Solo Stove review (camping mostly). (1 Viewer)

James Meadowlark

Sonic Reducer
Joined
Nov 4, 2014
Messages
92
Location
Gainesville, United States
I’m not a traveler, but am an avid primitive camping enthusiast and really enjoy, and am very grateful for all of the great content that is contributed on this site. In the time I’ve been lurking, I’ve come across so much truly helpful info that I thought I’d like to contribute something myself.

For years, I’ve been searching for the perfect camp stove. Since I prefer to ultra light- I had been using one of those folding Esbit stoves with fuel tablets, and it’s worked pretty well most of the time. I’ve also used alcohol stoves, pop-can stoves, and canteen stoves/cups- All with pretty decent results, but none were exactly what I wanted, and each came with their own set of negatives. Cooking over just a plain old open fire is fine most of the time, but I still wanted something else.

Anyhow, I think I’ve found one that’s pretty close to perfect for me, and thought I’d share and give a review.

It’s the “Solo Stove Lite” that I stumbled upon while reading about some stove that charges phones. Essentially a light weight coffee-can shaped stove with an internal liner and grate for fuel.

I like it for a couple of reasons:
  • Will use any fuel- Esbit/fuel tablets, cans of sterno, charcoal, and most alcohol stoves will even fit inside- But biomass was the big seller. Twigs, pine cones, and any and all other natural, flammable matter that will fit inside will burn. You could probably shove a sock or your underpants in there and boil water. This is the main reason I like it, it’s so versatile.

  • It’s a gasifying stove, so with wood or charcoal it burns nearly smoke-free when it gets hot, as the space between the shell and the liner pass heated air up to the top of the stove which in turn “burns” the smoke (wood gas) that’s given off by the initial combustion. I like this because I enjoy going “off trail” camping and have been known to find spots in shall we say gray-area spots from time to time because I enjoy peaceful solitude when I’m on the trail.

  • Your fuel is off the ground and self contained- Not so important with alcohol stoves, but if you’re using campfires or a canteen stove that is a ground-burning set up- dampness can be a problem. Rain is also an issue with that type of set up.

  • Seems to do well with wet biomass, especially if you have good tinder. I was camping in the fall, and went to make dinner right after it rained- everything was wet. I normally carry at least one fuel tablet from which I can shave slivers to get a fire started, but I’d forgotten it this time... My emergency tinder is an altoids box lined with foil and filled with cotton balls or dryer lint that I’ve saturated with Vaseline- Which will pretty reliably light and is decently water proofed by the petroleum jelly. Once the tinder started, even the wet leaves and small twigs dried/started enough for the fire to get hot enough to take bigger, pinky-sized twigs and get them started. I was impressed.

  • Cools off pretty quickly. I think it’s stainless because it gets hot (see cons*), and I think aluminum would be problematic. Cools off much more quickly than I’d expect, but it is very light and thin (again see cons**).
There are some cons:
  • Cost- Like maybe $60 or so.. Luxury item for sure for most, and that’s for the smallest (“Lite”) sized stove.

  • **Durability- So far fine for me, and seems like it’s well made but I’m not jumping in and out of trains every day. The liner is press-fit in and spot welded, and the grate is spot welded, but I haven’t really given it a good whack, or thrown it down a flight of stairs. Seems like it could be a bit dainty for continuous, heavy duty use..

  • *Biomass fuel consumption.. This stove seems to burn really hot- Which is good for cooking, but make sure you have enough material to feed it, and keep the fire hot, so even the aforementioned wet biomass will catch.
I’m sure there could be a few posts on this site about gasifying stoves- And as talented at improvisation as it’s clear so many contributors here are, someone may have has likely made something just like this out of duct-tape, a beer can, and sheer force of will already, and with great results... I just thought I’d put something together for a first contribution.

Not getting paid for anything, etc. May not apply to a lot of folks out there but thought I’d share for the campers out there.

Thanks and kind regards-
JJM
 

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Tude

Sometimes traveler is traveling.
StP Supporter
Joined
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Rochester, NY
Cool post - I'm interested for myself on the responses to this. Thanks!
 

todd

Wanderer
Joined
Oct 12, 2016
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340
Location
drummonds, tn.
good write up. ive been looking at the gasifier type stoves. do you think that one is large enough or could it stand to be bigger?
 

James Meadowlark

Sonic Reducer
Joined
Nov 4, 2014
Messages
92
Location
Gainesville, United States
good write up. ive been looking at the gasifier type stoves. do you think that one is large enough or could it stand to be bigger?

