Most backpackers use a lightweight stove of some type for cooking food and heating beverages. Choosing the right stove can be confusing. By my count there are five stove alternatives: canister stoves, alcohol stoves, white gas stoves, fuel tab stoves, and wood stoves. Some backpackers choose a sixth alternative, no stove, for some or all of their trips. A seventh option, not discussed here, is cooking over a twig fire. Which type of stove (or no stove) is better? The answer is that there are advantages and disadvantages for each option.
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Will Rietveld Ph.D, Senior Editor for Gear and Apparel, joined the BPL staff in April 2004. In his former career, Will was a research scientist, project manager, and R&D program administrator. Now retired, he lives in southern Colorado where he takes up a new career of backpacking year-round in the mountains and canyon country of the Southwest. During the summer months Will and his wife Janet are volunteer wilderness rangers in the Weminuche Wilderness. He has been a lightweight backpacker for 52 years and an ultralight backpacker for 13 years.
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