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Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Emberlit Ti or Littlbug Jr. for Winter Backpacking (only) on 12/25/2011 16:55:52 MST Print View

I found a great online review with pics of the Bushbuddy / Emberlit / Littlbug JR stoves:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

I received a Vargo Ti Hexagon Wood stove for Xmas, tested it, and feel it does not put out enough heat for Winter Snow Melting / Boiling at cold temps...but for 3 season, it will def be my choice as it is the lightest option and works fine to boil a cup or two. Anyway, here are the questions I posted in the bushcraft forum and I'll relay they here in case anyone has an opinion or can shed some light on the topic:

"Hello Everyone... I'm a member over at Backpackinglight.com researching wood stoves and found these great reviews.

I am moving from car camping in the winter to snowshoeing over multi-day trips in the winter and I don't want to carry a white gas stove. A wood stove seems like a good alternative to save weight if I can find dry stuff to burn. I received a Vargo Hexagon Ti Wood Stove for Xmas (sorry nwmanitou, had to give it a shot first as it was lighter, I'm a gram weenie! ) and it would be great for 3-season as it is only 4oz, compacts small, and needs no wind screen, but it just doesn't put out enough heat to boil a lot of water in winter conditions (it was 18F last night and 30F during testing today in Albany, NY)

So....I want the Emberlit or the Littlbug Junior. Reason being? I think they put out more heat as they are bigger. Here are a few observations/theories, I'd like anyone's opinion on that has used either stove:

- Skypainter states the Littlbug Jr. takes a ton of wood... does it have a higher heat output all full bore or just less efficient with more flames running up the sides of a pot vs. the Emberlit? Please take into consideration my pot is 5 1/4" diameter, Littlbug JR. diameter is 5.5", Emberlit is 3.5" x 3.5" at the top.

- How do both stoves handle ash buildup over time? I see they both create ash from the pics in Skypainter's reviews...if you were boiling water for hours at night in camp, would one stove choke up on ash before another?

- If my pot is 5 1/4in in diameter, and the Littlbug is 5.5" in diameter, plus the pot stand for the Littlbug is raised.... how big a stick do you think I can feed in the top of the Littlbug Jr. w/out removing the pot? Pencil thick? Greater?

- I was leaning towards the Littlbug Jr. until I read Skypainter's review because it weighs slightly less than the Ti Emberlit, and when winter backpackping there may not be a nice table to setup up and I won't feel like sitting down on the snow... thus I'll be looking down on the stove on the ground most likely. The top-fed Littlbug Jr. seems like a winner in this regard because I can stand/crouch near the stove and feed/monitor the burn from the top (figure 5.5" stove, 5 1/4in pot with ~1in pot stand clearance?). On the other hand, the Emberlit supposedly requires less feeding/monitoring with just cramming big sticks in the feed hole...What do you think will be easier on my knees?

I appreciate the advice, my first trip this season is on the Long Trail is VT in the middle of January...gotta order soon!"

Thanks for any opinions...I know every BPLer has one! :p

Edited by bster13 on 12/27/2011 09:31:46 MST.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Time to get needed water? on 12/25/2011 17:29:58 MST Print View

I'm wondering about how long it is going to take to get the desired amount of water, by all the stoking, trips to a wood source etc. White gas or kerosene stove, you can sit there, converse with fellow bpers and not have to worry about your wood fired stove running out of fuel. You'll have to plan ahead to have your fuel at hand. My thoughts.
Duane

David Goodyear
(dmgoody) - MLife

Locale: mid-west
emberlit on 12/25/2011 17:50:31 MST Print View

I would prefer the side feed of the emberlit. It would be nice if it were lighter (ti) and less of a pain to assmeble, but the results speak for themselves. The less you have to prepare the wood, the easier it will be to keep the fire going. you might use a larger pot for snow melting.

I was seriously looking at the Vargo for the weight and ease of assembly, thanks for doing some testing.

Good luck,

Dave

Jason McSpadden
(JBMcSr1) - M

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Littlbug Jr. on 12/25/2011 17:57:45 MST Print View

I haven't used a Littlbug Jr. but I do use a Littlbug Sr. I have seen a Littlbug Jr. and I like the stove. You will have no problem putting thicker wood than pencil size through the top but you also won't need to use much to get water going or melting snow. The Sr. is very efficient. Maybe not as efficient as the Bushbuddy. I haven't had any problem with it choking up with ash using it all day--although who knows if it is sitting in snow.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Specs on 12/25/2011 18:50:56 MST Print View

The Littlbug Jr. is 5.1 oz

The Emberlit (in Titanium) is 5.45 oz

I am basically considering the two the same weight because of how the Littlbug Jr. packs up will require a larger storage envelope. So when u consider the real weight (stove plus the storage container), I think they are probably very, very close.

