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.” A simple system that combines two windshields with a maintenance free burner, a couple of pots, frypan/lid and even a kettle if you wish. Turn the ventilation holes in the lower windshield into the wind to increase the oxygen supply or turn them away to maintain the flame if the wind grows too strong. The stove sits stable, with the pan on the supports recessed into the upper windshield. Or turn the supports upwards to use the frypan. And it all packs neatly together for transport. Stove with two 0.0 L saucepans in ultralight aluminum, 1 ultralight aluminum fry pan, 7 and an aluminum kettle.