I have used all types of camping stoves over the years, and I have watched people fuss with stoves with moving parts, stoves that needed to be primed before they worked, stoves that burned wood, stoves that didn't burn anything because they were broken ... What I decided to carry on my hike was an alcohol stove. These can be made from a couple of cut-up soda cans, but I decided to use a high-end commercial stove from Trangia.
I describe the alcohol stove in my book, but I really don't go into the detail on why it's so brilliant and why I chose the Trangia Mini Windscreen with Spirit Burner stove.
I have built several stoves myself over the years that burn alcohol. The plans that I like the most for home-made stoves use two soda cans in a brilliant manner to create a stove that burns hot and fast and is of course super-lightweight.
There are two problems with the soda can stove. The first is durability. It's so lightweight to actually be a little fragile. I was very concerned that this stove would either burn through or otherwise not survive the ordeal of six months on the AT. The second is the inability of the stove to store fuel between meals. I wanted to minimize fuel use, in order to carry as little as possible, and having a stove that would be able to easily snuff the flames after cooking, then would hold the residual fuel until the next meal, were all important to me.
The stove is pictured below. I cannot say enough good things about this little beauty. Not only did I use it on the AT for six months, I've used it a hundred times since with absolutely no issues whatsoever. Brilliant piece of gear, that I highly recommend for anyone interested in lightweight and hassle-free cooking gear.
If you are interested in purchasing one of these stoves, here's a link to the stove on Amazon, where you can currently pick it up for less than $20.
Fuel is available from many places and in many varieties. I have a range of fuels described in my book along with how well they burned. I was able to burn moonshine in North Carolina. That worked really well.