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bushbuddy stove as a snow melter
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Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
bushbuddy stove as a snow melter on 01/19/2008 12:39:19 MST Print View

It has been a long while since I winter camped but I'm looking forward to joining a couple other MN BPLers on the SHT in late Feb. That has me dithering over a whole new gearlist, including stove options.

So I took advantage of what will likely be the coldest day of the winter to find out how well my brand new bushbuddy would work.

Everything used in the test had been cold soaked overnight (min temp -15F)
climate -10F, warming to -5F during the test, wind 5-10MPH
site somewhat sheltered brick patio cleared of snow on well frozen ground
fuel long dead pine branches (bark has fallen off) 3/8 inch diameter or less.
stove current production (late 2007) std bushbuddy (not the ultra but it is the same size as the ultra)
pot 5" diameter by 5" tall medium gauge aluminum pot from a 30yr old camping pot set. Capacity is approx 1.5 liters if filled to the brim.
lighting the fire I used vasoline soaked cotton wrapped in a 3x3 inch piece of wax paper as a fire starter (avg wt 1 gram). That failed to ignite when struck by a lot of sparks from a FireSteel but lit instantly with a cardboard match and one of these firestarters was all it took to get the bushbuddy going.

I poured off the first liter of tepid water 30 minutes after lighting the match, the second liter 20 minutes after that. Another 20 minutes melted another 1/2 liter and brought it to a rolling boil

General impressions:


  • used less wood than I expected

  • needs almost constant attention (feeding fuel). Don't plan on walking away to look for more fuel

  • breaking and handling the tiny pieces of wood needed by the bushbuddy while wearing warm mittens ain't easy

has all the smell of a nice wood fire but alas, not the same amount of warmth


Will I take it winter camping? .... still undecided.

Edited by jcolten on 01/19/2008 12:44:17 MST.

s k
(skots) - F
Bushbuddy stove as a snow melter on 01/19/2008 14:59:54 MST Print View

Jim,

Thanks for the cold weather report on the Bushbuddy. Just out of curiosity, would park regulation permit you to have an actual fire where you camp?

Also, in a recent thread "I don't know how to stay warm when I get cold" one of the comments included "My memory is the average naked person at rest in 0F conditions loses the ability to take care of themselves in less than 30 minutes." Would you mind continuing your testing in the buff, and reporting back on dexterity loss and general chill level? It sounds like your weather conditions are just right for killing two experimental birds with one stone.

I'll guess you'll lose fuel loading ability in about 26 minutes less than thirty, a few minutes before the stones disappear.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Bushbuddy stove as a snow melter on 01/19/2008 15:58:42 MST Print View

Would you mind continuing your testing in the buff

We'll leave that test to Andrew

Edited by jcolten on 01/19/2008 15:59:18 MST.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
bushbuddy stove as a snow melter on 01/19/2008 18:22:12 MST Print View

Jim -

Thanks for the tests. I look forward to our trip in Feb. Could you comment on the approximate volume of fuel you collected in order to keep the stove lit for an hour of snow-melting.

The longest I've kept my Bushbuddy lit was probably around an hour when I guy I met at a campground and I decided to make a couple pots of coffee on with his percolator pot. One of us would tend to the stove while the other was off collecting wood. I seem to remember having gone through quite a few fistfuls of fuel and am curious if this quantity will be significantly larger in winter temps.

- Sam

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Bushbuddy stove as a snow melter on 01/22/2008 13:25:24 MST Print View


Thanks for the cold weather report on the Bushbuddy. Just out of curiosity, would park regulation permit you to have an actual fire where you camp?


Real campfires are allowed where we'll be camping and that's an option I'm still considering .... 1.5-2 hours of nursing the bushbuddy to make water for breakfast and the day's hike is not particularly attractive, but I haven't ruled it out.

s k
(skots) - F
Bushbuddy stove as a snow melter on 01/22/2008 19:41:44 MST Print View

Nice link Jim,
A rather sudden realization that youth has its privilege!

I can imagine your dilemma. I have an old three quart plus, eight and a quarter ounce, two handled aluminum thrift store pot that has spent much of its life in and/or over a fire. It would be tempting for two or more.

Royal Magnell
(BlueMan) - F

Locale: Northern CA
Any luck? on 12/08/2009 17:20:02 MST Print View

Jim, did you wind up using your wood stove for your winter trip? I'm very curious how a wood stove might work for snow melting and I'd love to hear how that worked for you.

Blue

Hendrik Morkel
(skullmonkey) - MLife

Locale: Finland
This weekend on 12/09/2009 08:13:33 MST Print View

With any luck we will get some more snow this week, so that when I go out this weekend I can try it also, bringing the test population up to two known! I have the BBU and a 1100 pot, so it will be interesting to see how it fares. I could take a Ti-Tri + Inferno as well, but I am not sure if I feel like carrying it =)

Royal Magnell
(BlueMan) - F

Locale: Northern CA
It'd be really interesting on 12/09/2009 14:40:38 MST Print View

Please do! I'm considering doing a trans-sierra trip latter this month and I'm considering using a wood stove rather than a canister or white gas. It would certainly weight less due to the fuel factor. I'm just not sure if it would be worth the hassle or if I'd want to deal with finding fuel in the snow. It sure seems workable....

