I recently purchased a Vargo wood burning stove for back country camping, mainly to have the benefit of not needing to carry as much fuel with me when I camp.  The main expectation I have is that I will be have to carry enough alcohol and a stove to get me through the tough times of either it being too wet, windy or possibly tired to be bothered with the wood on a given day.  I did my first trip with the stove a couple of weeks ago and I was quite impressed with how well it worked for me.  Anyway today I came across a post where somebody was complaining that they didn’t like the wood burning stoves for a few reasons, so I thought I would add to that thread. http://sectionhiker.com/wood-gas-stoves-second-thoughts/

From my view here are the main points:

Good:

  • Less fuel to carry:  as the old saying goes ounces in the morning are pounds at night, so even if I can carry 1/2 as much fuel that is always good.
  • Easy to use: wood stoves are very simple to use and I have generally found it easier to light a fire in the stove than in the fire pit, which is always good.
  • Naturally “Eco”: the fact that I am getting fuel from the forest around me rather than lugging it from a store it was trucked to makes me feel better about the world 😛
  • Gives me something to do: although as is mentioned in the other article you do need to watch the stove, I have generally found this better rather than worse.  I usually am sitting there waiting for my water to boil anyway so tending a little fire is cheap entertainment.

Bad:

  • Pot soot: This is pretty well documented, and I would highly recommend if you are going to start carrying a wood burner you will probably want to start carrying pot cozies too.  Personally I didn’t find this to be an issue and I don’t carry a camp towel either.
  • More Stoves: I did save overall weight, but now I effectively carry 2 stoves, a small alcohol backup and the primary wood one.  I am sure I could probably move to the wood only, but I am just not there yet.
  • Limited Temperature and Control: I find the wood is similar to trying to cook with a small alcohol stove, there is pretty much just an on/off.  Technically I could probably get it to simmer, but it would require some serious effort.  If you like to really cook things on the trail that are more than rehydrating foods, then this probably isn’t for you.

Just my thoughts so far, but I do like it and this is the one I have:

http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/HikingCamping/StovesFuel/Stoves/PRD~5024-197/vargo-titanium-hexagon-backpacking-wood-stove.jsp

 

 

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