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5 Stove Tips That Will Save You Fuel

The best way to make your fuel last is to follow these five simple backpacking stove tips. Doing so can potentially double the life of your fuel canister.

Paul Bodnar      Educational       8/14/2020
Paul Bodnar
Educational
8/14/2020

In this test the Snow Peak Giga Power 1.0 stove was used. Performance characteristics will vary for different types of stoves but the general performance trends will be the same.

A Snow Peak Giga Power 1.0 Stove turned on heating up a pot of water.

Tip #1: Use a lid when boiling water.

When boiling water without a lid, a lot of heat escapes through the top. When using a lid, the heat is more enclosed in the pot and the water temperature increases much faster. When using a lid, we saw a savings of 1.5 grams of fuel for a 2-cup water boil.

Tip #2: Avoid cooking in the wind.

Even a slight breeze will drastically reduce the efficiency of your stove. Cooking in the wind is one of the easiest ways to waste a lot of fuel. In a simulated wind test of just 1 mph it required an extra 6 grams of fuel to boil water.

Tip #3: Avoid using maximum heat while boiling water.

Using medium heat instead of the maximum heat setting saved 1 gram of fuel per 2-cup water boil.

Tip #4: Use water that has already warmed up in the sun.

Using 71°F water instead of 32°F water saved 1 gram of fuel per 2-cup water boil.

Tip #5: Only boil the exact amount of water you need.

Boiling an extra 1/4 cup of unneeded water could burn an extra 1.5 to 2 grams of fuel. Be sure to measure the exact amount you need.

Check out this measuring cup hack

CONCLUSION

The difference between doing everything right and everything wrong when cooking is astonishing.

Wrong: Boiling just an extra ¼ cup of water (2 1/4 cups instead of 2 cups), in windy conditions, not using a lid, using cold water (32°F) and using the maximum heat setting used a total 16 grams of fuel to bring the water to a boil.

Right: When using exactly 2 cups of water, cooking out of the wind, using a lid, using warm water (71°F), and using the medium heat setting only used a total 6 grams of fuel to bring the water to a boil.

– Practicing good stove habits can help your fuel go twice as far.


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A lake reflects a nearby wildflower meadow and trees.
Showers Lake Vista, Tahoe Rim Trail
Photo courtesy of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association

Trail guides that get you to places you’ve dreamed of.

As the makers of Guthook Guides, Bikepacking Guides, and Cyclewayz, we help you navigate the most popular trails around the world on your smartphone. Our hiking guides and biking guides work completely offline. Let Guthook guide your next adventure!

Download our popular hiking and biking guides!
About the Author
A man wearing an Arizona Trail baseball cap stands in a field in front of a mountain.

Paul Bodnar

Paul has always liked hiking and thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 1997 after college. After years of working in chemistry, he wanted to create a career involving the outdoors, so he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail again in 2010 to do research for his guide book Pocket PCT. He realized that creating a smartphone app for navigating the outdoors would make it easier to keep the data current and provide a better way to navigate. While hiking with Ryan (aka Guthook) in 2010, they decided to work together to create the first comprehensive smartphone guide for the Pacific Crest Trail. Now with the help of a team of great people they have created over 50 guides for trails around the world.