Is a Wood Stove Worth the Hype?

   03.07.17

Is a Wood Stove Worth the Hype?

Do you ever see a wood stove marketed as the ultimate backpacking stove? The selling point is, all you need is wood, no fuel canisters required. Then there is usually a picture of people smiling, sitting around a wood stove cooking something.

The question is, do the wood stoves live up to the hype?

Collecting Firewood

Depending on the location, such as a national park, burning wood might be prohibited. So right off the bat, there are areas where the stove can not be used.

A propane or mixed fuel stove can be used just about anywhere at anytime.

Then again, if you can collect firewood, you have an almost unlimited fuel supply. This would be ideal for long trips into the wilderness.

Wood Stove Cleanup

A wood burning stove will have soot inside the stove and around the top. The bottom of the pot will also be covered in soot.

Cleanup after using a wood stove takes a lot longer than with a propane or mixed fuel stove. Who wants to cook a meal, then spend the next hour scrubbing off everything?

From my experiences, it is best to use a wood stove next to a stream. Having unlimited water and maybe some sand for scrubbing will make cleanup much easier.

Lightweight

One major point to the stove is they are usually very lightweight. Since there is no fuel canister, the typical wood stove may weigh just a few ounces.

They are the ultimate lightweight backpacking stove. If I was going for a lightweight hiking setup, I would carry a wood stove.

Conclusion

Yes, I think wood burning hiking stoves are worth the hype.

Several years ago, I was sent a Vargo wood stove to try out. I took the stove out on a couple of camping trips. Overall, I was happy with its performance. I gave the stove away to someone who was more interested in it than I was.

They may require a little more time to clean up, but their lightweight and compact size more than make up for it.

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