Wood Burning Stove - Element vs Vargo Hexagon vs Emberlit Mini vs Firefly vs Woodgas
Iím considering the purchase of new wood burning stove, preferably one that is fully collapsible/packable.
Itís relatively straightforward to research the comparative weights of the above wood burning stoves, but itís harder to understand their comparative dimensions (i.e. which one is bigger, smaller, wider, taller, etc.).
Does anyone have a chart (or photo) that shows the comparative size of each of these models?
Thanks a million!
I don't have a chart, but for the FireFly, the enclosed part of the firebox above the mesh floor of the stove is 3.25" wide by 3.25" deep by 3.25" high. The built-in pot supports add 0.75" more in height to the bottom or your pot, for a firebox volume of 42.25 cubic inches. If you use the "large pot supports", the pot will be raised another 1.5", giving you a firebox volume of 58 cubic inches below your pot bottom.
Coming in a couple weeks will be the yet-to-be revealed FireFly XL. This stove will have an enclosed firebox that is wider, deeper, and higher than the FireFly (4"x4"x4"), with built-in pot supports that lift your pot 2.5" higher still. The firebox volume below your pot will be 104 cubic inches.
Last edited by QiWiz; 02-07-2013 at 12:38.
Your post is very useful. Of the stoves listed, it’s actually been the FireFly that I’ve found myself drawn to the most due to its light weight. The purpose of my post was to determine if the weight differences among the stoves were a result of differing sizes or some other factor or factors. From what I can tell (without actually handling the products) is that the stoves are roughly similar in size. For example, the Vargo Hexagon is listed as 4 inches tall, making the FireFly taller despite being lighter. Very interesting. Thanks, again.
How much does the XL weigh?
Most of the stoves you are researching are constructed out of thicker titanium than I use, which adds weight. They are probably overbuilt for the purpose of holding up well to a wood fire and a light cooking pot with stuff in it (my opinion). For my own trail adventures, I've actually been using a one-of-a-kind hand-cut FireFly that is made out of titanium that is 25% thinner than the regular FireFly (which is 2.45 oz without FlexPort, and 2.55 oz with FlexPort). It feels flimsier in your hands, but functionally it works as well as the one I sell. It is 2.15 oz with a FlexPort.
Originally Posted by diyguy
The FireFly XL is being made from titanium that is 25% thicker than the FireFly, but still UL. I don't have a final weight yet, because the parts are being cut as I write this, but my estimate is that it will weigh about 5 to 6 ounces with a FlexPort door, which will be standard. I will hopefully have some to actually weigh in 7-10 days. I can let you know the exact weight then.
Last edited by QiWiz; 02-07-2013 at 12:36.
Given that the FlexPort door is now standard, do you recommend the notched titanium floor over the stainless mesh? How would you characterize the performance, when not feeding fuel through the FlexPort, of 1) notched floor using FlexPort as a damper to regulate intake vs. 2) mesh floor? Thanks.
Notched ti floor question
Just to clarify, the FlexPort will be standard on the FireFly XL but will remain an option on the FireFly.
Originally Posted by jeffmeh
With a closed FlexPort, I would use the mesh floor as there will not be enough air to feed the fire with the notched ti floor.
If you just want to boil water quickly, there is no need for a FlexPort. The mesh floor serves as the air supply to the fire. As the fire burns and ash forms, ventilation gets reduced a bit, but can easily be restored by tapping the stove with a stick to make the ash fall down through the mesh, opening it back up.
If you have the FlexPort option and have the Port open, there is added air supply to the fire through the Port. With the mesh floor in place, the fire has more than enough air to burn hot and quickly. If that's what you want, then no need for the notched ti floor. On the other hand, if you are trying to simmer something in a pot, grill a steak, or dry bake, it helps to have a slower burn and the notched ti floor makes that easier.
Some folks have found that if they let ash accumulate on the mesh floor, it can reduce ventilation through the floor enough that they can do slower burns without the notched ti floor. This is a little tricky to pull off, and not as reliable as the notched ti floor.
For my own use, depending on the type of cooking I'm planning on doing, I will either bring the mesh floor by itself, or both floors. I often use the ti floor for dinner meals and related simmering/grilling/baking. I rarely use it for hot breakfasts, where I'm usually just trying to get hot water for coffee and hot cereal. Each floor weighs 9 grams, or about a third of an ounce, so even taking both floors is only a minor weight penalty.
For the FireFly XL, I will be including a piece of titanium foil to use on top of the mesh (rather than instead of the mesh) as an if-needed ventilation reducer. This may become a regular FireFly option as well.
FWIW, I've been using mesh floor + open flexport when wood is wet. The extra air seems to help a bit with the smokiness and make it easier to run. Could be my imagination, but it seems to help when using poor fuel.
