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wellington womble

Small eco-style camping stoves

I'm looking for a small camp stove, and wondered about a 'green' version. A little googling reveals little (admittedly rather pricey) stoves that run on 'twigs' and may produce electrickery as a sort of by-product. Has anyone any experience of them? I want to boil a kettle and cook small meals for one and a bit people (pasta, omlettes, burgers, sausage sarnies etc) in an eco, off grid, sustainable sort of way.

Other than the cost and that they seem a little slower than butane stoves, are they a silly idea? Is the electric just a gimmick? (Don't really need it, but could certainly use it if we had it) are there lots of brands, and which is a good one? Are they as unstable as they look? Is there a more UK-centric (or cheaper) version does anyone know?

This http://www.biolitestove.com/campstove/new-portable-grill/grill-features/ is what I was thinking of - they looked like a neat idea, so I wondered if they were as useful as they looked.
Hairyloon

Get a primus and run it on biodiesel.
dpack

tin can hobo stove,there are plans on line including the "rocket"stove types

they can range from tea brewing to space heater size and will run on almost owt that burns.
birch twigs or dry dock stalks are ace for tea brews but anything split small and dryish will work,so will fat/oils and anything that will wick,sand and petrol works but tis a bit dangeroos cos of the vapour

for super a lightweight carry stove bean tins and a pocketful of charcoal is rather nice even if there is no fuel around

use steel cans as aluminium ones melt Wink
Treacodactyl

I wouldn't buy one for 'eco' reasons but because it does what I want it to. Will you get the use out of it to justify the price and cost of manufacture?

The reviews I've seen seem quite good. Main concern seems to be bulky compared to other 'twig' stoves.

If it was me and I must have something to charge my gadgets then I'd look for a cheaper stove and get one of those small pebble type battery backups.

I'd also check I can use such a stove if I plan to go somewhere. This skeptical review also highlights a few points: http://andrewskurka.com/2012/biolite-campstove-review/

Edit to add, and rather than use twigs, that may be in a short supply on a camp site, plenty of people seem to run these sort of stoves successfully on wood pellets (even wood pellet cat litter).
LynneA

Make a keyhole stove using bricks?

Did it once at the allotment, but ground too soggy to keep it going for long.
dpack

ps a phone/gps will stay charged for ages if switched off between daily text/location checks and a spare phone battery is a tenner on most market stalls etc and very light to carry

if you are going off grid for months i recon a mini steam engine and dynamo soe style is reliable kit.
Mistress Rose

A storm kettle is very basic, not too bulky, and will work off twigs etc. but mainly for boiling water. A small portable barbecue if you are staying in one place is ideal as you can use wood or charcoal. You may be able to buy some sort of clip on thing for the top of a storm kettle that would enable you to put pots on it.
dpack

my storm kettle has a clip on top but it is a bit unstable with a pan on.
tis better to boil water then use the base section as a fire holder with the spare fuel from up the pipe(if you put a couple of thicker twigs in at the start they are enough to cook with
Jamanda

I'd stick with a trangia.
dpack

some folk like trangia type stoves ,personally i have had issues with them but they are good below minus 15 c and long term off grid you have carbs, brewing kit and a still to make "eco"fuel.

ps i have had and seen worse issues with petrol stoves .

good charcoal can be made for carry fuel anywhere with wood(driftwood and sand is quite easy for instance)and twigs,stalks litter etc are fairly easy to grab when you see them

a really light stove is a snakehole fire ,dig a narrow hole ,arrange a "pipe" to feed air into the bottom ,light tinder,put fuel over tinder.tis a rocket stove with nowt to carry .

40 yrs ago i thought primus was ace but they are heavy ,hard to use and only really suitable for scott type heroic failures when crossing the andes by frog.
dpack

the type in the google image search has a big inlet hole but my type has a vertical hole for the fire smaller than the pan and an air inlet a 1/4 of the diameter of the fire hole
Hairyloon

40 yrs ago i thought primus was ace but they are heavy ,hard to use and only really suitable for scott type heroic failures when crossing the andes by frog.

They are ace... but I'll admit they're not the lightest of cookers.
baldybloke

I'd stick with a trangia.

Trangia's are brilliant and have been using mine for years. Also use rocket and woodgas stoves.
Check out www.wildstoves.co.uk
Chez

The 'skeptical review' that Treacodactyl refs is by someone who's never used one, which seems a bit pony.

It looks like a neat idea, if you don't need to carry it. We have a rocket stove in the van and it gets *really* hot in a short amount of time, on scrappy wood. I would imagine that it's heavy to carry around, as well.

I guess it all depends on how you're going to use it. If you are car-camping, the weight won't matter.

