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September 2021 Issue
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2021’s backcountry stoves

Featured stove: MSR WindBurner Personal Stove System ($299.99). Distributed by

The hiss and roar of a stove boiling the billy is one of the best things about a night in the wilderness. These stoves will ensure your drinks are always hot and meals taste delicious.

Boil times

Unless stated, boil times in this feature are for one litre of water. Because there are many variables to take into account when testing boil times – air temperature, wind, altitude, burner size and even the quality and quantity of fuel – the advertised boil times should be viewed as guides only.

Flame control

Flame adjustment should be glove-friendly and allow fine-tuning from simmer to boil.


Some models have built-in wind protection and are designed to work in windy conditions. Regardless, a separate windshield that wraps around pot and stove will improve performance and reduce fuel consumption.


Canister-mounted stoves have a high centre of gravity and may require support struts that clip onto the gas canister. These struts also come with personal cooking systems to ensure stability. Liquid fuel and some gas stoves have a fuel line running from the canister to the burner, providing a lower centre of gravity. Large pot struts will support bigger pots and pans – better for larger groups.


Gas stoves seldom require maintenance beyond giving the stove a good shake. Liquid fuel models should be cleaned and home-serviced regularly to ensure optimum performance and to avoid fuel leaks.


Gas stoves may or may not have push-button ignition. Even if push-button is installed, it’s not infallible so always carry matches or a lighter. Liquid fuel stoves need to be primed. Users unfamiliar with doing this should practise at home beforehand.

Personal cooking systems

These stoves use a specially designed pot that attaches directly to the burner. All components – stove, gas – nest inside the pot. They have quick boil times, which makes these systems a good choice for cooking dehydrated food. Pans and other accessories, sold separately, broaden their use beyond boiling water.

Burner size

A larger burner head will spread heat more evenly over the base of the pan. Smaller burners, although possibly more powerful, concentrate heat in one location and require more attention while cooking.

Stove types

There are four types of stove:

  • Multi-fuel: Liquid and multi-fuel stoves burn almost any flammable fuel – including white gas, kerosene and even regular canister gas. They are environmentally friendly in that the fuel bottle can be re-used.
  • Canister stoves: Simple, convenient and inexpensive to run and maintain. High-performance models have a regulator which provides consistent output for the life of the canister and improved efficiency in alpine or cold environments. Gas canisters must be punctured before recycling at a waste management centre.
  • Personal cooking systems: These stoves use a specially designed pot that attaches directly to the burner. All components nest inside the pot for easy packing. They have built-in wind resistance and quick boil times, making them a good choice for cooking dehydrated food and making hot drinks.
  • Alternative fuel stoves: These can burn twigs, fire-starters, alcohol and more – basically anything that burns. They are environmentally friendly but do require patience and practise.


MSR WindBurner Personal Stove System $299.99

Windproof radiant burner and pressure regulation provide fast and consistent boil times for the life of the canister. One-litre pot nests all system components for easy packing. Strainer lid and built-in heat exchanger. Boil time 4min30sec Water boiled 18-litres (227gcanister) Burn time 95min Weight 433g.


MSR WindBurner Duo Stove System $399.99

Windproof radiant burner and pressure regulation provide consistent boil times. 1.8-litre pot, sized for groups of two or three, nests all system components. Strainer lid and built-in heat exchanger. Fits all WindBurner cookware for a range of customisable options. Boil time 4min30sec Water boiled 18-litres (227g canister) Burn time 95min Weight 597g.

MSR WhisperLite Universal $349.99

Canister and liquid fuel stove that burns white gas, kerosene, unleaded gasoline and IsoPro canisters, can burn inverted canister for cold conditions or when the canister’s nearly empty. Boil time 3min30sec-4min24sec depending on fuel type Water boiled 4.4-litre (per 100ml white gas), 15-litre (227g canister) Burn time 75-110min Weight 318g-423g.

MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe $169.99

Pressure regulator for consistent boil times in all conditions, broad burner head for heat distribution, push-button piezo ignition. Boil time 3min30sec Water boiled 17-litres (227g canister) Burn time 60min Weight 83g.

MSR Pocket Rocket 2 $99.99

Lightweight and compact, accommodates a wide range of pot sizes, wind-resistant, hard-shell carry case. Boil time 3min30sec Water boiled 16-litres (227g canister) Burn time 60min Weight 73g.

Jetboil Micromo $329.95

800ml FluxRing cooking cup with insulating cozy, simmer control, regulated for consistent performance down to -6°C, wind-resistant, push-button igniter, measuring cup and bowl, stabiliser included. Boil time 2min15sec (500ml) Water boiled 12-litres (100g canister) Burn time 54min (100g canister) Weight 340g.

Jetboil Stash $299.95

Jetboil’s lightest stove system with a titanium burner, 800ml FluxRing cook pot with lid and attached pour handle, FluxRing technology for quick boil times, nesting design, fuel stabiliser. Boil time 2min30sec (500ml) Water boiled 12-litres (100g canister) Burn time 54min (100g canister) Weight 200g. 

SOTO Windmaster $134.99

Concave burner head, flame-protecting ledge and close-sitting pot design allow performance in windy conditions, micro-regulator for consistent boil times, four-prong pot support, hidden electric igniter line. Boil time 4min1sec Water boiled Unavailable Burn time 90min Weight 87g.

SOTO Amicus with Stealth Igniter $74.99

SOTO’s low-cost high-performance stove, hidden electric igniter line, shock-resistant, raised ledge and concave burner surface for wind-resistance, spring-loaded pot supports. Boil time Unavailable Water boiled Unavailable Burn time 90min Weight 75g.