View Full Version : Zip Stove on CDT??!?!?

10-29-2009, 12:14
Have you used a Zip stove or done a thru hike of CDT using a Zip stove? How did it go and what can you tell me about its use on the CDT? If you used a Zip, were there any areas where fire bans prevented its use? Thanks. :sun

Spirit Walker
10-29-2009, 12:54
Fire bans are ordered when the fire danger is high - and each year is different. Most of the ones we've observed were in New Mexico in May - but there have been fire bans in Montana as well. One year the entire state was closed to hiking/camping from August on. Pay attention to drought warnings. In 2006, southern NM had received only 25% of normal snowfall. We knew there was a good chance there would be a fire ban. It didn't affect us until we neared Grants though. Other years the Gila has been closed because of drought. We planned to go cold through NM - but ended up using a stove in those areas that didn't have a fire ban.

As to the Zipp - I've known hikers who used one successfully. I also know one who sent his home because he was having trouble with it in the snow of northern Montana. He thought it was too slow when he wanted warm food in a hurry. I also remember a ranger in Glacier having a fit when he saw smoke rising from the campground. He had to back down when he learned it was only a zipp stove, but he was very upset at the hiker having a fire in a non-fire area.

10-29-2009, 12:59
Hmmmmmm . ... very interesting. To avoid problems, would you advise not using a Zip then?

10-29-2009, 13:20
I use a ZIP and have taken a different stove when fire bans were in effect. I was considering carrying a tiny alcohol burner and a little alcohol to place in the stove when in fire free regions. Has anyone tried this?
I thought about carrying a few ESBIT tabs and using them in the ZIP but I understand that in the Sierras, at least, they still consider this a fire.
Some National forests consider the ZIP a fire, some do not.
I used the ZIP quite successfully on the AT through Virginia this Summer and on the Colorado Trail.
I used a canister on the JMT.
With practice the ZIP is quite fast and with practice can be used in wet rainy areas. Of course it is not as fast and easy as a canister..

10-29-2009, 16:59
If there's a fire ban, you may not be able to legally burn wood or charcoal in any kind of stove. That depends on the authority having jurisdiction or the personnel responding. In my fire district, a Zip stove would not have been allowed. The problem comes when the stove user is finished cooking and dumps the coals. Any stove burning gas or liquid fuel would be OK.

Spirit Walker
10-29-2009, 19:21
If there's a fire ban, you can't use any kind of stove that has open flames. No esbit, no alcohol, no gas. You aren't allowed to smoke outdoors either. When the west gets dry, it gets DRY. That's why they close the forests if conditions warrant.

10-29-2009, 23:00
Besides fire bans, the fuel for a woodburning stove me scarce in certain terrain.

10-31-2009, 01:02
Also, I have to admit-I have been camping in areas that were under a fire ban. I was able one time that I remember to have a wood stove. But I was so scared of even the little sparks and things floating up in the air that the cooking time was short and sweet and that thing was put out quick. To say the least I did not enjoy the meal like one usually might. This is in my thoughts and so the PR type of approach might be better for my nerves and etc. So, just thinking and all. I feel neat about using a Zip in cool and wet weather. No prob I think, starting a fire (I'm real confident on that part). It's the dry times that worry me. Anyone else there? Man, I'd hate to start a forest fire.

Spirit Walker
10-31-2009, 11:50
When we hiked the CDT in 2006, we met a section hiker in the Wyoming desert who stated that he had started 5 grass fires in the week he had been on the trail. We were flabbergasted. None of them were bad fires, but still - It isn't that difficult to find a sandy spot in that area (on the jeep track or sandy wash) to set up your stove.

Several PCT hikers have started bad fires on that trail. So far, AFAIK, it hasn't happened on the CDT. As you say, I'd hate to be the first.

11-02-2009, 19:49
In my hiking experience the forest fires I saw set by hikers were people who made their fires upon inappropriate surfaces. For example, non thinking they made their fire on a forested bed of pine needles. The fire went down and then erupted on the surface later. It's amazing how some folks miss this first step-always make your fire on dirt or rock or something, not on combustible material.

