Sometimes old is new and this is especially true when it comes to the new generation of wood burning camp stoves, back to basics of using wood fires to cook our meals.
But with this move has come confusion with no less than 19 different stoves that use wood, or as the marketing people who never use them like to say, “bio-mass”.
Of all the stoves I have looked at and used, I have found one that I consider to be the most adaptable and simple to use, the Firebox Nano backpacking stove. Firebox also makes a larger version, the 5 inch Campfire Stove, but for my uses I want small and light weight.
The Firebox Nano is not only easy to carry and use, it sets up super quick, is extremely rugged and as a added bonus, will accept the Trangia alcohol burner. With the use of two supports, the Trangia burner is placed one inch below the surface of the cook pot placed on the stove. This is known as the “sweet spot” for the Trangia burner where you get the most efficient use of the heat generated. With the burner in this position it is also possible to use the simmer ring for the Trangia, which is a must.
For me, being able to use my Trangia burner was the deal maker on this stove. I have looked over other units that take proprietary alcohol burners or solid fuel cubes, but having the ability to use a Trangia burner, which is considered the king of alcohol stoves, puts the Nano leaps and bounds ahead of the competition.
Those who have been pinned down by rain for a few days will totally understand the value of being able to use the alcohol burner when dry wood is not available. I have been in that position more than once and have had to pull out a backup stove. With the Nano, I will only need to add the alcohol burner and fuel to my gear to keep me cooking.
Specifications for the Firebox Nano are:
- Width: 3.0 inches (8 cm)
- Height: 4.75 inches (12 cm)
- Folded: .25 inch (.635 cm)
- Weight: 6 oz (170 g)
By making the side panels of the stove asymmetrical, it allows the Firebox Nano to fold flat, taking up very little space in the pack. Folding flat for storage is true of the Nano and the larger Campfire Stove. To open either stove, there are no clips to engage, separate panels to put in place or anything else to move. You just very simply unfold the stove, flip down the ventilated floor plate and you are set to go. The legs on each corner of the Nano act as part of the hinges and both lift the stove off the ground and provide pot support.
It is simplicity itself.
When it comes to weight, the six ounce stainless steel Nano, which is what I have, is easy to carry. For those who want to shave the weight down a bit, there is a titanium version weighting only 4 ounces, with all the other dimensions being the same.
Retail on the stainless steel Firebox Nano is $39.99 and the titanium version comes in at $69.99. To be honest the added cost of the titanium is a bit too much for me, but for those who want to go light and have the extra cash, it may be the way to go.
I am not new to using wood stoves while on the trail, having used a couple different ones over the years. They were big, took up a lot of space in the pack and with each of them it was difficult to add wood to the fire.
With the Gen2 Firebox Nano, the issue of having to break wood into small pieces has been eliminated. On two panels of the stove near the bottom, there are openings that allow you to feed longer sticks into the fire, moving them in as they burn. When I have used the stove it was very easy to keep the fire fed and control the heat output. Having used other stoves that required small pieces of wood and lots of it, this addition makes life much easier. Add to this, the fact that the stove burns extremely efficiently and it is easier to start than many of the stoves I have used in the past or an open fire for that matter.
Perhaps the reason there are so many pluses to this stove is because the maker, Steve Despain of Firebox Stove actually uses the stoves his company makes and he listens to his customers. He understands what it is all about when you are on the trail and want to cook a meal. You want a stove that is easy to set up and use, offers the versatility of using different fuels sources and will hold up over time. He has created this in his line of Firebox Stoves. To this end, Steve has not stopped with just offering a basic stove. There are grill plates that can be added, a flame deflector which keeps some of the heat off the handle of your cook pot and more. It is truly a complete system for cooking in the back-country or in base camp.
The only problem I found has to do with how well it works and how much my wife likes the stove. I now find myself having to purchase a full size Firebox Stove for base camp use, but honestly it is going to be money well spent.
For more information on the Firebox website for more information on the stove and other gear offered there. Then take the time to watch a few of the videos Steve has made using the stove and you will be amazed by what can be done with this simple but capable stove.
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