Solo Stove Reviewed
Marketing from Solo Stove
The patented Solo Stove is a unique wood burning stove 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 in 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 actually cooks the smoke out of the wood and then burns the smoke not once, but twice! This technique makes for a cleaner burn which means less smoke and higher efficiency.
Forget the Fuel: Our stoves cook your meals with nothing but the twigs you collect on your journey, eliminating the need for heavy, expensive, polluting petroleum gas. It’s easy to light, fast to boil and clean to use.
Gasify your Wood: A unique gasification and secondary combustion process lets our stoves achieve a highly efficient and more complete burn. This means you’ll use fewer twigs to achieve a boil. It also means less smoke while cooking.
Travel Lighter: The Solo Stove only weighs 9 oz and eliminates the need to carry fuel canisters – a great way to lighten your load. It also nests inside most pots leaving you with more space in your pack.
Stay Green: By using renewable resources for fuel instead of petroleum, you’re reducing your carbon footprint. You’ll also keep fuel canisters out of the landfill.
Be Prepared: The Solo Stove is great for emergency situations.
Manufacturer: Solo Stove, solostove.com
Model: Solo Stove
Dimensions: 4.25 x 5.7 in (10.8 x 14.5 cm)
Packed Size: 4.25 x 3.8 in (10.8 x 9.7 cm)
Weight: 9 oz (255 g)
Materials: SAE 304 Stainless Steel, Nichrome Wire
Fuel: sticks, twigs, pine cones and other biomass
Boil Time: 8-10 mins (32 fl oz / 950 ml)
Accessories: Nylon Pouch
Purchased Separately: Alcohol Burner, Aluminum Windscreen
Warranty: 1 Year
Part of any good SHTF plan should accommodate a way to cook and purify water without gas or electricity. Additionally, that plan should maintain an emphasis on mobility. I’ve looked at many stove systems lately that utilize a variety of fuels. Today I’ll be looking at the Solo Stove, a compact packable, and environmentally friendly wood burning stove.
The Solo Stove is constructed from a high-grade SAE 304 stainless steel also known as A2 stainless steel. It is not significantly electrically or thermally conductive, but it is highly resistant to corrosion and can be formed rather easily, making it the perfect material for a camp stove. Precision presses form and shape the material used in the construction of the Solo Stove for increased strength and rock-solid durability.
The outer shell, inner firebox and floating ash pan are each formed from individual pieces of stainless steel with no seams or welds thereby increasing the overall strength and lifespan of the stove. Nichrome wire is used for the grate due to its high melting point of 2552 degrees Fahrenheit for increased longevity.
Technically speaking, the Solo Stove is a natural convection inverted downgas gasifier stove. A mouthful I know, but what does that mean to those of us without an engineering degree?
Simply put, cool air is drawn in through holes located at the bottom of the stove where oxygen is fed directly to the embers in the firebox from below. Simultaneously, oxygen is channeled through the surrounding walls where it is preheated before entering into the firebox through the smaller ventilation holes located at the top of the stove. This rush of preheated oxygen causes a secondary combustion to occur resulting in a hotter, and highly efficient burn of the fuel. As a result, fuel is burned much more completely, therefore requiring far less fuel to achieve the same result.
When the Solo Stove’s cooking ring is in the upright position, it provides a stable 3-point pot support which also doubles as a windscreen and firebox access point. The cooking ring has an angled lip which focuses the heat towards the center of the pot, minimizing heat loss to maximize efficiency. When the cooking ring is not in use, it is neatly stored upside down in the top of the stove.
The Solo Stove features an integrated ash pan designed to catch loose ash and prevent the constriction of vital airflow to the bottom of the firebox. Additionally, the ash pan acts as a heat shield between the ash pan and the bottom of the stove, preventing the stove from scorching the ground beneath it. Become more environmentally friendly, tread lightly and leave no trace.
At 9 ounces, the Solo Stove would not be considered an ultralight camp stove. However, not needing to pack any fuel with you makes it an attractive alternative to the many traditional solid fuel, alcohol and canister stoves out there. Additionally, with a wood burning stove you really never need to worry about running out of fuel. Wherever you trek, chances are an unlimited amount natural fuel sources are readily available: twigs, wood, seeds etc.