Blue

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Any luck? on 12/09/2009 16:19:50 MST Print View

did you wind up using your wood stove for your winter trip?

I did not. Sam used his bushbuddy ultra to cook his supper, that seemed to work well but he didn't use it to make water. I broke out the old rocket engine (MSR Dragonfly), the noise may not have been appreciated by my companions but it did melt snow very well. One other person had a Simmerlite, another used Heat (worked poorly).

But this was just an overnight trip <3 miles from the car ... a pretty low risk situation.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Bushbuddy stove as a snow melter on 12/09/2009 21:01:24 MST Print View

I was on the aforementioned trip with Jon and Sam as I remember Sam's bushbuddy had a good deal of trouble (ie getting enough wood that would burn) boiling his water for dinner. I remember it took him just as much for him to boil 2 cups of water as it did for me to melt snow and boil 4-5 cups of water with my Simmerlight. Even Sam was bit perplexed why his Bushbuddy took so long and he had been using the stove at that time for more than a year and 2,000 trail miles.

Overall I'd say the Bushbuddy performed poorly for melting snow in real world winter conditions with temperatures below 20 degrees. Now for three season use and early winter the Bushbuddy seems to work great!

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: Bushbuddy stove as a snow melter on 12/10/2009 00:04:27 MST Print View

Bummer. Is there any science as to why wood doesn't burn well at winter temps? Or is it a problem with the bush buddy?

Royal Magnell
(BlueMan) - F

Locale: Northern CA
Tis' a Pity on 12/10/2009 13:38:08 MST Print View

Too bad it doesn't work. Thanks for the info guys!

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Don't give up yet. on 12/11/2009 12:37:00 MST Print View

I should follow up and say that I would post up your own thread asking about what people thing of their BushBuddy stoves. I am not too familar with them and I know that since Sam used his last winter there has been some new modles and a bit of innovation with the BushBuddy.

I'd ask around as see what more people think before giving up on the Bushbuddy.

Fred eric
(Fre49) - MLife

Locale: France, vallée de la Loire
BB in winter on 12/11/2009 13:01:18 MST Print View

bbuddy

I have used a few times a bushbuddy with BPL 1.1 pot for 2 people in winter for one week hikes.
Melting snow to do 4 liters of water isnt fast, you have to schedule it when you want to take a rest.
This photo isnt really a good exemple the fire was low, but as usual i find the BB works better with fast burning small pieces of wood than with bigger ones.

Edited by Fre49 on 12/11/2009 13:05:38 MST.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Caldera Cone Inferno on 12/12/2009 23:17:40 MST Print View

Perhaps a tiny bit less efficient in fuel usage than the BushBuddy, but the CC Inferno doesnt' have to be CONSTANTLY fed fuel, as does the BB, from several reports I've read.

Howsomever, the CC Inferno IS more efficient in use of heat than the BB due to its close fitting top. CC even custom makes their cone to fit your pot to insure that efficiency.

So It's the CC Inferno for me.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
C. Cone for melting snow on 12/13/2009 19:09:15 MST Print View

It is good to note thought that dispite the C. Cone being a efficent alki stove it will still take a long time and weigh more (much more the longer you're out) to melt snow for water than using a lightweigh white gas stove.

Sean Nordeen
(Miner) - F - M

Locale: SoCAL
Re: C. Cone for melting snow on 12/13/2009 20:52:11 MST Print View

Yes, but many of us just don't want to carry the white gas stove if at all possible even though we know it works well when cold.

Edited by Miner on 12/13/2009 20:53:31 MST.

Royal Magnell
(BlueMan) - F

Locale: Northern CA
Now I really want a wood stove... on 12/13/2009 21:21:44 MST Print View

Awesome! It does look as if both a bushbuddy and the CC Inferno would do quite nicely in the snow. Now I need a wood stove... maybe it'll go on the Christmas list ;)

Thanks fellas!

Hendrik Morkel
(skullmonkey) - MLife

Locale: Finland
Bushcooker LT II on 12/14/2009 05:07:15 MST Print View

Royal, I used the Bushcooker LT II this weekend instead of the BushBuddy. I wasn't impressed with the Bushcooker, as it needs very small wood pieces and while I can go goofing off to collect more wood, I find the BBU or Ti-Tri Inferno much more eficient because I can use bigger pieces of wood, and they are both a lot easier to feed.

Anyhow. Melting snow and getting it to a boil took me, for 1l of water, approximately 20 minutes. Its a time consuming process, but once water is slightly hot putting in more snow was getting easier, as it pretty much dissolved instantly.