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Backcountry Kitchen The Backcountry Kitchen forum is for the discussion of food and cooking gear related topics for backpacking trips (e.g. menus, recipes, stoves, fuel...).


View Poll Results: Which method do you prefer for cooking with a wood fire?
Commercial or DIY Wood Stove 11 57.89%
Small Campfire (w/improvised pot stand) 8 42.11%
Voters: 19. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 01-14-2014, 03:43 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Wood Stove vs Small Fire

Do (or would) you prefer using a manufactured (commercial or DIY) backpacking wood stove or a small campfire for cooking?

Please participate in the poll and feel free to share your thoughts in this thread.

Reality

P.S. There is a companion thread that may be of further interest regarding wood stoves: The Pros and Cons of Compact Wood Stoves.
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  #2  
Old 01-14-2014, 05:29 PM
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dsuursoo dsuursoo is offline
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If I had my druthers, i'd opt for a compact(able) wood stove. I've been eyeing vargo's hexagon stove for ages and may just pull the trigger on one this tax season.

while a small campfire is nice, fast, easy to make and control, it has its drawbacks. it's open to the wind and weather, and a lot of that heat goes out the sides and doesn't cook anything(unless you set stuff around it to roast, but that's a lot of work). you have to have something along, or scrounge something, to hold your cookware off the flames.

an enclosed stove solves a lot of that. keeps the wind off, focuses the heat up, and even provides a ready-made trivet for your cook-ware.

the other big advantage of an enclosed stove is that because the heat is contained and magnified, it can take fuel that's non-ideal - that is - damp wood, pinecones, etc, and burn it pretty well. the enclosed stoves even keep cedar from throwing bits all over the place. the contained and reflected heat goes a long way in drying out the fuel quickly enough to keep smoke down.

you can also get on with non-campfire fuels like wood pellets or charcoal(if your bottom grate is sized just so), though you may have ash issues.
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  #3  
Old 01-14-2014, 06:30 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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All great points, dsuursoo.

The good news, for some, is that a small wood fire is often a viable (backup) option, if and when it's needed.

I like the idea of a wood stove for the points made by dsuursoo and some others that come to mind.

When not backpacking - perhaps a hike-in-and-camp situation - a campfire could be more advantageous for cooking - since it's likely already in use for other benefits (heat, light, ...).

Reality
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Old 01-14-2014, 06:55 PM
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richwads richwads is offline
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For a one pot meal, I prefer a wood stove over a fire, for the reasons Dsursoo mentioned. Even if a campfire is going, I'll probably use my wood stove, as it's just plain easier to control the flame and pot. Well . . . . that's if snap dry twigs are readily available for the stove. But if I'm cooking fish, or running more than one pot, I'll use a fire also, or exclusively if a pot support is handy.
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  #5  
Old 01-14-2014, 06:59 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richwads
But if I'm cooking fish, or running more than one pot, I'll use a fire also, or exclusively if a pot support is handy.
Yes, good point richwads. What's being cooked should be a factor to consider. Cooking a few trout is different than warming a pot of noodles.

Reality
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  #6  
Old 01-15-2014, 12:11 PM
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Grandpa Grandpa is offline
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I prefer the wood stove. It's easier to control everything with the stove and also simple to make sure the fire is out when finished.
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  #7  
Old 02-07-2014, 07:35 PM
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ScottInNewHampshire ScottInNewHampshire is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandpa
I prefer the wood stove. It's easier to control everything with the stove and also simple to make sure the fire is out when finished.

Agreed. Wood stove is preferable to me also.
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  #8  
Old 03-10-2014, 12:47 PM
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Robislookin Robislookin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsuursoo
If I had my druthers, i'd opt for a compact(able) wood stove. I've been eyeing vargo's hexagon stove for ages and may just pull the trigger on one this tax season.


Have you checked out "the honey stove" or it's expanding big brother "the hive"
It looks to be versatel and compariable in price.

When I up grade from my Esbit, this is currently running first. But the way the backcountry industry is growing...who knows what new inovations are right around the corner.
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  #9  
Old 03-10-2014, 02:04 PM
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Pinnah Pinnah is offline
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I've been using the Emberlit Ti for about a year and love it.

I *hate* seeing camping areas ravaged by wood savaging and ash. The Emberlit minimizes this sort of impact. Very easy to light and sustain a fire in most situations. This won't replace an alcohol stove for heading up into alpine zones, but for ski trips, it works great. Also nice as a second stove on groups trips.
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  #10  
Old 03-10-2014, 09:52 PM
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Bushwalker Bushwalker is offline
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Those little wood stoves appeared down here maybe 2 or 3 years after they were released on the northern hemisphere markets...

At double the price..

I reckon they need to drop in price a fair bit to make them viable around here ~ especially when I already have Jetboil (gas), Trangia (alcohol) and Esbit stoves in my kit. And open fires still have that certain ambience over and above any of these stoves..

Two possible situations here in Oz do come to mind, where I reckon compact wood stoves could come into their own : many national parks, especially in the Alpine areas have a "No Open Fires" policy; plus during fire-ban periods during dry summers, enclosed stoves might be allowable in all but the driest "total fire ban" conditions (when many people wouldn't want to be "gone bush" anyaays, but rather on a beach or inside..).

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