Solo Stove Lite - Mini review

22lr

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Took my solo stove on a shorter local bear hunt. Was a good test as it was 3 days of constant/near constant light rain/fog.

First impressions, I thought I was screwed and I'd never get the thing lit. I couldn't find any truly dry wood, but finally found a few pieces of dry(ish) spruce. Stove lit up perfectly with a pinch of Firestarter to help. Once going, it stayed lit and kept burning everything I fed it. I thought it would be a huge PITA to process wood down to size, but in reality, I just used smaller stuff that was easily hand broke. Just be careful, the stove burns hot and if your only using pencil size sticks, you need to keep feeding it. If you stop feeding it, you have maybe 60 seconds before it burns out. On the plus side, it keeps embers hot and every time flames went out, I was able to get it going again by just adding more wood.

It does takes a solid 8 to 10min to boil a full pot of cold water (a full 750ml pot for coffee plus a dehydrated meal), as advertised. But I was surprised that while you need to be constantly feeding it, it doesn't burn all that much. It just feels like it burns half the forest as you need to constantly add 3-5" twigs and stuff. But total wood burned was surprising less than I imagined. Don't waste time processing wood for this thing, just grab small dry branches and hand snap em.

It did cover my Ti pot with soot, but o well, I don't care. Most of it scrubs off, and its not like I'm gonna cry myself to sleep over getting my pot dirty. Note that insulated pots are probably a no go as flames will come up the side of the pot once the fire gets going.

With dry wood there isn't much to worry about it terms of ash buildup. But the damp stuff I used did build up significantly. I got about 30min of burn time before I needed to dump the stove and start again. A non issue for cooking, mainly just an issue for using it as a small fire to stay warm.

Weight is 9oz, which seems heavy, but, not bad for some applications. For a longer trip, the weight of the Stainless steel stove will be less than multiple gas cylinders. Ill just be taking my MSR and small cylinder for at least another trip as backup until I get more comfortable with this thing. If I get more comfortable with using this in more wet conditions I may try the Toaks stove that is Ti and only 5.4oz, but this solo works for me for now.

As for sparks. Keep wood below the top of the stove and you won't have sparks. If you let wood get too high or stick out, sparks will occur. Keeping the wood below the top also eliminates smoke. Also, once the fire is out, you only need 1-2min for it to be cool to the touch, it doesn't stay hot for long once the fire is out.

BL: I am very impressed and will be using this stove alot. For a group of 2 the weight saving in fuel is tremendous, just realize it comes at a cost of time to boil.

20210529_063912.jpg
Note before someone gets on me: the ground was literally seeping with water. It had been raining for 3 days, there was no dry grass within 200miles of me. But if your worried, you could elevate your stove on a rock or something to avoid contact with the ground.
 
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ZDR

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Thanks for posting this. Ive been curious as to how well these would work for backcountry use. How is it to pack? Looks bulky.
 
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22lr

22lr

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Thanks for posting this. Ive been curious as to how well these would work for backcountry use. How is it to pack? Looks bulky.

The top section that holds the pot fits down inside the stove, but ya, its a bit bulky. That is another benefit of the Toaks Ti one, it appears to be more compact and can store a cup in it as well. But for this Solo one, you could store something inside but its definetly not alot of room.
 
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fishslap

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I was thinking of using a tarp/bivy bag setup for Colorado 4th rifle deer this year instead of my lbo/stove combo. Do you think you could put this at the entrance of a tarp setup and not have significant issues with smoke or sparks? It gets dark early in late November so this would be a nice comfort feature - a little heat, some cave man TV, keep the tea going...
 

Pabst

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I used the Chinese knockoff Ohuhu on a hunting trip in the Rubies but found the stove filled with ash and didn't burn wet pine very well. May be the fact that it's a knockoff, but it didn't burn very well and required a lot of fiddling and tending to to get water heated and snow melted. I've since bought a solo stove but haven't used it much.

Another brand to consider is Bushbuddy, which comes in 2 sizes and is 6.4 or 4.5 oz, depending on which size you get. Bushbuddy is made in Alaska, Solo Stove is a US company with production in China.

I really want to like these stick stoves but eventually found it was easier to just build a small fire on the ground and put my pot directly in the coals. No stove or fuel to carry, fast boil times and less soot (if you keep the pot out of direct flames and on the coals) but obviously a problem if there are fire restrictions.

Currently using alcohol stoves as well due to easy setup and the ability to heat up water inside my tent, my caldera cone is pretty excellent - reliable and very little fiddling to get water heated.
 
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22lr

22lr

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Apr 14, 2020
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I was thinking of using a tarp/bivy bag setup for Colorado 4th rifle deer this year instead of my lbo/stove combo. Do you think you could put this at the entrance of a tarp setup and not have significant issues with smoke or sparks? It gets dark early in late November so this would be a nice comfort feature - a little heat, some cave man TV, keep the tea going...

I can't imagine why not. In my pic it was maybe 8inches out from under my tarp, that was maybe 3.5ft above the stove. I had no issues but ya, when burning good wood and without a pot on top, this thing will easily throw a 9-12inch flame so be careful. That is another thing to note, with practice you can keep the flame down but flame size can be finicky so don't expect you can keep a low flame at all times. As for smoke, zero problem with smoke with dry wood below the top of the ring, get damp wood and wood that sticks put and you will have a small amount of smoke. As ash accumulates over time it will get worse but for 10-20min here and there, I have had no problem with smoke.
 
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22lr

22lr

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2020
Messages
676
Location
AK
I used the Chinese knockoff Ohuhu on a hunting trip in the Rubies but found the stove filled with ash and didn't burn wet pine very well. May be the fact that it's a knockoff, but it didn't burn very well and required a lot of fiddling and tending to to get water heated and snow melted. I've since bought a solo stove but haven't used it much.

Another brand to consider is Bushbuddy, which comes in 2 sizes and is 6.4 or 4.5 oz, depending on which size you get. Bushbuddy is made in Alaska, Solo Stove is a US company with production in China.

I really want to like these stick stoves but eventually found it was easier to just build a small fire on the ground and put my pot directly in the coals. No stove or fuel to carry, fast boil times and less soot (if you keep the pot out of direct flames and on the coals) but obviously a problem if there are fire restrictions.

Currently using alcohol stoves as well due to easy setup and the ability to heat up water inside my tent, my caldera cone is pretty excellent - reliable and very little fiddling to get water heated.

Ya, the solo was given to me as a gift, and while I can't say anything bad about its construction or quality so far, there may be better brands out there. To me I like the stove vs open fire as you need alot less wood to get good quality heat. But, in an area that has alot of good wood it may make more sense to just build a fire. This isn't a great 1 size fits all option, its probably more scenario dependent than most stoves. However, not carrying around propane is a nice perk!
 

Pabst

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Jul 27, 2020
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I've found all of Solo Stoves products to be really well made - I have two of their pots as well. Just thought I'd mention that it is produced in China, I've been making an effort to avoid Chinese-produced products and wanted to weigh in. I think Bushbuddy was around first and is made by hand in Alaska, but does cost more.

I haven't even tried a propane stove, not excited to carry around half full gas bottles and wonder if there's enough fuel, etc. I like alcohol so far for simplicity and convenience, knowing I can always just build a fire if I run out of fuel.

Nice post and thanks for the review 22lr. You've gotten me interested in gasifier stoves again!
 

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