Lighting up a backpacking stove

How Much Stove Fuel Do I Need for a Backpacking Trip?

If you’re new to the world of backpacking, you’re probably wondering how much stove fuel you should bring along for your journey. Here are our suggestions on the perfect amount of fuel for one-night, weekend, and weeklong backpacking trips!

Main Types Of Backpacking Stove Fuel

Before we dive into portion sizes, let’s understand the basics. There are various types of stove fuel for backpacking stoves, but the most common ones are canister fuel and liquid fuel.

  1. Canister Fuel: Lightweight and easy to use, canister fuel comes in pre-pressurized containers. They are convenient for short trips and perfect for beginners due to their simplicity.
  2. Liquid Fuel: Versatile and reliable, liquid fuels like white gas or kerosene require priming but perform well in colder temperatures and extended trips. They offer excellent performance and are more cost-effective for longer journeys. Liquid fuel bottles are reusable, so you can refill them for future adventures.

What’s My Stove’s Consumption

Before we dive into trip-specific fuel calculations, let’s get acquainted with your trusty backpacking stove’s fuel consumption. Different stove types and brands have varying burn rates, so it’s useful to know your stove’s fuel efficiency. Check out our suggestions on the best backpacking stoves!

  1. Read the Manual: Your stove’s manual is a gold mine of information. It typically provides details about the stove’s average burn time per fuel canister, helping you estimate its consumption.
  2. Test It Out: Conduct a test run at home to measure how much fuel your stove consumes over a specific period. This real-life experiment will give you a better idea of what to expect in the wild.

One-Night Escape

Ah, the one-night getaway – a short but sweet taste of the backpacking life. For this mini-adventure, a small stove can be your best friend. Here’s a rough estimate of how much stove fuel you’ll need:

  • Canister Stoves: For canister stoves, a small 100-gram fuel canister should be more than enough for boiling water for meals and beverages. If you’re extra cautious, bring a spare 100-gram canister, just in case.
  • Liquid Fuel Stoves: Liquid fuel stoves are highly efficient. A small bottle of white gas or alcohol, typically 4 to 8 ounces, should suffice for one night.

Remember, this is a general estimate, so always carry a little extra in case your cooking plans change or you need a safety margin.

Weekend trip

For a thrilling weekend getaway, your stove fuel needs will be slightly higher. Here’s a fuel estimate for a two-night adventure:

  • Canister Stoves: For canister stoves, opt for a medium-sized 230-gram fuel canister. It should cover your cooking needs for two days. To be safe, consider bringing a spare canister, especially if your stove uses more fuel than average.
  • Liquid Fuel Stoves: Liquid fuel stoves are known for their reliability. For a weekend trip, a standard 12 to 16-ounce bottle of white gas or alcohol should be plenty.

Weeklong trip

Embarking on a weeklong backpacking adventure demands careful planning to ensure you have enough fuel for a sustained journey.

  • Canister Stoves: For canister stoves, a large 450-gram fuel canister should suffice for a week. Consider bringing an additional medium-sized canister as a backup.
  • Liquid Fuel Stoves: Liquid fuel stoves’ efficiency shines on long trips. A 22 to 32-ounce bottle of white gas or alcohol should be enough to keep your stove going strong throughout the journey.

Understanding Your Fuel Needs

Before we delve into the specifics, it’s crucial to grasp how much stove fuel you’ll require. The amount of fuel depends on several factors:

  1. Stove Type and Efficiency: Different stoves have varying fuel consumption rates. Some are fuel-efficient, while others burn through fuel more quickly. Consider the type of stove you’ll be using to estimate your fuel needs accurately.
  2. Cooking Duration and Intensity: Think about the cooking you’ll be doing. Are you a master chef, whipping up gourmet meals, or keeping it simple with dehydrated options? The duration and intensity of your cooking play a significant role in fuel consumption.
  3. Weather Conditions: Cold weather can increase fuel usage, as stoves require more energy to heat up in chilly temperatures. Windy conditions might also impact fuel efficiency. When it comes to open-flame-burner stoves, such as the PocketRocket, even a modest 5 mph (8 kph) breeze can result in up to three times greater fuel consumption during the cooking process.
  4. Unpredictable situations: Always carry a small backup supply of fuel in case your trip extends unexpectedly or you encounter unforeseen circumstances.

Fuel Saving Tips

Even with fuel estimations in mind, it’s essential to make the most of your resources while backpacking. Here are some fuel-saving tips to stretch your stove’s capabilities:

  1. Use Wind Screens: Wind can cause rapid fuel consumption. Use a windscreen or create a natural barrier to shield your stove from gusts.
  2. Lid Your Pots: Cooking with lids on your pots traps heat, reducing cooking time and fuel usage.
  3. Simmer Carefully: Avoid unnecessary high flames and simmer your meals gently to preserve fuel.
  4. Plan Efficient Meals: Opt for dehydrated meals and quick-cook recipes that require minimal stove time. Preparing your ingredients ahead of time saves fuel too!
  5. Opt for No-Cook Meals: Cold meals like sandwiches or wraps can be a refreshing alternative for some meals, saving fuel for when you really need it.
  6. Good fuel: Fuel can go bad so make sure your fuel is good to go. Bad fuel might still burn, but it’s less effective and you could use way more than initially anticipated.


Congratulations, new adventurers! You’re now well-equipped to estimate how much stove fuel you’ll need for your backpacking journeys. Remember to plan according to the length of your trip and the cooking requirements. Embrace fuel-saving tips and techniques, and most importantly, be open to learning from your experiences along the way. Backpacking is about enjoying the journey, connecting with nature, and savoring the simple pleasures such as cooking under the open sky. So, fuel up your stove, pack your backpack, and set off on an incredible adventure of a lifetime! Happy backpacking and bon appĂ©tit!

Scroll to Top