Pressed for time? After careful examination, we’ve concluded that the Vargo Titanium Hexagon Stove is the best wood burning stove on the market today.
I’ll admit – after a hard day of hiking and setting up the campsite, I enjoy a fresh, hot meal as much as anyone.
But, building a campfire can take a lot of time and effort.
That’s where your trusty stove comes in. Backpacking camping stoves are lightweight, easy to pack, and will have you cooking dinner in mere minutes.
They are truly a must-have item in any serious backpackers’ inventory and today we’ll discuss how to choose the best one for your specific situation.
Best Folding Wood Burning Backpacking Stoves:
- Vargo Titanium Hexagon Backpacking Wood Stove (Best Folding-style Wood Burning Backpacking Stove)
- Lixada Camping Stove (Best Budget Wood Burning Stove)
- überleben Stoker Flatpack Stove (Top Rated by Backpackers)
- ATiAP Ultralight Titanium Stove (Best Durable Wood Burning Backpacking Stove)
- REDCAMP Wood Stove (Best Wood Burning Backpacking Stove with a Grill)
Best Can-Style Wood Burning Backpacking Stoves:
- TOAKS Titanium Stove (Best Can-style Wood Burning Backpacking Stove)
- Solo Stove Titan (Best Premium Wood Burning Backpacking Stove Overall)
- Ohuhu Camping Stove (Best For Cooking In Large Pots)
- BioLite Campstove (Best Hi-Tech Wood Burning Backpacking Stove)
Best Wood Burning Stove: Our Top Picks
Vargo Titanium Hexagon Backpacking Wood Stove
If storage space is your main issue, then foldable wood stoves are your best bet. And this model by Vargo packs up pretty compactly, you can easily store it in your backpack. Made of titanium, and weighing only 4.8 oz, the stove is rather lightweight, so it won’t weigh your backpack down too much.
Assembling it is a piece of cake. Just unfold the side panels and snap them together – that’s all! It takes no more than a minute or two, so you can focus on other things around the campsite.
This backpacking stove is made of titanium, so you know it’s rather durable. It stands well against weather elements, even if left outside for a long time.
The stove has a conical shape, which directs the flame upwards. At the top, notches focus the fire to warm up your pot evenly. The stove also features a hinged access door, which you can open or close to add wood to the fire and control how much air gets in. It’s a simple yet very efficient design.
- Weighs only 4.8 oz and it packs compactly, so it can easily fit into a backpack
- Since it’s made of titanium, you know it’s rather sturdy and durable
- Hinged access door allows you to control the amount of flame
- It’s pretty simple to assemble without a manual
- A bit on the pricier side
Best for: backpackers searching for a very light stove.
Lixada Camping Stove
Maybe you’re looking at the prices of these stoves and shaking your head in dismay. Maybe you’re not a frequent camper, thinking, “why would I spend this much money on a stove I’ll only use twice a year?”
Fear not, as I’ve got just the solution for you.
Enter Lixada’s Camping Stove. Not only is it super affordable (seriously, I paid more for coffee at Starbucks than this), but it is also really small – ideal for backpackers. Not only that, but it can also be folded up so small that you can even fit it in your back pants pocket (if that’s what floats your boat).
Unlike most stoves, it comes in two flavors: titanium and stainless steel. The titanium version is slightly more expensive, but it’s also a bit bigger and more durable.
- Affordable – it’s a dream come true for hikers and campers on a budget
- You can choose between titanium and stainless steel options
- Super portable – 3.1’’ x 3.3 ‘’ x 4.2 ‘’ dimensions make it easy to pack
- It can also be folded into an even smaller package
- Not as reliable as other options mentioned here
- The small size might not be sufficient for some people
Best for: price-conscious hikers and campers who still want a quality stove.
Solo Stove Titan
We have the one and only Solo Stove Titan.
Winner of the “Gear of the Year” award, this magnificent little stove is recommended by all kinds of experienced outdoorsmen, from Backpacker magazine to Matt Graham from the Discovery channel.