11-02-2009, 20:13
What is a zip stove?

11-04-2009, 23:52
njordian2: you can do a search here and on google. Zip stove is one of many brands of stoves made for camping/backpacking wherein the fuel to run it is wood. Hence it is a woodstove. Zip comes with a fan in it which makes it real effective. One easy way to look at them is to go to Youtube. The woodstoves tend to be heavier and etc. The upside, you never have to purchase fuel.

05-29-2010, 22:43
Well, no one has made any more entries on this thread in a L-O-N-G time and so hereendeth the discussion: I bought a Pocket Rocket and am planning on using it. Thanks though, while we were talking it was great. -Chaplain

05-30-2010, 14:38
njordian2: .... The woodstoves tend to be heavier and etc. The upside, you never have to purchase fuel.
Nor carry fuel, well for more than a day at a time. I tend to pick up attractive pieces of wood during the day to fuel my Zip Stove.


Fred G
05-31-2010, 18:15
I used the Zipp stove for my CDT hike. I always placed the stove on bare ground, even on the trail at times. Only saw "No Campfire" signs, so no real issue about open fires, etc. Since I also used a pot cozy, never had the zip stove going for more time needed for boiling 2 cups H2O plus another cup while the supper cooked in the cozy.

Did use an Esbit tablet when I was above treeline with only grass and flowers around. Barley got the water warm enough to 'cook' my stuff. I learned to bring along a few handfulls of sticks.

Fred G

11-08-2010, 03:41
The Bush Buddy Ultra stove is way less complicated than the Zzip stove. I started carring one for my '07 CDT hike and have used it on 3 more thru hikes since then. It's my favorite piece of gear. No batteries or moving parts, but you better get practice starting it when it's rainy.

11-08-2010, 12:27
I can say that if you are NoBo starting in late April, New mexico has some dry patches. I actually shipped my alcohol stove set up ahead to Cumbres Pass Colorado(Chama NM) after seeing just how dry/fire prone some of the landscapes were.
On the Columbus route the trail is "fireproof" until you leave Deming (about 3 days in). Once you enter the Cookes Range segment you are walking off-trail through dry grassy fields and arid canyons. The Gila river banks, even just after the height of spring runoff, are tinder dry.
In fact while I was hiking through the Gila's canyon I came upon a large fire started by a group of river rafters. It was a surreal scene. One guy was holding a shotgun and screaming orders to his kids that were trying to put the fire out. The whole "island" went out in smoke that night and only stopped because it ran out of fuel.
Anyways, I can only speak from the experience I had which was: It was much too dry from the Mexican Border to Northern New Mexico to safely use my stove.
Once atop the snowpack of Northern New Mexico and into the San Juans of Colorado it was totally safe. In fact the rest of the hike all the way to Canada would have been safe to use my stove due to very wet weather this year.
I have used a zip stove in the Sierra since their introduction. I only switched to Alcohol in 2009. I actually built myself a little "Bush Buddy" stove for the CDT but decided against it at the last minute. I only used my alcohol stove for the crossing of the San Juan Mountains and sent it home after that.
Stoveless turned out to be quite liberating. I just put the same noodles or taters I would have cooked into a tupperware with water and let them hydrate while I hiked. Usually only meant an hour of hiking with the extra weight of the water which I would have been carrying anyways since I dry camped almost every night on the CDT.
Anyhow you did not ask about stoveless cooking but I just wanted to let you know that, at least for me, it was not the hardship I thought it would be and in fact turned out to be quite the opposite.
The single "hardship" I encountered while going stoveless was that I had lost the ability to make hot water bottles for my feet at night. This might sound like a luxury but ever since I almost died of hypothermia in a snowmelt flooded canyon one year I never forgot the survival value of being able to do so. On the CDT there was only one night I wished I could have had a hot water bottle and that was the last night of the trail. Up in Glacier it had rained and snowed on me the last three days and my bag was wet. A hot water bottle would have been just the ticket!
Anyways as far as finding fuel for your zip stove; there was plenty. Everywhere except for the snow bound areas between Cumbres Pass and San Luis Pass there was adequate fuel even though there were few trees. If you have used your zip stove for long you know that it burns anything, even cow dung, of which there is no shortage on the CDT. Some of that fuel is gonna be wet at times due to rain or snow melt but having used my zip stove for so long I know it would have worked provided I had a bit of starter.
YMMV :sun
Please don't burn the Gila:http://postholer.com/journal/images/1100/full-568-15003-IMG_1320_1_

