Today I did a brief test of The Pocket Stove from backpackinglight.co.uk as a wood-burning stove.
This is the first time I’ve used a wood-burning stove. We usually use a Primus ETA express gas stove. The Pocket Stove was obtained to provide an alternative multi-fuel stove.
A flat pack, clip together multi fuel cooking stove. The adjustable platform offers two burn heights, the top slot for esbit/hexamine tablets and the other for organic matter and pop can stoves.
Weight: 141g (195g in tin)
This is my second attempt to test the Pocket Stove. The first attempt, in the depths of winter on a cold and windy day, failed completely. My lasting impressions from this original test were…
A) When it’s very cold and windy using a wood-burning stove is a very silly idea.
B) Knocking the pan of water off the top of the stove just as it’s boiling is also a very silly idea.
It’s worth noting here that a heat-exchanger pot (with a crinkly bottom) doesn’t sit easily on top of the Pocket Stove. My original test was with the pot from the ETA Express. This second test was done with a much more stable, smooth-bottomed titanium MSR kettle.
I managed to boil a cup’s worth of water using little twigs (of about pencil thickness) that I’d gathered and dried for the task.
Safety – The stove gets extremely hot. It’s impossible to touch it when the fire’s burning and for a fair while afterwards. Small hot embers fall through the bottom on the stove onto the ground. Without a durable heat-proof surface the ground (or whatever your cooking on) will be burnt.
Convenience – Wind blows ash out of the stove onto and around everything nearby. When finished there are a little pile of burnt out sticks (and whatever else you used to start the fire) to deal with. The pot and stove are covered in sticky soot that’s tricky to wash off even with washing up liquid, hot water, and a scrubbing pad.
Time – I didn’t time how long it took but at a guess it took about 20 minutes to boil the water. I’m sure that I can get quicker with practice but obviously, slower than gas.
Skill – I had pretty much ideal conditions for the test. The wood I had was bone dry. I had a large number of long matches and newspaper to hand (and a bucket of water in case I set fire to myself). The temperature was mild and the wind slight, just enough of a breeze to fan the flames but not put them out. Even so, it’s not a walk in the park to get a good little fire going and to keep it going long enough.
Stealth – This is not a stealthy way to cook food. It makes a lot of smoke and it smells. There’s ash floating around too. Not ninja.
Fun – This is a lot of fun! There’s something about gathering your own fuel, for free, from the natural world, which is satisfying. Our natural love of cooking fires, the warmth and light, sound and smells, kicks in even with this tiny stove. Then the concentration and skill to light and keep the fire burning adds another dimension of enjoyment to cooking.
In summary, I think this is a really fun piece of kit but cooking with wood is probably more of a novelty than a practical cooking solution. Next up, a test with a hex tablet.
- Max Height: 10cm
- Max base width: 7.5cm
- Sq plate: 7cm x 7cm
- Side Panel: 31g x 2
- Back Panel: 31g
- Door: 26g
- Square Base: 22g
- Total: 141g
- Storage Tin: 54g
- Packed Total: 195g
Will it fit your pop can stove?
- Height 100mm
- Base Plate 68mm sq
- Upper Aperture 61mm sq
- Lower Aperture 72mm sq
The Pocket Stove was designed and manufactured entirely in the UK by backpackinglight.co.uk