Camping Stove Fuel Types Explained

There are a lot of fuel options for trekking stoves. Each has its own set of pros and cons. Each has its place, and the choice depends on what you want out of the stove.

Liquid Fuel

Includes white gas, kerosene, diesel, auto-fuel and aviation fuel. Liquid fuels produce a lot of heat.


  • Lots of heat
  • Refillable fuel containers
  • Can have excellent simmer control
  • Multi-fuel stoves have many fuel options


  • Stoves are complicated
  • Many parts need maintenance
  • Heavier

Best for:

  • International travel
  • Serious trekking

You can search for the best quality and cheap liquid fuel here.

Canister Fuel

Canister fuel is compressed gas (normally lpg) that is sold in small canisters.


  • Excellent flame control
  • Easy to use
  • Lots of heat
  • Light stoves
  • Very low maintenance


  • Must pack out and recycle canisters
  • Hard to gauge remaining fuel amount
  • Not ideal for use in low temperatures
  • Canisters not available in all areas

Best for:

  • Short trips
  • First world travel

You can search for the best quality and cheap canister fuel here.

Hybrid Fuel

Hybrid stoves can burn both liquid fuels and canister fuels.


  • Extremely flexible


  • Higher price
  • More complicated stoves

Best for: Use when fuel flexibility is key

You can search for the best quality and cheap hybrid fuel here.


Wood stoves use twigs, sticks, pine cones and other natural fuels found outdoors. The ability to Light a fire is key, although using one will teach you quickly. Some wood stoves make excellent stands for a backup alcohol stove.


  • No need to carry fuel
  • No need to ration fuel
  • Can put out a fair amount of heat
  • Quiet operation


  • Can be difficult to use in poor weather
  • Some camping areas don’t allow foraging for fuel
  • Fire will blacken pots

Best for:

  • Trekking in fair weather
  • Those who enjoy a nice fire

You can search for the best quality and cheap camping wood here.


Alcohol is widely available and easy to use in a stove. Alcohol stoves are extremely simple devices.


  • Stoves require little maintenance
  • Stoves are extremely light
  • Dependable heat
  • Very quiet


  • Alcohol has less energy per unit than hydrocarbons

Best for:

  • Fast and light trekking

You can search for the best quality and cheap alcohol fuel here.