The best camping equipment for a backpack hunt in the high country




A hunt without hot food and beverages adds one more reason to quit early and head home—I know I’d be tempted to throw in the towel without my morning coffee. Whether it runs on liquid gas or compressed gas, you need a portable stove to quickly and reliably heat your food and drink.


Stoves powered by liquid gas—also known as white gas or naphtha—were long the only choice for backcountry hunters. Since the fuel canisters are reusable, these stoves certainly remain an eco-friendly option. However, the canisters have been known to leak, leaving you with cold meals and a gas-soaked pack. Plus, the stoves themselves are relatively large and heavy, and you need to bring along pots and pans.

These days, stoves that run on canisters of compressed butane are the preferred option. They’re small, light and easy to use, and they put out enough heat to boil water in just a few minutes. Many of these cooking systems are self-contained, complete with a pot, so all you need are the fuel canisters. I use a JetBoil Flash, but other good choices include the MSR Reactor and the GSI Pinnacle Canister Stove (pictured).