It proved so easy to use that we'll be cooking with it an extensive part of summer I think.
The Versa is like a metal bucket (no bigger really) filled with ceramic with a funnel in the middle and a cooking crate. One larger door is meant to start and feed the fire (despite the fact that it is small, there is a stand allowing you to put long branches that you push forward progressively). The smaller door is called a damper door and allows you to control the air flow to turn the flame up or down. Close both doors and the fire is quickly out. There is a cast iron top that concentrates the heat directly where you need it and allows you to use flat pans or round-bottomed ones.
We used twigs and branches because that's how we plan to use it but you can also use coal bricks (4/8 to cook a whole meal) or compact biomass fuel.
My son started every fire we've done on the Versa. It is quite stable due to the weight of the ceramic insulation and this also prevents any burns because though the sides may get hot, it is never scalding hot.
In fact, it seemed to me that once the fire is put down and you're out camping you can actually put the Versa under your tent to warm it for quite some time like a small heating system because it stays warm then but produces no smoke).
You would have to push it real hard to make it tumble and even then most of the embers would remain inside the funnel.
Once you're done you close the doors and leave it until it's cold, no need to keep an eye on it.
Compared to an open fire, there is just no risk of an uncontrolled fire starting from your own.
-it is quite effective : boiling one liter of water takes just a few minutes since the Versa concentrates the heat right in the middle.
-it uses a lot less fuel than an open fire : no need to scavenge for plenty of branches . A few twigs to start and 3/4 branches is just enough for us to cook one meal entirely, now try that with an open fire.
For both these reasons I find the Versa to be a perfect tool for emergency preparedness. You can keep the hot meals + disinfect water for days with pretty little wood or sparing your charcoal.
-it produces a LOT less smoke which is both confortable and discreet.
-I love the fact that it is fairly safe and child friendly since we chose this for family time too. My son is planning marshmallows in a nearby future with his friends. I feel this is secure enough to let them do this with little supervision.
-it requires really minimal cleaning : open the doors, let the ashes out (they are quite white showing an almost complete combustion) and reuse them in the garden to both feed the soil and prevent pests from eating your plants.
None so far, since we plan to use it mostly around our house, the weight is not an issue. We wouldn't put it in our backpacks but we will carry it to the sea for a summer dinner soon.
I thought from the start it looked nice for our needs but I was really enthusiastic after trying this around. And it's the kind of thing you know you'll use for years and years because it is durable. My husband had doubts but was truly positively surprised. As for my son he looked for sunny opportunities to use it more.