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Rift Zone
10-19-2007, 18:03
Have any of you actually thru-hiked with a wood burner? I notice some of you are messing around with designs but have any of you actually had to rely on one for thru-hiking? If so, how was the experience? Were you able to come up with adequate fuel even in the well picked over areas around shelters? Where there times when rain/wet wood forced you to eat cold meals? Did you utilize any firestarters to help out? Are there long sections of trail with no wood available at all? Would you rely on them in the future or do you now go for more typical hiker fuels?

I'm looking at bringing my wood-burner along as my only source of fire and would really appreciate any input from those that have been there. Thx!

Appalachian Tater
10-19-2007, 20:21
I was big into campfires and only a few times was fuel "scarce" and most of the time that could be remedied by picking up some branches on the way back from getting water. Those little wood stoves use only a few twigs. I don't thing fuel would be a problem except maybe in places where you aren't going to camp anyway, up in alpine zones or on rocky ridges.

I was always able to get a fire going with alcohol even if the wood was wet. In the actual rain it might be a different story.

I thought about using a woodburner but decided that the sooty mess wouldn't be worth it.

River Runner
10-19-2007, 21:01
I thought about using a woodburner but decided that the sooty mess wouldn't be worth it.

Amen!

You may want to check this out for information on using woodburning stoves for backpacking. Some of the reports are just now being updated, so check & make sure the date is recent or check back in a few more days.

http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Cook%20Gear/Stoves/Makaira%20Stainless%20Pack%20Stove%20SPS/

They would be more useful in areas where resupply wasn't possible as frequently as on the AT IMHO.

V8
10-19-2007, 21:39
I remember using the Zzip stove years ago on backpacking trips, but the drawback besides sooty pot was having to tend it quite closely - much little wood burns very quickly, and erratically, since you are using different types of twigs all the time.
Maybe the newer varieties extend the burn - I dunno.

weary
10-19-2007, 23:09
I used nothing but my Zip Stove in 1993. Soot was a total non problem. I kept my Zip in a grocery store plastic bag, and replaced it at every store stop. Wood was never a problem, though I commonly picked up a handful or two during the day. The frequent need to add fuel was a bit of a nuicance. That's why I particularly looked for the largest wood I coiuld find that fit the Zip firebox. Often these were the blackened knubs left after a campfire. Though occasionally I would find decent sized chunks broken up by hiker boots.

Also I quickly learned to break up fairly big stuff by using a "vee" notch in a tree, or sometimes the cracks between shelter logs.

The only fire starter I used were matches and scraps of birch bark taken from fallen limbs.

A wood-burning Zip stove is ideal for someone like me who tends to disinfect water by boiling and to cook meals of real rice and other stuff that requires 20 minutes of cooking -- sometimes longer. From time to time if someone had extra honey or syrup, I would treat shelter mates with pancakes, never worrying about rationing precious fuel.

There is no perfect trail stove, but the Zip is almost ideal as far as I am concerned.

Weary

Rift Zone
10-20-2007, 00:53
Thx for your input. I was leaning toward taking my wood burner but wanted to rule out any unforseen issues before I committed myself to an error in judgement. I am now fairly confident that my wood burner will do just fine. Especiallly in light of pancakes on the trail. Yumm! It doesn't get much better than that and my attempts to make them on other fuels always wound up in disaster.

Oh, a heads up for all you wood burning stove engineers out there: my stove is also a custom job and quite distinct from others I've seen. I regret not being able to share it with you now but I'll be sure to post some images and stats in the custom gear forum when I get back to basecamp. I think you will be pleased with the direction I have taken it.

rafe
10-20-2007, 10:34
I've done a few long sections with a Zip stove. It can be done. But it's a fussy stove. Canister and alcohol stoves will get your dinner cooked a lot faster with a lot less bother.

superman
10-20-2007, 14:29
The soot was not a problem since I kept the pan and the stove in plastic bags that I got when I re-supplied. I used the zip stove on the Long Trail in 99. I used a zip stove until the Smokies in 00. The reason I switched to alcohol was the zip stove took the most fiddling when I least felt like fiddling. Pat and I use it on our weekend or section hikes. It's great for making extras like soup, hot chocolate, etc. The zip stove is a great stove but I was glad that I switched to alcohol on my thru hike.

SweetAss03
10-20-2007, 15:50
I'm glad that Terrapin and Superman spoke up. I've NEVER used a Zip Stove but I have seen a couple. IMO what a pain in the A@@. I'm sure it can and has been done. But when you get to where you are going...the last thing you want is to look around for wood splint to put in you stove and build a little fire. When it is raining...and it will rain (and snow) you don't want to mess around with this thing.

