Mar 15, 20179421 views

Top 10 (give or take) Lightest Canister Stoves

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Just a short post here on the top ten or so lightest upright canister stoves. Yes, I know, there are 11 on the list. The MSR Micro Rocket has actually been discontinued, but I kept it on the list just because there may be some close out deals on it.
So, without further ado, here is the list:
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I might be missing something; I don't have every stove in the known universe (yet), but this should be a pretty good list of the lightest upright canister stoves. No, I didn't include any remote canister or integrated canister stoves on this list. That's the subject for another post another day.

I like compiling information (I guess that's why I have a blog, Adventures in Stoving). Sometimes seeing all the info laid out side-by-side can be helpful if one is trying to decide between different pieces of gear.

Now, each to his or her own, and hike your own hike. Some value pot stability. Others focus solely on weight. Still others want convenience and then there are those who value reliability over all else. I've added a few comments that will hopefully give some information to each type of person. Is it a bit limited? Well, it's a chart. There's only so much one can cram in there before the chart just doesn't work any more. It's supposed to be a summary, right? But not to worry, I'm working on a full length post.

In the mean time, those desiring further information may find the following links useful:
Kovea Supalite review:
https://adventuresinstoving.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-kovea-supalite-upright-canister-gas.html

Soto Amicus review:
https://adventuresinstoving.blogspot.com/2016/12/review-soto-amicus.html

BRS-3000T review:
https://adventuresinstoving.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-brs-3000t-worlds-lightest-stove.html

MSR Pocket Rocket 2 review:
https://adventuresinstoving.blogspot.com/2016/12/review-new-msr-pocket-rocket-2.html

Soto WindMaster review:
https://adventuresinstoving.blogspot.com/2016/11/the-soto-windmaster-worlds-lightest-gas.html

