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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Vargo vs Emberlit + Alcohol Backpacking Stoves (and Buscraft Mini Stove & Firebox)

I like playing around with small stoves for hiking in the backcountry and for having a nice hot meal on hunts. As a result I have purchased a couple woodburning stoves and a couple alcohol stoves to cook a nice hot meal.

I wanted to share my thoughts on the woodburning stoves in case anyone is considering picking one up.

I own the Vargo Hexagon

http://www.vargooutdoors.com/hexagon-backpacking-wood-stove.html#.VtOYdUVHbCQ

And the Emberlit UL Titanium

http://emberlit.com/stoves/emberlit-ul-orignial-titanium-backpacking-stove

So far I think the Vargo is better honestly. It is easier to set up and costs less.

The Emberlit holds more fuel, but is kind of annoying to set up as it has 7 pieces that you must fit together like a 3D puzzle which I'm not overly impressed with as its cost is higher and I'd expect a more user friendly product given the cost is $25 more than the Vargo.

Both heat food up as well as the other, and burn tinder just fine. So I can't say one cooks any better than the other. But the Vargo is a singular piece with hinged panels that make for much quicker set up and ease of use compared to the Emberlit.

The Emberlit seems like it could support a heavier pot however. Their website even claims it will support a pretty heavy load. However, both work adequately on my Halulite cook sets so I don't feel this is much of an advantage.

Both store flat and take up very little space and weigh next to nothing. The Vargo storage pouch is a bit cheesy as it seals with Velcro and the Emberlit storage pouch does seem to be better made.

Both with leave your mess kit with a nice coating of soot that takes a little scrubbing to remove. But hey, it's free fuel!

I'd love to hear your suggestions on meals. Personally I love Cajun rice with beans, and sausage. It beats the heck out of a mashed up sandwich!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Here is a picture of the Vargo in action as I was testing it last fall.

It is a pretty compact little stove, but it got my food cooking really quickly and was ready to eat in about 10 minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I got to thinking that another interesting stove to discuss would be alcohol stoves.

I am not sure how many of you have used these before, but they are pretty nifty and can even be made out of two soda cans ( check this video out if you want to make one:
) They are great for heating up a quick meal when there is little to no wind, otherwise you will need a windscreen.

I own two different alcohol stoves.

1) Vargo Decagon: http://www.vargooutdoors.com/decagon-alcohol-stove.html#.VtnuCpj2bIU

2) Esbit Alcohol Stove: http://www.amazon.com/Esbit-Alcohol-Camping-Variable-Temperature/dp/B004RHPSMM

I have also owned the SoLite burner but didn't really like its performance as the flame was inconsistent. https://recreationoutlet.com/solite-alcohol-ultralight-stove.html

The Vargo Decagon is pretty darn sturdy and well made. The flame is consistent and lasts about 10-12 minutes which is plenty of time to get a small pot of water boiling or to fry up a meal on the fry pan (cooked eggs and sausages this way). However, the flame is always in high heat and there isn't a great way to control how much heat is hitting your cookware. Additionally, you must carry a separate fuel bottle to fuel the stove. The separate fuel bottle isn't a huge deal as it doesn't take up too much space, but it can be inconvenient at times. One final limiting factor to the Vargo is you must burn up all of the fuel once it is lit. Unfortunately there is no way to salvage the excess unburned fuel and it is tricky to blow the flame out.

The Esbit Alcohol Stove is a great deal compared to the more expensive titanium Vargo, and in a lot of ways has better features as well. I haven't had a ton of time to play with this one so far, but there are two features that make this stove a winner in my eyes: 1) the screw-on cap will allow the user to transport the stove with a small amount of fuel already in the stove which will allow you to take up minimal space and weight in your pack if you just need to heat up one meal. 2) The flame regulator allows the user to have better control over the flame intensity and keep you from scorching a meal. Additionally, the flame regulator makes it easy to snuff the flame out and preserve unused fuel for your next meal. It is still quite light weight and small and will easily fit in your mess-kit for storage.

