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Best stove for winter backpacking?

What’s the best stove for winter backpacking?  I have been looking at a jet boil, but would like an opinion before buying

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Best stove for winter backpacking?

@akupka  Thanks for reaching out!

While there are many good stove options for winter backpacking, the best option for you is going to depend on several factors. Because you are considering a Jetboil, it is probably safe to assume that you are mainly looking to boil water for your meals and perhaps to melt snow for water. Canister stoves are great for those applications but can be very challenging if you want to sauté or simmer in your cooking.

The most important consideration for using a canister stove in winter is how low the temperatures are going to be. Because the gas in the canister is pressurized, the cold can severely impact its performance leading to longer boil times and even the stove going out while there is still gas in the canister. There are a few steps you can take to mitigate those issues, such as putting the gas canister inside your jacket (or sleeping bag) before using it to warm it up, or using a stove that allows you to invert the canister (allowing the heavier gas in the canister to be used).  A couple of examples of a canister stoves that allow you to invert the canister are the Jetboil Joule Stove and the MSR WhisperLite Universal Backpacking Stove.

Personally, I have used canister stoves in winter (temps down to +10°F) and at altitude (10,000+ feet, which can also adversely affect the pressure of a gas canister). There was a noticeable impact to the stove’s performance but it still got the job done. If the winter temperatures you will be backpacking in are at that level or warmer, you should be just fine with a Jetboil. Anything consistently colder than that I would recommend one of the inverted stoves mentioned above or a liquid fuel stove which allows you much more control over the pressure of the fuel getting to the stove.

Hope this helps, thank you!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
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