And there are plenty of reasons for that. To start off, it’s really well made – with stainless steel and nichrome wire, you can be sure that this product will last you for years and years.
Its unique design features air intake holes that allow for more complete burning of wood, so you’ll get longer fires with less smoke. It also ensures really fast boil time – only a couple of minutes to boil even 32 ounces of water.
Alas, all good things come at a price. That’s why this model is slightly pricier than others mentioned here – but in my humble opinion, those few bucks are well worth it.
- Really fast boil time – 4-6 minutes to boil 32 fl oz. of water
- Intelligent design allows for far less smoke than other stoves
- Simple & convenient setup
- Compact size allows for more room in your backpack
- At only 16.5 oz., it’s remarkably lightweight
- It’s a bit pricey
Best for: campers looking for an award winning wood burning backpacking.
überleben Stoker Flatpack Stove
Maybe you’re an ultra-ultra light backpacker and the Solo Titan is too bulky for you.
Don’t fret, überleben has you covered.
Weighing a measly 14.5 oz., this stove is a joy for anyone who struggles to fit all of their gear into their backpack.
But the good news doesn’t stop there – it’s also foldable. That means that within minutes, you can pack this 5-panel device into a package that’s 6” x 6” and only 0.25” thick. Now that’s smart packing!
The fact that you can easily put it together and apart also means cleaning is a lot easier than with other stoves. Just wash each side separately, wipe it off, and voila – you’re done!
- Weighs only 14.5 oz, which makes it ideal for ultra-light backpackers
- Folds into a package measuring 6” x 6” x 0.25”, so it’ll fit almost anywhere
- Comes with a canvas sleeve for easy storage
- Since it can be disassembled, cleaning it is a breeze
- Needs extra cooling time before packing it back up
- Edges are really sharp so be careful not to cut yourself when putting it together
Best for: ultra-light backpackers who are really mindful of their weight and inventory.
Ohuhu Camping Stove
If you’re camping with a big family, you’re likely using big pots and pans. After all, you need to feed all those hungry mouths pretty fast, otherwise, you’ll have a mutiny on your hands.
That’s where Ohuhu’s Camping Stove shines. With its 3-arm support system, it offers excellent stability – so you can use your large pots without worry. It also helps redistribute heat more evenly, so your meals will be better cooked.
Like other stoves mentioned here, it is made out of stainless steel, so it’s pretty lightweight and portable. It can also fold into a package measuring 5.3″ x 5.3″ x 3″ and weighing 14.2 oz, so you’ll be able to easily carry it around.
On the downside, this stove isn’t as heat efficient as the other stoves I’ve reviewed, so the boiling time will be slightly longer.
- Pretty affordable for a wood burning stove of this quality
- The 3-arm support system offers great stability (and it distributes heat evenly)
- Easy to pack with a folded size of 5.3″ x 5.3″ x 3″ and weight of 14.2 oz
- Comes with its own little net for easy storage and transportation
- Very lightweight
- The 3-arm system is fragile and could break if you’re not careful
- The boiling time is not as fast as with other stoves mentioned here
- Thicker than the other lightweight stoves, but still small
Best for: campers who use large pots and need extra stability this stove offers.
So far, I’ve only talked about simple wood burning stoves. The ones that are a throwback to a less complicated time, and that are pretty low tech and straightforward.
On the other hand…there’s nothing low tech about BioLite Campstove.
Ever wanted a stove that could not only warm you up and cook your food, but also charge your phone at the same time?
You got it.
Using the heat from the wood, this stove converts energy into electricity via a thermoelectric generator. That in turn is used to charge any device you want via a USB cable. Do be warned – that the conversion is not great, so don’t expect to charge your laptop from 0 – 100% in 5 minutes. But for any smaller devices, like LED lights, or even your phone it should work fine.
Unfortunately, as with most hi-tech gadgets, this one is definitely pricey, so you might want to save up before deciding to take a plunge and purchase this one.
