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66 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review: The Solo Stove biomass backpacking stove
The quest for a reliable, easy-to-use backpacking stove never ends, and I have the collection to prove it! But the Solo Stove is really impressive, and worth taking a look at.

I'm caught in the baby-boomer backpacker quandary. On one hand, I like gear that works, and proven items are hard to leave behind. But my aging, abused knees make going light...
Published 21 months ago by Leon Pantenburg

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214 of 248 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good stove, dirty business.
The stove is not a bad stove, I purchased it for the price but upon receiving it, I realized that it is a bit too heavy for backpacking. It was my fault though, a couple of ounces doesn't seem much until you actually hold it. It is heavier than an alcohol stove setup or even a lightweight canister stove and fuel setup. It would be good for a survival kit or cooking one...
Published on April 4, 2012 by ntsworld


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66 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review: The Solo Stove biomass backpacking stove, November 30, 2012
By 
This review is from: Solo Stove Wood Burning Backpacking Stove - Ultra Light Weight Compact Design Perfect for Survival, Camping, Hunting & Emergency Preparation.
The quest for a reliable, easy-to-use backpacking stove never ends, and I have the collection to prove it! But the Solo Stove is really impressive, and worth taking a look at.

I'm caught in the baby-boomer backpacker quandary. On one hand, I like gear that works, and proven items are hard to leave behind. But my aging, abused knees make going light mandatory. I've had to replace effective, proven gear strictly on the basis of weight.

The Solo Stove specifications: Boiling: 8-10 minutes to boil 34 fl oz of water; Fuel: Burns sticks, pine cones and other biomass; Packed size: Height 3.8 inches, Width 4.25 inches; Assembled size: Height 5.7 inches, Width 4.25 inches; Weight: 9 oz; Materials: Hardened 304 stainless steel, nichrome wire

But some things you can't lighten up and one of those is stove fuel. It is heavy and if you run out in the wilderness, your stove becomes dead weight.

Here's my stove philosophy: You don't need much. Probably 90 percent of the time, all a backpacker requires is boiling water to brew tea or coffee or rehydrate food.

So the idea of a lightweight backpacking stove, with no moving parts, that burns twigs, pine cones, sticks etc is very attractive. So, I contacted Solo Stove to do a test and review.

My stove arrived in the mail a few days later, and first impressions were very positive. The stove fits perfectly inside my standard carry 42-ounce enamelware cup, and nesting the Solo Stove inside was a no-brainer.

Workmanship is superb. The Solo Stove is well-built and made of heavy gauge stainless steel with no seams, but it only weighs nine ounces. There are no parts to break or ports or vents to clog.

The Solo Stove is a natural convection inverted downgas gasifer stove, according to the company website, that incorporates a secondary combustion for a more efficient and cleaner burn. The bottom vents allow air to enter and flow up the bottom of the grate to feed the primary combustion, a top down smolder. In addition, air entering from the bottom vents heats up within the inner wall and rises up and out the top firebox vents causing a secondary combustion at the top of the stove.

The Solo Stove doesn't just burn wood, according to the website, but actually cooks the smoke out of the wood and then burns the smoke twice. This technique makes for a cleaner burn, the company claims, which means less smoke. This would also allow the stove to burn more efficiently which means it requires less fuel.

Anyway, all this hyperbole is shinola unless the stove works, so I set out to do some testing.

The first item was fuel. I took a stroll in the pine forest behind my house and gathered biomass stuff. This included damp and decaying sticks and twigs and a few pine cones. I grabbed a big handful.

I lighted the stove with a cotton ball and petroleum jelly, ignited with a ferro rod. The stove lighted very easily, and all it took was a few twigs to get a blaze going. I broke the twigs into small pieces and loaded the stove, and in no time, I had a blaze going. The top was just right to put that 42-ounce cup on, and everything balanced well.

I fed the fire through the slot in the side of the top, and in a few minutes, had boiling water. A Jetboil could have done the job a few minutes faster, but so what?

The only downside I can see is the inevitable wood soot buildup on cooking utensils. But you know that going in. The best idea is to make a separate bag or container for the cooking utensil, and segregate it from the rest of your gear. Or, you can cover the utensil bottom with aluminum foil before cooking.

