I wrote a brief introduction to the SOLO stove a while ago which outlines the general design principles of a wood-gas stove and highlights some of the specifics of the SOLO stove … all well and good, I’m sure you’re thinking but the real question is, “what’s it actually like to use?”
I mated the stove up with a 12cm stainless Zebra pot, firstly because the stove will fit inside the pot and secondly because Zebra pots are tough and comparatively cheap. Even the most efficient wood burner will produce soot and sticky deposits, so in my opinion, using a pot you’re less concerned about makes a lot of sense. I took to travelling with the stove inside the pot (in its stuff sack) and made another stuff sack for the pot to live in. This way, I wasn’t getting the inside of the pot dirty and the outside of pot wasn’t able to dirty anything else. Packed like this, there was still enough room inside for a lighter and some small pieces of kindling. Obviously, you can choose to use any type or size of pot you like but for me this combination works well and would certainly have enough capacity if you were cooking for two.
|Make a twig platform then add tinder – inner tube in this case.|
|Keep feeding it and it’ll keep burning.|
|They don’t look it but they’re very hot.|
What about weight? I already mentioned in the previous post that the SOLO weighs 255g but obviously, you also need to add the weight of your pan, pot, mug whatever to get the full picture. It would be perfectly possible to use a 90g Ti or alloy pot and produce a sub 400g set-up which is around 200g lighter than a ‘fuelled-up’ Jetboil or similar. The Zebra pot I’ve been using weighs considerably more than 90g and pushes the combined weight up to over 600g … not particularly light but when you consider that there’s no additional fuel to carry and the pot’s large enough for two, it starts to sound much more reasonable.
|To a degree it’s inevitable but dry fuel will lessen it considerably.|