I recently had the opportunity to try out a classic survival item – the pocket stove. Mine came form SurvivalGearBags.com – and is also available from other sources as well.
Being able to boil water for purification purposes as well as heat/cook food in the field is important. Many foods – such as MRE’s and freeze dried camp foods – can be eaten cold but just flat out taste better warm. Eating food that is typically warm in a cold state is a morale killer and can be a negative factor into your mental state. In a true survival situation – mental stability and outlook is important.
Alright – back to the pocket stove’s review:
Purpose: Geared towards the backpacker – to provide heat for cooking, boiling water, or provide warmth in the outdoors.
Construction: Super lightweight and compact – the pocket stove measures 3″ wide x 4″ long x 3/4″ thick. It weighs only 3.25 ounces and is made of galvanized hardened steel. I had expected this thing to feel flimsy – but it doesn’t at all. It is solidly built.
Method of Use: Using the stove is simple. It can be opened into 2 different position.
- Position #1 has the sides opened at an angle to support smaller bowls or other containers atop the stove.
- Position #2 has the sides opened completely to hold the largest container (see picture below).
Fuel cubes are placed in the center of the stove in a small recessed area. [Note: This recessed area is well designed as the cube sits securely in case the stove happens to sit at an angle for some reason (like in a boat) – the tablet will not just fall out of the stove. There are also vents around the outside of the fuel tablet area to allow oxygen to feed the fire.] Anyways – the fuel tablet is lit, ignites, and burns for approx 12 minutes or so. During my test I found that the tablet burned at full force for a little over 10 minutes – then started to decrease in the amount of heat being put out. Once a fuel tablet burns out – just replace it.
My goal on this simple trial was to see if I could boil water – which as you can see from the picture above was successful. The water had just started to boil when the tablet ran out. The advertised time-frame for boiling 1 pint of water is less than 8 minutes. A couple factors that interfered his test – and makes it realistic- is it was a little cooler outside (upper 40’s) and it was windy. The wind was the biggest problem. Lastly – the metal bowl I was using was very thick which increased the heat transfer time from the flame to the water. If I had used a thinner aluminum sierra cup or bowl – the water would have boiled much sooner.
Value: The pocket stove sells for $10.00 and includes 6 fuel tablets. A pack of 12 extra fuel tablets costs $7.00. So – for $17.00 you can have the pocket stove and 18 fuel tablets. I think the value is very good. Low in weight – great for a pack – and low in price. I am looking forward to more trials soon.
Pro’s: Low cost, low weight, simple use.
Con’s: Not wind friendly. Can heat up/cook only one smaller container at a time.
Summary: Overall this little pocket stove performed a little above my expectations. I was able to bring water to a boil – and although not pictured I used the same container to heat up some beef stew. Both was accomplished with one fuel tablet each. For inclusion in a backpack – it adds a cooking capability with very little weight. Good for use when building a fire is not wanted or very difficult. One thing I plan to investigate is using this stove with optional fuel sources to see if I can increase performance even more.
If you think this is something that would fit in your preps – check it out HERE.
Take care all –