Based on my testing so far, I really like the Solo Stove. With Coleman gas hitting over $9 per gallon here at the Walmart, fuel cost savings could be considerable. And the fuel is never going to get any lighter.

A biomass stove that can take advantage of easily-obtainable fuel is something all of us backpackers should be looking at. I've got a backpack trip scheduled for the middle of July, and the Solo Stove will be going along.
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162 of 180 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING stove!!, March 31, 2012
This review is from: Solo Stove Wood Burning Backpacking Stove - Ultra Light Weight Compact Design Perfect for Survival, Camping, Hunting & Emergency Preparation.
I understand some people are angry about a "ripoff" from another design. I don't know about everyone else but I work hard for my money and can't afford 100$+ on a frivolity like this. Besides, the "other" will always have his loyal followers. I got it on sale for 59.99$ and at first after I ordered it was a little apprehensive after hearing all the rave reviews of the "other stove". However, as soon as it arrived in the mail and I took it out of its packaging I was immediately set at ease.

I received it in short order to the tune of 3 business days, and that was with free shipping. I took it out in the woods about 5 minutes after I unpacked it. I marveled at how solid it feels an how well built it is. Now, I'm a noob to the wood burning scene having been a canister, then the last few yrs., an alky kind of guy. However in no time whatsoever I had this thing fired up and a nice hot little fire going on a cold, wet, blustery March day in the northeast. I collected 2 handfuls of pencil sized sticks as dry as I could find. And with 1 cotton ball and a little birch bark it fired right up with my firesteel. I only used about half of what i gathered. A good testament to the efficiency of the stove. I used my Snow Peak Trek 900 pot and in 7 minutes flat I had a hard rolling boil. Pretty good in my book. When I was done with the wood it had all burned down to white ash, and since the bottom of the stove stays cool I just picked it up and dumped the ash out in the water. Pretty "keep it simple stupid " easy to use and clean up design. I then dropped in my alcohol stove where you would usually pile the wood and it worked perfectly as an alcohol set up as well! It weighs 9oz., so is a little heavier than some other stoves, but if you factor in that you don't have to carry fuel then it works itself out if you don't mind being completely dependent on bio matter.

I can't say enough good things about this stove. I will be recommending it to all my friends and will be taking it with me on my thru-hike of the NPT this year. I may very well just sell some of my other stoves as I think i've found the perfect stove. Pair it with a SP trek 900 and you've got a pretty unbeatable system.
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Stove for a Camper, Prepper, Hunter or Backpacker, April 24, 2012
By 
dnv (Orange County, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Solo Stove Wood Burning Backpacking Stove - Ultra Light Weight Compact Design Perfect for Survival, Camping, Hunting & Emergency Preparation.
I purchased my stove directly from the Solo Stove website. First of all the packaging is very impressive. My mailman apparently just started walking erect a few years ago. He's been known to find a way to destroy the most secure packaging out there. "Fragile", "Do Not Bend", those are just challenges! The stove itself is a great stove. I have many stoves; too many according to my wife. I have multiple sizes of white gas stoves, Iso Butane Stoves, Esbit Stoves, Alcohol Stoves, A Kelly Kettle...etc. I do not like having to rely on moving parts for my food preparation and water purification. This stove is the perfect compromise between weight, functionality, and strength. I plan to use mine mostly with a Trangia or Esbit alcohol stove. This combination gives me 1. No moving parts 2. Lightweight 3. Ease of finding fuel (Denatured Alcohol, Everclear, Yellow HEET) and 4. Clean burning. I also love the fact that I can always run the stove on wood, which is does very well, if need be or my adventures run longer than expected. Currently I'm using the stove with a MSR Alpine Tea Kettle, but I plan to switch over to a Trek 900, so everything nests nicely together. Stop pumping, priming, maintaining, lugging smelly white gas, worrying about stuck lintel valves, carrying Field Service Kits, and worrying.
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59 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good choice, April 13, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Solo Stove Wood Burning Backpacking Stove - Ultra Light Weight Compact Design Perfect for Survival, Camping, Hunting & Emergency Preparation.
I'm not big on writing reviews but I am impressed with this little stove.
I had all the cans ready to make a rocket stove when I saw an ad for Solo on Facebook. I wanted a small stove to boil water at home in the case of a power outage. I am also an avid hiker and was planning on purchasing a white gas stove for backpacking. Boy did I get two birds with this one. Great for camping, backpacking, bugging in, bugging out and the fuel is FREE!

