There’s nothing more convenient than hot water and a hot meal in the backcountry. And there’s nothing more frustrating than a shoddy backpacking stove.
Sure, you most likely won’t die if your stove stops working. There’s a water purifier and plenty of granola to go around. But think of it this way: Most everyone treks into the woods for a taste of relaxation or adventure, not a taste of broken (or even dangerous) equipment. If you spend the money the gear should work, plain and simple, for years and years to come. And hey, if it’s light and affordable at the same time, that’s a win-win long before you step foot on the trail.
Olicamp, a small backcountry company out of Utah, has the recipe (reliable/light/affordable) down to a science with a line of canister stoves. They’re all minimalistic, made of titanium or nickel-plated steel with foldable arms around burners of different sizes. None weigh more than four ounces, and all except the Xcelerator Ultra Titanium Stove ($69.99) screw directly onto a fuel canister. For an extra $20, the Olicamp stove kits come with a 32-ounce pot that doubles as a canister case, although the stove attachment itself is just barely too thick to fit squeeze inside at the same time. Luckily it comes with a hard plastic case. That’s backcountry cooking at it’s finest: just enough to get the job done.
The best combination of those secret ingredients comes in the Kinetic Ultra titanium stove. At 1.7 grams, it’s just 0.2 grams heavier than Olicamp’s lightest model, the Ion, dubbed “the smallest, lightest and most compact canister stove on the market.” The Kinetic features a much larger burner that’s rated at 9,620 BTUs, easily better than its closest competitor, the MSR Pocket Rocket at three ounces. The arms are also sturdier than the MSR and even the Ion, which is a blessing in the world of canister stoves. The only thing more frustrating than a malfunctioning stove: one that keeps tipping over again and again and again.