Monday, 6 July 2009

Honey Stove '09

Honey Stove '09
Price: £34.99 + shipping
Stove - packed flat and consisting of 9-pieces of laser-cut stainless steel
Nylon carrying case

What it does:
This one is a bit of an oddity - rather than the convenience of hydrocarbon fuel, this one runs on wood. Better still, it runs on twigs that you can pick up for free by the trailside. One handful of twigs - 10 minutes - one brew-up! Think miniature brazier.

Look and feel:
The sheet steel parts look like a puzzle but after the first trial assembly all becomes clear and the stove then quickly and easily assembles into a strong, rigid structure looking more like a treasure box than a camping stove. A little care is needed as some of the edges are sharp - or maybe I'm just not careful enough! My packed unit weighs in at 426g including the bag which might sound a little porky compared to a sub-100g gas stove, but there is no fuel or fuel container to add to that weight. The unit can also double up as a windshield for use with a meths or gas burner.

Fuel Usage:
A handful of air dried twigs and sticks picked up in the minute before grabbing a lunch spot was enough to boil a pint of water with burn time to spare. The beauty of this system is that with 'free' fuel burn times are only limited by the availability and enthusiasm to collect it. This makes in-the-field 30 minute cook times for a stew a practicality - when using hydrocarbon fuel the temptation is to cook as quickly as possible to eke out the fuel supply. And there is the attraction of real flames!!!

Initial Testing:
Well, it just works! There isn't really any more to say - twigs in, heat out. Using tinder card (available from the same supplier) makes fire starting easy and ok it does need careful feeding to keep the fire going, but there is something strangely therapeutic about feeding a camp fire. And it certainly isn't as challenging or 'exciting' to use as the MSR Whisperlite I've just parted company with. By the time the coffee had brewed and been drunk the fire had gone out, the steel was just touch-hot and the contents had turned to grey ash. Disassembly, allowing the parts to air cool, the ashes checked to be cold, out and discreetly disposed of, and away! Not even that dirty!

Again 5-out-of-5.

Another 'keeper' for my touring kit - as a partner for a meths or gas stove - I'm trialling a few alternatives and haven't decided which to go for yet - more review coming!


  1. Hi Rob,
    Nice write-up, I trialled this stove some time ago and found it to be excellent. Unfortunately where I normally backpack and wild camp the landowners (normally well disposed) draw the line at 'fire' on their land - they seem to see a woodburner as fire!
    You might like to take a look at the Einzel-Kocher Alcohol Burner as a possible back-up.
    I've reviewed it on my blog together with a very mediocre video.

  2. Thanks Fenlander!
    The strangeness of landowners - oh to be north of the border...
    Yup, the EK looks like yet another possiblilty - so many options, so little wages....
    I have already made a meths 'penny stove' (ok, several, of varying quality) and have a MBD Uno#1 and 1oz feeder bottle on order. I'm hoping the Uno will be my 'primary' system and the woodburner to be backup.
    I've also got an MSR Pocket Rocket as a fallback position but just feel uncomfortable about one-shot gas cartridges.

  3. Hi Fenlander,
    Ok, good call! I've spend the morning trawling through various stove reviews and videos and come to the conclusion that you're right! Most everything else is either too big (I'm using a 95mm MiTiMug as my primary pot), too fiddly, or both! The EK looks like a good partner to the Uno. So the EK is on order as my backup meths burner. Thanks!