Edited by bster13 on 12/25/2011 18:57:36 MST.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Re: Time to get needed water? on 12/25/2011 19:17:31 MST Print View

Definitely the white gas will be easier, but it will definitely weigh more... and as a SUL 3-season guy I definitely will go for a wood stove, but yes, the fiddle factor goes up for sure whenever you try and go lighter (for the most part).

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
The end not how you got there on 12/25/2011 19:19:30 MST Print View

I see where you are coming from, hike on.
Duane

David Goodyear
(dmgoody) - MLife

Locale: mid-west
emberlit on 12/25/2011 19:23:44 MST Print View

The web-site ways that the titanium version is backordered until after Jan...When is your trip? My trip is the 12th-19th and one of our members is testing that stove.


Dave

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
I envision myself... on 12/25/2011 19:30:35 MST Print View

....sitting on a tree stump and hunched over a bit feeding the fire.

Either gentling pushing in longer sticks like the Emberlit Ti, or feeding from the top like the Littlbug Jr.

So having the bend down and push large sticks through the Emberlit won't be as bad as the smaller sticks with the Vargo, but perhaps the Littlbug Jr . will be better with top feed.

@Jason, for the Jr., so I'm ok in thinking I'll have plenty of room to feed the fire with the pot on? How big a stick u think I can cram in there with a 5 1/4in pot and a 5.5in stove?

I like the concept of the Emberlit with feeding it long sticks and no fuss, but to be honest, when I was playing with the Vargo Hexagon stove these past two days, I first started with twigs as instructed and it just didn't do that well in the cold. So this morning I started to baton bigger pieces of wood with my Mora knife, and feed the Vargo stove with ~really~ dry pieces of wood, it went much better.

I think the pencil size sticks would be fine in the summer, but in the winter the outsides are ever so slightly damp and the bark is a real hindrance....it's protecting the dry wood inside like it's supposed to. :p

So I feel like, no matter what stove I pick, I'll be feeding it batoned pieces of very dry wood as opposed to a big stick. Granted the Emberlit may burn hotter than the Vargo (maybe?) and thus can power through cold bark better, but my instincts tell me I'll still be batoning wood and feeding it the innards of dry wood (I guess I could use BIG sticks of batoned wood with the Emberlit though). Thoughts?

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Re: emberlit on 12/25/2011 19:31:30 MST Print View

Oh crap Dave, I think you just made my decision. haha.

David Goodyear
(dmgoody) - MLife

Locale: mid-west
hobo stoves on 12/25/2011 19:40:33 MST Print View

Our group is lighter hiking group, but not SUL. Most use hobo's in the winter. All of them prefer a side feed, because of the simplicity of the wood preparation. once your fire is going (small sticks) and you have a bed of coals, then we just slowly feed 3 foot pieces in the stoking hole. This is especially nice in the morning, when you can remain in your sleeping bag while cooking breakfast - proped up by one elbow. We do use a lightweight spark sheild ( hardware cloth ) to protect the expensive outerwear and bags from errant sparks.

Let us know how your system pans out. I like new ideas.


Dave

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Did some proportional analysis... :p on 12/25/2011 19:46:02 MST Print View

Using this image:
http://www.google.com/imgres?hl=en&safe=off&sa=X&biw=1440&bih=721&tbm=isch&prmd=imvns&tbnid=-ZNn1zJ_SUfkfM:&imgrefurl=http://www.trailspace.com/gear/littlbug/junior/&docid=ywQqdWvhsoM5EM&imgurl=http://www.campsaver.com/media/catalog/product/l/i/littlebug-junior.jpg&w=700&h=700&ei=9N33TojOKKPv0gGf1IDBAg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=812&vpy=151&dur=132&hovh=225&hovw=225&tx=124&ty=141&sig=104319522423260275456&page=1&tbnh=168&tbnw=168&start=0&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:3,s:0

I measured the size on the screen vs. the actual size (5.5" diameter, 6" tall) to figure out how big the gap is the insert wood on the Littlbug Jr. with a pot on top....I figure the gap to feed sticks is near 2" which should be plenty to feed the Littlbug Jr.