Light weight rust free design that runs on twigs!

Update: I took the stove backpacking and after a night of downpours I couldn't find twigs dry enough to keep lit. I used up all my Vaseline and cotton ball firestarters and ended up borrowing my friends white gas stove.
I've since purchased my own Snow Peak stove and will save the Solo stove for home use.
The Solo does work great with dry twigs and I am glad I purchased just won't be backpacking with it again.
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214 of 248 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good stove, dirty business., April 4, 2012
This review is from: Solo Stove Wood Burning Backpacking Stove - Ultra Light Weight Compact Design Perfect for Survival, Camping, Hunting & Emergency Preparation.
The stove is not a bad stove, I purchased it for the price but upon receiving it, I realized that it is a bit too heavy for backpacking. It was my fault though, a couple of ounces doesn't seem much until you actually hold it. It is heavier than an alcohol stove setup or even a lightweight canister stove and fuel setup. It would be good for a survival kit or cooking one person "solo" meals when camping.

I tried to post a review on the company's website but they delete all of their negative reviews. The reviews are also doctored. On their website, they are offering the stove on sale for 59.95 AND a 5-star review must be written for it in order to make the purchase. They are certainly in the market to buy reviews--after purchasing one, buyers are enticed to make a positive YouTube review on it to receive a 20 dollar rebate and a 45 dollar rebate for a positive website or blog review. To top off the cake, they are offering a buy one get one free for Amazon purchases if buyers make a 5 star review after purchase. Well, I don't need an extra stove and I certainly would not have purchased from them if I knew they were doing this.

I thought it was peculiar when contacting them with questions prior to purchasing the stove but like a fool, I dismissed it. They claimed that they DID NOT take anyone's idea for the stove but instead, simply "improved" upon existing stoves on the market. He has "designed" the Solo Stove after many hours of research and testing done in order to achieve the "perfect dimensions" for the "one of most efficient stoves on the market". Uh, what? I've seen a stove that has the exact same dimensions for years before this one.

They make no mention of where it is made in but it is made in China and the steel is similar to what you get when you buy pots that are made in China.

The pot support is also not very stable with all pots despite their claims. I will try to find a pot that will be more stable on it (probably a Snow Peak 900) and maybe even try to contact Bushbuddy to see if they will sell just the pot support (theirs has 4 tabs on the pot support).
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Hiking Stove, April 28, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Solo Stove Wood Burning Backpacking Stove - Ultra Light Weight Compact Design Perfect for Survival, Camping, Hunting & Emergency Preparation.
This is a cool little stove.

I have been searching for the "ultimate" hiking and camping stove for a few years now. What I have found is there is no one stove. It depends on what you are doing. I have made myself a bunch of beer can penny stoves. They are good for quick lunches. But you have to carry to much fuel for extended trips. The standard fuel canister ultra-lights are very handy, but.... well. They just aren't any fun.
This stove is what I would call a outdoormans stove.
It is light and packs down to fit into my cook pot (I use theOpen Country 5-Cup Percolator, cheap and works great) and folds out to provide its own wind shelter and pot holder. Then, you just stuff sticks in it and boil your water.
My first test, I went out in my back yard and in 5 minutes I had enough twigs and sticks to fire this bad boy up for over a half and hour. Plenty of time to get my quart of water to boil.
Today, I took it on a real test to the local Tillamook mountains.
And it rained on me.
All of the wood was wet. So I cheated and used a half ounce of everclear (ethyl alcohol) to get it started. But once started. It was great. I huddled under my shelter for 15 minutes and then had a nice warm lunch with tea.