Hope it's of interest,
HJ
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Thanks, Jim. Any knowledge of the Bulen B5 which competes with the Kovea Spider?
FWIW, I have a Kovea stove which appears to be a variant of the Superlite, perhaps slightly older or newer. It's okay if there's no wind, but wretchedly inefficient when it's windy; a Jetboil will save gas, time, and overall weight on trips longer than a night or two, and cause much less frustration. Stove weight isn't the only thing that matters - they have to work too. Packs are similar; it doesn't matter how light they are if the harness is uncomfortable. :-(
I like my canister stove when I go car camping with my kids but I have yet to hear someone assert that there is plenty available on long trails.
rbucker
Plenty available on the AT or PCT.
The Soto Amicus is my goto! Picked it up here just recently and am very impressed. Concur with your comments. For $40, it's a no brainer.
Great overview. I am fairly new to backpacking, but did a lot of research before deciding on a stove. I ended up settling on the Soto Amicus...and so glad I did! The stove is not as light as some others, but were talking fractions of an ounce! The overall performance and price point of the Amicus combine to deliver great value. I am very happy with the decision. The stove has performed very well on multiple trips, including wind and cold in the White Mountains of NH.
Nice list...thank you. I purchased the Kovea Supalite 60g months ago and have found it most reliable. I keep it, a cup, a fuel canister, and a lighter/firestarting supplies all in my Stanley 1L cookpot with a long handled titanium spork and it packs nicely, with room for more gear in a side pocket of my backpack. Even in 10 degree F temps, it has worked reliably. I recently got 12-14 meals (heating water for coffee/breakfast and dinner) from a single canister of fuel. I really like this stove!
After trying many different canister stoves in every price range including the Soto Windmaster (an impressive stove), I have settled on the on the Fire Maple pictured above, as my usual stove. Considering weight, useability, and construction, and price, this stove is hard to beat.
pwoc
Yeah, that's not a bad one. It's the FMS-116T which is sometimes called the Gnat and sometimes the Kinetic Ultra. The 116T is my pick for just about the lightest that is still pretty practical. The 116T has decent pot stability and decent flame spread. One could actually cook on the 116T if one were of a mind too.
I have the FMS-300T which doesn't vary much in terms of weight from the 116T but the flame on the 300T is much more concentrated, and the 300T doesn't have the same pot stability.
The one down side to all five of the top five lightest stoves is none of them is particularly good in wind. On purpose, I test a lot at the beach. It's typically windy there. All of the really light stoves suffer in wind. I've had trouble making my morning cup of Joe there. The one exception that I've noted of late is the WindMaster. That thing really is more windproof than the typical upright canister stove. I was out two weeks ago with the 300T. It couldn't bring my coffee pot to the boil. I turned it off, swapped it out for the WindMaster, and the WindMaster had my coffee ready in short order.
HJ
hikin_jim
Yeah, I have the 300t too, and completely agree with you on all points. I've given up the wind resistance of the Windmaster for the stability, and cooking ability of the Fire Maple. I've settled for using a personally designed windscreen, specially designed for a canister stove with a heat reflector. Even though the Windmaster will stay lit in a breeze, it becomes less efficient at heating in the wind.
I had a critical BRS fail while backpacking last month. Temps in the 40's, elevation 5-6,000 ft, minimal wind and a new full canister (which I tested prior to, and after the outing). After a couple minutes the stove just stopped "passing gas," even when opened up all the way. When I tried the stove again at the end of the day, the same thing happened again. Looked for, but didn't observe any obvious blockages with the canister or stove. Won't trust it again - at least it's only an $18 loss, and the only fallout from the experience was some lukewarm breakfast and dinner. As luck would have it, the Soto Amicus appeared on Massdrop right after I returned (just missed the Windmaster)! I'll gladly pack the extra ounce and a half for a little reliability.
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Yes, warmed it up inside my jacket in the morning when it was cooler, to no avail (it also malfunctioned in the late afternoon/evening with temps 50-60's F). I'm sure the altitude and temps weren't helping. Like you, I wouldn't use this style of stove in winter conditions and/or high altitude (those trips are never ultralight anyways, at least for me).
Oh how perspective matters! :-D. Idoc72 said they were camping in the 40s at 5-6,000 feet -- These days, I rarely go camping when the mornings are warmer than this. I've always used regular canister gas stoves with MSR isopro canisters -- no problems. You can read Hikin' Jim's blog for information on temperature and its effect on fuel. 40 degrees should be no problem. For reference, I use the Soto Windmaster. If it's going to be cold at night, I'll keep the canister in my sleeping bag or quilt.