I'm NOT dogging YOU or your STOVE. If you think is what you want to do then by all means...Hike your own Hike. However there are better (easier) ways. Alcohol stoves are alright, White gas stoves are alright, I personally like my pocket rocket...twist, twist, twist...unfold the pot stands...twist the gas valve...light the gas and start cooking NOW. AND all of the above stoves are smaller and lighter. Yours, being a custom job, might be different I don't know. I DO KNOW that it is hard to part with things that you made, even in light of better gear.

Good luck with your hike, have fun and enjoy it. EVERY STEP GETS BETTER!

SweetAss

Roland
10-20-2007, 15:56
HYOH, but unless you do it my way, you're making a mistake. :rolleyes:

cowboy nichols
10-20-2007, 17:52
I've used the Sierra zip and really like it , I'm a coffee adict and I set my stove up at nite in the vestibule all I have to do is reach out and lite it and have my coffee in bed that said , I have ordered Mecmike pepsi stove and am going to test it . As I grt older I am trying to get lighter without giving up comfort. Cowboy

Rift Zone
10-20-2007, 18:27
But it's a fussy stove. Canister and alcohol stoves will get your dinner cooked a lot faster with a lot less bother. I am rather surprized by that. I thought more highly of the Zip. More to the point, I would have never guessed that any wood burner would prove less worthy than alcohol. Then again, I don't think too highly of alcohol stoves.

To be sure, I own an INSANE amount of gear. I have 3 white gas stoves: Whisperlite, Simmerlite and Dragonfly. Two isobutane: Pocket Rocket and a similar Primus model. Two Trangia and custom Guiness alcohol... Not to mention my wood burners. I have used all of them in the field and know what to expect from each of them. I do concede that the wood burner does present some issues depending on environmental conditions at the time. Having said that, a camp fire is at its best when building one proves to be most challenging -even a small camp fire in a stove is a joyous and glorious thing, especially in a cold and wet world. Besides, I can make toast and pancakes with it. LOL -try that with a Jet Boil.



Yours, being a custom job, might be different I don't know. I DO KNOW that it is hard to part with things that you made, even in light of better gear.Ya, I feel that. We all seem to have a greater fondness of our own pet projects. But I can say without exaggeration that the wood burner smokes them all. Only the custom alcohol stove weighs less. I would be shocked and amazed if there were any production model backpacking stove that could yeild a faster boil time. In fact, I got a pound of pine nuts that says there aint one.



HYOH, but unless you do it my way, you're making a mistake. LOL

shelterbuilder
10-20-2007, 18:36
In the end, it's always HYOH!:D And there are ways to get around some of the "problems" with Zip Stoves (bag your sooty pots, gather a couple of extra handsful of fuel now if you expect rain later, etc.). I haven't used a Zip in years - of course, I'm STILL partial to the old Svea/Optimus white gas monsters, but then again, the Zip is a small, self-contained campfire - and who doesn't like a little campfire now and then!:D

Good luck - let us know how it goes for you.

SweetAss03
10-21-2007, 01:21
"HYOH, but unless you do it my way, you're making a big mistake."

No one said anything like that... If fact quite the opposite.

I believe, but maybe I'm wrong...Rift Zone posted a question on Whiteblaze.net asking for input. Now if he was walking down the trail and people were walking up to him giving unsolicited advice... well then I would be able to see you point Roland.

Frosty
10-21-2007, 01:40
"HYOH, but unless you do it my way, you're making a big mistake."

No one said anything like that... If fact quite the opposite.Maybe Roland read this the way I did :



Hike your own Hike. However Anytime I see a "however" or a "but" after someone says HYOH, I have to smile.

River Runner
10-21-2007, 02:12
With all the fire bans currently going in place, a wood stove could be a problem if the bans aren't lifted before your thru hike starts.

SweetAss03
10-21-2007, 03:59
So, you would rather it read "Hike your own hike, but since you asked."

I understand the piont you are trying to make Frosty but again I piont to the fact this man is asking us, as a whole, for input.

Do I care if he takes a wood burning stove? Not one bit. "However" there is a reason you see very few (I saw one) wood burning stoves on the trail(s). It is the same reason why I only saw 1 hiker carrying a pair of cross country skis, only 1 hiker with a 4 man tent and only 1 hiker carrying a gallon of white gas (carrying because there was no more room in his back.)

I never saw the man with the skis again (it was on the approach trail that I saw him) "BUT" I have a feeling that at some point within lets say the second day he found the skis useless.