Solo Stove also sells some optional addons that can be purchased separately including a foldable aluminum windscreen and an integrated alcohol burner that can be stored securely inside the stove. The alcohol burner is a great backup fuel source and companion to the Solo Stove turning it into a flexible multi-fuel cooking system. While I wasn’t able to test any of these addons for this review, maybe I’ll have the opportunity to look at them in the future.
To increase pack efficiency, the Solo Stove will fit neatly inside most packable pots 900ml or larger, including the optional Solo Stove Pot 900 which can be purchased separately.
The Solo Stove comes with a black nylon pouch that is both lightweight and durable to fully encapsulate the stove, keeping loose ash and soot from getting on everything in your gear bag.
Testing of the Solo Stove was rather straightforward. I tested the original compact model, and not the Titan or Campfire models so for the test I chose to boil 4 cups of water in a 1600ml titanium pot.
To start off, I gathered small tinder approximately 3″ in length with a varying diameter from 1/16″ to 1/2″. Once I felt that I had enough tinder piled up, I pulled out my Solo Stove. I remember reading somewhere that these gasifier type stoves work better when the tinder is stacked upside down, so I thought I would follow the advice. I started with a few 1/2″ sticks and continually added smaller material with each layer, until the top layer where I placed the match-sized sticks. The wood was very dry so I just used a Bic lighter to get it started and within a couple of minutes, the fire was raging.
Next, I added 4 cups of water to the pot and placed it on the stove. The 3-point pot support was stable, holding the pot firmly in place. To keep the fire going, I had to add a few sticks here and there through the opening in the windscreen. There was a minor breeze so it took a little less than 15 minutes to bring the 4 cups to a rolling boil.
Once I removed the pot from the stove, the fire continued to burn hot until the last of the fuel had burnt away, hardly leaving any ash left in the stove. I repeated the test a second time with similar results. However, since the stove was already hot, it took a little less time to get the second pot of water to boil.
To combat the soot residue left on your cookware, I have found that applying a thin layer of soap prior to use will make it easier to clean. Just as you would when cooking with solid fuel tablets.
Even with all of the good things I had heard about the Solo Stove, I have to admit that initially I did have some reservations about relying on a compact wood burning stove in a survival situation. I asked myself, ‘how could anyone use one of these stoves with any consistency?’ Boy was I surprised! The Solo Stove exceeded all of my expectations and then some.
While the quality materials and craftsmanship found in the Solo Stove are very high, I think it’s the technology behind the design where the Solo Stove really stands out from the crowd. Its advanced design, exceptional combustion and fuel efficiency are why the Solo Stove is a real winner in my book.
Even at 9 ounces, the Solo Stove is certainly compact and lightweight enough for trekking through the woods on a walkabout or bugging out during a zombie apocalypse. However, if you have a large family and find yourself bugging in, you might want to look at one of Solo Stove’s bigger brothers. This compact model is just a little too small to support a large campsite for any length of time.
Disclosure of Material Connection: We received the product(s) mentioned above for free in consideration for a complete, honest and impartial product review for publication on LetsTalkSurvival.com with no gurantee of the outcome whatsoever. Any opinion provided herein is based entirely on our personal experience with the product(s).
About Solo Stove
We love backpacking, camping, fishing and every other outdoor activity! Our most cherished memories come from the many outdoor adventures we’ve shared amongst friends and family. There’s something beautiful about the simplicity of being out in nature! So we decided to make my own stove that would be super efficient, easy to use, built tough, light-weight and affordable.
We designed a stove that is affordable enough for everyone to enjoy – from the avid elite backpacker to the boy scout who’s out camping for the first time. We’re proud that we achieved this. Solo Stove is one of the most affordable compact wood burning stoves on the market today.
We hope you enjoy the companionship of the Solo Stove as much as we do. We’re confident that the Solo Stove will soon become one of your most important pieces of backpacking gear. Happy trails!