I really like these little stoves and would highly encourage you to use these (or make the penny can stove) with scouts or youth interested in back country trips where weight and pack space are highly valued. Its also fun to know that there is another way to have a quality meal while enjoying being out in nature.
 

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Emberlit. I know both products, companies, and owners. Nothing against Vargo, but Emberlit is Utah made, and a better product. I had a small role in it's early development.

For alcohol stoves you can't beat Trail designs: https://www.traildesigns.com/ With alcohol it requires a "system", it has to be much more than just a stove in order attain any benefit from the fuel. Check out the Ti-Tri system, it burns esbit, alcohol or wood. They are made in California with Utah components, same story as above, so I may be a bit biased.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Emberlit. I know both products, companies, and owners. Nothing against Vargo, but Emberlit is Utah made, and a better product. I had a small role in it's early development.
If I remember correctly, Vargo is manufactured over seas. So yes, it is nice to support a Utah company.

I do wish that the Emberlit was simpler to put together. I really wanted to like it given how much more fuel can be put into it which translates to less time spent tending the fire. I feel that the Vargo is really lacking in that capacity. But having so many loose pieces was quite annoying to me as it isn't much fun to put together with cold hands.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Plant Wheel Plant community Tire Sky

Out scouting a new area in my deer unit today. Rode hard, hit some streams, napped in my hammock and cooked a delicious lunch with my Vargo stove.

It was a good day.

Ps- not one deer seen. But that just means I'd better go up for another look.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Oh and here is the stove in action so you can't call me a liar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ok, the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem.

I dont have a problem, so leave me alone! :mrgreen:



I had a small Amazon gift card and didnt know what to do with it, and stumbled across the Bushcraft Essentials Outdoor Pocket Micro Stove It was fairly cheap, so I figured it was worth a try.

First impression: wow, this thing looks barely big enough to cook my daughter's Barbie food! But upon closer inspection I realized that this little thing is really well built (good quality metal, great fit, nice carrying pouch). So it got my curiosity piqued.

I dont have any dry tinder to test burning twigs with just yet, so I tested out a Esbit fuel tab instead. I was surprised how quickly 1 cup of water heated up. Suddenly I realized that this little do-wacky may actually serve a purpose after all. I dont think that cooking a meal would be a viable option for someone unless you were in a real pinch, but I think you could easily warm up a hot drink on the trail (or maybe boil a small amount of water for a dehydrated meal) with very little effort.

Overall, this thing is a bit of a novelty but fun. It may be good to keep in an emergency kit with a tea candle and a few solid fuel tabs. Or it may end up being a fun little thing to show off with when hiking with your buddies.

I may pick up a couple more as rewards for Scouts in my local troop....

Happy trails guys!
 

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Recently I made a Super Cat Can stove and also the famous Fancy Feest Stove. I like this kind of stove because they are simple, cheap and they work.
A long-range hiker (Andrew Skurka) uses these quite often, and he seems to be out ALOT and that says something about the gear.

The only thing I'm missing is a proper windscreen but I'm going to get what Skurka uses, think it's a Trail Design model, and it's sturdy and packable. Though not super cheap.

When it comes to woodstoves, I bought the Firebox Stove, made in Utah! But after a few tries, not blaming the stove, rather the concept, I realize that if I can have a fire, I don't need a 2-lb construction with me.
It does have it's pros obviously, but not for me.

No fire = alcohol stove for me.
They tend to have bigger issues in the winter time when temperatures drop. The alcohol have a harder time getting lit.
Also, it's a fun project :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Here is another pic of the Bushcraft stove to give you an idea of size.

Several reviews suggested using tea candles to heat water but I couldn’t ever get it to even get the water to steam so I threw some solid hexamine tabs in and it got the water boiling after 1.5 tabs.
 