The man with the 4 man tent found a day hiker with a family at home and traded his 4 man tent with for the day hikers 2 man. The 4 man tent was a bit to heavy for a 2200 mile trip. This man had other problems which he sought other advice to correct. It is too bad that he waited until getting on the trail in order to ask. The man at Neals Gap helped him "Hike His Own Hike"..."BUT" it was for a price. He made his date with Big K.

The man carrying the gallon of white gas...He was not sure how much gas he would use in the 40 miles to Neals gap (he was also carrying 7 knives and a hatchet)...whatever. I saw him at Trail Days but never heard if he found Big K or not. I hope he did.

Me personally, I'll let you take what ever you want hiking with me, I wont say a word about it.
"HOWEVER" if YOU ASK, I have enough RESPECT for people that I'll give you the best no B.S. answer I have. People in prison hate that about me.

I know I don't know every thing...after my thru and lots more trail miles...I read on a thread here "why do people buy light hiking poles and then roll duct tape around them?" I took the duct tape off my poles the next day.

Happy Hikes guys

P.S. It takes about 10oz of white gas to get to Neals gap for a resupply.

rafe
10-21-2007, 09:45
[quote=shelterbuilder;430325] the Zip is a small, self-contained campfire - and who doesn't like a little campfire now and then!:D quote]

That "personal campfire" is really one of the most unique and under-rated aspects of a Zip stove. If you're careful -- and under the right conditions -- you can even use it inside a shelter.

Rift Zone
10-21-2007, 19:00
the Zip is a small, self-contained campfire - and who doesn't like a little campfire now and then!:D

That "personal campfire" is really one of the most unique and under-rated aspects of a Zip stove.I'm with ya on that one.

-even a small camp fire in a stove is a joyous and glorious thingI'm convinced! I'm taking my wood burner. The amount of energy I spend gathering wood and then making it burn has certainly got to be less than haveing to locate, purchase and then carry more conventional fuels. It would also amount to dramatic weight savings. Then there are the psychological implications: we all have flame, but I will have fire.


Do I care if he takes a wood burning stove? Not one bit. "However" there is a reason you see very few (I saw one) wood burning stoves on the trailThat's right! Give it to me straight.

As for the whole HYOH thing... If you dont do it my way, it's not that you're doing it wrong... You just might not be as comfortable as me. :D lol Lighten up guys.

shelterbuilder
10-21-2007, 19:18
I'm with ya on that one.
I'm convinced! I'm taking my wood burner...Then there are the psychological implications: we all have flame, but I will have fire....

I like the distinction that you make between the two. After all - like they say on TV - "Fire represents your life!":D

gaga
10-21-2007, 20:01
i use the whisperlite int. and the windscreen for it is a copy made by me of this--> http://www.littlbug.com/ the junior size, so i have a wood burning stove to, a real fire is relaxing, just don't use wet wood unless you really want to smoke yourself ;) bears love smoked meat!

Rift Zone
10-30-2007, 12:56
Oh, a heads up for all you wood burning stove engineers out there: my stove is also a custom job and quite distinct from others I've seen. I regret not being able to share it with you now but I'll be sure to post some images and stats in the custom gear forum when I get back to basecamp. I think you will be pleased with the direction I have taken it. I revived this thread because I am back at basecamp and have posted my stove in the custom gear forum... It can be found here if you are interested in taking a look: http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?p=438232#post438232

Thx Shelterbuilder, there certainly is a distinction between them. I think I'm gonna be happy with my choice in the long run. In fact... I already have plans to build another wood burner. I think I worked out a way to make the entire structure more solid. If all goes well... It will easily be able to handle even large cast iron cookware full of slop. We shall see! :rolleyes:

Dakota Dan
10-30-2007, 18:36
We are trying to keep weight down and try only to depend on mail drops as much as possible, we want to eliminate store bought fuels. The fuel/stove plan is to use a Sierra Zip Stove or a homemade one. Currently we are looking at a bunch of homemade designs, but JR has a Zip stove that really does pretty good, just don't want to feed it AA batteries. Blackened pots heat faster, so thats not a problem. Having NOT to depend on store bought fuels (or open camp fires) would really be very nice. I'm sold. DD

nutlub
10-30-2007, 21:25
Great thread!

I'm a Zip Stove user too. Most of the pros and cons have been already disscused, but the one pro/con? that people have yet to mention is based on you personal hiking style. ...I tend to spend more time in camp then some of my other hiking buddies. They cook their meal and then suit up and go...Me, I like to lounge a bit...sipping my coffee (eating my pancakes ..:-)..then I go.