- A hi-tech stove that can charge your devices as you burn wood
- Ingenius fan design allows for a more efficient burn
- 4-speed fan settings allow for greater heat efficiency
- It can boil 1 L of water in 4.5 minutes
- It’s definitely on the high end of the price range
- The stove is not terribly energy efficient
Best for: campers who want a hi-tech stove that can charge your devices as you cook food.
REDCAMP Wood Burning Camping Stove
Just by looking at it, you can see that this is a high quality wood burning camping stove. But what’s surprising (and also exciting) is that it comes with a pretty affordable price tag.
This stove is made of 430 stainless steel, which is resistant to rust and weather elements. It’s the same grade of steel used for barbecues, so you know that it’s also easy to clean.
Depending on your needs, you can choose between two sizes. They’re both lightweight and easily packable, which makes them great for backpacking. They also come in their own carrying bag, so you don’t have to worry about getting the rest of your equipment dirty.
As for the fuel, I love that you can use a variety of things, from wood and coal to leaves and twigs. This allows you to use pretty much everything around you to light the fire.
I also love that the stove comes packed into a residual protective film. This means there’s absolutely no way you can get a scratched product. Just make sure to remove the film before first use.
- With two sizes available, you can choose the model that suits your cooking needs better
- It comes in a carrying bag, so you can keep the dirty stove separated from the rest of your gear
- Works with a variety of fuels
- Collapsible and foldable
- The protective film is somewhat hard to remove
Best for: long backpacking trips.
TOAKS Titanium Backpacking Wood Burning Stove
Material: Titanium | Style: Can | Weight: 5.4 oz | Fold Size: 3.75 x 7.25 in | Unfold Size: 3.75 x 7.25 in
This is a smaller version of a well-known stove model. It works just as well as its big brother, but it’s much lighter and compact.
With 3.75 x 3.75 inches in dimension and 5 pounds in weight, this is probably the tiniest can-style stove you can find on the market. Sure, it’s practically three titanium pieces locked together, but this design has definitely proven to be efficient.
What makes it so great is the multi-combustions mechanism created by no other than those small holes on its body. The amount of circulating air creates a strong fire that will allow you to cook food in a short amount of time.
Since it’s made of titanium, you can rest assured this wood stove will last you a very long time. It’s one of those things you can pass down to your kids if maintained properly.
It’s also worth mentioning that you get a nice little nylon sack for storing a dirty stove. You can also use the rope to attach it to your backpack, so that it takes no storage space.
- When packed, this is one of the smallest can-style stoves available
- It has a multi-combustion mechanism that allows you to create strong fire for cooking and staying warm
- Thanks to its titanium body, this stove is rather strong and durable
- Comes in a nylon sack that allows you to store it and attach it to the outside of your pack
- A bit pricier than most other models
Best for: campers with pretty limited storage space.
ATiAP Ultralight Titanium Wood Burning Stove
Material: Titanium | Style: Folding | Weight: 7.04 oz | Fold Size: 4.92 x 4.92 x 6.3 in | Unfold Size: 6.3 x 5.3 x .25 in
If you’re looking for a wood stove that will last you a long time, you should definitely consider titanium construction. It’s the material that guarantees high quality and durability. And this model by ATiAP is the perfect example.
This wood stove has a simple yet effective design. The cross-stand trivet gives you a stable cooking platform for your pot. On the side, it features a large opening that allows you to add large chunks of wood at any time.
This stove has a great ventilation system. Aside from the wide opening, it also features vent holes at the bottom, which maximizes the air flow. This system will give you a strong flame within minutes of starting it.
I love that this is a pretty affordable stove, even though it’s made of titanium. And since it’s so simple to use, there’s absolutely no way you’ll ever exchange it for a gas or other type of stove.
