Battle of the UL Campstoves 2022

So last year I did a comparison of ultralight campstoves by raw numbers: weight and cost being the most salient factors, though I touched on ease of use and risk of failure as deciding factors for myself in selecting my own system. The winners from that “debate” were the super cheap BRS from Amazon (with accessories selected as needed – fuel choice and cookpot size may give more advantages) for both weight and price, but my personal selection was the then brand new Jetboil Stash, because I was willing to take a price penalty and slight weight penalty for reliability and efficiency on long trips.

This year I have been put onto two further ultralight options: the alcohol stove system and the Firebox Nano. It seems to me that the idea of a cook system which runs on biofuel (ie. sticks), while it may not be the most heat-efficient approach would save on fuel weight and make less waste. The Biolite simply wasn’t light enough to make sense last year even with the potential to charge electronics. But the Firebox Nano intrigued me so I thought I would consider it here.

If you didn’t click on the link above, (fair warning: all prices in CAD and weights in grams) here’s what I found:

  • Jetboil Stash ($160): 399g (includes fuel weight and pot with integrated windscreen)
  • BRS UL Burner w/ Toaks pot and MSR fuel ($78.50): 362g

And now… let’s consider three other options: another stick-fired stove, a stick-fired supplemented with alcohol, and an alcohol based setup.

Firebox Nano (Titanium)

Here’s a pic, liberated from somewhere online. Apologies if it’s yours.

A new challenger! This little number is uncomplicated, being essentially a titanium trap for small sticks that holds a pot on top. That will definitely save on fuel weight. So how much does it weigh? Looks like 4 oz or 112g. That’s light. And $69 USD (which in Feb 2022 adds up to $82 CAD) the price is pretty good too. I’ll include the carrying case for it, at 24g and another $8 bucks for consideration. A firebox would get sooty otherwise, and I wouldn’t want that getting all over everything.

…with the optional alcohol stove component

Now, to be perfectly fair, sometimes it’s hard finding dry sticks (I’m looking at you, Pacific Northwest!) So I am going to consider adding an optional alcohol stove accessory and fuel bottle to the set, for those days when either it’s too windy for a wood fire or too wet to find dry sticks. Adding in the Spirit Burner ($26, 130g) and a spirit bottle ($4, 18g), and 5 burns worth of fuel (70g) as an all-weather optional setup for those days when sticks won’t work.

  • Firebox Nano ($132): 246g (with carrying case and Toaks 750ml cookpot/cup – see previous post)
  • Firebox Nano All Weather Setup ($162): 464g (with alcohol stove and fuel container)

Alcohol Stove Setup

Stolen shamelessly from Andrew: sorry man.

Why do the work of putting together a setup when Andrew Skurka already has? Stealing numbers from his “Cadillac” of alcohol stoves, and subtracting the lighter, measuring cup and spoon because I never included them in my other analyses, the weight comes in at 170g and the cost at $192 CAD. Now, his setup includes a 900ml cookpot, which is larger than the standard 750 I have included in other sets, but the raw numbers look pretty ridiculous! Add in 14g of fuel per meal if you really want to get comparable (as most of my comparisons include a gas canister of food good for 5-7 days, probably 10-15 meals) of 140-210g (I’ll use halfway between below at 180), and you get:

  • “Cadillac” Alcohol Fuel Stove ($192): 350g


Recapping my top two from last year:

  • Jetboil Stash ($160): 399g (includes fuel weight and pot with integrated windscreen)
  • BRS UL Burner w/ Toaks pot and MSR fuel ($78.50): 362g

And our new contenders:

  • Firebox Nano ($132): 246g (with carrying case and Toaks 750ml cookpot/cup – see previous post)
  • Firebox Nano “All Weather” Setup ($162): 464g (with alcohol stove and fuel container)
  • “Cadillac” Alcohol Fuel Stove ($192): 350g

And the winner is… complicated.

If you are hiking in a drier area which happens to not be prone to fire bans or open flame bans, the Firebox Nano Titanium is the winner of the weight competition. However, it’s a risky pick as if windy or wet weather strike, or a fire ban comes up, you’re SOL.

Otherwise, the Skurka “Cadillac” alcohol fuel setup is the next lightest. I worry about ease of use though, as I have never used an alcohol fuel stove, and his description seems to suggest a learning curve as fuel needs to be measured carefully, loaded into the stove, and so on. I also wonder what he uses to handle the pot once it has finished boiling. But, it would definitely save me 50g over my current Stash.

In terms of price, the BRS setup remains champion, though the reliability question remains – I don’t want a stove failure when I need it most: when I am cold and/or hungry!

The Firebox “all-weather” with alcohol stove setup is attractive in terms of comparable price point to my Stash, but heavier, and suffers from the question mark of how easy to use the alcohol stove is. Plus it is actually a weight penalty over my Stash.


This analysis has led me to consider buying a Firebox Nano for those trips where I am not facing fire restrictions in drier areas where I am not planning to camp above treeline. That seems pretty niche, but it’s not a pricey addin to my current kit, and in those situations I might save 150g of weight, which is nothing to sneeze at, and will be smaller in my pack – and I don’t need to worry about running out of fuel! If I ever get a chance to play with someone’s alcohol stove setup, and see if it is not as intimidating as it appears, switching to the Skurka “Cadillac” might be in my future. But until then… I’ll keep rocking the Stash.

Enjoy the trails!

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