I kinda get a kick out of the camping in the woods part while some get more of a kick out of the hiking part. Wood burners might boil water faster or slower, depends on who you ask. But they are slower in that you want to hang around them more, stare at the fire, warm your hands, feed little twigs in them...etc. That's my take on it anyway. Granted my longest excursion with the zip was 7 days....maybe on a longer trip it would be more of a hassle.

Oh yeah, for all you zip users, I definitely recommend getting the cross-grate thing-a-ma-bob (http://zzstove.com/mcart/images/IT6_CWINDOWSDesktopZZZZsra_b17_t.jpg). It lets me feed bigger sticks into the stove and there by lets me sit and fiddle with it less.

the_iceman
10-31-2007, 06:47
I only saw one that was carried by a section hiker. I do not know if she had nasty wood or did not know how to use the stove. This one had a battery powerd fan. It was heavy, loud, and smelled really bad. I was glad I had my jet boil.

I did hike with people who always cooked on a fire. One guy in particular liked to cook on a fire and I never saw him not be able to start one. Even if he rolled into camp after dark he would get a small fire going and cook dinner and breakfast.


During the colder weather I would have a fire and I always picked up Brich bark off the ground as I hiked which made a great starter.

weary
10-31-2007, 10:54
....I thought about using a woodburner but decided that the sooty mess wouldn't be worth it.
For some of us wood burning is as much a matter of philosophy as practicality. I like to be as self sufficient as possible in the woods -- and at home for that matter.

I heated my house exclusively with wood for 18 years, and continue to have a wood burning kitchen range, which along with passive solar heat provides 65 percent of my home energy needs.

I find the idea of cooking in the woods and mountains where wood is abundant, with manufactured alcohol from factories 1,000 miles away, or refined oil from the middle east or South America, more repugnant than a bit of wood soot.

Weary

envirodiver
10-31-2007, 11:22
Also a Zip stove user. One thing to keep in mind with them is that there is a learning curve. It took me a while to get used to it. I carry a bit of fire starter that I shave a small piece off of when using wet wood.

But, I'm a big fan (no Pun intended) of the stove and if you're willing to shell out about $130 they now have a Ti model that weighs about 7 oz. Sometimes it is a bit of an inconvenience to get into camp after a long day, when you're wet cold and very hungry and still have to collect wood (I rarely use anything larger than my thumb, then break it up) start the stove, etc. But when that flame gets going and the heat starts emanating and the food starts cooking. It's much more worth it.

The biggest plus for me, is that I can carry 1 extra AA battery and not have to worry or calculate how much fuel I have remaining in my canister or how much more fuel I may need till the next fuel purchase stop.

rafe
10-31-2007, 11:27
Zip is sooty, heavy and time-consuming but has one great advantage (at least for hiking on the AT) -- you never have to worry about fuel. You just have to keep a spare AA cell. One AA cell is good for about 6 hrs. run time. I used a Zip for a couple of 100+ mile sections but eventually put it aside.

Rift Zone
10-31-2007, 16:34
I hear ya Dakota, The soot means nothing to me either. In fact, I believe itís a natural anti-septic. Spreading a bit if it around is fine by me. Iím not really fond of the zip. Too small of a fire box for my taste.-hehe It is also a bit heavy for wood burners and I donít like the fan. You do need that air coming from below to make a wood burner worth while tho. A solid surface means the fire is burning at less than full capacity. But you donít really need a fan to let it breathe well. I just suspend my fire. That lets it breathe plenty well.

Besides, I cant begin to tell you how much hassle I received from conventional fuels. They represent a dirty trade for one. Not to mention Iíve carried to much, carried to little and not been able to carry it at all cause a couldnít find the stuff. There is no way you could convince me that building a fire is any worse that all that crap.

Excellent point nutlub. I love to hike as much as I love to camp. There are times when Iím still enjoying a meal when I find myself alone in a once full shelter. There are others times when Iím up and out. But Iím with you, tending to a camp fire as part of relaxing in camp is big points for the charm factor.



For some of us wood burning is as much a matter of philosophy as practicality.:banana

Smile
10-31-2007, 19:52
For some of us wood burning is as much a matter of philosophy as practicality. I like to be as self sufficient as possible in the woods -- and at home for that matter.

I find the idea of cooking in the woods and mountains where wood is abundant, with manufactured alcohol from factories 1,000 miles away, or refined oil from the middle east or South America, more repugnant than a bit of wood soot.

Weary

Well said Weary, I toast a toast to you tonight! :)

sirbingo
11-01-2007, 16:03
Oh yeah, for all you zip users, I definitely recommend getting the cross-grate thing-a-ma-bob (http://zzstove.com/mcart/images/IT6_CWINDOWSDesktopZZZZsra_b17_t.jpg). It lets me feed bigger sticks into the stove and there by lets me sit and fiddle with it less.