11-09-2010, 10:06
I'm going to give the bushbuddy a shot on the CDT this comming summer.

11-09-2010, 23:14
Zzip Stoves - easier to find the link if spelled correctly. I only know because I have one (use it infrequently on the AT).

12-16-2010, 14:03
I just felt like posting because I used my Zzip stove to cook lunch at home (first time I've used it in a couple of years). I had forgotton how efficiently it uses little twigs. I got 1/2 cup of cold tap water to a boil in 4 min. flat at 30 degrees in a light breeze. I might just decide to haul it along this winter.

12-24-2010, 23:00
I'm back and I used the PR on the hike. But because of all the good reviews I continue to be intrigued with the idea of using a Zip stove!

12-25-2010, 01:24
I use a titanium sierra zip. When a fire ban is in effect I can use an alcohol stove made from a soda can and placed inside the zip or solid fuel tabs (esbit), I only do this when needed such as above tree line, desert or on glaciers, but could use in fire ban situations. Prior to hiking the JMT, I inquired about fire bans and use of the zip, along with bear cannisters and a few other things. I was told by the rangers at Yosemite NP that there would be no problem, I got her name, just in case. I don't believe I've ever heard of anyone fined for using one, but I'm sure it could happen. I've been meaning to check NP and USFS rules about the use of one. Usually the rules apply to all within that particular system.

02-09-2011, 23:33
Yeah, it would be good to get that confirmed. If it was just that person's opinion that there would be no trouble. . . . . .

02-10-2011, 01:39
I started using a zip because of the trouble of trying to carry on a flight, as well as other types of transportation, a fuel stove as well as it fuel. Unless the fuel stove as well as any fuel containers are new you could be in for a surprise. bic lighters, etc also problems. You'll have to buy fuel when you land and after use of the stove and containers, you may have to ditch them before you can fly back. It all depends on the airlines, and usually they are really strict about these things.

I travel a good deal and I use a titanium zip with Swedish fire steel to light, never had a problem with transportation. I could, one day, have trouble with my fire starter (petroleum jelly/cotton balls), or because of my hiking pole tips and any cutlery. I always declare these things, and the routine is pretty much the same when making reservations. " you may be asked to relinquish anything that security asks you to". Travel into some countries is tough, sometimes travel by ship is much easier, although timely. Sometimes one must use a guide service to help get gear into areas that are really strict. But, so far, it's been worth the trouble.

02-10-2011, 01:53
To explain: The reason Airlines don't like a used petrol burning stove is because of residues and possible actual fuel remaining in parts of the stove or a used fuel container. Hence, why I use a solid fuel burner. I know of some that ship to places or friends when there is a problem with airways. Some buy new equipment when they arrive. I've had to answer, on several occasions, about my itinerary as well as about my gear at hand. So far I've been lucky.

02-10-2011, 19:43
I sure will remember this when i start trotting around the world on airlines for purposes of backpacking. For now though, my PR will do great!

