Ultralight backpackers,  
find the lightest weight backpacking stove
...for any given trip.

The tradeoff between
lower stove weight and
lower fuel per day weight!


This page contains a spreadsheet like calculator which you can use to compare the relative weights of various lightweight backpacking stoves (see below).

...But it doesn't just compare the intitial weight on day 1.  By adding together the weight of each day, while adjusting for the fuel burned per day, it computes the overall trip weight and average day weight. This adjustment is especially important when comparing stoves which have a significantly different fuel heat output per ounce.

By default, four commonly used types of backpacking stoves are compared, but you can enter your own numbers for other stoves.

Necessary disclaimer:

  1. Defaults: This page is initialized with default weights for A) stove, B) fuel, C) fuel bottle, and D) an estimate for overage , but you can easily enter your own exact stove and fuel weights.
  2. Inputs/Outputs: At any time you can adjust any of the values in the light colored input cells. (If you adjust values in the darker result cells, your values will be overwitten when the page recalculates.) Important note: The inputs include not only the "Main Inputs" (below), but also the default inputs in the Constants, calculations and other inputs table further down.
  3. Automatic recalculation: When you hit tab, return or move the cursor to another cell, the web page automatically recalculates (just like a spreadsheet.)
  4. Where to start: Start under "Main inputs" (below). Enter the number of days and persons for your trip. (Note that often the number of days is the numbers of hiking days less one, because your first breakfast and last dinner are not spent on the trail. In other words just count the total number of cooking days.)
  5. Notes, sources of data, and citations: See the Notes page for comparisons and extensive information about stoves, fuel, usage, and vendors.


Main inputs and results summary:

  Main inputs (also see other inputs you can adjust below):     Qty.  
      Number of cooking days (often total hiking days less one; see instruction 4 above)       
      Number of people sharing this stove       
      Pints boiled/person/day (I normally do 1 in the morning and 2 at night, but varies with temperature)        
      Coldness factor (affects thermal losses; not taken into account yet)       
      Elevation factor (affects heating time; not taken into account yet)       
Results summary
(computed from "Constants, calculations and other inputs" table below)
  No stove  
  (cold food)  
  Solid fuel  
  (Esbit) (7)  
  (Cat can)  
  (Pocket Rocket)  
  White gas  
  (MSR Wisperlite)  
  Total ounce-days for trip  
    (shared between party):
  Note! You may want to carry  
  more fuel than you actually  
  need with all stoves, but  
  this is especially true with  
  canister stoves because you   
  can't as easily adjust the   
  fuel in the canister. So   
  this computed weight may be   
  misleadingly and should   
  probably be adjusted depending  
  on how full your initial  
  canister is.
See D) below.  
  Average lb./day for trip:  
  Estimated fuel cost for the trip ($):  


Constants, calculations and other inputs:

  No stove  
  (cold food)  
  Solid fuel  
  (Esbit) (7)  
  (Cat can)  
  (Pocket Rocket)  
  White gas  
  (MSR Wisperlite)  
  A) Stove weight (w/o fuel or fuel bottles)                        
  B) Weight of fuel to boil water (Assumes 55o F water. You might adjust for initial water and outside air temp., and wind etc..)  
      fuel fl oz./pint h2o         (3)       (4)(8) 
      fuel density (oz. / fl oz.)                (4)  
      fuel oz. / pint boiled h2o        (7)          (5)       
      Total fuel oz./day /person                        
      Total fuel oz./day                        
        Total fuel oz. for entire trip                        
  C) Weight of empty fuel bottle(s)  
      bottle size (fl oz.)                  
      bottle weight (oz./dry bottle)                     
      bottle capacity (oz.)                     
      #bottles required                     
        Total dry bottle oz.                     
  D) Fuel weight overage (to allow for measurement errors, lack of adjustability of canister quantity, extra for wash water, etc.)  
      % overage (just a guess)                     
        Total overage oz. (% of bottle capacity)                     
  Total ounces packed each day (i.e. total of: A+B+C+D less daily fuel consumption)  
      day 1                        
      day 2  (= day1 - fuelBurned/day)                        
      day 3  (= day2 - fuelBurned/day)                        
      day 4  (etc.)                        
      day 5                        
      day 6                        
      day 7                        
      day 8                        
      day 9                        
      day 10                        
      day 11                        
      day 12                        
      day 13                        
      day 14                        
      day 15                        
      day 16                        
      day 17                        
      day 18                        
      day 19                        
      day 20                        
      day 21                        
      day 22                        
      day 23                        
      day 24                        
      day 25                        
  Total ounce-days for trip  
    (shared between party):
  Estimated fuel cost  
      Cost of fuel / oz. (by weight & in dollars) (*)                      
        Total Cost of fuel for entire trip ($)                      

Handy calculator for boiling temperature of water at a given altitude:

  Please enter altitude (in feet) and press 'enter'."       
  Approximate calculated boiling point (Fahrenheit) = 212-(altitude/500):       

* Corrected fuel calculation for white gas stoves. Reduced previous value which makes the white gas stoves a little lighter to carry than previously calculated, but they are still by far the heaviest. - Thanks to Kris Ganjam.
* Added total fuel cost calculation and Corrected spelling - Thanks to Janik Zikovsky.
* Fixed calculation error for party greater than 1. Previously no matter how many people in the party, it had been subtracting only one person's fuel weight per day from the accumulative total at the bottom. So it appeared that the overall trip weight of the stove was much more than it actually was.
* Added line for "fuel/day / person".
* Upgraded the introduction and title.
* Improved instructions
* Removed beta test note at top.
* Added altitude calcualator
* Adjusted labels and formatting to try and make functionality more obvious.
* Added lots of notes.
* Added note 6: Vapor pressures.
* Added lots of notes with various information
* Added some color to better show how calculations are done
* Corrected weight of Esbit tablets from 1 oz. to .5 oz/tablet. (Each tablet boils about 16 oz. and burns for a total time of 15 minutes. Have heard that tablets can be blown out and the remains saved for future burns.)
* Beta release.
* Corrected alcohol stove fuel/pint from 2 to .6 oz.
* Added notes at bottom.

Feedback: To email me use the following address, but first remove "xyz" from it: hj@xyzHowardJohnson.name