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Wood burning stove for a REAL camp fire?
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Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Wood burning stove for a REAL camp fire? on 04/22/2013 13:33:25 MDT Print View

I've been using the Emberlit UL mini stove for about a year.

It's pretty decent but it generally takes a LOT of time to maintain to boil water.

It takes 20-30 minutes of sitting and feeding twigs to get 600mL of water to boil.

What I *REALLY* want is more of a 3x3 grid which is suspended above the ground so I can have a REAL camp fire.

Not a HUGE fire mind you , but definitely one with larger sticks so I don't have to maintain it.

Does a product like this already exist?

I think I could make one out of some wire cloth easily enough but making it so I can break it down and re-assemble it would take time (which I don't have)

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Wood burning stove for a REAL camp fire? on 04/22/2013 13:41:36 MDT Print View

You mean like an ultralight campfire grill? Does it need to have a bottom to it?

You know you can cook over a fire without a stove or grill. No extra gear required, just make a fire a set your pot into it. This is the way I have always cooked.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Grill for boiling water on 04/22/2013 13:44:00 MDT Print View

Kevin, have you seen my Zia mini grills and Stix sets sold on Those should work for what you need. If you would rather have me make a custom size grill for you, please contact me here: drzooz (at) AOL (dot) com

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Re: Re: Wood burning stove for a REAL camp fire? on 04/22/2013 13:47:41 MDT Print View

I know. That's how I cook too when I have a campfire. The problem is that Yosemite regulations (and lots of other parks) prevent campfires outside of fire pits.

I'm a hammock camper so having to narrow down my camp site selection to where there is a fire pit is difficult to impossible.

Having stove to keep the coals off the ground allows me to bypass the regulations since I'm not causing any damage (and wood stoves are permitted).

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
... on 04/22/2013 13:57:46 MDT Print View

is kind of an interesting setup.

I haven't had much time to look at competing products but it seem that just a grill suspended above the ground would work.

I could make the ground very wet so there isn't a fire hazard.

The issue of course is how does it break down. It would be awkward walking around with a large grill on my pack.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Mini grill on 04/22/2013 15:01:17 MDT Print View

Kevin, depending on the size of your pot, a mini grill and 4 Stix will be all you need. Those grills measure about 4" x 4.5", and fit inside a pint size ZipLock freezer bag for transport. The Stix themselves have lots of other use too, like spare nent stakes. Check out "Silly Stix" in BPL's search box, or go to this link:

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: ... on 04/22/2013 15:04:02 MDT Print View

QiWiz also has the self-contained firefly stove. Larger side opening than the emberlit for using larger wood. I like the stix and zia grill combo but haven't yet used them in lousy weather. I want to get a collapsible windscreen to make a little firering to use with them. There's also caldera cones, with a bottom plate to make them enclosed. Haven't used one but they get good reviews. And the bushbuddy, which I have used. Takes frequent tending but burns hot. No 30 minute boil time for sure!

ETA: Gary is right about the stix, they make great stakes on trips where I don't make a fire. The way the top is bent makes them secure than a shepherds hook. Haven't speared any fish with them yet though. ;)

Edited by spelt on 04/22/2013 15:11:19 MDT.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Re: Wood burning stove for a REAL camp fire? on 04/22/2013 15:10:15 MDT Print View

Yeah, I understand. I have a small wood stove that I will use if I ever go to Yosemite.

That's what I was thinking, a grill over some kind of ground shield. While that will protect the ground from being burned, it's still not really a stove (it doesn't look like a stove at all). I don't know how that would work out legally.

When I use a wood stove, I light the fire in the stove and let it burn down a little until I start to get a coal base before putting the pot on. It also helps if you use hardwood (oak, manzanita) instead of softwood (pines). Hardwoods burn much hotter. If you can find small pieces of partially burned wood or old coals from a fire pit, they will light quickly like charcoal and burn hot.

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
larger opening. on 04/22/2013 15:12:31 MDT Print View

I don't think a larger opening would work because the fire will just go out. This is the problem. I have to continually feed it to keep it going.

That and it WOULD be nice to have a large fire on there for warmth too.

I think maybe I could get 4-6 of the Sticks and try to use those with some wire cloth to suspend the grill above the ground. I'm worried about the Stix not supporting the weight and sinking into the ground though.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Stix load support on 04/22/2013 15:34:51 MDT Print View

Kevin, the Stix are intended to be placed 4-5" into hard ground (not the soft ash pile of an existing fire pit). This will be solid enough for 2-4 cups of water in your pot. With the Stix being 9" long, that leaves you 4-5" between the ground and the grill to make your twig fire. If you are thinking of building a fairly big "warmth fire," then you'll need to rethink the way you employ a grill and support Stix. My technique is to have the grill be placed in a small alcove off to the side of a roaring fire, and shove hot coals under the grill as needed. A few people have told me that their full size grill sagged horribly under heavy load when placed over the hottest part of a campfire. I've never had this happen, but it's likely that serious heat (and weight load) can reversably alter the physical characteristics of such thin titanium rod., allowing it to sag. After it cools down, you can easily bend it back the way it was, and no harm is done to the metal (it won't break).