Also I am hoping to shave some weight off the storage envelope of the Littlbug Jr. by using a tvek Fedex envelope if I can find one the right size. It may get shredded over time, but I can replace them. *shrugs*

Edited by bster13 on 12/25/2011 19:47:52 MST.

David Goodyear
(dmgoody) - MLife

Locale: mid-west
littlebug on 12/25/2011 19:57:58 MST Print View

Dang,

I actually had one of these in my hand last week. I had lunch with a friend and we were going over gear for our trip. he pulled out this stove. You should have plenty of room to feed sticks. It is a little springy to put together until you get the hang of it. The rivets fit into holes and the entire stove is held together by the springy pot stand. A pretty cool design and very light. depending on how deep the snow is, you may have to build a stick platform for it to sit on - since it has no bottom.

So, I guess we will have an unofficial test of both stoves in about three weeks.


Dave

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Re: littlebug on 12/25/2011 20:49:30 MST Print View

I agree, having a couple stick/log base will be necessary with the Littlbug Jr. if I can't get down to barren ground, but I think that'll be ok.

Two more thoughts:

-I'm not as concerned about efficiency as much(so long as there is abundant fuel), but I want HEAT in the winter. My theory is the Littlbug JR. will put out more heat because it can consume more wood at once. Everyone know a tipi fire lights very well because the flames can travel vertically up the pieces of wood where as the Emberlit has the flames just chewing on one end of a (big) stick vs. a bunch of stick lengths all at once in the Littlbug Junior. This may be why the bushcraft review states the Littlbug Jr. "chews wood like a wood chipper."

- The Emberlit would be more protected in my pack in case I fell on my pack. This doesn't happen often (ok hasn't happened yet) and I am always gentle with setting down my packs, but a lot of reviews for the Littlbug Jr. talk about wrapping it around something solid like a Nalgene or big pot...well being a BPL member, there isn't anything like that in my kit generally, haha. So my thought is to put everything in my pack liner, then put it all in my pack, then put the Littlbig Jr. in a tyvek envelope and slide it down between my pack liner and the inside of my pack. We'll see.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Video Reviews of the Emberlit & Littlbug Jr. on 12/25/2011 21:42:51 MST Print View

Emberlit:
#1

#2

#3

#4

Did you notice all reviews except one have the stove elevated off the ground? After watching the last video, man is that flame strong, but I really don't want to be down on the ground too much if I can help it.

Littlbug Jr.:

Junior Review

(nice review, showing adding sticks to the fre with pot on top, but I think my pot is slightly wider)

SoloTripping.com Review
(part 2 of his review on the Littlbug Jr.)

Edited by bster13 on 12/27/2011 09:30:18 MST.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Another Lillbug Jr. Review on 12/25/2011 23:28:33 MST Print View

http://www.solotripping.com/community/showthread.php?t=3183

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Reader reviews on the Littlbug Jr. on 12/26/2011 07:59:59 MST Print View

BPL Reader Reviews


Incredibly nice shot by member BPL Frank Deland of sticks being fed into the Littlebug JR (but the pot is offset):
Loading shot

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Don't start on 12/26/2011 09:20:50 MST Print View

You guys keep this up and you're gonna hurt my wallet some more. I have 65 stoves now, don't get me started on collecting wood fired stoves too! Please!
Duane

BER ---
(BER) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Bryce--Emberlit on 12/26/2011 16:11:04 MST Print View

Bryce--

Just to throw some more wood on this fire (ha), here are my initial thoughts on the Emberlit-UL along with a few pictures comparing it the the BushBuddy Ultra. Have only used it once, but like it enough that I sold my BBU the next day.

Keep in mind, I am a canoe camper. Not SUL or UL even on a good day (though we make small strides each year).

Emberlit-UL first thoughts

I have never used the Littlebug, but I know Grizz from HF has done a couple reviews:

A firebug's look at the Littlebug Jr.

and

A quant meets the Littlebug

Edited by BER on 12/26/2011 16:34:05 MST.

David Goodyear
(dmgoody) - MLife

Locale: mid-west
Vargo on 12/26/2011 16:30:30 MST Print View

Bryce,

What nixed it for you about the vargo hex? Did the tapered shape take away from the ability of the fire to really get going? The other stoves are straight up and down. I like the ease of assemble of the vargo, but I dont get why it failed you.

Thanks,

Dave