Archive for April 8th, 2009

April 8, 2009

The Bush Cooker stove – field report

by backpackingbongos

I got to try out the Bush Cooker in the wilds whilst backpacking last weekend.  I was walking in the North Pennines and stopped for the night just north of Hamsterley Forest at the Meeting of the Grains.  A lovely spot with green pastures and surrounded by trees so there was no problem finding a fuel source for the stove.  After pitching the tent I scouted around for dry pencil sized twigs, of which there were plenty scattered on the ground.  I set the stove up in the shelter of a dry stone wall and got all my cooking kit and twigs ready to go.

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I lit a small piece of Hammaro tinder card and placed it on the grate adding small twigs to the flames.  I soon had a good fire going and put on some water for a cup of coffee which boiled in a few minutes.  As I did not want to relight the stove I immediately put on a pan full of dehydrated chill.  Hungry I found out that this stove needs alot of attention, I was constantly breaking and adding small twigs to keep the fire going.  When wood gasification was taking place the stove burnt really hot with a clean flame but this would soon die down and it was a bit of a faff to choose the correct size twigs to keep maximum heat.  Although I was sheltered there was still a light breeze which I feel affected the heat transfer a little bit and slowed down the boiling time.  I would not want to use this stove in a strong wind.

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This larger pan of liquid was soon rapidly boiling but I found out that this motion was making the whole set up a little unstable as the ground was mossy and springy.  I decided at this point to remove the pan and place in my pot cozy for 20 minutes or so to finish cooking.  When the stove had cooled I lifted it and noticed that the ground below had not been burnt or singed at all which was very positive.

When it came time to eat my homemade veggie chilli some bits were still a bit chewy.  I could not really be bothered to relight the stove and was starving so wolfed it down anyway!

Both my hands and the pan were pretty sooty after eating so I used a wet cloth to clean things down, one of the downsides to using a wood burning stove I guess.

In the morning I wanted to see how the stove would act using a Trangia burner inside it (who would be bothered to light a fire for their morning coffee and noodles?).  I used the simmer ring under the burner to bring the flame closer to the pan.  However it was fairly breezy and it took far longer for water to boil than it does using my Clikstand stove.  The neck of the stove did not provide the right amount of wind protection.  I found this to be rather disappointing as you want your meths to go a long way on a multi day backpack.  Luckily I was only out for one night.

So in summary this stove does do what it is meant to do.  In dry still conditions where there is wood available you can spend most of the evening playing with it.  It is efficient in burning wood and is fun to use.  However I don’t feel this would be a stove to use backpacking in wet and/or windy conditions.  I would not fancy standing outside of my tent in the wind and rain trying to cook dinner.  I had bought it to take on a 6 day Northern highland coast to coast to use in conjunction with a trangia burner when fuel was not available.  However with this combination it is just not as efficient as my dependable Clikstand set up so will be left at home on that trip.  However in the summer months when the weather is good and I know fuel will be available it will definitely come out to play again.

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