Author Topic: Lets talk bushcraft/backpacking stoves  (Read 412 times)

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Online Moe M.

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Lets talk bushcraft/backpacking stoves
« on: March 12, 2018, 09:07:01 AM »
  I don't usually use a stove for boiling water or cooking on my outings ,  part of my woods enjoyment is wood smoke from a cheery campfire,  but I do carry one with me in my pack just in case,  those times when I have used a stove were when hunting or fishing or when dry weather has forced a fire ban.
  For someone who doesn't have much use for Bushcraft/backpacking stoves I've accumulated quite a few over the years,  for a while I caught the cat stove bug and I'm left with a good sized box of alcohol stoves made from cat food cans, and soda, beer, and V-8 cans,  I have several gas stoves than run on Iso/Propane canisters, and one stove that is a USGI prototype stove made in the Vietnam war era that runs on gasoline,  it was never issued because by the time it was ready for production they had developed the MRE instant heaters that were lighter to carry and didn't require any fuel.
 I have a couple of solid fuel stoves,  both are small pocket sized stoves, one is a box type stove that folds pretty flat and stores fuel tabs inside, the other is a folding stove also, it has three folding "wings" that act as a pot stand and are attached by a small tray made to hold a hexamine tablet, both are made by Esbit.
 And lastly I have several wood/gasifier stoves,  a standard USGI canteen cup stove, a home made wood burner made from an IKEA SS Caddy,  a Solo Stove (clone of the handmade Bush Buddy stove),  and my latest is a take off on the Solo Stove called a Ohuhu Stove which was gifted to my by Greg (better known as YellowYak in these parts).
 I am partial to alcohol stoves,  they are small, light, easy to carry, the good ones are very efficient, they are inexpensive,  and they don't take much fuel,  I'm not a fan of canister type stoves,  the canisters are a pain to carry, you never know when they are going to run out so most of the time you have to carry a back up canister, they are also loud,  and the flame so intense they can boil water in just a couple minutes and burn your food in less time than that, but they can come in handy if you're in a hurry.
 Small backpacking wood stoves are somewhat new to me,  I have used my USGI canteen cup stove and my Esbit pocket sized folding box stove as twig stoves in a pinch a couple of times,  but the gasifier stoves are something that I'm not all that familiar with.
 
 I had told Greg that I would do an informal comparison review between my newly acquired Solo Stove and the Ohuhu Stove that he gifted me,  well, the last two weeks of Feb. and the first week of March held some promise for an early spring,  then mother nature decided that we needed an intense North Easter to finish off the winter season which she delivered last week,  but evidently it missed screwing up a couple of areas of inland southern NE,  so she's decided to send another one tomorrow which is predicted to drop up to 18" of the white stuff right on top of us, so any further testing on my part will be postponed a little.

 But that doesn't stop any of you guys and gals that have some experience or questions about small backing  stoves (wood or other) from posting on the subject.
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Offline xj35s

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Re: Lets talk bushcraft/backpacking stoves
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2018, 03:42:33 PM »
I use a brasslite and always liked it. It's sturdy and can simmer as well as roar for a boil. The last time I used it I had a hard time getting it to light and it kept going out. It's not a pressurized stove, preheating isn't necessary. The Denatured was in a plastic bottle for 6 months. I'm wondering if the plastic started breaking down effecting it's burn.

With that I carry a small nimblewell wood stove. Thinking of just doing the cat food can with a bunch of holes cut around the top edge. :(
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Online Moe M.

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Re: Lets talk bushcraft/backpacking stoves
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2018, 05:26:48 PM »
I use a brasslite and always liked it. It's sturdy and can simmer as well as roar for a boil. The last time I used it I had a hard time getting it to light and it kept going out. It's not a pressurized stove, preheating isn't necessary. The Denatured was in a plastic bottle for 6 months. I'm wondering if the plastic started breaking down effecting it's burn.

With that I carry a small nimblewell wood stove. Thinking of just doing the cat food can with a bunch of holes cut around the top edge. :(

  The Brasslite is a good quality backpacking stove,  I doubt that the plastic container was degraded by the alcohol,  the alcohol could have been contaminated in some way, it could have been cold,  it could have been the wrong kind of alcohol,  there's one brand of alcohol sold in the box stores and chain hardware stores that make two different kinds, the cans are identical except for the band at the top of the can one is green the other is blue, I don't know the difference one works great in stoves, the other sucks, the alcohol I use comes in one gallon cans and says on the can that it can be used in Marine type alcohol stoves,  I've never had any trouble with it.