I use a Firefly because it's the lightest and has the most accessories/options. It's quite small but plenty big enough to get the job done. One load always heats my water which is all I ever use it for. I have the semi solid floor and the mesh floor and have found the mesh floor to be my favorite. I rarely use the door as I rarely need extra burn time to heat my water. In fact, when I do occasionally put in a bit more wood, I simply stick it through the openings under the pot which provides ample space. If I were to order one now I would probably forgo the door although it does provide the option of providing even more ventilation when burning wet wood. I'll have to experiment with it. I really like the little Esbit holder and the two windscreen/alky stove wire holders. They both work VERY efficiently. I've had other woodstoves but this is my current favorite. I used it on my Springer to Mount Rogers hike last year and was very happy with it. I burned wood all but a couple of nights. I'll have to check QiWiz's new offerings.
Cat in the Hat
It would be hard to standardize the conditions, but it would be interesting to actually test this out with wet wood.
Originally Posted by Hosaphone
Maybe take some kiln dried 2x4 pine scrap wood, split down to ~1inch diameter pieces, soak in water for 1 or 2 days, split in half and burn? Not sure how long you'd want to soak the wood for - just long enough to get the water to soak like halfway through, I think. Even then it's still not a great simulation of real conditions... Not perfect but might give you some idea.
Originally Posted by QiWiz
There are so many variables with found fuel that I think it probably just takes a lot of experience and experimenting to get a feel for things. I've only been into wood stoves for a few months, but so far it feels to me like the extra bit of ventilation helps when you have fuel that just doesn't want to burn. The grate also seems more apt to clog up with damp wood for some reason (maybe this is my imagination, I can't think of why this would be the case? Maybe the fire doesn't burn as hot so combustion not as complete?), so the open port helps in that way too.
Just my experience so far after a few months of use and back yard experimenting.
I just placed an order for a FireFly. Looking forward to playing with the new toy!
Last edited by QiWiz; 02-07-2013 at 12:35.
Last edited by QiWiz; 02-12-2013 at 12:38.
I received my FireFly (standard size version) on Friday. Thanks, Rob!
I had to play with it right away of course. Between Friday night and today I must have tested a dozen or more burns. My wife was amazed by how many hours a grown man could spend burning little twigs in the backyard. She just didnít understand that a man has to try every possible feature when he receives a new toy, right? I mean, I just HAD to try the top-down lighting method, the bottom-up method, with the tall pot supports, with the short pot supports, side feeding through the FlexPort, with the FlexPort completely closed, etc., etc.
One of my pet peeves is/are reviews without full field experience, so I will refrain from providing an ďofficialĒ review. However, first impressions are very positive. I donít recall having this much fun experimenting with a wood stove in a very long time. Far more fun than playing with my Sierra Zip stove.
Iíll report back once Iíve played with the stove some more. Thanks again, QiWiz, for the new toy.
Wow that was quick! We just talked about it a few weeks ago. amazing.
ďYou have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...Ē Dr Seuss
I can relate! Sometimes it gets a bit embarrassing.
Originally Posted by diyguy
Cat in the Hat
I'd like to thank diyguy for all the testing he has done, well beyond what he describes above. He really put the FireFly through its paces. One result was email communications that resulted in an improved design for the large pot supports (for wide-bottom pots) and a new design for optional "heavy pot supports".
Originally Posted by diyguy
For a peek at the new heavy pot supports in action with a 60-ounce pot weight, see
Last edited by QiWiz; 02-24-2013 at 21:33.
It’s true, I’ve been playing with the stove quite a bit over the past couple of weeks. I like to thoroughly test my gear before bringing items on the trail. My son’s Boy Scout pack is planning a hike next month and I’m looking forward to sharing my new toy.
I usually use alcohol, but when hiking with others it’s nice to have extra cooking capacity to enable sharing of tea/coffee/hot chocolate etc. or to supplement the group’s cooking needs when someone runs out of fuel or their stove stops working for some reason (happens more often than you’d think). Being able to burn wood allows me to serve this function without carrying extra fuel. And being able to heat water for an occasional sponge bath is a nice amenity. Plus, there’s the fun element – there’s something magical about a wood fire that you just don’t get with alcohol, Esbit, or a canister.
In any event, given my intended uses, I usually end up heating more than just a cup or two of water at a time. Hence my “heavy pot” tests with the FireFly. And with the modification to the pot stands as outlined in Rob’s videos, the stove works great. I’m really looking forward to using it on the trail.
Thanks again Rob for the great product and great communication over the past few weeks.
You're welcome. There are persistent rumors of a sale on the FireFly beginning next week. Got to find out who is leaking this information . . .
Can you dig it?
Digging it! I just ordered some more QiWiz gear to play with. Can't wait for the new toys to arrive.
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