- This stove has a strong titanium body that stands well against weather elements and wear-and-tear
- The cross stand design allows you to use a pot up to 25 ounces in size
- It won’t take you more than a minute to assemble the stove
- When packed, this stove can fit into practically any pocket
- Takes a bit more to assemble
Best for: campers looking for a sturdy yet affordable stove.
Wood Burning Vs Gas Stoves
There are generally two types of backpacking stoves:
- Wood burning stoves
- Gas stoves
Advantages of Wood Burning Stoves
Wood burning stoves have several advantages over gas stoves, such as:
- You don’t have to bring fuel
- They are considerably lighter
- They can act as a small campfire
- They are better for the environment
- Nostalgia factor of cooking meals on the campfire
They do leave a lot of ash though, but if you’re camping in open spaces that shouldn’t be a problem. For most people, wood-burning stoves would be a better choice – AND they’ll get more bang for their buck.
Disadvantages of Wood Burning Stoves
Fuel – the type of fuel is also a disadvantage for different reasons. To be able to use this type of stove, you need to have dry wood available, which can be difficult in certain areas or during the rainy season.
Wildfire season restrictions – in some areas, the open fire is forbidden during warmer months, because the risk of wildfires is much higher than usual. This is usually t in the summer and fall, and during droughts when fallen branches and leaves are highly flammable.
Weather conditions – high winds and wet weather conditions can make it harder to start the fire
Choosing A Wood Burning Stove: A Buying Guide
Now, with all that out of the way, let’s talk about how you should go about choosing a good wood burning stove.
While there are many important factors to consider, the crucial ones are:
- Portability & Convenience
- Heat efficiency
That might seem like it’s a lot to consider, but it’s really not.
Size (And Weight)
Size (and by that extension, weight too) is probably the first thing most people consider when buying any camping or hiking gear. After all, your space is limited, and you want to get the most out of your gear at the lowest weight possible.
Luckily, most wood burning backpacking stoves are pretty light already. That’s because you’re not packing any fuel, which can take up a lot of your carry weight.
Logically, the sturdier the stove is, the heavier it’s going to be. The one notable exception is stoves made out of titanium since they are both lighter and more durable than steel stoves. However they’re also a lot more expensive, but you get what you pay for.
Additionally, some of the stoves can be folded down, which nicely brings us to our next point.
Portability & Convenience
If you’re a car camper with a huge SUV or a pickup truck, portability is not something you normally fret too much about. At the end of the day, unless it’s something huge, you can pack pretty much everything you need and still have some space left over.
However, if you have a smaller car, bigger family, or you’re an ultra-light backpacker, then things look a bit different. Then every ounce matters and you have to approach packing a bit more scientifically.
I wrote this article with that in mind, so all of the stoves mentioned here are small, lightweight, and convenient to pack. Some of them can even be folded, freeing up additional space for other gear.
Heat efficiency is important since most people want to get the most out of their gear. When it comes to wood burning stoves, how much heat and fire you’re going to get depends mostly on the design of the stove.
Look for products with air holes near the bottom of the stove. They allow the fire to burn more completely which means less smoke. You’ll also use much less firewood than with an open campfire, which is an added bonus as well.
Now, most wood burning stoves are made out of two materials:
- Stainless steel
They both come with their own sets of advantages and disadvantages.
Titanium stoves are lighter than their steel counterparts, but they cost significantly more. They are better suited for ultra-light hikers and people who go camping frequently.
On the other hand, if you just go camping a few times a year, you can safely stick to stainless steel stoves – they’ll serve you just fine for that purpose.
Finally, we have any and all additional accessories than a stove might have.
This includes add-ons such as:
- Carry bags
- Fuel tablets
- And many others
These are nice to have but are by no means necessary and shouldn’t be your driving factor when deciding what stove to buy. Think of them as the cherry on top – a nice bonus to an otherwise great product.
Types of Wood Burning Stove: Can vs. Folding
Generally, we can divide wood burning stoves into two categories: can stoves or flat-folding stoves. Both of them have their advantages and disadvantages, so here’s a short info on each type.
