5 Best Ultralight Backpacking Cooking Systems


Being able to carry in a lightweight stove is a huge help. No need to gather wood and wait for the fire to burn down before eating – simply fire up your gas stove and get cooking. The right stove is a tremendous luxury and a big time saver when out on the trail. We’ve reviewed plenty of the best out there and came up a handful of lightweight backpacking stoves that that can handle the trail, pack up light and won’t break the bank. Check out the links in each of the descriptions to view more images and product details.

1. Jetboil Zip Personal Cooking System

Jetboil is a top name in ultralight backpacking stove systems. The Jetboil Zip Personal Cooking System is probably their most popular model and for good reason. This stove is super packable, easy to use and can boil your water in under 3 minutes. This is everything you want in a stove to whip up a quick dinner after a long day on the trail. At only $79.95 on Amazon, this stove is an absolute steal for what it provides in both convenience and high end features.

  • 0.8 Liter FluxRing® cooking cup with insulating cozy
  • Adjustable burner with match ignition
  • Drink-through lid with pour spout & strainer
  • Bottom cover doubles as a measuring cup and bowl
  • Able to store a 100g Jetpower fuel can
  • Included Fuel Canister Stabilizer
  • CLICK HERE for price and reviews on Amazon

2. Primus Eta Lite High Efficiency Stove

Primus is a name that has been around for over 100 years in camping gear circles. They’ve recently stepped up their game when it comes to backpacking stoves. The Primus Eta Lite High Efficiency Stove is a very popular stove for a lot of reasons. If you’re looking to save a little bit of money as compared to the Jetboil models, this stove is a clear winner with similar features at a rock bottom price. Lightweight, ultra portable and it heats water very quickly – at only $55.99 on Amazon, this stove is an absolute bargain.

  • Compact all-in-one stove with a 1500 W output
  • The lid cuts cooking times and keeps all parts securely in place – can also be used as a mug
  • Includes a heat resistant case with safety strap
  • Burn time: 59 minutes on 3.5 oz gas cartridge
  • CLICK HERE for price and reviews on Amazon

3. MSR WindBurner Stove System

If Jetboil and Primus are well known names in backpacking stoves, then MSR is THE name. The MSR Windburner Stove System is a top notch performer in the ultralight camping stove category. You pay for what you get and what you get is performance that never fails, fast heating and incredible fuel efficiency plus a compact nesting design. When it’s cold, dark and you’re hungry it’s one of the best systems around in our opinion. At $129.95 on Amazon, it is a little pricier than some of the others but it super reliable, efficient and an excellent bang for your buck.

  • Radiant burner and heat exchanger deliver faster boil times and more fuel efficiency than conventional stoves that use convective heat only
  • 100% primary air combustion, enclosed design & internal pressure regulator work together to make stove virtually impervious to outside conditions
  • Conveniently packs the stove burner, 4 oz isoPro Fuel Canister (sold separately), folding Canister stand, and pack towel inside the 1.0L pot
  • Customizable system works with optional cookware accessories, including the Windburner 1.0L Accessory pot, hanging kit and coffee press
  • CLICK HERE for price and reviews on Amazon

4. MSR Reactor Stove System

Another MSR product has made the list and it is no surprise at all – MSR is the industry leader. The MSR Reactor Stove System is another top rated light-weight camping stove guaranteed to live up to its billing. This thing is a beast and is born and bred to boil water and boil it in no time flat in the most inhospitable conditions imaginable.  The patent-pending radiant burner and heat exchanger make the MSR Reactor the most efficient all-condition stove system, so you carry less fuel. The ttate-of-the-art stove and high-efficiency pot are combined into one compact, easy-to-use system. Coming in three different size, the smallest and cheapest unit is $129.95 on Amazon which is a bargain considering all the tech packed into this tiny unit,

  • Radiant burner is enclosed by unique heat exchanger for solid performance in windy conditions; advanced pressure regulator optimizes heat output over life of fuel canister
  • Stove and fuel stow inside high-efficiency, 1.7-liter pot, ideal for everything from solo trips to cooking for groups of up to three people; collapsible handle locks see-thru lid in place for easy transport.
  • One-pound, 1.5-ounce minimum weight and one-pound, 2.1-ounce packed weight; 80-minute burn time with eight-ounce MSR IsoPro canister and three-minute boil time for one liter of water
  • CLICK HERE for price and reviews on Amazon

5. Optimus Crux Lite Stove With Terra Cook Set

Make your next backpacking cooking experience a dream come true with the super-lightweight Optimus Crux Lite Stove with Terra Cook Set. The package deal includes a 0.6-liter hard-anodized aluminum cookset with frying pan. The Crux Lite has a 3000W burner that boils water fast and won’t spot burn when simmering. Optimus is atruly reliable name and at this price point, you cannot go wrong picking one of these up for your next trip. Check it out on Amazon for only $46.99.

  • Perfect cook system when ultralight and small size are critical
  • Total kit weight = 238g / 8.1oz
  • Smallest cook system available
  • CLICK HERE for price and reviews on Amazon

Editor’s Choice

The above group of stoves is a fantastic mix of value and technology. No matter what your needs are in a light weight backpacking stove, one of the above is more than likely to fit the bill. Our personal recommendation is the #1 stove on the list – the Jetboil Zip Personal Cooking System. It is a high tech stove with a premium build and an extremely consumer friendly price point. Take a peek at the Jetboil or any of the others and let us know which system you decided to go with and why. How about a backpacking tent or something else?



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Frontier Gear was launched with the idea in mind of creating a helpful resource for both the survivalist crowd and the outdoor sportsman in general. Our mission is to offer independent and unbiased reviews of all the latest gear and garb to help you spend your hard earned money wisely.

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