Ah the great outdoors … it’s a fantastic place to be, to trek through, and you get to sleep under the stars. However, when it comes to mealtime, you need a good camping stove to cook your favorite camping foods. Personally, we like wood burning backpacking stoves, as they have unlimited fuel, granted you are in the woods. Today we will discuss the best available wood burning backpacking stove.
Wood Burning Backpacking Stoves: A Buyer’s Guide
Before you buy just any wood burning backpacking stove for camping or hiking, there are a few considerations which you want to keep in mind; you do not want to buy the first model you see. So, what do you need to look for when shopping for a wood burning backpacking stove?
The first thing to think about when buying a wood burning backpacking stove is what it is made of. Generally speaking, these stoves will be made of 1 of 3 materials — aluminum, titanium, or steel.
Steel has a high level of heat resistance, it’s hard to dent, and it should stay in one piece for a long time, but it does tend to be quite heavy. Next, comes aluminum, where the main benefit is that they tend to be very lightweight, compact, and portable, but not all that durable. Finally, you have the titanium option, which in our opinion is the best choice, because titanium is both lightweight and highly durable, not to mention highly heat resistant.
Weight and Size
The next thing to consider is how big and heavy it is. This is important for several reasons. First, size is important to consider because the size of the base chamber is going to determine how much wood you can fit into it.
If you are planning on cooking a large meal, or making something that takes a while to cook, you need a large chamber to fit a lot of wood to make a fire that will last for some time, because you don’t want to have to add more wood to the fire as you are cooking. The size of the stove is also important to keep in mind because it will determine the size of the pot which you can fit on top of it, therefore also determining how many people you can cook for at once.
The size of the stove is also important because you obviously do not want to be carrying a large and heavy backpacking stove while you are hiking. The bigger it is, the more trouble you are going to have carrying it. On that same note, the weight is important to think about in this regard as well. Simply put, the lighter the wood burning backpacking stove in question is, the easier it will be to carry it around for prolonged periods of time.
Setup and Portability
Yet another thing you will want to keep in mind is how easy it is to set up. Some of these wood burning stoves have multiple pieces which you may need to assemble, and of course, the longer it takes to assemble, the longer it will take for those beans and franks to be ready.
For example, the model we review below simply needs to be unfolded and it is good to go, without any assembly required. Simply unfold it, load it with wood, light the fire, and you are ready to start cooking within minutes. This is also important to keep in mind in terms of portability, because the setup also has to do with the package formed when the stove is folded down. For example, the item we review below collapses down into a flat little package; making it highly portable, and easy to set up and take down as well.
Wall Shape and Fuel Chamber
The next thing is what the walls of the wood burning stove look like in terms of their shape. Some are rounded, some are square, some have a cone shape, and others may have a hexagonal shape.
What is important to keep in mind is that the top of the walls should be narrower than the bottom, where all the wood is. A cone shape which gets narrower towards the top will help direct heat towards the pot or pan at the top, instead of having it go to waste. This is also important because you want there to be good protection from the wind; the right shape of stove walls will help keep wind away from the flame. We all know how big of an issue wind can be when you are trying to light a fire, so this is a crucial feature.
Vargo Titanium Hexagon Wood Stove: A Review
When it comes to the best wood burning backpacking stove, you want something that is very durable and able to deal with intense heat, something that has a lot of room for wood, has a good cooking surface, is lightweight and portable, and more.
If we were to pick one wood burning camping stove which encompasses all of these features and more, it would have to be the Vargo Titanium Hexagon Wood Stove. When it comes down to it, this is probably our No. 1 pick, and it all starts with a more than reasonable price.
The Vargo Titanium Hexagon Wood Stove is made out of high-grade titanium. Sure, there are steel wood burning backpacking stoves, but they tend to be heavy and cumbersome. This item on the other hand is very lightweight, which is of course very important when it comes to backpacking. The Vargo Titanium Hexagon Wood Stove weighs slightly over 4 oz., making it light enough to backpack and hike with all day long without getting fatigued. You already have more than enough weight on you.
Moreover, this stove folds down into a really compact and flat little package, another big benefit because it makes this camping stove very easy to fit in a camping pack without taking up too much space. Also, when you need to set up a quick fire for cooking, you simply have to unfold this stove and it is good to go.
Going back to the material, another benefit of the Vargo Titanium Hexagon Wood Stove being made of titanium is that it is up to twice as strong as aluminum. If you should drop it, it should not break, nor will you have a hard time scratching it. The level of heat resistance is also quite impressive.
Another big benefit you get with the Vargo Titanium Hexagon Wood Stove is that it comes with a large space for firewood and fuel, plus a full swing door to make building your fire, and managing it as easy as possible. What we also like is the grate at the bottom of the stove which allows air to get to the fire, while also allowing ash to fall out the bottom. Finally, the Vargo Titanium Hexagon Wood Stove features a conical shape which directs the heat and concentrates it towards the pot on top, which by the way, this thing can fit a pretty large pot, another benefit.
The bottom line is that when it comes to backpacking, we think that the wood burning option is the No. 1 choice. Don’t forget to keep all of the considerations in mind which we went over in the buyer’s guide, and you should be fine when it comes to choosing the best wood burning backpacking stove for your needs, but of course, our top recommendation would be the Vargo Titanium Hexagon Wood Stove.