The Only Stove You Need

by ahanagata

  Morning Savages! First off, I would like to thank you all for your participation in the ESEE Giveaway! Congratulations to our Winners! Be sure to take a gander at this Month’s Giveaway sponsored by Solo Stove!

  As you all should know, I will never put my seal of approval on something I don’t really believe in or actually use. So…prior to giving away the Solo stove I put it through the paces. I have to admit, I’m more than happy with the results. Let’s take a closer look at this month’s prize shall we?

  The idea behind the Solo stove is not a new one. Small portable wood burning stoves have been around for some time. Sometimes called ‘hobo stoves’, I learned to make one in the boy scouts out of old soup cans. While my old soup can stove actually works, and works well I might add; the Solo stove takes that idea and injects it with style, class and efficiency. Before you guys start bickering over why don’t you just make it out of old cans, and who needs style and class in the bush; hear me out. You might be glad you did.

  Another name for these types of stoves is ‘wood gas stove’. Now, let’s take a closer look at the science behind that name. One of the things that makes the Solo stove so efficient is the way it delivers air to the burn chamber. As the stove heats up, it employs a secondary combustion making it more efficient than just burning a pile of sticks laying on the ground or in a tin. What ends up happening is the stove cooks the wood until it begins smoking and then it burns that smoke at the top of the stove…twice. This means the stove burns cleaner, and more effectively. It’s what allows you to do your cooking with a small pile of twigs while producing very little smoke.

  Okay, so all of that sounds pretty good and yes it is a nice looking stove, but does it work? A pretty stove and neat idea doesn’t always translate to real world usefulness. I decided to put the Solo stove through a few paces and this is what I found. It’s construction is solid, and when I say that I mean it feels like it’s built better than any of the gas and canister stoves I’ve owned and tried out. And you have the bonus of not having to keep purchasing canisters to chuck in the garbage bin. I wanted to give the stove a fair shot at working so I decided to start the fire itself with a vasoline soaked cotton ball, if that won’t start a fire you’re under water.

  Simply put a small pile of twigs in the stove, add the cotton ball and ignite, once it’s burning put a few more twigs on top. Then you’re ready to cook. From spark to boil, it took me 7 minutes and 30 seconds to get to a raging boil. Of course boil times will vary due to elevation but that’s a pretty damn quick boil made by twigs. Now, I do have experience with wood burning stoves and I was curious to see how someone who never used one before would be able to get on with it. So…I found a volunteer who had never used a wood burning stove and threw them the Solo stove and told them to get it to a boil. Now, I let them watch me test it once and let them give it a shot. I did not give them any direction or help, they just watched as I did my thing. I didn’t slow it down for them or tell them what I was doing. From a cold empty stove to boil their time was 15 minutes. That’s really fast with no instruction and starting from scratch, so the Solo stove gets my stamp of approval on ease of use!

  The only issue with the Solo stove is it can be prohibited in dry parts of the country when fire restrictions are high. The good news is, they have a solution for you. And that solution is the same solution for many of life’s trials and tribulations. That’s right booze! Not just any booze though, high test alcohol 140 proof or higher I would say. If you haven’t figured out why the stove needs a 12 step program it’s because Solo stove also makes an alcohol accessory that works beautifully in conjunction with the Solo stove. Simply fill it with alcohol and set a match to it. There’s even a temperature control apparatus for it in case you need to turn the heat down a bit. It’s simple, clean, and easy, the only down side is the boil time is 9 minutes. But I suspect if you’ll wait 7 minutes and 30 seconds for a boil another minute and a half won’t be an ordeal.

  All in all, the Solo stove is a great product well worth the price of admission. It’s a very well made product that will fit a variety of needs. I kept thinking of the poor folks in New York recently who were left without gas or power due to Hurricane Sandy and thought they all would have benefited by having a Solo stove in their preparedness kit. Whether it’s for camping, backpacking, or just in case grab yourself a Solo Stove, you’ll be glad you did.

  Don’t forget, this month I’m teaming up with the good folks over at Solo Stove to give away one of these great stoves! Head over to my “Giveaway” section for the rules to enter! Thumbs Up Solo Stove!

Adieu Savages! I’m Out. Live Wild, Eat Well.

visit me on Twitter and Facebook

© 2012 TheSavageGentleman.