Nut,

Where did you get your cross-grate thing-a-ma-bob (http://zzstove.com/mcart/images/IT6_CWINDOWSDesktopZZZZsra_b17_t.jpg)? Is it the X thing in the picture? I wonder how easy it woud be to make my own.

:-?

JAK
11-01-2007, 16:07
I've been meaning to make a Y shaped cross-grate thing-a-ma-bob. Using 3 pieces of 120 degrees curves metal, with slots, so that they store round with the curve out, but fit together into a Y with the curve in.

Rain Man
11-01-2007, 18:02
I only saw one that was carried by a section hiker. I do not know if she had nasty wood or did not know how to use the stove. This one had a battery powerd fan. It was heavy, loud, and smelled really bad.

One "pro" of a wood stove is that they can be used to create smoke to keep mosquitoes away, so they serve a double duty.

I just finished Nimblewill Nomad's book, "Ten Million Steps," (he hiked from Florida to Canada) and he carried a wood-burning stove. I think his plans/drawings for it are online.

Rain:sunMan

.

mbanja
11-05-2007, 21:11
My favorite part of my zip stove is that you provide entertainment for everyone else at the shelter. It's either "WHOA!!! that thing rocks" or "WHOA, I could have cooked my dinner, yours, eaten both, and made coffee in the time you've spent screwing with that thing." I've just settled back into my pocket rocket because it is just so stinking reliable - unless you are running out of fuel or can't tell how much is left.
I never had any problems finding dry wood. There are tons of dry twigs under shelters, and charred bits from the fire pit work great. Dead branches stuck in small trees are great. The key problem is getting it started. denat alcohol works well, but dip a stick into it then light the stick on fire - do not pour alcohol into the stove (please learn from my mistake that almost caught a C battery on fire). A neat way that I've found to start it is to have a small film can of tiny cotton balls covered in vaseline. You have to have a pile of tinder about three handfulls in size to really be able to boil 1 liter. then you have to keep feeding it. and feeding it. and feeding it. The woodburner is the only type of stove that doesn't fall under "fire and forget". I only get to section a few times a year, and I think that in a thru it would be a little irritating to go through every day when you just want to sit and relax. Or, it could give you something to do. I guess it depends largely on what your shelter/site habits are.

rafe
11-05-2007, 21:53
Lots of tricks for starting a fire in a zip stove. For a while I carried a few oz of denatured alcohol. Put kindling in a Ziploc, add a bit of alcohol, close the bag and shake well. Dump contents of bag into stove chamber, light with one match, and voila!

Of course, birch bark is the cat's meow, if you can find it.

astrogirl
01-19-2008, 22:40
My favorite part of my zip stove is that you provide entertainment for everyone else at the shelter. It's either "WHOA!!! that thing rocks" or "WHOA, I could have cooked my dinner, yours, eaten both, and made coffee in the time you've spent screwing with that thing." .

I've been using the bushbuddy ultra, and man, that is so true!

If there's nothing great for starter, I use a little blob of hand sanitizer on a leaf, then make a little tee pee of sticks over that and light it with a match. Pretty easy, and I carry the hand sanitizer anyway, so it's a dual use item for me.

I used damp wood last night at Dick's Dome, and it seemed like it took forever to boil. Since there was a roaring campfire and my pot is sooty anyway, I made tea on that. Much quicker.

I need some more practice, I think. I can get a raging stick fire going with little trouble, but I must not be using big enough fuel because it's slooow to boil. So, how to get optimum heat and faster boil times? The chamber for wood is pretty small...

This water *was* super cold (low temps, crunchy snow on the ground everywhere), but still.

Bob S
01-20-2008, 02:02
I have a homemade version of the Woodgas stove and it has some soot but not like a campfire. It is noisy, makes more noise then my Svea 123. I kind of like feeding it wood when cooking. It puts out some real heat, I first made an aluminum cross bar to support pots and it seriously melted it the first time I tried it. The aluminum was dripping into the fire. The second one made out of stainless steel holds up fine.

I made the stove itself out of a set of stainless steel canister set. The smaller canister I turned upside down and put inside the larger one. When it’s fired up, you can see a vortex of fire coming up out of it. I should work on uploading a few pictures of it.

Critterman
01-20-2008, 09:50
I have a homemade version of the Woodgas stove and it has some soot but not like a campfire. It is noisy, makes more noise then my Svea 123. ............

If it is noisier than a Svea 123 it must really roar.

scavenger
01-20-2008, 11:12
I wish the bushbuddy didnt cost so damn much... or if i could figure out how to make a dual-burner like that out of tin cans...

