When you are out in the wilderness, the importance of hot food and drinks cannot be overestimated. They will fuel your body and allow you to take full advantage of your camping trip. You may have considered Butane as a solution, but in this article, I hope to convince you of the benefits of choosing a wood-burning stove.
The Pros – Reasons for Using a Wood-Burning Stove
- One of the most critical issues to consider is that of weight. After all, you are the one who will have to carry your selected stove. With Butane, you have to carry the stove and a butane tank. Choose a wood-burning stove and, as long as no restrictions prevent having an open flame without a shut valve, you have to carry the stove (and perhaps a few fuel wood pellets in case of emergency).
The Cons–Disadvantages of Using a Wood-Burning Stove
- It is not always easy to find dry kindling when out in adverse weather. However, you are not planning a huge campfire. Just a little kindling goes a long way.
- Another issue is that some National Parks do not allow open fires in the season – check here.
- The water takes longer to boil in wood stoves compared to alcohol.
- Finally, there is how easy it is to light damp wood or in high winds.
Flat or Box Wood-Burning Stoves
There are two primary varieties of wood-burning stoves. These are Can Stoves and fold flat stoves. We need to have a look at the differences between these before pressing on further.
When you burn anything organic (like wood), you will release gases (methane and hydrogen). Can wood-burning stoves are double skinned, and these gases escape from the inner container into the gap enclosed by the outer wall. These gases are then burned, and this improves the efficiency of the fire, making it hotter. That sounds pretty good, but these can stove take up a lot of space in your pack, which is not so good.
Flat Packed Wood-Burning Stoves
Flat packed Wood-Burning Stoves, as the name suggests, can be packed flat when not in use. This makes packing them up with your gear much more convenient and taking lass space. Slide the pack into a dry plastic bag when you are putting them away (after they have cooled), and that will contain any soot.
These stoves are usually designed with space to add more fuel to the stove without removing the pan from the fire. The negative point balances this convenience: they do not cook as fast as can stoves.
It’s Raining! Can The Camping Wood Burning Stove Last?
It always seems to rain when I go camping, and that can mean that finding some dry tinder can be difficult. Even in heavier rain, it is still possible to find tinder material that is dry if you look hard enough.
However, there is an alternative Esbit 1300-Degree Smokeless Solid Fuel Tablets, which you can burn in your camping wood stove. Each solid fuel tablets only weighs a few grams. They are not a burden to carry and are a useful back-up if the weather is terrible.
Our Favorite Portable Wood Burning Stove
One of our favorite portable lightweight stoves has to be the Domaker. It is a stable unit with impressive design. I like the cube shape and its storage bag. It folds down quickly and packs away, taking hardly any space. It is suitable to boil water and BBQs. See the review below.
Roundup Review Of Small & Large Wood Burning Backpacking Stoves of 2023
CANWAY Camping Stove, Wood Stoves
The Can Style lightweight wood burning stove
5.35 x 5.35 x 6.1 inches, 560g, Stainless Steel, Canway
This is a can style compact lightweight wood burning camping stove. You can pack the camping stove in a small bag which can be attached to your rucksack. It is made of high-quality rugged stainless steel, which means it is easy to keep clean. It has three arms that support the pot.
It also has a wire top so that it can be used for BBQ. You can use branches, twigs, and leaves for fuel or use solid fuel tablets if inclement weather. When using wood, you are not leaving chemical emissions, and fewer fumes emitted. The stove is relatively stable and is safe to use.
This stove size is designed for one or two people; it might prove too slow to cook enough food for a larger group. There is something more satisfying about gathering your fuel for cooking rather than using gas canisters.
- Compact for a Can Style camping stove
- One of the best wood burning backpacking stoves with stainless steel construction
- BBQ Grill top
- It takes time to get the fire going.
- Small so uses fuel fast, and you have to remove the pot to refuel
Lixada Camping Stove Wood Burning
The Original tiny folding style wood stoves
3.54×3.14×4.33, 71g, Stainless Steel, Lixada
Lixada folding backpacking wood stove is tiny, lightweight and designed for one person. Their wood burning camp stoves will fit in a shirt pocket. The space this camping stove will take in your pack is hardly worth considering, so it certainly is portable.
Despite no instructions being provided, it is reasonably easy to assemble, and it is designed so you can always replenish the fuel without moving the cooking pot. The pot is perhaps a grand word to use as it is so small it will not take much more than a large steel mug.
Again, it cannot contain much fuel because of the small size, so you have to continually monitor the fuel (twigs, etc.) to ensure there is enough inside to keep burning. You can use the camping stove for burning alcohol or tablets if you prefer. This one is fine if you are alone, and space is a big issue for you.
- A good wood burning stove small solo camping stove
- Multi-fuel, wood gas
- One of the more flimsy foldable stoves
- Not stable
- Quality Control variable
Dollmaker Wood Burning Camp Stove
A sturdy backpacking wood camping stove
Folded:8.3*5.9*5.5″/Assembled 8.3*5.9*5.1″, 1.9lb, Stainless Steel, DoMaker
This is a more substantial folding stove that has several useful features. It is provided with its portable storage bag. The stove features a larger area to burn fuel, with an ashtray underneath. The cube design makes it much more stable, and it just seems a very substantial unit.