Edit: PS, I *loathe* trangias, and haven't touched one since the Camping Weekend Of Flooding twenty years ago.
wellington womble

I'm not going off grid for months, or needing to carry all my kit - I'm going camping in a Smart Car! I have a perfectly good caravan with all mod cons, but I can't tow it at present. I have most of the kit I need (I have done real camping before!) I mostly won't be going alone and we usually take turns to cook main meals communally. But I will need something to boil a kettle on without having to light a whole fire and wait an hour or two at 6am when Jenna turfs me out of bed! And for occasional lunches, breakfasts or meals when we are first to arrive or the others are doing something unsuitable for three year olds (the other kids are all a lot older)

So as I will need to buy something, I wondered about a 'twig stove' I have a child who collects twigs (and pine cones and feathers and flowers and stones) wherever I go. There will be charcoal if I really can't get twigs. I'm not bothered about the charging especially, but it seems handy to have if it's any good. I haven't the time or the resources to make stuff and I can't get biodiesel. When I'm buying something anyway, I always look for a sustainable option and if it works even reasonably well we will use it for small meals or brews in future, as we often camp off grid and always use fossil fuels as a last resort. I just wondered if anyone actually used them. I thought about a storm kettle, but I really want to have the flexibility to cook on it. I do like to be off grid, and gas seems always cheating (it was what I was thinking of when I started looking, but I'm open to options) I'll never use a gas stove again after this summer, but we would use this instead of a kettle if it were reasonably efficient. Just wondered if anyone had tried them, or anything similar and had any experience to share?
Treacodactyl

The 'skeptical review' that Treacodactyl refs is by someone who's never used one, which seems a bit pony.


Not really, many other reviews carry similar points and many apply to most wood/twig stoves. For example, even in wet Devon, there are times I'm not keen to have a fire of any sort in my woodland, just too risky.

WW, Biolite suggest wood pellets/chips rather than charcoal.
Jamanda

Surely that's a criticism of where they're used rather than how they work? I assumed WW meant for use on a campsite not in a woodland. Treacodactyl

Not all campsites allow open fires and if you're not on a campsite it's not always wise to have an open fire (simple common sense). I don't know what the biolite would be classed as but it's something to think about. Chez

I think it looks fun to use - we're after alternatives to the camper and I've been spoiled by the rocket stove. I'd definitely consider one, so if you go for it, let us know! Smile sean

I think I'd sack the electricity generating capacity and get a Kelly Kettle with a cookset and stove adapter.
http://www.kellykettle.com/
A lot less to go wrong and I'd guess more stable if you use the bottom with the grill/stove adapter.
wellington womble

It will be a mixture of campsites and private land. We don't generally go to campsites that don't allow fires (although they usually specify contained fires, which I think shouldn't be a problem) On private land we use fire pits with appropriate safety precautions. I think we have to assume that any camping stove is going to carry some fire risk, however fuelled!

So no one has any actual experience of them? I don't think the kelly kettle will quite fit the bill. Solo stoves look ok, but I do like the grill bit, too. I'm not really bothered about gadget charging (although why not? - can't be any less reliable than solar in the uk!) I like the mini, efficient, fast fire element. A bit of woodsmoke makes a camp meal, I reckon.
Chez

And in a time-travelling situation, you would be able to charge your smart-phone. wellington womble

You certainly would. Although you wouldn't be able to call anyone! Nicky Colour it green

no experience of that stove - sorry - though it does look interesting.

We get by quite will with a mini bucket bbq - if you use proper charcoal - the stuff that resembles wood rather than brickettes - it does get up to temperature pretty fast. [url=https://flic.kr/p/bXY7au][/url]
We bbq on it, but also fry, and heat up the Italian coffee maker thing. Just a suggestion. Not as fast as a cannister-fueled stove though, but a lot cheaper
nats

I think I'd sack the electricity generating capacity and get a Kelly Kettle with a cookset and stove adapter.
http://www.kellykettle.com/
A lot less to go wrong and I'd guess more stable if you use the bottom with the grill/stove adapter.

Just what I was going to say
onemanband



if you are going off grid for months i recon a mini steam engine and dynamo soe style is reliable kit.

I was gonna ask what's that then ? Then I found one (2nd item down)
I had an idea about getting a steam engine -partly because it would be a cool thing to own, but also cos it could generate heat and electric. Quick research revealed steam engines are pants for elec generation as they can't rev on demand. Apparently wood gasification and a combustion engine is the way to get electric from wood.
baldybloke

I've used both rocket stoves and woodgas stoves. I pack the woodgas stove on the bike when I go off camping. It's really efficient once you get it going and packs down really small.
However the rocket stove is probably more versatile if you have the space.
gardening-girl

We have a Kelly Kettle.
Brilliant for hot drinks,soup,beans etc.