By the way, I should disclose that I am in collaboration with Rob Kelly of QiWiz. I have made the cross pieces for his FireFly stoves, and as such, I needed to acquire both sizes of his stoves, to make sure the pieces fit (and also the mini grill I make for the smaller stove). I also had trouble being patient with the smaller stove while waiting for a boil (my technique was probably lousy), but the larger stove was no problem for me at all. One proper load and I was set with boiling water in 7 minutes. Rob says that he can do the same thing with the smaller FireFly, so I'm sure that technique, and experience, is the key.

Edit--spelling, and added something about grill sag

Edited by Zia-Grill-Guy on 04/22/2013 20:03:06 MDT.

brent driggers
(cadyak) - MLife

Locale: southwest georgia
huh? on 04/22/2013 17:36:33 MDT Print View

I have not used the Emberlit-mini, but you should be able to boil your pot of water with a fire box (3.5"X5.5"?) of that volume without adding a single twig in less than 10 minutes. As long as your wood is remotely decent.
It should also continue to boil for a number of minutes minutes before dying out.


Edited by cadyak on 04/22/2013 18:31:23 MDT.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Fire restrictions on 04/22/2013 18:00:23 MDT Print View

You should know that most places that have campfire restrictions also prohibit wood-burning stoves.

One reason for prohibiting campfires is wanting to leave the wood to rot and contribute organic matter to the soil. This is especially true at higher altitudes where said wood takes many years to grow and the soils are thin. The same reasoning applies to wood-fueled stoves.

The other reason, especially out here in the western US, is fire danger. Wood stoves emit sparks just as do campfires. Generally, the only kind of wood stove permitted needs a chimney with a spark arrestor. Increasingly, any stove without a shutoff valve is being prohibited, which means no alcohol stoves as well.

Different jurisdictions have different rules, and it's a good idea to check before you go. Some just say "no open fires" while others specify in great detail what kind of stove is legal.

Edited by hikinggranny on 04/22/2013 18:04:08 MDT.

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Re: Fire restrictions on 04/22/2013 18:04:57 MDT Print View

totally. I'm aware. This isn't the issue at all. Camp fires *are* allowed here. they just require them to be in existing fire rings. Wood stoves are permitted. You just can't create new fire rings by moving rocks around.

They also don't want people making fires on granite and scarring them.

Dan Yeruski
(zelph) - MLife

Re: Wood burning stove for a REAL camp fire? on 04/22/2013 18:27:10 MDT Print View

This stove is made out of stainless steel wire cloth and is easy to assemble and break down. One load of vertical stacked twigs will boil 4 cups of water in a lightweight Kmart grease pot. The stove weighs 5 ounces.

It's a nice DIY stove style. I've seen copies on youtube. Use galvanized hardware cloth like you said you were going to do..

Fill the stove, lite it, put your pot on, place larger pieces around the stove campfire style, sit back and enjoy. No need to feed twigs like other stoves. I have a vested interest in this stove.

These are photobucket videos, click on them to view:

 video 2008-10-27085434.mp4

 video FoldingWoodgazburndemo.mp4

Edited by zelph on 04/22/2013 18:27:53 MDT.

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
nice design. on 04/22/2013 18:32:29 MDT Print View

That's a nice design. That's similar to the Emberlit but with a higher wind shield.

Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
Small but mighty FireFly on 04/25/2013 11:52:20 MDT Print View

Here's a video that shows how one load of wood can boil 3 cups of water and continue to heat it for an additional 8 minutes without adding a single twig. I use Dan's (zelph's) top load technique, though not his vertical stacking method.

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Re: Small but mighty FireFly on 04/25/2013 12:14:07 MDT Print View

Wow. That was really awesome. I'm not sure why this isn't documented more but that technique works perfectly and should solve all my problems :)

I am definitely going to try this on my next outing.

That's near ideal also. Boiling that much water is enough for one person's dinner or a large amount of tea + soup.

I love making hot water bottles to heat me up while I sleep and this way could make about 3 in say 20 minutes with almost no maintenance.


Loki Cuthbert

Locale: Portland, OR
Not a real camp fire, but the titri works great on 04/25/2013 14:36:12 MDT Print View

The tri-ti with wood burning insert is pretty high power. I played around with a diy bush buddy stove last summer and loved it. Moved to a titanium caldera cone and that little inferno is hot! I don't remember boil times off the top of my head, and but it's a really easy light it and forget it operation. You can easily bring a quart of water to a boil with one load of wood.

Dan Yeruski
(zelph) - MLife

Wood Power on 04/25/2013 19:13:40 MDT Print View

Kevin, these videos will give you a better idea of how I vertical stack wood for a longer burning and easier start up.

The stove has a lot of area that you can "see" the wood on fire just like a campfire.

1st video shows the side port if you are interested in that. woodgaz side port loading verticle stacked "Sudden technique" Lighting the load 1st part 2nd part to see the 4 cups boiling