy and store or carry. The stove packs down to a 3”x 6”x 5/8”self-forming case, too, that keeps smoky parts away from my gear. It is as light as the tiny micro stoves with a single fuel canister but far more dependable. Likewise, I have done several field tests with the 180-VL.

Read more: 180 Tack 180 Stove reviews (2)

SolHuma VitalGrill Survival Stove

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3 reviews)

The Vital Stove is a good quality, compact twig stove that uses a tiny battery powered fan to burn twigs and ground litter completely and cleanly. It is compact, easy to use, requires extremely little in the way of fuel and, best of all it offers very good temperature control. It can boil fast but also achieve a long slow simmer.

Reasons to Buy

  • Compact, sturdily built
  • Fuel and fuel bottles need not be packed in
  • Very good temperature control
  • Ecologically low-impact.
  • Battery draw is low, so batteries last long

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not ultra-light, but fuel needn't be packed in.
  • Cannot be used in areas where fire bans are in effect.
  • Stove must be fed twigs and ground litter while cooking.

My wife and I have been lifetime users of open fire cooking and Trangia (alcohol) stoves, but in the last three years we've come to favour the Vital Stove, which is a fan-powered twig stove. So far, I have found it to be an excellent stove, performing much better than I expected it to, being more versatile than the manufacturers have advertised it to be.Here are a few things I can say about it along with some photos:The assembled stove in actionThe stove packed flatThe stove used to prepare a mealPros: Solidly built, well-engineered, works as it should with no fussing required.

Read more: SolHuma VitalGrill Survival Stove reviews (3)

DIY: Collapsible Cylinder Wood Stove

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

DIY wood burning cylinder stove offers the same functionality as commercial models at 1/10th the cost. Most suitable for family sized tents and groups of two or more backpackers in winter.

Reasons to Buy

  • Collapsible for backpacking
  • Cooks and heats for family sized groups
  • Saves carrying fuel

Reasons to Avoid

  • Requires 3 hours to make, not counting shopping for parts
  • Heavier by 1 1/4 pounds compared to similar sized titanium stoves
  • Wood fuel must be cut and collected at campsite

This DIY (Do It Yourself) stove is not a branded or sold product, requiring the user to collect the parts and build the stove themselves. I built the prototypes for personal use and to instruct Junior Forest Wardens (children) to make it themselves. As I do not have the time to make them for sale, I have provided instructions on how this can be done by the users. This model is one of four types I instruct children to make under adult supervision. For this review I have covered only the largest collapsible model.

Read more: DIY: Collapsible Cylinder Wood Stove review (1)

More Wood Stoves

Trailspace reviewers have shared 109 reviews of 41 different wood stoves.

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Other Types of Backpacking and Camp Stoves

Find more backpacking and camp stoves reviewed in these related categories:

Alcohol Stoves

Compressed Fuel Canister Stoves

Liquid Fuel Stoves

+6 more types

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