An Incendiary Love Affair With The Solo Stove

by | Mar 25, 2017 | Camping, Gear, Ultralight |


Solo Stove Lite
– one of the most recommended stoves for backpackers and survivalists.


Both of us have vaguely obsessive tendencies when it comes to looking at gear, and a camp stove was no exception. Will it be light enough? Will it get broken in transit? Does it actually work? It costs HOW much????

As our plan was long term backpacking, our stove needed to be very light, resilient, and easy to use in the dark or at the end of a long, brain-melting transit day. We managed to narrow it down to a couple of options.

I am obviously more prone than David to emotional, estrogen-fueled late-night online purchases, and my worst shopping crimes have been committed using this 2am method (I’m looking at you, blue sequinned hot pants).

Needless to say, after a month of binge watching YouTube videos and how-to-make-your-own-amazing-stove-out-of-bean-cans research, a parcel arrived on our doorstep.

Rachael: I GOT A PRESENT FOR YOU!!!@#%^@*&@$@!!!
David: It’s a Solo Stove isn’t it.
Rachael:  😀 !!!!!!!!!!

solo stove 5

 Waipu, New Zealand – Testing out our gear


While still on home soil, we took our shiny new camp stove and our ultralight tent for a trial run. Bread was toasted, an inspirational chicken nacho situation was forged, and marshmallows were duly incinerated.

We were instantly enamoured and inspired by our new toy. It worked incredibly well, but most of all, it was fun to use. This is something all the other reviews I read seemed to overlook. Nothing inspires childlike wonder as much as setting stuff on fire, and then keeping the fire burning using whatever is lying on the ground nearby (within reason).

solo stove 8

Alvor, Portugal: Another night, another nacho feast

Fast forward four months. We were on our hands and knees, scouring the uninspiring dustbowl of our Portuguese campsite for a handful of sticks. It occurred to me that had Winnie the Pooh and Piglet been in the market for a camp stove, this is the one they would both agree on. No more wasteful games of poohsticks – all those useful twigs would be needed to power their dinner of…whatever would fit in the Solo Stove pot. Maybe even each other if times get tough. Those zen thoughts only go so far when the honey runs out.

Now that you’re lost in thought about who would eat who first in an A.A. Milne director’s cut, I’ll get you back on track.

solo stove 3

Glamour shot:  Breakfast after sleeping in a carpark in Rostock

The miracle of a natural convection inverted downgas gasifier stove (huh?)

Gasifying is the process of burning wood, followed by a secondary burning of the flammable vapours that the wood releases on its first burn. The result is mega power, extended cooking time, and a tiny amount of white ash at the end.

(Nerd note: Gasifying is so powerful it can be used to run vehicles instead of petrol. During World War 2 there were over a million wood powered cars in operation across Europe)

Practical things 

We chose the Solo Stove Lite as it weighs in at a marshmallowy 500 grams and is the perfect size for 1-2 people. It comprises the burner, mesh insert, pot stand, and matching pot. The burner has its own slip cover to keep your pack free of soot, and this in turn fits into the pot when you pack down. The lid goes on top and everything then fits snugly into the main dry bag.

There is enough room inside the burner to fit a couple of firelighters if you need them, plus a lighter, matches, or our favourite – the Swiss fire steel. The  2,980 degree Celsius spark that comes out of the fire steel is hot enough to start roasting a small pig. (Damn! Now you know whose side I’m on!).

A small 2 non-stick frypan we found during our travels opened up a range of possibilities for our meals beyond the capability of the pot. Stir fries, omelettes, and crispy chicken were immediately on the menu. Rad!

solo stove 7

Somewhere in the wilds of Bavaria…

Best Features 

* Light and compact: Only 5” square of room taken up in your backpack
* Durable stainless steel with a lifetime guarantee
* Eco friendly:  Almost zero ash waste, clean burning, and no ground scorching
* Airline carry-on safe: Nothing explosive in here, sir!
* Biomass powered: No running out of gas during cooking or needing to find replacement canisters
* Fast and direct heat: 10 minutes from cold to boiling water. 2 seconds from raw to cremated marshmallow.
* David enjoys the fact he can easily whip his stove out to impress the ladies (and the voles of the German waterways)

Disclaimer: This review is based solely on our experience using the Solo Stove during two months of relentless camping through Germany and Portugal. It expresses our genuine thoughts on the product and we have not received any sponsorship or sneaky free stuff in exchange for this glowing recommendation.

No bears or pigs have been tested on our stove at the time of writing.