They updated the Windmaster OD-1RX recently and the new one is an absolute little MONSTER! Best stove I've owned, and ironically the lightest. I combine it with a Evernew .6L pot for 3-season backpacking, and a .9L pot in the winter when needing to melt snow. For comparison, it's about 60% of the weight of my .8L Jetboil, boils faster, and has better wind resistance.
nicklenn
@nicklenn see my comments to @pwoc, above. The WindMaster is a super reliable stove. To me, it's the one to get if you a) don't mind the detachable pot support and b) don't mind the relatively high price.
The Amicus is a really nice stove too, but a tad heavier.
HJ
Thanks for the post, one thing that makes it difficult to pick a stove is false BTU output Numbers. recently saw the Cruz vs msr pocket rocket2. Looking at numbers the crux should crush the msr. The crux 10200 vs msr. 8200 In the real world test the msr crushed the crux by a large margin.
camshaft
Interesting. My experience with the Crux is that it seems not to quite deliver on the promise of 10,200 BTU/hr, but I don't recall if I've run it head to head with a PR2. I'll have to try it some time.
HJ
hikin_jim
outdoor gear review on YouTube did a heat to head with pocket rocket2. And it was clearly msr winner when it’s 2000 less. So specs you see online are hard to judge, only real world Head to head timed boil runabout
I quite enjoy using the EOE Lithium (http://eoe-europe.com/de/kocher/6-lithium.html) for some time now (44g, ~1.55oz). I think its design has been copied by some chinese companies.
For larger pots (>1l) I usually prefer a Optimus Crux Lite.
mabe
ive got one of the chinese knock offs and the thing is great, with a few complications. works great for my little 700/750ml titanium pots. though with a full load of water its usually a bit unsteady and if your not hanging on when it hits boil it will rock itself right over. my bigger pots just cant stay on. now with my jetboil ti pots its fantastic, and i carry it as a backup in case my jetboil stove has an issue. the broad head stove pictured up top there though i love more, more stable and better heat over a wider area.
mabe
Actually, the "EOE Lithium" is the FMS-300T which has been designed and built by Fire Maple of China but is being marketed under the EOE brand. The 300T is being sold under probably a dozen brands, but they're really all the same and all designed and manufactured in China by Fire Maple. Fire Maple is making some pretty nice stoves.
HJ
Any thoughts on the "footprint" of the flame? I may replace my Pocket Rocket for something more spread out: my group needs one stove dedicated to toasting quesadillas. Current stove focuses flame onto a single 3-inch spot and I'd like one that spreads somewhat uniformly over 6 inches for pans, grilling, and frying. Ultralight preferred.
Cromulent
Well, my definition of ultralight (in terms of a canister stove) is sub 2 ounce. There are only five choices: 1. The BRS-3000T 2. The FMS-300T 3. The FMS-116T 4. The Snow Peak Lite Max 5. The Kovea SupaLite
The stoves with the best dispersed flames are the LiteMax and the SupaLite. The LiteMax and the SupaLite are basically the same stove with some mainly cosmetic differences although the LiteMax does have a higher BTU rating. Either of those two UL canister stoves should give you a well distributed flame.
HJ
I'd like to see a breakdown, similar to the stoves you've got, on the various canister fuels available for these stoves, i.e. size, ingredients ratios, quality of fuel, winter use, price etc. Any suggestions?
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EuroAmer
Sizes though are fairly standard for canister gas in the US: Small: 100 to 113 g with 110 g being the most common. Medium: 220 to 230 g with 220 g being slightly more common. Large: 440 to 450 g.
HJ
hikin_jim
Thanks for your numerous responses. I'll start looking into them.
I have owned an OPTIMUS CRUX for 10 years now, it is the best equipment buy I have ever made, and has fed my wife and I on many a back country trip and helped to keep us caffeinated along the way.
BetaDaze
Sounds like a good stove. Successfully cooking my dinner is one of my top criteria for evaluating a stove. :)
HJ
I own and use the Soto Windmaster. Mine came with the three and four arm pot supports. I use the four arm almost all the time for the piece of mind. I would highly recommend it with a windscreen of some type. It does well in the wind as the name suggest but on really windy evenings it could use a little help, just as most of these could.
jcpoole1
@jcpoole1 yeah the WindMaster is *better* than other stoves in wind but as you say it's not invincible. If you want something that is nearly 100% windproof, you'd have to get a WindBurner or a Reactor which are just amazing in wind. https://adventuresinstoving.blogspot.com/2014/11/review-new-msr-windboiler.html
HJ
I just purchased my first canister stove, so this is perfect timing. This is what I purchased: https://www.walmart.com/ip/197529105
It appears to be similar to the one pictured, but I'm not entirely sure which one I should be comparing it to in your chart. Obviously, it doesn't really matter since I've already got the thing, but I'd like to know what to expect from someone experienced in stoves. Is it similar to the one pictured, the Olicamp Kinetic Ultra?