SlowLightTrek
01-20-2008, 11:15
You don't need a wood stove. Just build a small fire, drag out some coals, and set your pot on the coals. I met a thru-hiker in MD last year doing this. He said there was only a couple of times he couldn't get a fire going.

4eyedbuzzard
01-20-2008, 11:45
I've had more than a few visits by rangers over the years due to the smoke, just checking to see what was burning. I twice had visits from rangers while using my Zip during fire/burn bans. One(in NJ) allowed me to keep using it, one (in NY) did not. I think it often becomes a judgment call by the ranger, but I wouldn't carry the Zip if there was a fire ban in effect. Yes, the fire is contained, but they still spit out embers occaisionally if the wood pops as well as sparks/glowing ash particles in the smoke. Another consideration is that it isn't that much more difficult to just build a small cooking fire at an existing fire ring/fireplace, etc at a shelter or campsite. A portable grate(if you even need that) weighs a few ounces.

I like the Zip for trips where backwoods camping takes precidence over making miles. Makes it easier to cook real food, not having to worry about fuel. Fry up some bacon and eggs, pancakes, make stew, a sauteed chop, fry that fish you caught, rice, even heat up water for bathing.

I don't think I'd take it on a thru-hike though. When able I'd use campfires for the same purpose but have a fuel stove for morning coffee, rehydrate type meals, etc. Faster and more convenient.

But...HYOH and CYOS (choose your own stove)

scavenger
01-20-2008, 11:54
You don't need a wood stove. Just build a small fire, drag out some coals, and set your pot on the coals. I met a thru-hiker in MD last year doing this. He said there was only a couple of times he couldn't get a fire going.


Yeah but you cant do that in the increasing number of places where campfires are prohibited, unless you want to risk a fine and possibly getting banned from the park.

88BlueGT
01-20-2008, 14:48
I'm surprised that one one person mentioned that they had a BushBuddy. Is this because of their price? I am looking to get my hands on a used bushbuddy ultra (5.1oz's) because I already have 3 stoves so I dont NEED it, just want it but dont want to pay full price lol. Does anyone have any comments on this wood burning stove? Seems like it performs pretty well, half the weight (if not more) than the zzip, no batteries, etc.

chiefdaddy
01-20-2008, 14:57
I've said it before and will say it again I am prone to cooking over anything, I have a jet boil and will take off the cozy leave off the top and cook with it over coals from a fire, I carry a clamp handle that works fine for the job and foil for a top while cooking like this. I also carry a beer can stove that works great with the jetboil mug. I have used a home made wood burner on a week long trip and ended up trashing it for a regular camp fire for cooking, rocks logs and coals are pretty low tech and do a great job of "boiling water". I carry canisters of fuel for the jet boil also for the quick fixes while stuck in freezing rain in north ga and not able to get warm ect.

Bob S
01-20-2008, 15:26
Really there is no “wrong stove” it’s all in what you like and just as often what fuel you like.
Personally I never liked canister stoves. And am partial to gasoline fired stoves. Lately (last 5-years) I have been bitten by the alcohol stove bug, and also wood stove, but I see the wood stoves as a secondary to others. I use them and like them (they are slowly climbing up the ladder of choice) but so far have not moved them to my top choice. But you can’t beat them when you want to boil water to drink, they cost nothing for fuel.

socalhiker
01-20-2008, 22:39
I have been very pleased with the ease of use and even the pleasure of boiling water with the Bushbuddy Ultra.

NorthCountryWoods
01-22-2008, 10:01
Like the bushbuddy, but why is it so expensive? :confused:

Compared to the zip or woodgas that are more efficient, I don't get it.

scavenger
01-22-2008, 10:57
Like the bushbuddy, but why is it so expensive? :confused:

Compared to the zip or woodgas that are more efficient, I don't get it.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/xdpy/forum_thread/3297/index.html?skip_to_post=24193#24193

shows some ideas for how to make one out of tin cans for no cost

Johnny Swank
01-22-2008, 11:37
I think the next time I thru-hike, I'll probably split the difference and cook about 50% or more using wood, but carry about 4 oz of alcohol/stove for those days when I'm not up to starting a fire. I've played with a couple of different wood burners, but have largely settled on making a tripod and hanging the pot from that. All you need is about 6' of cord, with a tautline hitch tied to one end to adjust the pot height. Super easy, light, and no batteries needed.

I've recently gone more hi-tech though, and added a 1/2" S-hook to this setup so I can take the pot off the fire easier.

BirchBark
01-22-2008, 13:32
Greetings-

I utilized a Zip Stove for pretty much the entirety of my 800 mile shake-down hike up the AT last summer.

