Choose your hiking stove
The choice of a stove for a trek is an important point. Depending on the destination, the gas, alcohol or wood stove will be preferred. If the gas stove is the most common among hikers, for some destinations, it is not the most appropriate. The type of gas cartridge available in the country of destination, the risk of fire, the regulations, the weather… are all parameters to be taken into account when choosing your gas stove.
There are 4 types of stove, the gas stove, the alcohol stove (liquid or solid), the wood stove and the gas stove. While the gas stove is suitable for cyclists, it is much less suitable for hikers. Apart from a few exceptions of destinations, it is even, not at all suitable for trekking. For the solid alcohol stove, it is not very powerful, it is mainly a backup stove. There is no mention of these two types of stoves in this comparison..
The gas stove (with screw valve, international system) is the most reliable, the most powerful and the easiest to use. It is the most popular stove among hikers. However, finding gas cartridges can sometimes be tricky in some countries, if not impossible. In this case, it is preferable to opt for another stove..
The liquid alcohol stove is compact, light and allows you to properly dose your fuel during the trek. It is quite easy to find 90° alcohol in pharmacies all over the world. On the other hand, its power is less and it is very sensitive to the wind. For destinations where the wind can be strong, it is not very suitable. It can very well be combined with a wood stove.
The wood stove offers many advantages, it does not need to worry about fuel, nor to transport it, it is user-friendly, it warms up… But it finds its limits with the high altitude, when there are no more trees or shrubs, as well as in the national parks where generally fire is forbidden and fire-sensitive areas. It can very well be combined with an alcohol stove.
Recommended stoves by destination
|Gas stove||Alcohol stove||Wood stove|
|Ridge of Munții Făgăraş|
|Peaks of the Balkans|
|Great Transcarpathian Trail|
|Cape Wrath Trail|
|Traumpfad the dream way|
|Great way of Karpathos Island|
|Urho Kekkonen National Park|
|Nahuel Huapi National Park|
|Inca Cities of Vilcabamba|
recommended stove possible, but not the best bad stove
In Romania, for the crossing of the Ridge of Munții Făgăraş, the gas stove is the most appropriate. Gas cartridges are easily available at Brașov. Due to the wind at high altitude and the lack of vegetation on the ridges, the alcohol stove is not recommended (unless it is well protected from the wind) and the wood stove is not recommended..
In Montenegro, Albania and Kosovo, on the tour of the Peaks of the Balkans, the only gas cartridges found there are pierceable cartridges (not compatible with French stoves). The alcohol stove and the wood stove are much more appropriate and can be combined. Depending on the weather and the altitude at which you will be, you can use either one or the other..
In Ukraine, for the Great Transcarpathian Trail, you will not find a gas cartridge at the start of the trek. But if you pass by a big city before, in Ukraine or in Romania, you will be able to find some. Otherwise, the wood stove is the most appropriate, possibly to be combined with an alcohol stove for some bivouacs in altitude..
In Scotland, to set out on the Cape Wrath Trail in the Highlands, the gas stove is the best choice. Gas cartridges are readily available at Fort William. The alcohol stove is also suitable, especially if you plan to sleep in the bothy. For wood stoves, with the regular rains, finding dry wood is sometimes difficult..
In Austria and Italy, the Traumpfad the dream way through several national parks where fire is forbidden, the wood stove is to be proscribed. As for alcohol, with the altitude climate, it is not the most suitable. Many shops in Innsbruck have gas cartridges for the gas stove and you can also find them on the way..
In Greece, for Great way of Karpathos Island, the alcohol stove is still the most suitable. Alcohol at 90° is available in the pharmacies of Pigadia and Arkasa. To use the gas stove, you will have to bring your cartridges, if you arrive by boat. Fire being forbidden on the island, the wood stove is to be proscribed.
In Finland, in the Urho Kekkonen National Park, a stove is not necessary, the huts are all equipped with a gas stove. A gas stove can be used for emergency or indoor use, but a gas stove is much more suitable for intensive use in bivouacs, where extreme temperatures are contained. Gas and petrol are available in Saarislekä and Kiiloppää.
South America guides
In Argentina in the Nahuel Huapi National Park, it is forbidden to make fire, so the wood stove is to be forgotten. The alcohol stove can be adapted, but don’t forget that the wind can blow hard at times. The gas stove is the most practical and gas cartridges can be found in San Carlos de Bariloche..
In Peru, to discover the Inca Cities of Vilcabamba, the gas stove is also the most suitable, given the altitude and climate. The gas cartridges being all the more in Cusco. The alcohol stove can also be used, but it is not the most suitable. As fire is forbidden on the trek, the wood stove is not recommended..