Ultimate Camping Stove Shootout - ITS Tactical
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Ultimate Camping Stove Shootout

By The ITS Crew

We’ve teamed up with The Survival Podcast to bring you the Ultimate Camping Stove Shootout!

We compared seven different camping stoves in a head-to-head competition to see which would boil water faster.

Each stove held an enameled steel cup with approximately 16 oz. of 55 degree Fahrenheit water, which was the same  temperature as the air outside.

There was also a five MPH wind blowing out of the NorthEast.

Here are the seven stoves used:

MSR WhisperLite International

Camping Stove Shootout 03Featuring self-cleaning Shaker-Jet technology, the WhisperLite International burns white gas, kerosene, and unleaded gas. For the shootout we used unleaded gas.

It’s also relatively lightweight, weighing in at 11.5 ounces, but that weight is of course without the separate fuel canister.

The WhisperLite is a great stove if weight and bulk is not an issue for you, as the option to use different fuels is a great feature. It would make a great stove to keep in a vehicle, as you could just use your gasoline in an emergency and not have to carry around fuel. That’s of course provided that the emergency isn’t that you ran out of gas!

When using the WhisperLite it can sometimes get unwieldy when it comes to priming.  If you don’t start with just a small turn to open the valve, it’s easy to waste a lot of fuel (and cause a blazing inferno) before the stove even gets going.

It’s also prone to becoming covered in soot when priming, but if this is an issue for you, just use a small amount of denatured alcohol to prime it.

Brunton Optimus Crux

Camping Stove Shootout 07While not the lightest stove in the test, the Optimus Crux does fold down quite nicely to fit in the beveled underside of a butane fuel canister. At 3.1 oz. it’s still a good option for lightweight camping.

The burner has a unique design which allows it to swivel on its stem so the stove can lie flat. A spring-loaded collar slides on to the burner, locking it into place.

There’s also a wire loop handle for the flame control that works quite nicely with gloved hands. The bright green color of the wire loop stands out nicely for fast acquisition and folds tight against the stem.

Snow Peak LiteMax

Camping Stove Shootout 05Made from Titanium and Aluminum, the Snow Peak LiteMax lives up to its name by weighing in at 1.9 oz. The Lite Max features three arm-supports designed for additional protection against the wind.

The LiteMax is an exceptionally compact stove, and can also fit in the hollow of a full-sized butane fuel canister. We ran the stove on the small size Isobutane/Propane Mixture fuel canister for the shootout, but are curious if the pressure of the larger canister would have an effect on the results.

An added bonus is the awesome color pattern that Titanium receives when heated.

MSR SuperFly

Camping Stove Shootout 04This particular MSR SuperFly is around 8-years old and still preforms wonderfully. One of the great features of the SuperFly is it’s universal Multi-Mount interface that fits most self-sealing domestic and international fuel canisters.

We had it running on a traditional Butane/Propane mix (70/30) fuel canister for the shootout, but we’ve used it with other fuel without an issue.

Weighing in at 4.6 oz., the SuperFly is still a viable lightweight camping option.

Coleman Max

Camping Stove Shootout 06Running on a Butane/Propane mix fuel canister, the Coleman Max isn’t the heaviest stove out of the shootout group, but is fairly bulky.

Weighing in at 6.7 oz., it’s probably not as handy for a backpacking stove as some of the others, but performed well overall.

It was the most inexpensive out of all the stoves in the shootout, and surprisingly seemed very well built.

We couldn’t find a good link for the purchase of this stove, but they’re readily available at Wal-Mart.

Vargo Triad XE

Camping Stove Shootout 08The Vargo Triad XE Titanium is an interesting take on an alcohol stove that provides multiple options for cooking. The inner section of the stove, which is filled with denatured alcohol, can be removed and used on its own.

The outer section can also be used independently with an Esbit Fuel Tab. Combined, the two pieces weigh 1.5 oz. making the Triad XE a true ultralight camping stove.

Denatured alcohol does not burn as well in high altitude, cold temperatures or windy conditions. We found the 5 MPH wind during our test to be an issue.

Trangia Alcohol Stove

Camping Stove Shootout 09The Trangia Alcohol Stove is a fairly compact alcohol burner. Combined with the flame adjustment piece is weighs around 4 oz.

It wasn’t the lightest stove in our shootout, but still a good option for lightweight camping.

We realize that we should of used some kind of pot stand with this stove, and it failing was most likely caused by not enough oxygen getting to the fuel.

The shootout was an out of the box test, and the Trangia didn’t come with a pot stand. This was why we wanted to try it without one.


Yes, windscreens should have been used on the Alcohol Stoves, but then it could be argued that the shootout was unfair since the other stoves weren’t using windscreens.

Again, each stove held an enameled steel cup with approximately 16 oz. of 55 degree Fahrenheit water, which was the same  temperature as the air outside.

There was also a five MPH wind blowing out of the NorthEast.

Here are the results in order of time, for detailed results of the shootout, please watch the embedded YouTube video below.

  1. 4:05 – MSR Whisperlite International
  2. 4:20 – Brunton Optimus Crux
  3. 4:47 – Snow Peak LiteMax
  4. 6:13 – MSR SuperFly
  5. 7:10 – Coleman Max
  6. FAIL – Vargo Triad XE
  7. FAIL – Trangia

Look for detailed independent reviews of these stoves in the future on ITS Tactical!

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