Dry wood was never a problem, as finger-sized sticks and leftover embers from fire pits abounded. When I had an inkling that rain was coming, I would simply stash away some dry bits in a ziplock bag for future use. Once the Zip is truly well lit it will burn nearly anything that can be burned, including wet wood.

For my usage, I found only two downsides to the Zip. Firstly, by the time I had sparked a decent fire and had my meal cooked and ready to eat, the people I'd stopped with for lunch would usually be beginning the process of packing up. Having said that, as I became more experienced with the routine, meal prep times improved drastically. Secondly, every gram of the one-pound (and then some) Zip began to weigh more and more heavily on my mind as I progressed north. Hanging out with people using nearly weightless soda can stoves, titanium alcohol burners and those folks who elected to forego stoves altogether had the ultimate outcome of my Zip being sent home in the mail. In retrospect, I think it was a mistake to send it away.

Here's why...

There are benefits to a small wood stove (or in the case of the Zip, a mini-forge) that I valued more than the weight savings of the titanium alcohol setup to which I'd switched (thank you, Unicycle Pirate!). These include nearly endless cooking time, usage as a wet sock dryer and an endless supply of free fuel that did not involve coming into town ("Man, my canister ran out, do you mind if I borrow yours? I'm starving."). Other intangibles include a pleasant aroma (the joy of forgetting your own stench, if even for very brief moments, is very important), having access to a portable campfire and even using it as a bug repellent device.

The only other thing I might mention is the mess factor. It was a non-issue for me, as it would have been ridiculous to worry about a few sooty fingers when the rest of my body was in such a drastic state of filthiness.


Have fun out there.
BirchBark!

ScottP
01-22-2008, 13:52
I think that the idea of a woodstove is pretty silly. A fire can be equally effective if i is well built. I cooked over a small fire every day on the PCT last year.

I drove 4 titanium stakes into the ground to set my pot on (aluminum will melt), and surrounded it with rocks of a decent height, (but still left enough room for the fire to get oxygen). I got a fire going, then inside the four stakes, I built a log-cabin style fire out of sticks about the thickness of one of my fingers and around 4" long.

A wood fire kicks out a lot of heat. In good conditions I could easily collect firewood, build/start my fire, and boil water faster than an alcohol stove could boil water.

The AT is a different beast--it's wet, and starting a fire will always be a bit slower, but I see no reason for a 10 ounce woodstove when a plain old fire works just as well.

mystic
01-22-2008, 15:46
I used the Zip stove for a couple weeks going North from Damascus. I loved it. I weighed a little alcohol stove + fuel bottle v.s. this and it was too close to worry. I never got sooty. I stored it in the a small black bag. I never had to actually move to get enough fuel. Look down, there are twigs in arm's reach everywhere. I didn't have to hunt up fuel in town. It drove off bugs and I'd rather smell like a nice wood fire than hiker BO.

My boil time was actually faster than my alcohol stove. But a bigger question is "Why are you in such a hurry?" You are supposed to be relaxing in nature not racing for a 4.25 minute meal. Enjoy!

If you can't light a fire in the rain you shouldn't be on the trail anyhow. I just carried a baggy of vaseline soaked cottons balls. 1 ball like that would light just about anything.

As a solo hiker it is a cheery thing to have along. Fire is natural entertainment.

mystic
01-22-2008, 15:48
Hrmm.. why can't I edit posts? Strange rule.

Anyhow to address the fire ban rule. Before I left I emailed the backcountry manager for Shenandoah and asked him if the zip stove was OK. He was very friendly and said he had been an avid Zip stove user for years and that it was fine (even in the peak of the drought).

jlb2012
01-22-2008, 16:37
Hrmm.. why can't I edit posts? Strange rule.

Anyhow to address the fire ban rule. Before I left I emailed the backcountry manager for Shenandoah and asked him if the zip stove was OK. He was very friendly and said he had been an avid Zip stove user for years and that it was fine (even in the peak of the drought).

Was that Steve Bair?

fiddlehead
01-22-2008, 17:50
Used a zip stove for a thru-hike in '95. Worked great.

Like Weary said, sometimes you find yourself looking for some firewood 5 minutes before you get to camp and then it's no problem.

