Wood stove "Burn-Off"

1:25 p.m. on September 15, 2011 (EDT)
905 reviewer rep
543 forum posts

I suggest that one of the backpacking websites conduct a wood stove "Burn-Off" to see which wood stoves are the most efficient.


There are many candidates including "gassifier" wood stoves such as the Bush Buddy, Bushcooker and Trail Designs'  ti Caldera Cone Sidewinder with the woodburning Inferno option.

Plus there is the old standby Zip stove and many others of much more recent vintage, both folding and non-folding. "Volcano" type bottle stoves can be included with the understanding they are entirely restricted to boiling water, not actual cooking, due to the impossibility of cleaning them inside.

Some of the the criteria for an objective comparison are as follows:

1. Same pot for all stoves (Pot size must properly fit the C.C. Sidewinder for accurate comparison. A wide choice of sizes is available. Pot size should be chosen for best all-around size for all the stoves tested.)

2. Same ambient air temperature & no wind

3. Same water temperature

4. Same wood size and weight (i.e. 3/8" red oak dowels in 3" lengths for main wood and 1/8" red oak dowels in 3" lengths for "tinder wood")

5. Same type and amount of firestarter (Ex. 1/2 ESBIT tablet or commercial tinder balls)

6. Same fuel wood/tinder construction style (i.e. criss-cross or teepee style W/firestarter located below the tinder and centered under it.)

7. Timing begins when tinder tablet or commercial fire starter ignites

8. Finish of test determined when testing thermometer reaches 212 F. (or boil point at the altitude of testing)

9. Weight of EXTRA fuel needed to reach boiling point if necessary

10. No windscreens permitted other than those built into stoves.


Test comparison chart should list all "gassifier" stoves together for best comparisons. These are the most efficient burners and most should get the faster boil times.

Other comparisons should include ease of feeding extra fuel and maximum diameter of fuel the stove will accept (in 3" length). The latter is important when trying to maintain heat without constant feeding of fuel. Also storage size and stove weight should be included in a comparison chart. This may be more important to some backpackers than 30 seconds less boiling time, especially since the (hopefully abundant) fuel need not be carried.

I have my suspicion of which stove will win but I may be very surprised.

Some may say these comparisons are "Apples-to-oranges" comparisons due to the differences in stoves. I feel backpackers considering wood burning stoves want to have this comparison to make an informed decision. Many will, as mentioned, do trade-offs on boiling times for stored compactness and low stove weight.

Eric B.










1:27 p.m. on September 15, 2011 (EDT)
905 reviewer rep
543 forum posts


And, of course:

11. Same amount of water - say 2 cups.

April 26, 2018
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