Also good for using up collected twigs etc.
Boils water in a couple of minutes.
sean

This looks quite funky. And folds flat which could be good with limited boot space. Mistress Rose

When we are at shows we often use a storm kettle as we have plenty of wood shavings etc. and although we take water in flasks, we like to have the wherewithal to brew up. Put the storm kettle on a scrap bit of wood though or it scorches the grass.

If you use British charcoal it should light easily and be ready for use in 20 minutes or less.
wellington womble

I've used both rocket stoves and woodgas stoves. I pack the woodgas stove on the bike when I go off camping. It's really efficient once you get it going and packs down really small.
However the rocket stove is probably more versatile if you have the space.

The wood gas sounds good, too. Is it wood smokey? (this is a plus for me. A little woodsmoke makes awesome bacon!)

I don't want to use a lot of space - I'll have other arrangements for most meals. I just want something for a quick coffee and a simple meals. Quick, efficient and capable of making an omelette, a burger, and processed pork sandwiches. And maybe a boiled egg, without having to wait half an hour for a hot enough fire, or waste a whole load of fuel because I lit a fire to boil a kettle.
12Bore

This looks quite funky. And folds flat which could be good with limited boot space.
This is somewhat cheaper.
(Wow! I managed a link shortening without a safety net! Laughing )

The link fairy wrote:

wellington womble

I like that a lot, but it's not a small single burner stove, which is what I need at the moment (I might get one as well, though for other occasions) dpack

if you have a car use that to charge things,

kelly kettle will boil water almost as fast as an electric one and cook dinner with sticks or charcoal
wellington womble

We don't use the car when were away. I'm not actually that bothered about charging things. I want a single burner wood stove that's fast and efficient. At the moment it's between the biolite, the woodgas and the solo. There's a biolite on ebay, and if that goes for silly money I'm probably going for the solo. The lack of a grill and the secondary burning thingy are what's putting me off - I like woodsmoke! Which is also why I don't want a storm kettle. sean

The storm kettle with the cookset* means that you take the kettle off when it's boiled then stick the grill over the fire. Thus giving you smoky bacon.

The cookset includes a grill.
sean

This looks OK and cheapish. Made in China but I bet 90% of the pricey ones are too.
Evil Amazon Linky
Tavascarow

A couple of things with woodburning is the amount of soot it leaves on your pans, you wouldn't use it in the porch of a tent unless very well ventilated & when your wet & cold & need a warm meal the most your fuel is wet as well (unless you're carrying some dry).
Trangias have gone green by default now anyway.
Meths is gone from most shop shelves & being replaced with bio-ethanol.
Far more controllable & cleaner than twigs IMHO.
dpack

twigs dont leak into ones loaf or fill a space with flammable vapour:lol:

for carry fuel i recon good charcoal is hard to beat and most places there are enough sources of wood to replace it.
Tavascarow

twigs dont leak into ones loaf or fill a space with flammable vapour:lol:

for carry fuel i recon good charcoal is hard to beat and most places there are enough sources of wood to replace it. Anyone who carries liquid fuel in anything other than a recognised container made for the purpose deserves meths sandwiches. puke_l puke_r
I wouldn't use a trangia in an enclosed space like the inside of a tent but fine under an open porch/vestibule when it's tipping down. I backpack & weight & size are important.
You wont convert me I've been using Trangias for over twenty five years & only just had to replace the simmer ring & the pot holder/top windshield, & that only because I was using it with far to big & heavy a pot.
dpack

i recon i can make a brew and cook dinner as fast with sticks /charcoal as i can with a stove

kelly kettles are ace for boiling a larger amount of water and with a decent bung can be used as a water carrier that is only a little heavier than a reused plastic bottle .
Tavascarow

Just seen this. Laughing wellington womble

I never did buy one. I still might though. I can tow the caravan now I have a whole car, so I can always use the gas in there. I prefer wood though, where it's practical. I like the idea of being able to make a cup of coffee and a bacon sandwich on wood without having to wait for the bucket barbeque to heat up. I think I would use it a lot more than the barbeque. They do a barbeque version too, now. dpack

for a brew and to cook a few rashers some small twigs or split dry wood can do the job very well

stuff the diameter of a pencil is ideal for that sort of thing
dpack

big kit to light a few sticks in is daft

knowledge weighs nothing and packs down into a very small pocket Laughing
Mistress Rose

Can you find a strong enough tin these days to make that lovely little barbecue? I think it is rather good apart from that.

As others say, I would prefer to use wood, although we make and and sell charcoal. English charcoal should light directly with a lighter btw, but I find, having used wood since I was a Guide, that I can control it better than charcoal. We use a storm kettle at shows because we are producing wood shavings and chips all the time which are ideal for fuel for the kettle. On a hot day, a fine wood shaving is virtually seasoned by the time it hits the ground.
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