 Home made alcohol stoves are addictive,  it's really hard to stop making them once you start, get yourself a paper punch, they're great for making the air holes in the cat food and soda cans, you will still need a drill and bit to make the bloom holes,  check the Web, there's a whole bunch of tutorials on making them that will save you a lot of time and a lot of failures,  the best ones I've made are called Crumb Catcher stoves,  they work like a professionally made stove, cost about eight bucks to make including the three cans of V-8 juice, the sink drain, and three peg board plier holders.

 Spirit burners (Trangia stoves) are also hard to beat, but you do need a stove stand of some kind to use them.       
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Offline Sarge

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Re: Lets talk bushcraft/backpacking stoves
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2018, 08:31:40 PM »
I've made and tried a bunch of stoves at home but have only use a few in the bush. I found an Pocket Rocket on clearance a while back for $20 or $25 so I took it on the last couple overnighters. Like Moe said, it boils water super fast and can burn your Spam in just a few seconds. Has it's advantages but I'm not sold on it yet.

I've used alcohol stoves the most. I really like my cat stove - cat food can, tomato paste can, and a carbon felt wick.

I've played with a knock-off Solo Stove in the back yard. It's so efficient and burns sticks so fast it needs constant attention. If I didn't constantly add fuel ... it burned out. Again, it certainly has advantages.
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: Lets talk bushcraft/backpacking stoves
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2018, 09:57:40 PM »
I made a few of those little alcohol stoves out of soft drink cans a couple of years or so back.  Never really got them working to the point I would want to use one of them on a camping trip.  Like Moe I like small campfires when I can have them.

We have used a Optimus stove that is about fifty years old now (I bought it the year we got married) and it has given great service at altitudes up to about 14,000' and in early morning use when you want a cup of coffee and a quick exit from your base camp.  The Optimus uses white gas, starts quickly with a accessory pump, and as long as you have those little needles to clean the jet and a match or lighter it is dead reliable.  As Sarge notes about his stove this one also heats water really quickly and will burn bacon or Spam about as quickly as anything.  It is hard to fry eggs with it too.  Hot cereal and soup are its strong points and, of course, boiling water.  I have a little grate that goes in a pot and it will steam vegetables really well but that isn't my idea of backpacking food.  It does well with things like pasta and meat sauce, some of the freeze dried meals, and thick stuff like chili or beef stew.

We have not tried any of those newer model stoves that use canisters or white gas as their only advantage over the Optimus is weight.  Besides, I like the roaring sound this stove makes.   

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Online Moe M.

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Re: Lets talk bushcraft/backpacking stoves
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2018, 07:19:10 AM »
I've made and tried a bunch of stoves at home but have only use a few in the bush. I found an Pocket Rocket on clearance a while back for $20 or $25 so I took it on the last couple overnighters. Like Moe said, it boils water super fast and can burn your Spam in just a few seconds. Has it's advantages but I'm not sold on it yet.

I've used alcohol stoves the most. I really like my cat stove - cat food can, tomato paste can, and a carbon felt wick.

I've played with a knock-off Solo Stove in the back yard. It's so efficient and burns sticks so fast it needs constant attention. If I didn't constantly add fuel ... it burned out. Again, it certainly has advantages.

  I agree with you about canister pocket rocket type stoves,  I have two of them and don't use them except for emergencies,  and when it comes to fuel stoves I depend heavily on alcohol stoves. 

  I've carried a stove of some kind with me for more years than I can remember, though I seldom use one unless it's for a hurried cup of coffee, hot chocolate, or to warm a small can of beans,  I started carrying one as part of my emergency kit when hunting the big woods of the North East,  my first and longest carried is my Esbit folding box stove,  it's about the size of an average tri fold wallet,  it's made to burn solid fuel tabs but I used it inverted as a twig stove and it also works with a small spirit stove,  for what it is it's surprisingly sturdy,  I've had mine for all of thirty five years and have used it dozens of times, it's a little discolored and bent in a few places but works good as new.
 The most efficient alcohol stove that I've made is my crumb catcher stove,  the small sink drain acts as the burner and does a great job of dispersing the heat evenly,  the Peg board plier holders are the pot stand and are adjustable for height, and it will burn for 40 minutes on two ounces of denatured alcohol in mild low wind days.
 I've just recently picked up a Solo Stove,  I haven't had much experience with it,  but I do have high hopes that it may be my go to stove going forward into this season, at least until something better comes along.
 Why the Solo stove ?,  I like things that serve more than one purpose, so far the Solo Stove looks promising, it's a twig stove, can be used with wood chips or pellets, and it works great with a small alcohol spirit stove,  mine is the Solo Stove Lite,  it's the original sized Solo Stove, it nests perfectly in my 1.1 Lt. Mors Bush Pot with bail when stored, and it holds a small Ultralight (Solo) spirit burner along with a few other things like a pot chain for hanging the pot over the fire, and a wind screen made from a HD foil baking sheet, and a pot scrubber,  the whole kit nests together in a package that's 4-3/4" in Dia. and 5" tall and stores in a green wool sack with a draw string,  the Mors Pot holds about five cups of water,  and the kit in total weighs about 16 ounces.
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Online Moe M.

