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solo stove

This past Saturday I used my Solo Campfire to make toasted marshmallows with the family. The campfire is a nice size device but it takes time to prep. Getting my hardwood ready took about 45 minutes for a 30 minute burn.

Today I decided to boil 900ml of water using my solo-stove so I could make some instant mashed potatoes, instant mac and cheese and some green tea. Getting the fire started and keeping it going was not very difficult but there are some things worth noting:
  • the fuel, sticks, should be a little shorter than the diameter of the tank
  • the smaller solo requires more attention than the campfire
  • boiling 900ml took between 20 and 25 minutes from first lite
  • I could have used a wind screen but not in this particular location
  • the demos I've watched on youtube use almost exclusively branches so they are not likely hardwood and that take a while to prep
  • the base got warm but not hot enough to burn or melt the plastic table I was working on
  • my birch bark did not work well so I ended up using dryer link and my firesteel. (possibly 20 strokes)
At the time I was cooking for the family:
  1. boiling water for my dinner
  2. microwaving sweet potatoes and then grilling them
  3. grilling a steak for my wife and boiling water on the stove for proper mac n cheese
I was running from station to station and always passing by the solo adding or preparing fuel each time.

In conclusion this took a lot of work. Processing my suburban wood supply meant using my Mora ax which simply does not have enough heft to make the job easy. The hardwood needed to be split to the point where I could process it by hand just in time. Because it was a hardwood there was no point to using my knife and batoning. Wearing gloves were a must (and they were yellow not red).

I think if I had to cook more than one course with this stove and clean it between courses that it might be a little too much work. Boiling water is a snap. Depending on all things a complete system might be a solo Titan+1800 and a jetboil fuel system (not sure the container would pack well.)

The biggest drawback is that the solo depends on the conditions and the jetboil means you have to know your remaining fuel. AND in the middle of all of this you might also have a traditional firepit whih could do double duty.

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