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mbeeezy
while on a trail out in the olympics, i met a few guys who had the optimus and the fire maple , and after talking with them and looking at them a bit, i went and ordered the fire maple one. i get that oilcamp may have intellectual rights over the design but the fire maple was shorter lighter and and more stable on the little tiny canisters. probably the reason the others can make and sell them in the US is because they use differing measures on all sorts of things. that my fire maple was cheaper was great too as i was barely able to pay rent at the time. one of my favorite stoves, use it for chili and such. re-hydrate in a BOT and when i get camp set up, remove lid and heat with my fire maple. id feel a bit more guilty if oilcamp went and changed the design and made a v2 that was shorter.
z80cowboy
@mbeeezy and @z80cowboy the Fire Maple FMS-116T and the Olicamp Kinetic Ultra are one and the same stove. The only difference is that Liberty Mountain has had Fire Maple make up a batch that has blue anodization instead of the more typical orange-gold of Fire Maple, and of course they say "Olicamp" on the side. I'm surprised that Liberty Mountain didn't negotiate for exclusive distribution rights to the stove although with things like eBay and Ali-Baba, it's hard to have exclusive much of anything these days.
HJ
The stove in the above picture is the Licamp Kinetic Ultra Titanium. Not sure if it's one of the lightest, but I recommend it.
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I carried mine on a four year section hike of the AT, and another section of the NCT. Never failed me. Replaced the O-ring once as preventative maint. I like to cook, and pack dehydrated veggies, rice, pasta, beans, powdered cheese, hot sauce, spices ... I love that I can reduce this baby to a simmer.
I've slowly replaced most of the contents of my pack looking to reduce weight, and occasionally look at newer stoves, but have never felt the urge to replace what has worked so well for me.
WJGhouse
That's a pretty good endorsement of a stove.
HJ
This is great! Thanks so much. I've also visited your blog, which is so informative. Perhaps this isn't the right place to inquire, but I'm curious about the Coleman version of these stoves. We have one that is a few years old. Works fine. We don't use it a ton. I keep thinking it will fail, but not yet. Trying to save $$ wherever I can is important and it's good to know where to do this. Have you ever tested a Coleman?
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I had the F1 for a few years and loved it. Eventually gave it to a friend who got into backpacking and I kinda regret it. Great little stove - good balance of weight, compact size and suitable pot supports.
Nice @JasonT2000 That's the way it should be.
Coleman though sometimes can't make up their darned mind. They still sell a version of the F1, but now they're calling it the Fyrelite
http://www.coleman.com/fyrelite-butanepropane-stove/2000025009.html
HJ
Nice article Hikin' Jim!
tr4abrad
Thanks, man. Hope it's useful info.
HJ
Thanks Jim
JerkyKen
Hey, Ken,
You bet. I'm working on an extended version of this, so stay tuned. Sorry to miss GGG this year. :(
HJ
Thanks Hikin Jim! It had been a while since visited your blog. Always enjoy your posts and the BRS-3000T review was a real eye opener. There is not a better source of information on backpacking stoves anywhere.
sim-art
Oh, well, thanks, man.
Yeah, the BRS-3000T is really sweet in terms of weight, but I think people were getting a little too carried away if they were thinking "hey, there's no downside to a $15 stove." Well, for $15 bucks, there really isn't much in the way of quality control going on.
Basically, you could consider this "crowd sourced" quality control. Think about it. They'd have to pay a staff to do QC and have procedures etc set up to handle QC. But if they crowd source it, then zero overhead. All they have to is maybe exchange a few duds. OK, so they eat the cost and the shipping on a few. No big deal. A lot of people will just shrug it off and just eat the $15 if the stove doesn't work out and go back to their old, reliable Pocket Rocket or GigaPower.
HJ
hikin_jim
Hey https://www.massdrop.com/profile/hikin_jim, speaking of which, what is the big trade off from the Pocket Rocket 2 to the GigaPower? Surely not just the 2g weight difference? In all honesty, I did buy the GigaPower last year, chiefly because the Pocket Rocket 2 had just hit the market and wasn't yet seeing any pricing discounts. That being said, I'm not disappointed at all with my purchase and can see no performance disparity between it and my buddy's PR2.
Great list! I have a <1oz stove branded as a "Nomad Life" stove which I purchased on Amazon. Essentially appears to be identical to the BRS-3000T (might simply be rebranded). I agree with the limitations you list, though I have used the stove now for a year without experiencing any deformation of the supports (always with a windscreen - the stove is horrendously inefficient without one!).
Just wondering - does the Fire Maple FMS-300T have any advantage over the BRS in terms of reliability or functionality in your experience? They essentially look like the same design to me. Was planning to hike the JMT with the BRS, but a little worried after reading your review!