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Re: Lets talk bushcraft/backpacking stoves
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2018, 08:52:15 AM »
  I had hoped to have had the opportunity to get out for a full day of woods bumming and testing a couple of new stoves, I had told Greg (YellowYak) that I'd do a comparison review of the Ohuhu wood/gasifier stove that he gifted me compared to the Solo Stove that I picked up a couple of months ago.
  But since I'm stuck in the house looking out my front windows at a picture post card image of a real winter wonderland, it's been snowing since about midnight,  everything is covered with a thick blanket of the white stuff,  we've about six inches on the ground and it's predicted to snow steadily all day and well into tomorrow morning with an accumulation of about 12 ~ 18 inches,  I thought I'd do a pre use review of both stoves.
  Both are made of stainless steel, both are sturdy and well made, both are designed to burn small pieces of wood, leaves, grass, pine cones and the like,  both do what they are advertised to do,  they are both very efficient,  they are easy to light, burn everything to ash, they are pretty much smoke free once they are burning good, and they both do a good job of secondary burning of the gases released by the burning wood products.
  They are both similar in design,  but since the design originated with the Bush Buddy Stove that is hand made in Canada and was co opted by the owner of Solo Stove company who's stoves are made in China, all the stoves of similar design that have come after in my opinion are knock offs of the original design with just enough modification to make them somewhat different.
  I've noted their similarities, so lets look at their differences,  the first big difference is price,  the Solo Stoves run from about $75.00 to $130.00 depending on size,  the Ohuhu, Silver Fire, and a couple of others can be picked up on Amazon and E-bay for about $20.00 ~ $35.00 dollars.
  The Solo Stoves came in two pieces, the fire chamber and the pot stand,  most of the others have as many as five separate pieces,  the spot welded fixed pot holders on the Solo Stoves will fit most sized cups, pots, and skillets,  the Knock off stoves mostly have riveted swing out arms that are on the thin side and do not stabilize smaller cups and pots very well,  my Ohuhu stove will not work with my Stanley Adventure bush pot,  the base of the pot is too narrow for the swing out pot holders on the Ohuhu stove.
  The Ohuhu stove has a bigger burn chamber, can hold more fuel and doesn't need to be fed as constantly as the Solo Stove,  but the Solo Stove has a feed window for inserting fuel into the stove where as the Ohuhu does not, to feed the stove the pot or skillet you're using must be taken off the stove.
  Another big advantage that the Solo Stove has over most of it's clones is an ash tray to catch the ashes and arrest any small still burning coals from passing through the bottom of the stove and causing a potential fire in any ground debris that might be under the stove,  while the bottom of the stove is enclosed there is a space between the burn chamber and the bottom of the stove,  and it is vented in such a way as to cool the bottom of the stove while it's burning just enough to keep it from scorching what ever the stove is sitting while burning,  the Ohuhu and others don't have a bottom and allow coals and ashes to collect on the ground or whatever the stove is sitting on.   
  The Ohuhu and most other clones come with a small tray that's made to burn alcohol which makes them multi fuel stoves,  the Solo Stove does not, but it is designed to accommodate a spirit or Trangia styled burner,  my Solo Lite stove works with both a small sized spirit burner or my military surplus Trangia burner,  most of the clones will accept the spirit burners as well.
  Size,  I can only speak to my two stoves,  my two favorite Bush Pots are my Mors 1.1 Lt. anodized aluminum Bush Pot from Four Dog Stove Co. and my .750 ML. Titanium Bush Pot made by Toaks , both have bails attached,  the Solo Stove w/Spirit burner will nest perfectly in my Mors Pot,  it's a little too big to fit into my Toaks Pot which accepts my Crumb Catcher Alcohol stove very well,  the Ohuho stove is shorter in height but wider at it's base and won't nest in either of my pots,  but it will fit into a 1.8 Lt. MSR Seagull pot with the locking handle, if anyone is interested in a nesting pot for the Ohuhu stove.

  So there you have it for now,  I've touched on the Pros & Cons of both Stoves that I can identify easily,  and I will revisit the review as soon as I get a chance to use them both in actual camp conditions and doing more than just boiling water. 
In youth we learn,   with age we understand.