Mo-go-gear Fire-fly Alcohol Stove REVIEW

Lightweight alcohol stove cooking system with great fuel economy that needs a pot stand redesign.

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by Will Rietveld | 2005-11-01 03:00:00-07

Mo-go-gear Fire-fly Alcohol Stove REVIEW

Introduction

The Fire-fly is manufactured by Mo-go-gear and sold exclusively by Gossamer Gear. It comes as a cooking system including a burner, pot stand, heat reflector, windscreen, and fuel measuring cup. Weighing a scant 1.56 ounces for the whole kit, the Fire-fly is one of the lightest cooking systems we have reviewed.

Four of our editors tested the Fire-fly in different regions of the county. Although it’s primarily a solo stove suitable for cooking simple meals, we found that it is fully capable of cooking for two. Except for a few reservations about the pot stand, we found the Fire-fly to be one of the best performing and lightest alcohol stoves we have tested to date.

What’s Good

  • Complete cooking system (sans pot)
  • Windscreen is adjustable for pot diameter
  • Soft temper aluminum windscreen is easy to shape and roll up
  • Cooks for 1 or 2 people

What’s Not So Good

  • Pot stand is a bit heavy
  • Heat reflector is too small for the pot stand
  • Pot stand can be tippy

Specifications

Manufacturer

Mo-go-gear

Retailer

Gossamer Gear

Stove

2005 Mo-go-gear Fire-fly Alcohol Stove Kit

Burner

Open jet, aluminum, 2-inches in diameter and 1-inch high

Features

Adjustable windscreen, sturdy 3-inch diameter pot stand, soft temper aluminum windscreen and heat reflector

Weight

1.56 oz measured weight

MSRP

$23

Performance

The Fire-fly uses a mini alcohol burner (2-inches in diameter) with a capacity of 1.25 ounces. The heat reflector and 3-inch x 24-inch windscreen are made of soft temper 36 gauge aluminum, which is the same material that MSR uses for their windscreens, only thinner.

The windscreen is easily adjusted to pot size by expanding it to the desired diameter, then securing it with a paper clip. We tested a variety of pot shapes and sizes (MSR Titan Kettle, Evernew 0.9 liter titanium pot, Snow Peak titanium bowl, and Heinekin and Foster’s 24 ounce beer cans with top removed), and found that it readily accommodates cups and pots up to about 1.5 liters.

The pot stand opens to a 3-inch triangle. All of the testers commented that the pot stand (made of steel rod and brass) is on the heavy side. At 0.7 ounce, it accounts for half the weight of the cooking system.

The Fire-fly’s open jet burner has 8 large jets, each producing a flame about 1.5 inches long. The resulting 5-inch flame pattern is just right for a MSR Titan pot (shown), but a little too wide for a 3.5- inch wide beer can pot. One oddity is the Fire-fly tends to flicker some (individual jets going out, then re-igniting), especially in the wind. This makes me wonder if 12 smaller jets would be better than 8 larger ones, but some experimenting would be needed to find the optimal design.

All of the testers found that the pot stand was basically sturdy, but it required careful placement of a cooking pot on the stand to find the “sweet spot” where it was stable. The tippy pot problems were caused by indentations in the bottom of pots and how the pot was centered on the stand. We had this problem with both narrow and wide pots.

The Fire-fly is targeted as a solo stove, and indeed most of our testers used it for solo-cooking. On several outings with my spouse I cooked for two using the Fire-fly and a MSR 1.5 liter titanium pot, and found that the Fire-fly easily cooks for two.

Mo go gear Fire-fly Alcohol Stove REVIEW - 1
The Fire-fly’s pot stand (left) is cleverly designed, but “heavy” at 0.7 ounce. The heat reflector is a little too small for the pot stand. The Fire-fly’s open jet burner (right) has 8 large jets, each producing a flame about 1.5 inches long. The resulting 5-inch flame pattern is just right for a 1.5 liter MSR Titan pot (shown), but a little too wide for a 3.5-inch wide beer can pot.

The Fire-fly does not have any simmering capability, so it is best suited for simple meals using the “boil and set” method where you boil water, add your food, bring it back to boiling, let it stand 10 minutes, and eat.

The Fire-fly scored well in our traditional stove performance tests (see table below). Its boil time under optimal conditions (1 pint of 70 °F water) was 7:54, almost dead on with the manufacturer’s claim of 8 minutes. Fuel consumption to boil 1 pint of water was 0.38 ounce (10.9 grams), which ranked third out of 22 alcohol stoves tested to date. Only the Ion Stove at 10.4 grams and the Advanced Mountain Products Alumilite stove at 10.8 grams had lower fuel consumption. This is essentially a three-way tie for first place. The average fuel consumption of all stoves tested is 15.2 grams. Note that fuel consumption is increased about 20% in cold conditions and about 200%(doubled) in windy conditions.

Stove Performance Test Results (Optimal Conditions)

  Boil Time
min:sec
Fuel Consumption
oz (g)
Fire-fly 7:54 0.38 (10.9)
Average of all Stoves Tested 6:38 0.54 (15.2)

What’s Unique

The Fire-fly stove gets it mostly right. Most of the other alcohol stoves we reviewed are too heavy, too big, not adjustable for pot size, not a complete cooking system, or have extended boil times or low fuel efficiency. The Fire-fly is lightweight at 1.56 ounces, is a complete cooking system (sans pot), has a great windscreen that’s adjustable for pot size, has a reasonable boil time, and has excellent fuel efficiency.

Recommendations for Improvement

One reservation about this stove is the weighty and tippy pot stand. Indeed, it is a clever design and sturdy, but at 0.7 ounce it accounts for half the weight of the stove. Perhaps a thinner gauge titanium rod could be substituted for the steel rod. It would also be nice if the heat reflector were round instead of rectangular, and a little larger in diameter. Finally, the burner’s tendency to flicker might be corrected by experimenting with jet size and number.


Citation

"Mo-go-gear Fire-fly Alcohol Stove REVIEW," by Will Rietveld. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/mo_go_gear_fire_fly_alcohol_stove_review.html, 2005-11-01 03:00:00-07.

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