If, like me, you are surrounded by trees then you will want some kind of ultra-efficient bio-mass heater – probably more than one. The efficiency ensures a burn at high heat, and that in turn means the gases released by the wood are also burned – so a good mass heater is low-pollution.
You need to be able to handle the larger logs, branches and trunks – that is best done with an outside furnace which directs the heat inside. You need a fire you can watch and enjoy – that consumes the medium size logs.
But what is to be done with the tiddly twigs and leaves or the cuttings from tree pruning? Its fairly pointless burning them – they are gone in 60 seconds.
The Solo Stove provides an answer – it’s a well-designed camping stove – one of many rocket stoves on the market. Rocket stoves are so called because they burn at a high heat. The Solo (buy in UK) is designed to by suck in surrounding air and as a result burn off many of the gases that would otherwise escape into the atmosphere, causing pollution. The key to the design is a double wall. Air intake holes channel air to the bottom of the fire and direct warm air up between the walls creating a burst of preheated oxygen causing a secondary combustion of the gases (smoke) given off by the burning wood.
What it means is the stove turns the wood and gasses given off by the wood into a strong, concentrated, efficient flame that burns like a blowtorch! A generous handful of smallish sticks will boil 32 ounces of water in less than fifteen minutes.
The stove has no seams. Very strong extruded stainless steel. It has two moving parts. The stove, and the pot holder-upper. And the pot holder-upper turn over and nests into the stove body when it is not in use.
As I wander around the land its great to be able to make meals or lunch without having to come back to base. The stove only weighs a few pounds so I can carry it along with a Bow-saw and ladder. When its time to eat, I can fill it up with whatever is around – small branches, twigs, leaves – kindling material in other words – which otherwise rots away in time, but there is so much of it that I would never be able to use more than a fraction.
in wet weather I can even use wet wood, but then I have to cheat and use a quarter of a firelighter.
If you are on the move, the benefits of the Solo are: It’s light because of the steel construction and the small size;Heats solid/canned food very well; Good weekend trip or survival stove for one person
However, it takes constant feeding to keep fire going due to the size and the speed at which it consumes fuel. Boiling water needs a good flame and still takes a few minutes when the temperature is low. It does require a little extra attention to load sticks into the stove after the first batch of fuel, which is loaded into the stove and burnt from the top down, is fully consumed. The first batch of fuel will last about 10 minutes which is usually enough to boil a couple cups of water. From there, you’ll need to add additional fuel to keep fire going if needed.
There are small tabs on top to rest your cookpot but if you want to just heat a can and eat soup or food right out the can you cannot because the typical can is not wide enough to sit on the tabs.
Also, it’s easier to lift your pot off the stove to feed the fire instead of stirring and feeding at the same time.
All in all, its worth the price because when you are in the field and you need high heat – this baby delivers it.
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