User Review: Sierra Zip Ztove
Source: bought it new
It's a good choice if you don't want to fool with making sure you have enough fuel. I carry mine around for quick meals on the trail, even though I usually cook right over the fire.
- Infinite fuel
- Long battery life
- Flimsy cord
Setup: Plop it on the ground and set up a miniature campfire inside. As simple as it gets.
Ignition: Getting a small fire going inside is pretty easy, even with wet fuel. Get a spark or small ember at the bottom and turn the fan on. It works every time.
Flame Control: You're limited to turning the fan on and off, and adding more fuel if it starts to die down. It's more an issue of timing than adjusting a knob like with white gas.
Cooking: Getting water to a boil within minutes has never been an issue. I wouldn't try a larger pan on it, as it would become very unstable due to the shape.
Wind: The stove acts as its own windscreen.
Fuel Efficiency: If you're running out of sticks in the woods, I don't know what to tell you. I've used the same AA alkaline for several overnighters in the past.
Stability: The biggest flaw is the tendency to tip over. Flat ground and small containers on top are required.
Packability: It doesn't collapse or anything like that, but it will fit in a large coffee can if you need an estimation of size.
Ease of Use: If you don't know how to build a fire, you shouldn't be backpacking in the first place.
Features: It's an original idea to use small pieces of wood in a camp stove, and one that I've come to prefer over liquid fuel and fuel tabs. One less thing to worry about running out of or to buy on a regular basis.
Construction & Durability: The cord is a bit dicey, and I've gone ahead and replaced it with a small bit of lamp cord. The soldering job for that replacement was incredibly easy. The body itself is tough enough. If the fan ever burns out, I'll try saving it with a metal case fan like you would put in a computer. I don't think a plastic replacement would survive the heat.
Conditions: It's been handy for lunch stops where building a fire would be impractical. If you're trying to get it going in the rain, it takes a little more effort. Once you get that first bit of flame going and turn the fan on, even wet fuel takes off within a minute.
Overall, I'd recommend this little stove to anyone, supposing you can find it anymore. It's a great choice if you don't mind having to scrounge for small bits of wood. Thick chunks of semi-rotted hardwood seem to be the best fuel source.