nswenson
Yes, the "Nomad Life" is just another label pasted on the BRS-3000T. If you have used your 3000T for over a year, you're most likely going to be fine. If you were really worried about it, you could test it as described in my review: https://adventuresinstoving.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-brs-3000t-worlds-lightest-stove.html
The 300T is definitely more solid than the 3000T but has some of the same limitations in terms of pot stability as the 3000T. Fire Maple is a pretty reputable stove company that does solid engineering work. BRS? Not so much. BRS just kind of ripped off the over all look and feel of the 300T when they created the 3000T. Notice the similarity in the names? That's not an accident.
The 116T from Fire Maple is only like 3 grams heavier than the 300T but has *much* better pot stability and has a wider burner head which distributes the heat better. If one were to want to do more than just boiling water, the 116T would have some distinct advantages. It is however less compact. All stoves are a trade off. The 116T works for me, but each to his or her own.
HJ
Thank you for pulling this together -- I've always wanted to see something like this ... but not badly enough to do the work. Surprised to see that the Soto Windmaster is only in the middle of the list...but I am not sure I'd be willing to give it up to save 1.5 ounces. I love that thing - it's so fast and dependable. And I guess the built-in igniter could save you the weight of carrying a lighter. (Even though I do as a backup.)
QHShowoman
One thing I like about the WindMaster is that if you get everything set up, you then turn on the gas. With most stoves, you have to open the valve, then get your lighter, then put the pot on. Yeah, the gas loss is minimal, but I do like that every bit of gas I bring can go towards cooking with the WindMaster.
This is a bigger deal if you use a windscreen. If you have to turn everything on and then set up your windscreen and then put your pot on, the gas is going for a while. With the WindMaster, you set everything up, and, only when you are fully ready, then you turn on the gas.
It's also just a really quality stove even if it didn't have such a nice ignition.
Also, with something like the BRS-3000T, some of the weight savings can be illusory. With any wind at all, the 3000T is going to burn through fuel whereas the WindMaster will maintain a good level of efficiency.
HJ
I get excited when I see an HJ post; they are always very informative, supported with facts, and easy to understand.
gopherabe
Ha, ha. Well, thank you.
Good cure for insomnia if nothing else.
HJ
Awesome! Have you done any standardized testing to compare fuel efficiency (i.e. grams of fuel to bring a set volume of water, at a given starting temperature, to boil)? I know there are many variables including elevation, air temperature, and wind, but I find that sort of info extremely valuable for trip planning. Thanks for the post!
idoc72
Yeah, that is good information (fuel consumption figures). It's also technically very difficult.
Temperature, pressure, and wind, one can reasonably control for. One can even adjust for changes in canister pressure to a degree. Where one is in the life of the canister does matter. A full canister typically has higher pressure and boil times are typically faster at a given valve setting -- but more fuel is typically consumed. As the canister empties, pressure decreases, boil times at a given valve setting lengthen but typically consume a bit less fuel.
But just where to put the valve setting? Say you want to compare a Soto Windmaster (11,000 BTU/hr) with and MSR Pocket Rocket 2 (8,200 BTU/hr). Well, if you open both up max, an 11,000 BTU/hr stove is going to generally burn a lot more fuel than an 8,200 BTU/hr stove. Really, one has to set both stoves on the same BTU/hr rate. The stove that then boils with the least amount of fuel is clearly the more efficient. And it can be done. You just need a regulator set up that feeds gas at a set rate to each stove. But such test equipment I just don't have.
So, unless the person running efficiency tests has such test equipment, the numbers are somewhat subject to vagary. Just exactly what valve settings did he or she use? One half valve turn on one stove is not equal to one half valve turn on another by a different manufacturer.
That said, I can tell you that stoves with recessed burners like the Amicus and the WindMaster tend to use less fuel -- at a reasonable valve setting -- simply because they're protected from wind whereas open burner stoves are not. I can also say that the BRS-3000T is about the most affected by wind of any canister stove I've seen and is generally inefficient. All stoves are more efficient if you turn them down and run on a moderate flame; this is particularly true with higher output stoves (say 10,000 BTU/hr or more). With a high output stove, you really need to turn it down or you'll eat through fuel. Save that high output for when you really need it as in group cooking or snow melting. I actually prefer high output stoves simply because you are given more choices. You can't turn an 8,000 BTU/hr stove up to 10,000 BTU/hr to melt snow. But you can turn a 10,000 BTU/hr stove down to 5,000 BTU/hr to get good fuel economy.
HJ