I think it depends on your mess kit. I generally use a small "ultra light" style three piece nesting kit (largest pan's diameter is about the size of my hand- palm and fingers) or a canteen cup most of the time so this one works well for me. If you're using a household size frying pan / pot it might be a bit on the small side, mostly because the center of gravity would get wobbly as a larger, heavier item is placed on top. There are larger sizes available, but they get more expensive.
 

wildwerden

Wayfarer
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
131
Location
NY
I have this stove and I fucking love it. I got it with the pot so the stove fits inside the pot. i also got a tiny alcohol stove that fits inside the stove for 15 bucks and my cooking/mess kit is contained in this little space. It's awesome. Super lightweight and the pot is quite huge. the pot also protects the stove. I can easily feed two people out of it. Yes, it's pricey but I like to invest in good gear whenever I get this chance. It's not as flimsy as the msr whisperlite stove I had before this. Damn thing had so many tiny pieces and parts to it and it felt like it was gonna blow up any minute. i sold it and got the solostove and really love it. it only sucks when it's been raining for days and its harder to find dry sticks. that's when i get some denatured alcohol and burn away. i prefer sticks cause alcohol is literally burning my $$$ and it burns through the fuel really fast. i like smelling like a campfire after cooking anyways. thanks for sharing!
 

Art101

Nomad
Joined
Aug 6, 2014
Messages
999
Location
Cheyenne WY
I looked at that as an option.I ended up going with the Esbit due to the cost and size.I will be keeping my eyes out to see if I can score one of these at a good price.
 

tacopirate

Wanderer
Joined
Feb 4, 2017
Messages
194
Location
28451
Nice write up. I always avoided these types of stoves (I guess I was spoiled on MSR stoves), but now I'm thinking differently. I'm certainly thinking about one of these. What about trying to make one?
 
E

etpyh

I closed my account
Doesn't seem to hard to make one yourself, I have seen a few tutorials where people made them out of old cans.
 

tacopirate

Wanderer
Joined
Feb 4, 2017
Messages
194
Location
28451
^^yeah, I looked up a few. Pretty simple, actually. I think I might try something like this. I'll take pics if I do.
 
D

Deleted member 2626

I closed my account
How is it to top feed? I made a thread about making your own and I must say it cost zero dollars and I could just as easily place an esbit cube or sterno inside and heat up over it and burning cardboard and paper I was able to boil water. But it's good to see people getting away from fuels.
 

James Meadowlark

Sonic Reducer
Joined
Nov 4, 2014
Messages
92
Location
Gainesville, United States
How is it to top feed? I made a thread about making your own and I must say it cost zero dollars and I could just as easily place an esbit cube or sterno inside and heat up over it and burning cardboard and paper I was able to boil water. But it's good to see people getting away from fuels.

Sorry for the delay, but wanted to respond as you were kind enough to take the time to reply to me... I thought your zero-dollar stove was innovative and great, but thought I'd touch base on the top-feed thing..

This stove runs great, and with the 360 degree "sealed" cylinder and inner sleeve with deliberately placed air-holes fueling the passage of hot air to the top of the inner cylinder it's HOT!. All I've seen is that the faster the wind, the hotter the stove burns, with no worry about correcting the position to promote that fast air flow as long as the fucking thing doesn't blow over. Plus it's stainless, so no rust even after leaving it outside over and over, something a coffee-can won't endure.

I wish I'd taken a picture a couple of weeks ago when I was camped out with some pals- The stove was a swirling cauldron of heat, easy to feed without disturbing the mess kit. The spacer leaves about a 2" x 2" port for the introduction of fuel, about the size of the top of a beer-can.. I think I used nothing but pine needles and cones for two days.

Not diminishing anyone's DIY cooking solutions, and no corporate shill here, but this thing is the best stove I've had, and I've tried many different types.

I know I'm not a "real" part of this community's cohort (thank you for having me tho), as I don't travel (yet?) and only really enjoy primitive camping, and am older than 45, but I'd like to wish each of you all a happy holiday season, if that's something meaningful to you. If 'holidays' aren't your bag, then happy New Year! I'm very grateful for all of the contributions made by the members here as I learn so much every time I check in, and am looking forward to 2018. Much love.

-Jimmy.
 

SneakyWeasel

Newbie
Joined
Nov 22, 2019
Messages
19
Age
55
Location
Okanagan, BC
Amazon sells what are basically Chinese clones of the solo stove for around $20. I picked one up and it looks to be pretty skookum. Checked on Youtube for reviews of the various clones and and they were basically positive, so I figured 'why not?' and bought one. Was thinking about carrying a few charcoal briquettes for when dry biomass isn't avaliable.
 

Maki40

Wanderer
Joined
Jan 21, 2017
Messages
104
Location
Naples, Fl
I've had one and they are definitely cool, but nowadays I'm a hard core minimalist and since I have to carry everything around with me and it's not a necessity cause I can cook over a fire just as easily, I got rid of it long ago. Also, I actually prefer a regular fire cause the fire lasts longer while I have to sit there for 30 min feeding the little stove twigs just to boil one cup of water. I'm actually boiling water now to drink and sipping on a cup of coffee. It's take me all day with the little stove to heat this much water plus I still have to cook. 1581515281219308011072045190481.jpg
 
Last edited:
D

Deleted member 23824

I closed my account
“it looks to be pretty skookum”

No speak Canadianese, eh?

What is skookum? Sounds like something you’d seal a birch-bark canoe with.

 

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