We’ve loved the Reactor system—which integrates a burner, pot, and heat exchanger for superfast and efficient performance—since it won our 2007 Editors’ Choice Award. This new 1-liter version is ideal for solo hikers. I used it on a nine-day, 200-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail and burned through only half an 8-ounce canister (cooking breakfast and dinner for one). Boil times averaged less than two minutes in temps down to 30°F. The puck-shaped burner nestles securely into the tall aluminum pot. The stove burns ultrahot (there’s virtually no simmer) and the pot lacks a nonstick coating, so it’s best for boiling water or heating up simple meals like ramen. $170; 14.5 oz.; msrgear.com
Solo hikers who prioritize cooking, convenience, and speed
» Brian Mockenhaupt (other tester: Kristin Hostetter)
» Duration Aug. to Jan.
» Locales/conditions WA, MA; 30°F to 70°F; wind, rain
» “The add-on Reactor Coffee Press Kit ($20; 1.7 oz.) let me easily make my brew right in the pot.” Designed for minimalist backpackers, the Primus ExpressStove Ti is a light (2.5-ounce) and compact (3.4 x 1.6 x 3.3 folded) canister gas stove that will disappear in any pack. Cranking out 8200 BTUs per hour, the ExpressStove Ti can boil a liter of water in about 4 minutes. Made with an aluminum stove and titanium pot supports, the ExpressStove Ti is durable and will easily cook for two. An adjustable flame allows you to boil quickly or simmer slowly. The ExpressStove Ti comes with a stuff sack and is available with or without Piezo ignition. $66 or $75 with piezo ignition.