It is effortless to set up, and the front door allows you to access the fire and add more fuel without removing the food on top. On top, there is a grill grid so you can BBQ food. This is undoubtedly my favorite camping stove of all, and judging by the reviews I have seen, most buyers like it.
- This camp stove feels secure and stable
- Folds down to small size and with ease
- Built-in ashtray keeps airflow going.
- Slightly bigger than some other wood burning stoves
TOMSHOO Camping Stove Camp Wood Stoves
Cooking Made Easy with Tomshoo small Best wood burning stoves
Collapsed 5.4 x 2.8in Assembled:5.4 * 6.9in,1lb, Stainless Steel, Tomshoo
This Can Stove made of stainless steel and comes with facilities to burn wood or alcohol/solid fuel tablets, thanks to a dish they supply. It is relatively stable and has limited space for feeding the fire without moving the pot. It uses the double skin to produce airflow that increases the fire intensity.
It comes with a mesh carry bag, BBQ Grill, and the alcohol tray as standard. The cross stand is serrated to supply more grip on the pan, but the cross stand is not suitable for use with small mugs.
- Compact and great to cook food
- Stable camp stove
- Choice of fuels wood sticks
- Cannot use individual stainless steel mug
- Quality control is patchy.
Odoland Folding Campfire Grill, Camping Fire Pit
Odoland Wood Stoves are Perfect for car camping
Folded 12.2″x12.2″x8.3″ and 14″x7.8″x2″ unfolded, 4.81lbs, Stainless Steel, Odoland
This is a firepit design with a square bucket to contain the fire with a raised BBQ grill above it, on which you can stand pots. It can serve either as a stove or just as a safe campfire firepit.
Somewhat different from other models. It comes in five parts, and it takes around one minute to assemble (after the first time). It comes complete with a carry bag which to can attach to a molle on your rucksack. All parts have been smoothed at the edges, so not sharps will cut you, and it is easy to clean.
- Versatile solo stove
- Easy to Clean
- Well made camp stove
- Cannot adjust the height of grill top
- Poor customer support
DANCHEL OUTDOOR Portable Titanium Tent Stove with Chimney
A Heavy Dute camping wood stove
13.65 * 7.8 * 7.4inch when folded 14.2 * 10.5 * 3inch, 5.41 lbs, Titanium Alloy, Danchel outdoor
This stove is substantially more expensive than the others and is designed for use inside a tent, and comes complete with an 8’2″ chimney. Not the sort of portable stove we have reviewed, but I thought I would include it as a comparison.
It does come with a tote bag, which carries all of it, including the chimney. Despite being more substantial, it is lighter to carry than you would expect. The chimney has a waterproof cape door that stops the smoke from entering the tent, channeling it up the chimney and making it safe for tent use. It has four legs bring the stove to a more usable height. I will keep the tent nice and warm.
- One of the easiest of the small wood burning stoves to setup
- Burns well with natural fuel, capacity to add more fuel
- The top will take a small frypan and maybe a coffee as well.
- You need to secure the chimney, or it will blow over/destabilize the stove.
Things to Consider Before Buying
What’s it made off?
You should check what grade of stainless steel it uses. It needs to be healthy, so it will not get bent out of shape. Stainless steel is suitable for cleaning, as is Titanium,
Outdoor Cooking Heat Efficiency
Possibly the most important thing you should check is that you can easily feed the fire with twigs and sticks while it is being used to cook. In some models, the hole is so small it is almost impossible to top up.
Remember, apart from the last model that comes with a chimney and a fire compartment that holds in the smoke, you should not use a stove in the tent, as it is unsafe to do so. If it can be used in the tent, it also has the utility for warming a tent on frosty nights, although you will need to get up twice to add more fuel. You should also make sure that the stove allows air to feed the fire and that it has enough ways for air to enter.
Are small backpacking stoves as capable as Large Wood Burning Camping Stoves?
Most of the stoves I have reviewed are designed to be ultra-portable and lightweight stoves enough to backpack with. They are also as compact as possible. These are all excellent features, but there is a downside.
The area where you can place a pot is by necessity going to be much smaller, resulting in the stove only heating a small portion of the pot’s base at a high temperature a hotspot). This can cause uneven temperatures for the food you cook, with some parts not being well cooked as others.
What is the best cooking style? Can, Folding, Flat or Box Wood style?
People have their preferences. Though, the foldable stoves are more practical as portable stoves than they can type stoves. Can type stoves have their place, but you will get better results overall from foldable stoves.
Will A Backpacking Stove Work In the Rain Or With Wet Wood?
Yes, a backpacking stove can be used in the rain. It is best to find some shelter, maybe under a tree, and you may have to start the fire using a solid fuel block. If you place the damp wood close to the fire as you cook, in a short time, it will dry out and can be added to the stove fire.
Why Use a Wood Burner Instead of a Gas Stove?
You do not have to lug heavy gas cylinders with you. They are typically much more portable.
Wrapping it Up
Sitting around a stove chatting as the food cooks is an incredibly social thing. When you are using a wood-burning stove, it becomes so much more pleasant as the aroma of the wood is released and the more natural smell of the wood wafts over you, instead of the chemical smell of the gas,
You may prefer the cylinder design, or the fold-up design may appeal to you. Possibly you even prefer the firepit model. It’s very much a personal thing. However, if you remember just one thing I would make it you should be sure that it can heat a pan big enough for your need and not only part of it.