Liquid Fuel vs. Solid Fuel Camping Stove

Liquid fuel camping stoves are a good preference for campers. However, even the solid fuel stoves are great, perhaps better. Newbie backpacking enthusiasts always find themselves unable to tell which the best stove for their needs is. There are many models of each camping stove and they all have their advantages and disadvantages.

MSR Dragonfly Stove

Let us look at each of them separately so that you can make a good comparison:

Liquid fuel camping stoves

Most liquid fuel stoves run on white gas that is refined and is thus low on impurities. It burns hot and clean, performs well in cold weather and is cheaper than the canister fuel or alcohol. They can connect either to a fuel bottle or can have an integrated fuel reservoir.

Most people prefer the integrated fuel reservoir, despite it being heavy, because it is good for a short trip and you can keep the fuel source away from the cooking.

The main advantages

Fuel availability – Fuel is easy to find in any city. You can buy it in the outdoor stores, Walmart or other places.

Efficiency – It is highly efficient since it produces a tremendous amount of heat hence making its cooking speed very fast.

Heat control – It has an adjustable throttle that allows you to adjust to the heat you need.

Cold weather – They perform very well in extremely low temperatures.

The level of fuel – You can easily tell the amount of fuel left by looking at the fuel bottle.


Priming – It requires priming where you ignite a few drops of the fuel to create a flame that preheats the fuel line in order to convert the liquid fuel into vapor. You are also expected to manually pump the fuel bottle to increase pressure.

Maintenance – It requires to be cleaned often and some parts to be replaced after some time to keep it working efficiently for a long time.

Explosive – The fuel used is explosive hence one should be careful not to cause any fuel spill.

Heavy– The camping stove tends to be very heavy.

Solid fuel camping fuel

A potholder has a space for the kettle above the fuel tablet. To get it working, you just put the tablet on the potholder and light it. The stove is only useful for simple cooking.


Weight – It is very light since it is just a piece of tin.

Cost – It is very cheap since you just buying the fuel

Size – It has a compact size; it can even be stored in your pocket.

Tablets – they are easy to light, extinguish, and they can be re-used. There is also no risk of spillage.


Cooking speed – They take too long to boil water.

Smell – Tablets do not have pleasant smell

Dirt – The tablets form a residue on the pots.

Availability – You have to buy them online since they are not locally stocked.

Cold weather – It does not perform well in cold weather.

If you are looking for a stove that is cheap and easy to carry and light, you can choose the solid fuel stove but be ready to look for fuel all over, wait for a long time before the food cooks and endure the odor from the tablets.

If you are looking to buy a stove that is fast, hot and clean, you could choose the liquid fuel stove but be ready to carry a heavy load, spend a lot of money and take too long before lighting. You should also be very careful when handling the liquid fuel stove since the fuel is explosive.

In conclusion, both stoves are good for backpacking. You should choose which camping stove to use depending on where you are going and how you want your stove to work.


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