Choosing a cook system is yet again, a personal decision.  If you want the lightest option possible, you're going to sacrifice a reduced boil time.  If, on the other hand, you want the fastest boil time you can get, it'll weigh a bit more, but you'll have boiling water in no time.

Some backpackers prefer to have a teeny tiny cook set, some prefer to actually cook food (which means you need a simmer option, while others like me, just like to boil water for rehydrating meals.  

There's no right or wrong way to go about it.  It's just a matter of what you're looking for in a cook system.  Do you want to use various pots?  Do you want wind protection?  Do you want to have the ability to boil snow?  Do you only care about boiling water?  

Below are 3 systems that come with 3 different use cases.  Integrated systems are come as just that, a "system."  Minimalist sets are kind of like a "build your own" type of thing.  

I've personally used all three of these and the all have their own purpose.


Integrated Systems

  • MSR Reactor

    • Instead of an open flame, this uses a sort of burner that is protected from the wind.   You can swap cook pots and boil snow.  The Reactor series boils water fast!
  • Jetboil Flash

    • The Flash has an integrated lighter, is incredibly efficient with fuel, and boils very fast.  It has an open flame that is somewhat protected from wind, but not fully.  Due to the design of the system, Jetboil advises NOT to melt snow in the pot or it will damage the system

  • Snow Peak Lite Max with Trek 700 Titanium Pot

    • This setup is crazy light weight, but it also requires you to protect it from the wind.  It takes a bit longer to bring water to a boil, but the great thing is that if you ever run out of fuel, you can toss the cook pot on a campfire and still boil your water.


Minimalist Systems