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an interesting device, indeed, without sarcasm. I'm at an old school, why I'm used to doing a classic mini fire to warm up food =D But this device looks really cool. I when that found start-up, which meant under itself about the same device, but more "futuristic" in appearance, Also for heating a cup of water or food. But - you can connect a USB cable to it and charge your smartphone or something else with the micro USB connector.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
an interesting device, indeed, without sarcasm. I'm at an old school, why I'm used to doing a classic mini fire to warm up food =D But this device looks really cool. I when that found start-up, which meant under itself about the same device, but more "futuristic" in appearance, Also for heating a cup of water or food. But - you can connect a USB cable to it and charge your smartphone or something else with the micro USB connector.
I think you are talking about the Biolite stove but I am not clear: https://www.bioliteenergy.com/products/campstove-2

The concept of these is pretty cool. I haven't ever known anyone to actually use one though
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Using my Bushcraft Mini to get me a nice hot drink on the hunt this morning.

Beats the heck outta carrying my heavy thermos!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
In my initial alcohol stove post, I mentioned making a stove out of soda cans and have decided to make some of these with my daughter and some of my buddies.

Long story short, it only took me about ten minutes to put together (24 hours for the JB Weld to cure though) and it seems to work pretty darn well!

The materials I used were:
2 soda cans
Fiberglass insulation
Metal screen
3/8” brass grommet
JB Weld

Tools:
Tin snips
Drill
Grommet punch

After putting it together, I poured 1oz of denatured alcohol into the stove and lit it up. Overall burn time was approximately 18 minutes but a little over 15 minutes of useable flame of 1” or higher.

This would be a FANTASTIC activity for anyone in scouting or who wants to teach their kids something new.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
A follow up (that nobody asked for, but I like cooking food so I'm writing it anyways)

I ended up buying yet another stove (dunno how many I have by now, but that's ok) and am super excited about it.

I purchased the Firebox Stove with some accessories like a grill plate to grill up some meat.

These are made by a Utah based company and are insanely well built compared to everything else I own.

Thus far I haven't had a ton of time to play with the stove but I've grilled up two steaks and am over the moon excited about how well it worked and how easy it was to use.

If you have any interest in a wood burning stove, the Firebox is definitely a top contender and is the Cadillac of the wood burning stove kingdom based off what I'm already experiencing.

Definitely worth a look!
 

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I liked the Firebox, except it was rather heavy. And for me it wasn't a good fit, if there's no fire ban, I rather make a small fire than use a stove.
And if there's a fireban, I'll bring a small alcohol stove.

I prefer the alcohol stoves than anything due to the alcohol being cheap and it's not even bad for the environment, at least not the stuff we use here in Sweden. It's a bit slow sure, but all quiet and rarely fails.

There's a cheap woodburning stove that people make out of a utensil holder from IKEA. It's in metal and can easily be made into a stove. Cheap, easy and reliable.

A follow up (that nobody asked for, but I like cooking food so I'm writing it anyways)

I ended up buying yet another stove (dunno how many I have by now, but that's ok) and am super excited about it.

I purchased the Firebox Stove with some accessories like a grill plate to grill up some meat.

These are made by a Utah based company and are insanely well built compared to everything else I own.

Thus far I haven't had a ton of time to play with the stove but I've grilled up two steaks and am over the moon excited about how well it worked and how easy it was to use.

If you have any interest in a wood burning stove, the Firebox is definitely a top contender and is the Cadillac of the wood burning stove kingdom based off what I'm already experiencing.

Definitely worth a look!
 

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This summer I'm running an Expedition Research solid fuel stove.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MSD4ZNM/ref=dp_cerb_3

Weighs 3.2 oz on my scale, and can burn an esbit cube for 15 minutes. My waters hot enough for a ramen bomb or instant coffee in about 8 mins or so, and I use the rest of the burn time to keep my coffee warm. :mrgreen:

You can buy a box of 40 14G tablets for 25$ on amazon that aren't esbit but just as good if not better.

https://www.amazon.com/Expedition-S...Expedition+Research+LLC&qid=1596046377&sr=8-5

Smells like fish, but I'm happy with it, it does the job, it's light, and I see exactly how much fuel I have, rather then the shake and guess with gas cans.

Alcohol... I just haven't gotten into it yet. This was just easier for a simpleton like me.
 
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