I’ve always been somewhat skeptical about non-fuel stoves, but after taking the Solo Stove with me on a camping trip to Curtis Canyon outside Jackson, WY, it’s safe to say that I am a believer. Weighing just 9 oz. and standing at 3.8″x 4.35″, the Solo Stove definitely has the compactness any backpacker desires. When considering fuel and stands, the Solo Stove is just as, if not more, compact than the leading fuel burning stoves. What makes the Solo Stove truly unique is that it uses only twigs and other biomass to boil, heat and cook. The double wall design allows oxygen enter the burn chamber through vents and boost the combustion of the fire. The added oxygen plus the optimal airflow from the design creates a very efficient burn and very little smoke.
We got to the campsite too late get dinner going, so I decided that I would put the Solo Stove to the ultimate backpacking test…. making my morning coffee. We were camping in the high plains just beyond the Tetons, so it is always pretty windy in the morning and I was interested to see how the Solo Stove would perform. The designers claim a boil time of 8-10 minutes for 32 oz. of water.
I simply followed the directions. I collected a solid amount of dry tinder, cleared out at flat area, and lit a fire in the Solo Stove. Lighting a fire was little more difficult than I expected. I had to use some paper, but had trouble because of the wind. It took me a couple tries to get the fire lit and going but now that I know the best technique, it will be easy. Also, once the fire gets going, it burns extremely efficiently. As long as you keep adding tinder sporadically, it is easy to sustain a nice, efficient, and almost smokeless burn. We threw on our pot of water for coffee and set the timer. Surprisingly, we got almost 40 oz. of water to boil in just over 8 minutes. The Solo Stove performed far better than I expected.
In conclusion, as long as you have access to a decent amount of dry tinder and are capable of starting a fire, the Solo Stove is perfectly capable of being your one and only backpacking stove. However, in situations where I was not sure of the conditions, I would either bring a fuel burning stove or a large supply of tinder. But for any adventurer looking for a light, tinder fueled camping stove, the Solos Stove is the stove for you. Easy to carry and easy to use, it’s perfect for almost all situations and is a great piece of gear to own.
- cheap, durable
- lightweight and very compact
- no fuel required
- efficient and quick
- quick boil time
- easy to use, even in moderate winds
- requires dry tinder
- can be difficult to light at first
- may not be the best in harsh conditions
Packed size: Height 3.8 inches, Width 4.25 inches
Assembled size: Height 5.7 inches, Width 4.25 inches
Weight: 9 oz
Materials: 304 stainless steel, nichrome wire
Fuel: sticks, twigs, pine cones and other biomass
Boil time: 8-10 mins (32 fl oz of water)