For generations uncountable, men left their villages together to go off into nature for one primary reason: to burn stuff. Fire, you see, is something that strikes deep at the primal heart of who we are, and where we come from. It’s never far from us, even in this modern heads-down world of boop boop touchy screen electronic doo-dads. Somewhere close in ranking is eating good food.
It turns out fire is a great tool for making good food. Moreover, getting out into nature and burning stuff is no longer a man thing. I can’t tell you how many women I’ve seeing swapping stories and jokes around the fire, and tossing things in just to watch it burn. Men, women, bring your appetites and your lust for fire. I’ve got a neat camping gadget to show you!
When we go out camping, something we often have to do is cook meals. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the waste left behind by the gas stoves. You bring a few bottles of gas camping with you, and then you have to pack them back out again as recycling waste. Speaking of waste, any connection to nature I felt from my trip is lost as soon as those empty gas tanks go off to the recycling center.
Moreover, if you’re camping for more than a week, or with more than a couple of people, it becomes increasingly impractical to use these stoves.
But there are other options. For example, all of the dead wood, twigs, acorns, and pine cones you find all around you in nature. Biomass burns well when dry, and is indefinitely renewable. How can we make efficient use of biomass, though?
Enter the wood gasifier stove.
These things are all over Amazon and eBay for under $20 US. I picked it up on Amazon for about $17. They sell under many brands, and one of the common ones is Lixada. It showed up two days later, thanks to Prime.
The whole thing fit inside of an included mesh bag, which is a nice touch because after just one use it’s going to be covered with soot. Broken down and in its bag, the wood gasifier stove fits snugly inside of my MSR Alpine Stowaway 1.1L pot. Speaking of which, that pot is great for this stove.
Out of the bag, it took seconds to put the whole thing together. There’s even a little ash tray that goes under it to keep hot ashes from hitting the ground. The ash tray is small and shallow, so try to manage your expectations a bit here.
I used my tomahawk to chunk up some hunks of dried wood I’d found on a fallen tree, and heaped in and around it some pine cones, dried acorns, bark shavings, and pine needles. After a few strikes of my Swedish fire steel, my fire was going and I was a few minutes away from being able to cook,
I’m going to be honest for a moment (not like I was lying before, but stay with me a moment)… this thing is made of steel, and it is kind of heavy. If I were backpacking, I wouldn’t want to carry this stove in my pack. As a canoe ninja, I paddle the waterways of these fair lands in a plastic vessel made for hauling massive amounts of gear. It’s almost a matter of pride that I can pack irresponsibly heavy camping gear, and only really have to suffer for it during portages. I mention this so you go into your buying decision informed: this isn’t an ultralight bit of kit.
The other thing to be mindful of is that it burns down pretty fast, maybe before you’re done boiling water or cooking food. You’re going to need to spend a good bit of time gathering fuel, cutting it down, and having it ready to go before you light your fire.
But it does facilitate burning stuff. Hopefully not your dinner.