02-10-2011, 20:11
I actually have a zipstove I used in the Sierra for 15 years. So when i decided to hike the CDT last year I thought about something similar like the Bush buddy since it is lighter and does not need batteries.
I ended up making my own version of a Bush buddy out of soup cans. Then at the last minute i decided to go No-cook for the CDT and the strategy worked well for me.
I can say from what i saw out there on the trail in 2010 there would be plenty of fuel for a zipstove or a bush buddy everywhere on the CDT. Some places in New mexico and along the Idaho/Montana border were treeless but the grasses and dried up sticks from scrub brush would have been enough for my zip stove no problem.
The one caveat I have is if you go NoBo like i did and take the San Juan mountains route you might be atop snow pack for over a week. Even there I remember some dried up stuff that had fallen on the snow from the tops of trees.
If i had to do things again I would still go no-cook because i liked the simplicity and extra free time I had not fiddling with a stove.
But i wont lie, there were times i wished i had my little soup can woodburner or the zip if only for the comfort of a small fire.
If it works for you i say take the zip stove.. you will have plenty of fuel everywhere along the CDT.(Just wont always be twigs and sticks from trees)

02-10-2011, 22:59
Just thought I’d give the SOBO perspective to IceAxe’s NOBO. Like he said, there was plenty of fuel, even in the San Juans. We were on snow for a lot of the San Juans (as we fell into that camp of SOBOs who hit the dreaded San Juans too late), but still found burnable stuff at the low passes. Someone earlier in this thread said that Northern NM was a problem for fuel, but I didn’t notice any problems. Plenty of cow dung to use, not to mention if you collect twigs during your last hour of walking, you end up with a pocket-full of fuel (and also something fun to keep you going at the end of the day).
Like Ice Axe, we decided to go stoveless for the northern half of the CDT. There were a couple spots, like when we got snowed on in the Winds, where I would’ve liked to have the stove. For us, having a stove for a SOBO hike was the right thing to do—and not just because it got cold towards the end. When we finished the hike in Nov., it was getting dark at 5, so I didn’t feel like I was wasting time cooking. In fact, I felt like cooking gave me something to do.

02-11-2011, 04:06
I don't think I've ever been in a location where I couldn't find something to burn. Even on glacier or above tree-line you'll find dried animal dung as well as other stuff to burn. If I had to, I could start burning pieces of gear, camp shoes or the like, but have never even come near to that. The amount of time I save by not having to get off trail to locate fuel is considerable, as well as not having to worry about running out of fuel in the middle of cooking. Along with these reasons and not having to worry about airline policy on packing petrol stoves and it's fuel, the titanium zip, now modified to use 3-AAA batteries, is an important part of my gear. I simply don't care to use another type stove, and I have several.

02-11-2011, 04:17
To explain why I had my 2-AA zip converted to 3-AAA batteries is simply that my LED head torch operates on AAA's and after the zip has depleted the batteries, to the point of not functioning, they will still operate my head torch(5 LED's) for many hours. BTW, I had someone else do the conversion and switch box manufacture.

Spirit Walker
02-11-2011, 13:55
In NM, when they say fire ban, they mean absolutely no fires. Not even stoves like Whisperlights or butane, much less alcohol or Zipp stoves. You aren't even allowed to smoke cigarettes outdoors. Usually, they end up simply closing the Forest rather than deal with people who think that the rules don't apply to them. In 2006 the NF around Grants was closed. We had to walk the highway into town. They allowed us to walk on one of the forest roads out of town, but the trails were closed and a total fire ban was in effect. One year the entire state of Montana was closed by early August to any outdoor recreation.

02-11-2011, 14:11
I can't remember the last time, or anytime, seeing a report where X amount of acres where destroyed by fire due to a careless hikers use of his backpack stove. Cigarettes, lighting, campfires, and arson is another thing. I think someone in the gov is trying to be politically correct.

02-11-2011, 14:40
I can't remember the last time, or anytime, seeing a report where X amount of acres where destroyed by fire due to a careless hikers use of his backpack stove. Cigarettes, lighting, campfires, and arson is another thing. I think someone in the gov is trying to be politically correct.


Other examples on the PCT as well I am afraid....

Spirit Walker
02-11-2011, 23:08
We met a section hiker on the CDT who said he had started several grass fires with his alcohol stove. And he had only been out for a week. It was a very dry year.

02-12-2011, 23:22
I am pretty sure I will purchase a Zip and work with it to see if it would work for me. Has anyone taken anything other than a Bush Buddy or Zip wood stove on CDT?

