Do you recommend a propane-canister or liquid-fuel backpacking stove? I’ve heard good things about both, and I’m unsure about which one I should bring to Philmont Scout Ranch.
— Backpacker Bryan, Longview, Texas
A. Good question. Problem is, there’s no easy answer. You’re right, there are benefits to each. Liquid-fuel stoves burn hot, are reliable, work well at elevation and in colder weather, and the fuel is more affordable and goes a long way. But the stoves are also more expensive and require regular cleaning and maintenance. Canister stoves are easy to use and generally more affordable, but are also less efficient, the fuel is more expensive, and they are not as reliable in very cold weather. Since you’ll likely be cooking as a crew at Philmont, I’d say sharing a reliable liquid-fuel stove with your fellow Scouts and packing a couple of fuel bottles is probably the best solution.