User Review: Solo Stove
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: Don't remember. Bought it 2 years ago (promo for reviews seems to have ended).
A no-brainer stove. With abundant wood availability, this is my go-to backpacking stove.
- Doesn't need packaged fuel
- Could be lighter
- Design ripoff
- Limited use based on fuel availability
This is an excellent stove, with a few important limitations. First, the good:
This is a two-piece gassifier wood stove with no moving parts—just the stove itself and the pot stand. You drop a few pieces of wood into the stove, light it, stick the pot on top, boil water, reconstitute your stuff, and eat. Very simple.
This stove is a design ripoff, though as eqfan592 points out not an exact one, of the original Bushbuddy. There seem to be a group of people who absolutely loathe the Solo Stove for this. However, considering the original designer/manufacture of the Bushbuddy never patented the design and seems to be completely accepting of the Solo Stove's existence and marketing strategies, any conflict here seems to be academic, existing solely in the minds of uninvolved fans of one or the other. Samsung/Apple this is not.
The differences between the two stoves in question are minor. The Solo Stove is a bit heavier and a bit more robust. The Bushbuddy is a bit lighter and a bit more delicate. The end. The Bushbuddy is also more expensive. Ok, now it's really the end. Of the comparison, not the review. Bear with me.
I've been using the Solo Stove for around two years and it's performed flawlessly. It takes very little wood to boil water and the gassifier effect causes the wood to burn almost entirely down to ash. As advertised, it takes around 10 minutes to boil a moderate amount of water (2 cups or so).
The stove is stable, though depending on the size of the cooking pot used, the pot stand might be a little small. I use this stove for solo backpacking with a Snow Peak Ti 900 pot and it works great. Solution for stability: don't kick it whilst cooking. The stove fits perfectly inside the pot for packing purposes. It's also fairly strong. I doubt it would crush inside a pack without a pot in which to nestle.
A wind screen is highly recommended in gusty conditions.
The big caveat, as with all wood-burning stoves, is the wood: if you don't have any, it won't work. But considering how easy it is to find small twigs in most backpacking destinations vs. how difficult it usually is to find precise amounts of alcohol/gas (let alone esbit etc.) lying around in the bushes (and I've looked!) I'm usually not too worried when going backpacking without the blankey of packable fuel along to comfort me when I'm feeling weak. Unless it's rainy. Like super rainy. Or on a mountain top where you can't find wood. That would suck.
This stove is best used on trips where the weight of the stove will offset the weight of the fuel you don't have to carry. ie, the longer the trip sans resupply, the more weight you save.
I'd love a lighter-weight (titanium?) model. Are you listening solo stove people? Lighter weight please.