02-12-2011, 23:44
I am pretty sure I will purchase a Zip and work with it to see if it would work for me. Has anyone taken anything other than a Bush Buddy or Zip wood stove on CDT?

You'll see a lot of homemade alcohol stoves. A lot of hikers will ask to borrow your zip when they have ran out of fuel. If you do let them, prepare for the "it really sooted up my pot" complaints.

I recommend the titanium zip, Gerber sport saw 3oz, if you use AAA batteries for LED lights, convert the fan to run off 3 AAA's, rather than the single AA then use these when the fan no longer runs well, will run a 5 led light for quite a long time. If using AA LED's then do nothing.

02-12-2011, 23:58
The zip allows me to pack bulk rice, noodles etc. 20 mins, or longer, cook time is nothing when the fuel is just lying on the ground. A cup of uncooked rice will make at least 3 cups of cooked. 1/3 cup of uncooked rice cooked with dehydrated veggies and/or meat in it makes one big meal. The thing about uncooked rice is it's as good or better than dehydrated food items, noodles not quite so. Meals I prepare using the zip could be done with a petrol stove, if you have porters toting petrol for you.

02-13-2011, 19:47
I can't remember the last time, or anytime, seeing a report where X amount of acres where destroyed by fire due to a careless hikers use of his backpack stove. Cigarettes, lighting, campfires, and arson is another thing. I think someone in the gov is trying to be politically correct.

I was on the PCT last year and a thru hiker started a fire coming down off of the San Juans (i think that is where it was). Burnt 35 acres. He accidentally kicked over his alcohol stove in the middle of some desert scrub. Gave himself some bad burns trying to put it out but it didn't matter. They ended up having to rescue the hikers with a helicopter.

I met the guy and hiked with him a little bit later on. Nice guy and it was completely unintentional. He actually works at a camp and one of the things he teaches is fire safety. Just goes to show that it can happen to anyone and that you should be exceptionally careful.

That said some of the ecosystems we hike through are meant to burn regularly. Obviously i'm not condoning starting forest fires but if you build your house in a an area where fires are a part of the ecology then you have no right to complain when it burns down.

02-16-2011, 23:11
In my post what I meant was has anyone used other brands of woodburning stoves on cdt other than the one mentioned: Zip. Bush Buddy, etc. Like the Stratus Trailstove. Has anyone here used that stove on CDT/ Thanks.

02-17-2011, 11:04
I don't know if this one has been used on the CDT but "Uncle Tom" used the 4 Dogs Bush Cooker II on the PCT last year, it uses wood, alcohol and esbit, about 3.5 oz.


02-17-2011, 15:44
I know some of the UL forums talk about using the ti-tri Caldera Cones since they are made of titanium and you can thus burn wood, alcohol or esbit in them. But they aren't the lightest choice for the larger pots. I know a guy who used it in his Colorado Trail Hike and seemed to like it. It obviously isn't as efficient at wood burner as some of the others mentioned above but does allow multiple fuel choices.


02-19-2011, 00:10
4Bears: Wow, never heard or seen one of them. Looks pretty cool . . . . oh, ahem, HOT! Thanks 4Bears. I am going to read all that stuff on those stoves.

04-16-2011, 10:43
OK, here I go!!!!! Here is a catepillar crawling: MSR Whisperlite to Stratus Wood Stove to Pocket Rocket to finally Caldera Cone. This is for CDT. I'll keep the others around as different hikes call for different stoves. AND as the ole saying goes, "Variety is the spice of life". I think the Caldera Cone setup will be lighter then PR. Work just as well for my needs. Thanks one and all.

07-10-2012, 23:27
Over a year now since he last entry onto this thread. Conclusion: fear of starting a fire has led me to ditch the idea of a Zzip. I purchased a Pocket Rocket and also a Caldera Cone. Will switch between the two depending on circumstances, fire danger, etc., At the worst, go stoveless. CDT attempt is coming up this next Spring/summer 2013.