Comparing Wood Burning Backpacking Camp Stoves | What's Important and Why It Matters (Part Five)
In this collection of posts I am presenting 20 considerations that are important when choosing your wood burning backpacking camp stove and showing how these considerations are dealt with in four different stove designs available on the market today.
In this post I will compare the pot supports, wind and cold weather performance and the durability and craftsmanship of the Littlbug Junior, Solo Titan, Emberlit FireAnt and Vargo Hexagon wood burning backpacking camp stoves.
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Consideration 11 - Pot supports: Are your pot supports adjustable? What size pots will fit on them? If your stove has a multi-fuel option, can you adjust the space between the top of the burner and the bottom of your pot? Think faster boil times and less fuel for you to carry if you are planning to bring along an alcohol burner. One of the stoves in this comparison has adjustable pot supports (Littlbug). Keeping your pot centered on the supports becomes increasingly important if your stove's supports are close together and your pot is wider than the supports. Two of the stoves in this comparison face this constraint (Emberlit and Vargo). When you are using small or irregular shaped pots, the width of the pot supports can be too wide and your pot may not sit level. One stove in this comparison has curved pot supports that will provide a stable platform for a wide variety of pots (Littlbug).
Does Your Stove Provide a Stable Platform for Large Pots?
Does Your Stove Provide a Stable Platform for Small Bottom Containers?
Consideration 12 - Wind and Cold Weather Performance: Wind and air temperature affect boil times. Does your stove have wind protection incorporated in the design or do you need to carry an additional windscreen for it? One stove in this comparison can be rotated to position the air intake away from the wind (Littlbug) and one stove draws combustion air up from a protected space underneath the stove (Vargo). One stove company in this comparison sells a windscreen to boost their stove's performance when the wind is blowing (Solo). Smaller stoves put out less heat and in cold and windy conditions much of that heat gets carried away. You can end up waiting for a pot that never boils. Three of the stoves in this comparison have small fireboxes (Solo, Emberlit and Vargo). See Consideration 2
Consideration 13 – Durability and Craftsmanship: If it breaks, you have to fix it or worse – go without. You don't want your stove to fail or become more difficult to operatewhile you're on your trip.
Warping: If the pieces that make up your stove are flat, be aware that they will warp over time. Warping can affect how well the pieces of your stove fit together and theperformance of your stove. Two stoves in this comparison are made with flat metal (Emberlit and Vargo). Curved pieces resist warping. Two stoves in this comparison are designed with curved metal (Littlbug and Solo).
Weak Points: Watch out for pieces that might be prone to fail such as hinges made with thin wire. One stove in this comparison relies on several hinges to keep it together (Vargo).
Craftsmanship: When you purchase your stove, you shouldn’t have to complete the manufacturing process to make it safe to handle. One of the stoves in this comparison suggests that you remove the sharp edges that remain on their stove before you assemble it - for your own safety (Emberlit). One of the stoves in this comparison had a locking tab that was too wide to fit securely in its slot (Vargo). See Figure 13-1 and 13-2 for details.
In my next posting of Comparing Wood Burning Backpacking Camp Stoves | What's Important and Why It Matters, I will be discussing the complexity, leave no trace capability, available accessories, company values, manufacturing location, patent claims and the price vs value of your stove. In your search for the backpacking stove that's right for you, I hope you end up choosing a Littlbug Stove! You can check out our products here.