Monday, May 7, 2012

A Field Test: Emberlit Stove.

Over the next month or so I will be testing out and showcasing some commercially available wood burning backpack sized camp stove. I'm not talking about collapsible wall tent stoves, but referring to compact thin walled metal stoves to replace typical liquid fuel single burners. With twigs and small sticks readily available everywhere on the forest floor, wood burning camp stoves are a fantastic option for those looking for simpler ways and possible lighten your load by not having to pack fuel. As mention these showcases are not to compare cooking or boiling times or weight of the stove, those have been done and if you are in that kind of rush to have your water 2 minutes ago, you need to question why you are camping in the first place. These are really to open the door to those who are new and looking for alternatives to the regular Coleman or MSR stoves. These ideas and burners are already quite popular among the bushcraft community, and I can really see them taking off more in the near future with the family campers and average Joes.

In this first post I will be showcasing the Emberlit. A US made stove that is available in both Stainless steel and Titanium. I was very fortunate enough to be able to test out the stainless version. When I got the stove in the mail, I was blown away at how flat it packs down to, in total it's 1/8" thick and stored inside a heavy duty zip top bag. The bag is similar to "quick cook" backpacking food bags (super thick). The package included instructions on how to assemble the 6 pieces of metal (FYI weighs 11.2 oz) and how to maintain a decent cooking fire within it. With assembly taking all but 15 seconds the Emberlit forms a rock solid sturdy stove. There are small cut outs around the side of the stove to provide adequate airflow to feed the fire, as well the stove is built with solid plate bottom. On one side (the front) there is an access port allowing the user to feed sticks into the heart of the stove to keep it going without having to take the cooking pot off the heat. The only thing I need to warn the user about is the possibility of sharp edges, connecting the last plate to form the stove requires some force and twisting, and there is a chance of slipping and getting a cut.... so be careful. The owner could take a small file to round the edges to make it a touch softer.

While testing it out on our recent S24O it took no time at all with the help of some birch bark and a handful of pencil sized twigs to get the stove roaring, as I added thicker diameter stick to the fire it, I was able to drop the pot and fill up the feeding port with 1 " thick sticks over a foot long, As the fire burned hot and under control within the fire box, my wife was concerned about "smokey" tasting water. In previous trips while boiling water over an open fire we were forced to swig "jerky" flavoured water. After a very short time the water came to a boil, and surprised me that I did not need to add any more fuel. The water was as clean tasting as if it was boiled on my alcohol fueled Trangia.

I was quite amazing at how sturdy the assembly was; I could (but I do not recommend it) give the built stove a kick like a soccer ball and it would stay assembled. I am sure that the Emberlit could handle any massive pot that you could throw at it, as well as smaller pots. On the Emberlit website they have solution for very small cups, and that requires a small grate to be placed on top to equalize the balance. While the stove is not huge and does need some constant attention to keep the wood being fed, it brings some welcome hands on work to backcountry cooking. The solid plate bottom of the stove provides you with the knowledge that ashes and embers are not scorching the earth underneath the fire, and makes it a viable option for those who are very stringent about the "leave no trace" aspect of camping or prefer camping off the beaten track.

In the evening we heated up our dinner on the stove and again it was super quick to light and keep stoked. Almost smokeless the meal came to a boil and with glorious dead silence. The opening on the front for feeding the fire seems to be perfectly sized to cook a single meal. You just load it tight with about 12" long twigs and you should be able to complete your meal for two. As per the instructions, the user should let the fire die instead of drowning it with water as the thin metal could warp and damage the stove. The compact size of the stove and with the removal of the cooking pat, the complete burnout occurs in no time flat.

I have been collecting camp stove for a long time and it is so interesting that there are so many different designs to do such a simple thing. To build a decent stove one needs 3 or 4 different design elements, where you place them is extremely important to its function. The Emberlit is spot on in design, and one can tell it has some serious thought put into its final design. I would like to thank Mikhail, the owner and designer of  Emberlit for the opportunity to showcase his design to you.

If interested in purchasing the Emberlit, please visit their website for options and more details.

In the coming weeks I will be posting part two of four of these field tests, Up next.... The Littlbug Junior Stove.


  1. There is more to come, some more really cool designs! Hope all is well Matt!

  2. I think I am going to buy one. Maybe the titanium.

    1. Matt, You might want to hold off, I have 3 more stove to showcase in the coming weeks, and along with the Emberlit, there are some other good ideas.

  3. I have read your post. very nice stove. I like camping. we have our daughter, her husband and two children, 3 and 9 Mos camping with a pop-up to this weekend. I am under the impression, especially the pool and Burt's Bees insect repellant .... Thanks again for all your ideas writes like!

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