Long time readers know I am always on the look-out for lightweight portable stoves to test out, having had less than stellar results in the past. Living in an apartment in the city, we cannot deny the possibility we may have to bug out if there were an extended emergency. In addition, we enjoy camping and backpacking, and a lightweight stove is a must.
I was excited to try out the Solo Stove. It is a small, portable stove that uses biomass (twigs, dried leaves, etc) for fuel. Not needing to bring special fuel is a big advantage: since you can easily find branches and twigs, you are not adding weight to your bug-out bag.
The stove is very easy to assemble: just set the cooking ring on top of the stove so that the prongs are on top. That is what your pot will rest on.
Starting the Fire
1. First, collect your fuel: in our case, Mr. Apt Prepper gathered up twigs, dried leaves and a few acorns out in the back of our building. Place the twigs in the stove chamber. The twigs or wood pieces should be roughly two to three inches in length.
2. Make sure the stove is on a level area, away from the wind. We just set it on a paving stone. The Solo Stove’s instructions can be found here.
3. Start the fire. It would have been easier to use firestarter, but we wanted to see how it would perform by just lighting the fuel using matches. The dried leaves caught fire instantly and in a couple of minutes, the rest of the twigs were burning nicely.
4. We set a pan containing two cups of water on the stove. We continued to add twigs to the fire. The water started to boil in about 10 minutes, which is a lot faster than I’ve experienced with a regular campfire.
Once the fire has died down and stove has cooled completely, all you need to do is empty out the ash. Since the fuel is all organic, you don’t need to worry about polluting the area.
We put the stove through the paces and it performed well. Mr Apt Prepper kept an objective eye over the test. If we had to come up with an area of improvement it would be to provide more detailed instructions for the inexperienced portable stove user. One thing that is not obvious to a new user is gauging the amount of fuel that is needed. Using dried twigs, the stove did not give off much smoke at all, which is great for a bug-out stove, when you don’t want to attract a lot of attention with your cooking fire. For those readers who are inclined to “do-it-yourself” there are many plans found around the internet that provide instructions on how to make one.
For beginning preppers