I've also used them on the JMT, Nepal (for some reason, they didn't burn so well at altitude), and travelling around the world.

had some great times using my zip to boil water for other people in the stranges situations. I've posted a few of them here somewhere over the years, if you want to search???
'
They only last about one thru-hike though, then they tend to burn through the sides, especially if you're boiling water for all who are camping around you which happens more often than you would think. (boiling water can be quite a luxury sometimes, and it's easy once you have the zip buring)

tomsawyer222
01-22-2008, 18:06
Well i have a bush buddy stove and used it this past three day weekend on a trip from bears den to front royal in the snow and 10 degree weather and it worked alright but for some reason i could not get it to perform well. I believe that the air was so cold that the outer chamber could not heat up well enough to perform the secondary combustion process. I could be wrong... but i was dissapointed that it did not work but so well for the money i paid for it... I only got the bush buddy regular i dont need to pay 40 dollars for one OZ ! I believe that i need to create something to keep the outer chamber hot while using this stove in very cold temperatures

Bob S
01-22-2008, 19:07
They only last about one thru-hike though, then they tend to burn through the sides, especially if you're boiling water for all who are camping around you which happens more often than you would think. (boiling water can be quite a luxury sometimes, and it's easy once you have the zip buring)


Iíve had people want me to cook things for them several times, it gets tiring when others want you to do this for them just because they donít want to do it themselves or didnít bring a stove but somehow have food that needs to be cooked.. Once in a while is ok, but itís hard to not become a little insensitive to them when it becomes an all the time kinda thing.

mkmangold
01-22-2008, 23:24
I carry a ziploc bag with grated shavings from an artificial firelog (compressed wood/wax) to use as firestarter for my Zip stove. I use rechargeable batteries and charge them (rarely needed) with a small solar charger. My oldest son carries a JetBoil and my youngest an alcohol/esbit stove. We never worry about running out of fuel, having only wet fuel, or whether it's too cold out. I guess that's the advantage of having sons who love to camp.

Skidsteer
01-22-2008, 23:55
Well i have a bush buddy stove and used it this past three day weekend on a trip from bears den to front royal in the snow and 10 degree weather and it worked alright but for some reason i could not get it to perform well. I believe that the air was so cold that the outer chamber could not heat up well enough to perform the secondary combustion process. I could be wrong... but i was dissapointed that it did not work but so well for the money i paid for it... I only got the bush buddy regular i dont need to pay 40 dollars for one OZ ! I believe that i need to create something to keep the outer chamber hot while using this stove in very cold temperatures

Wrap it in Plumber's cloth.

oops56
01-23-2008, 00:24
Wrap it in Plumber's cloth.

Sure good idea but he will cry saying it not lite weight

SunnyWalker
01-24-2008, 00:46
I would like to ask do any of you who use Zip or other wood stoves find it inconvenient to put out the fire when you are done? I mean real thoroughly? If one was using it at night I dont think that would be a problem, by morning it would be out. But there might be other times when it might be. What about it and thanks. -SunnyWalker

GGS2
01-24-2008, 01:00
I would like to ask do any of you who use Zip or other wood stoves find it inconvenient to put out the fire when you are done? I mean real thoroughly?

Trick is to use really small twigs and other woody stuff. They will burn up really fast, and you will end up with just white ash. Add more fuel when required, but don't overdo it. After a while you will know about how much fuel you need to boil your water, or whatever.

ScottP
01-24-2008, 03:47
I just cover it up with a few inches of dirt and then toss my sleeping pad on top of it. makes for a warm night.

mystic
01-24-2008, 11:06
I would like to ask do any of you who use Zip or other wood stoves find it inconvenient to put out the fire when you are done? I mean real thoroughly? If one was using it at night I dont think that would be a problem, by morning it would be out. But there might be other times when it might be. What about it and thanks. -SunnyWalker

This isn't a problem. Leave the fan running while you eat. The fire burns out and the unit cools down by the time your are done eating. Just dump the fine white ashes out. They are 'leave no trace' since they are so fine.

scavenger
01-24-2008, 17:45
I've just made my own bushbuddy-style downdraft gasifier stove out of two tin cans. On its first test burn it achieved the gasification effect where flames come out of the vents inside the inner wall. So it works, probably much room for improvement but I will post some pictures of it later on.

SunnyWalker
01-24-2008, 20:16
Thanks for the feedback on "putting out" the "fire". Makes sense. -SunnyWalker

Skidsteer
01-24-2008, 20:19
Sure good idea but he will cry saying it not lite weight
Then he can use styrofoam. Styrofoam is light. Even lighter after the first burn. :D

betterlatethannever
01-29-2008, 15:45
In my early hiking days I used nothing but small campfires and have experimented w/ some wood-burning stoves. I never through hiked w/ one but I have met lots of people who have. Most of them carried some back-up fuel like Esbit tablets in case they were stuck in an absolute deluge and needed to heat up some vittles.

You might want to check out an alcohol stove. I like my Trangia stove but there are a thousand and one designs out there - factory made and home made.