The nitty Gritty:
Good stove. Well built. Works well. However: You need to have good fire craft. Start with small stuff. Build up to about finger sized chunks. THis thing is very efficient at burning the fuel you put in. So the heat comes out of the wood and the wood is gone. You have to keep feeding small pieces in every minute or so. (actually I like this part).
It will burn wet wood just fine, but you need to get it going and that is harder (as any Boy Scount knows).

The other cool thing. If you are out on a multi-day trip with this stove, it can be a campfire in the evening. Something to stare into and talk about life. Not something a propane stove lends itself to. Hey, laugh if you want, but you know that a campfire isn't always possible but you miss it so...

Some warnings:
This stove is harder to use than other stoves. It is what is says it is. It burns fuel that you can find EVERYWHERE and it does it very well. But you need to know how to start a fire. It also makes a lot of smoke when it is coming on line (once it heats up there is very little smoke) so you can't really have it "in" your tent or closed shelter.

All this said. I love it. I am going to go bug my hiking buddies to get with it.

Cheers !!
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a gem!, August 8, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Solo Stove Wood Burning Backpacking Stove - Ultra Light Weight Compact Design Perfect for Survival, Camping, Hunting & Emergency Preparation.
I've been a camp stove collector for about twelve years now and have spent a lot of money on old Optimus, Primus and Svea backpacking stoves. I just recently focused on stoves like the Solo that can burn either wood or use an alcohol burner. I've used the Solo Stove twice with a Trangia alcohol burner, and it works great. It is light weight, it is the perfect size and the bottom part of the outer skin doesn't get hot so you can move it (carefully) while it is burning. I have five different wood burning stoves now. Two are cylindrical, and the other three fold to a flat pack. They all have strong points, and the only weak point with the wood burners is the soot that collects on them and on the bottom of the pots. When you consider what you pay for a backpacking stove whether it uses Coleman fuel or gas canisters, I think you can save money in the long run by buying a Solo Stove or any of the wood burning stoves. The Solo Stove is a great item to have in a bug out bag or a back pack. My mother used to carry a Sterno stove in her car along with tin cans of food, and an old pot for economical lunches in rest areas or by the road side. Between her and Boy Scouts I was propagandized to always carry equipment like this and always be prepared.
(If you want the bottoms and the sides of your pots to be easy to clean after cooking over wood cover the outside of the pot with a thin layer of liquid dish washing soap.)
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best twig fueled stove I have seen, December 22, 2012
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This review is from: Solo Stove Wood Burning Backpacking Stove - Ultra Light Weight Compact Design Perfect for Survival, Camping, Hunting & Emergency Preparation.
I have tried many backpacker cooking solutions since the 1960'a and this is second only to the no longer available Zebco propane burner burner top on a 1lb canister for reliable cooking. Some pressurized white gas stoves can beat it in time to boil (like the Coleman unit that weighs 4lbs) but you won't be doing a cleaning or repair operation by LED light in a downpour. The Solo has no parts to break or clog. If there are any fallen limbs or twigs you will have cooked food.
I tested the Solo Stove at 45F, 850 feet elevation in wind gusts up to 30 MPH with 1.5 quarts of water in an uncovered 2 quart heavy kitchen aluminum sauce pan and no wind shielding (not trail equipment). Got the water to a full boil in less than 20 minutes. Fuel was twigs picked up from my yard after an inch of rain the previous day. No dried or split wood was used, only twigs that I could break to size by hand. The Solo is not smokeless but it is very low smoke compared to a firepit or most other wood stoves. Your pots and pans will get blackened.
I have used Primus and other white gas stoves that did not do any better. Even a backpacker propane stove will take 12 to 15 minutes to boil water under these conditions. Butane stoves are more reliable than white gas but fall off in effectiveness as the temperature gets close to freezing where they stop working.
It takes 8 to 10 minutes to get a a solid fire going in the Solo. This stove requires nearly continuous feeding of small twigs to maintain full heat output but it only took 4 to five handfuls of twigs to get started and bring the water to a boil. 25 minutes later the stove was only warm to the touch and only ashes were left. All the fuel had been consumed.