Flat-Folding: As the name suggests, flat-folding stoves can be packed flat when you’re not using them. This makes them easily fit into your backpack. Most stoves come with a carry bag, but you can also put them into a plastic bag to protect the rest of your gear from dirt.
Setting these stoves up is not rocket science. There are a few pieces that you need to snap into place and that’s it. The process doesn’t take up more than a minute or two.
Folding style stoves have a cutout through which you can add wood whenever needed. It’s wide enough that you can put large chunks of wood, so there’s no need for you to cut a branch into smaller pieces.
So what’s the downside, you might ask? Flat folding stoves take longer to cook than can wood stoves.
Can Stoves: Can wood stoves, on the other hand, have a few pieces that fit one into another, making a double wall.
Wood gas goes in the middle and flows to the top of the outer canister. This is why this type of stove is more efficient.
Of course, it also has downsides, the main one being less compact than the flat-folding stove.
The other downside is that it doesn’t have a cutout for wood, so it must be fed from the top or rekindled when it’s out of fuel.
What If It Rains And Wood Is Wet?
In the Pacific Northwest, southeastern parts of the country and along the Gulf Coast, where it rains all year round, it’s hard to avoid camping in dry weather.
Does that mean you can’t use a wood burning stove? No, it doesn’t. But you’ll need some smokeless solid fuel tablets which work as a fire starter.
These tablets are easy to ignite – you just need a lighter or a match.
They can be started in bad weather conditions as well as in high altitudes, but keep in mind that it only lasts for a few minutes, so you need to work fast.
What Is Most Important In A Wood Burning Stove?
We could say that all features matter, but what definitely stands out are the size and weight.
If your backpacking wood stove weighs more than a gas one, then it’s really not that better of an option, is it?
For the same reason, the material also matters.
Usually, this type of stove is made of either stainless steel or titanium.
Between the two, titanium costs more, but it’s also lighter.
Stainless steel is heavier, but it also does a better job of retaining heat.
Just keep in mind that there are different grades of stainless steel, which are more or less rust-resistant.
Why Use A Collapsible Wood Burning Backpacking Stove?
When backpacking, the thing that matters the most is the weight on your back. You want to stay as light as possible, and gas camping stoves are simply too heavy and bulky for that.
Generally, a loaded pack should not weigh more than 20 percent of your body weight. So naturally, you don’t want the stove and fuel to take the largest portion of your equipment.
Collapsible wood-burning backpacking stoves are not only lightweight, but they also don’t require you to carry the fuel around. This means no additional weight is added to your backpacking base weight!
To be honest, I’ve always had a hard time figuring out how much fuel I need for a specific trip. While today’s canisters aren’t as heavy as they used to be, when you’re backpacking, every extra ounce of fuel is weighing and slowing you down.
If you’re using wood, you don’t have to worry about that. As long as you’re camping in an area with dry wood around, you’ll have plenty of sources to start the fire.
Can you burn coal in a wood backpacking stove?
No, please don’t. It is not just dangerous to burn coal in any wood-burning stove, but it can also cause substantial damage to your stove!
Why use a wood backpacking stove over gas?
By carrying a wood-burning backpacking stove, you are eliminating the additional weight of the fuel itself.
There is no need to carry isobutane or alcohol fuel canisters, and yet you can still boil water, cook food, and keep yourself warm.
How do I build a wood burning backpacking stove?
It’s much easier to buy a wood burning backpacking stove than to build one. There are some budget stoves out there that cost less than $20.
The Lixada Camping Stove and the Ohuhu Camping Stove are great examples of a budget wood burning stoves for under twenty, so we recommend going that route instead of trying to build one yourself.
Choosing a great wood burning stove for camping is no easy task. Hopefully, this article has made things clearer and helped you become better informed.
Even with tons of amazing options out there, the clear winner is the Vargo Titanium Hexagon Stove .
With its lightweight titanium material and compact size, it’s the clear winner for backpackers looking for a great wood burning stove.