Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Twig Stove

In my continuing quest to lighten my load, I recently came across an article describing how to make a twig stove out of a coffee can. This weekend I followed the plans (using a tomato can instead of a coffee can, as I'm a whole-bean snob) and took it on a day hike to test out by cooking some soup for lunch.

The construction was relatively simple, taking approximately 10 to 15 minutes. I added a couple of extra steps such as filing the ends of the pot supports round so they wouldn't tear any gear, and doing the same to any other sharp or pointy bits.

On the trail, it took only a moment to find the necessary firewood (one small bundle of twigs, broken down to fit the width of the can. A section of newspaper provided the firestarter, although I would probably take some firestarter material on a longer hike, in case no dry kindling was available.

Within a few seconds the wood took, and I added my pot with 2 cups of water to the top. It was neccessary to keep adding kindling for about 6 or 7 minutes, never allowing more than a minute to pass before adding more wood. There was a slight breeze that helped the fire along, but it's possible if the wood wasn't bone dry that I might have to blow on it occasionally.

My soup cooked up easily, although not as fast as Ian's (he brought his cannister stove). Shadow was content to eat her cold lunch, as she was ravenous after the 2 hour hike in over Mount Maguire in East Sooke Park.

Full of tasty food, we hiked another couple of hours back to the car at Anderson Cove and went home exhausted. As for the twig stove, I think it is definitely something I will use again in the future. I wouldn't want to rely on it as my only cooking source, but maybe on a two-person hike, one person could bring a canister stove as a backup, using the twig stove whenever possible to limit the amount of fuel needed. A potential savings of half a pound in fuel.


Anonymous said...

Try something like mark jurey's one:


A little taller than yours judging by the
pictures, but I built one and It seems
to be able to handily boil up just fine
on a full load of spruce twigs with no
need to stuff wood in every minute.


Matt said...

Thanks for the link phat, that looks great. I'll give that one a try too, and post my comparisons.