Unlike most other backpacker twig stoves, the Solo stove is double walled construction. The outside will not get hot enough to create a risk of starting a forest fire. No burning embers will drop through to the ground. So it is not necessary to find a large rock or other inflammable surface to set the stove on (I have a folding rocket type twig stove with a grated bottom that can only be used on rock surfaces).
This won't beat my Zebco propane burner top for speed or ease of use. But at 8 oz versus 3lbs it is certainly more packable and you won't run out of fuel or have an equipment failure.
A couple of hints for for real world backpack cooking:
1. Always use a wind shield. Make one from three 18-24 inch metal rods and some heavy duty aluminum foil. This is bigger, lighter and cheaper than buying the manufactured ones. This is strongly recommended with all types of stoves.
2. The best fire starter is a cotton ball wiped in Vaseline petroleum jelly. It will start from a single good spark and burn 3 - 5 minutes. Plus, you only add a couple of ounces to your backpack counting the striker.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything I expected..., April 30, 2012
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This review is from: Solo Stove Wood Burning Backpacking Stove - Ultra Light Weight Compact Design Perfect for Survival, Camping, Hunting & Emergency Preparation.
I've used several of these types of stoves over the years, and have even built my own bigger versions. Some work better than others. What I love about this type of stove though, is that I don't have to pack my own fuel. I don't have to worry about fuel spilling in my pack, about running out, or about not being able to get more in an emergency. When I got my stove, I was pleasantly surprised with the build quality. It is solid, and my initial impression was that it will give years of reliable service. Of course I wanted to see how it would work, so I took it out and started it up. I wanted to be sure I could start it under the usual conditions I would use it in so I didn't use a lighter, or matches. I placed a tinder ball I carry with me when out camping, hiking, hunting etc in the stove. It's just a cotton ball soaked in melted petroleum jelly. Gathered some small twigs and some slightly bigger fuel, and used my ferro rod to get the cotton ball going. I wanted to time it, just to see how long it would take. From the time I set the stove on the ground, gathered some fuel, and had a fire going in the stove it was less than 1.5 minutes. I then had enough water to make a cup of soup warmed up enough to eat in less than 6. I was worried about how difficult it might be to keep the fire going, by feeding fuel into the stove under the water pot. No need to worry at all. Feeding it and keeping it going strong was easy. The fire burned hot, and efficient just like its supposed to. When I was done with the water, I let the fire burn out and there wasn't much of anything to clean up. I let it cool down, put it in my water pot and it was ready to pack away. Perfect. No messing with tearing down fuel bottles, etc. I'm happy I bought the stove, and I'd buy it again if I had it to do over again.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Compact nice little stove, August 19, 2012
By 
DoubleG (Thomasville GA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Solo Stove Wood Burning Backpacking Stove - Ultra Light Weight Compact Design Perfect for Survival, Camping, Hunting & Emergency Preparation.
I sent this to my friend Art who takes solo trips deep into the North Country. He wanted to try a rocket style stove. Art is a notorious test guy. To date, I have had 3 different Solo Stove tests from Art - all no less than a page write-up for each test. Art has put this through the wringer in upstate NY and after all the techno testing ( I wish he would write this review ) the summary is this:
The Good:
He likes the stove
It's light
Heats solid / canned food very well
Good weekend trip or survival stove for one person
It will serve the purpose intended
Art has a tall 8 cup stainless pot from Wal Mart (8.00) that sits on this stove. The stove fits in this pot and he says you can stuff enough sticks inside for heating the next meal and seal it all in a large zip lock plastic bag.

The bad:
Takes constant tending to keep fire going ( that was expected ) due to the size.
Boiling water takes longer to do than expected and you must have a good flame
A bit costly for what you get but the quality is good
Would not use for long trips unless constantly on the move

Note: Art says it's easier to lift your pot off the stove to feed the fire instead of stirring and feeding at the same time. You will also need a deep spoon if you elect to get the deep SS pot/cup from wally world. The pot will sit on the stove okay but be careful stirring. It's top heavy with the tall pot on top.

We will be testing one or two other mini rocket style stoves very soon.
Bottom line: Art says if you got 70.00 to blow and you need a light backpack stove this will work but constant attention is needed. I will see if I can get Art to follow up on this for those of you who want atmospheric, time, temp and locaction data if you need it. That is how detailed he is.
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