Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Emberlit Wood Burning Camp Stove

Earlier this month I posted about camping stoves, including the Emberlit wood burning stove which I bought last winter, but didn’t get a chance to use it until Labor Day weekend. This is a follow up.

The stainless Emberlit weighs 11.45 oz., has a footprint of about 4.5” inches square, and is 6 inches tall. The stove walls taper so that the top is a little smaller than the bottom. I think the earliest production models did not come with the cross bars for the top, which allow you to use smaller cups on it. They also add rigidity.

On the Labor Day camping trip I used it to make coffee in my percolator and fry up some Spam.


It worked to get the coffee boiling but really isn’t ideal for use with this percolator. It really needs a wider footprint for better stability. (That’s my friend’s modified Kelly Kettle in the background. Both are sitting on top of a park-type grill he has at his place in the mountains.)

On the other hand, it worked well to fry up some Spam to go with our breakfast.


Today I decided to give it another try, this time to make some Lipton chicken noodle soup.

Here’s what it looks like unpacked, ready for assembly. As you can see, it’s still has some soot on from the camping trip but the case kept it off the rest of my gear.


And put together, loaded, ready to be lit. I wasn’t sure how much fuel I’d need to get a cup of water boiling so I prepped a good amount, which turned out to be more than required. To get the sticks going I used some dried out flower stalks from my garden, lit with a match.


Until the flower stalks burned off and the sticks ignited the Emberlit gave off quite a smoke cloud. But once the flower stalks were gone it burned cleanly with little smoke.


(This picture was actually from the second burn of the day. For the second burn I moved the stove into the shade so I could get better pictures.)

I used a 750 ml Toaks titanium pot with lid and bail to make the soup. The dimensions of the pot are 3.75” in diameter at the base by 4.375” tall, not including the lid or bail.


I’ve used this Toaks pot a few times on my last couple of camping trips, and like it a lot. It weighs only 4.7 oz. and holds a decent amount of water. If you remove the lid it’ll fit over the bottom of a 32 oz. Nalgene bottle. The bail stays upright on its own and allows you to either hang it over a fire or pick it up. The handles are robust. The lid fits well and has a little loop handle on it that can be set to stand up, so you can easily grab it, yet still folds flat.

The one cup of water took only a few minutes to start boiling.


So, I added the soup mix and in a minute or so it boiled over, even though I only had one cup of water in the pot. I took the pot off for a few seconds then set it back on the stove but off to the side a little so the soup could simmer.


I used an 8.5” long Optimus titanium spoon to stir the soup and later eat it. The long spoon is also handy for eating from Mountain House pouches.


After a few more minutes the soup was done and I had lunch. Afterwards, there were a few coals leftover in the stove. It had burned the sticks very efficiently.


As I was eating lunch my daughter wandered out and asked me to make her a cup. After finishing I was able to rekindle the flame from the coals, using some more of the dried flower stalks, some sticks, and a lot of blowing on the coals.

Compared with my first time using the stove I now have a better impression of it, based on:

  1. Using a more suitably sized cooking vessel.
  2. Having an adequate supply of fuel prepped and ready to go.

However, compared with my Kovea Spider canister stove, it’s:

  1. Dirtier (not just the stove, but the soot left on your pot).
  2. Requires more attention while you’re cooking something.
  3. Generally less convenient.

That said, it’s a very viable option for backpacking and even for emergency use. For example, charcoal briquettes are a fuel commonly found in urban and suburban areas, and for which it’s cheap and easy to store a large amount. For use in an emergency, an Emberlit would be make more efficient use of briquettes than a typical grill. I need to give this a try.

Emberlit also sells a titanium version of this model which weighs only 5.8 oz., making it even more attractive to backpackers.

No comments: