Frequently asked questions

If your question isn’t answered below, get in touch by email or phone and we’ll answer you direct. Thanks!

Why Wood Stoves

Meths, petrol and gas stoves have an important role to play in outdoor cooking and we’re not suggesting throwing them out. However, we feel wood stoves have a lot going for them. Firstly they unlock an endless, free supply of fuel almost everywhere, year-round. For this reason wood stoves compete with ultra-lightweight cookers; some of our backpacking stoves weigh less than a single gas canister lasting just an hour. More robust stoves like the EzyStove provide a solid cooking hob, abundant heat, and lots of fun. Wood fuel requires no refinement, transportation or packaging, generates no waste and is non-toxic. In addition to being convenient and effective, wood stoves also add a cheer unmatched by conventional stoves. Who doesn’t enjoy making and tending a fire?

There’s nothing pressurised, toxic or flammable in any of our stoves, but if in doubt check with your airline. We’ve travelled all over the world with ours. And no need to worry about whether you can find the right fuel in the right canister to fit your stove; wood from anywhere will power your stove.

Open fires have a lot going for them. However, they scorch the ground, are banned in many places, and use a lot more wood than enclosed wood stoves. Our stoves are welcomed at some festivals, campsites and reserves where open fires are not allowed. Many leave almost no trace, are very convenient (no more balancing your pot of soup in the fire) and boast much lower greenhouse gas emissions. Independent tests of some of the stoves we sell show that they save as much as 80% of the wood required to cook an identical meal over a small, carefully-tended open fire. This means less time gathering and preparing wood, and more time eating.

Technical stove questions

Yes! Burning a kg of wood can have a different climate-warming effect according to how thoroughly it is burned. When burned completely it leaves just CO2, H2O and ash in its wake. When burned in an open fire, it produces methane, carbon monoxide, sooty particles of tar (that’s what visible smoke is), and many other nasty hydrocarbons – even formaldehyde and benzene. The stoves we sell don’t achieve perfect combustion, but they are a lot better (as much as 4 times better in the lab) than open fires. They combust much more of the gases and smoke particles than open fires, so release less smoke and more heat to your pot.

Back in the 80s a man called Larry Winiarski began experimenting with efficient ways of cooking with wood, and founded the Aprovecho Research Centre. Thirty years on this is a world-renowned centre of excellence in wood stove design and testing, largely focusing its efforts on provision of appropriate technologies to poor countries. Larry came up with the rocket elbow principle, which provides ideal conditions for wood to burn cleanly and fully, and deliver its heat to your pot. The StoveTecs are designed by Aprovecho.

Combustion requires a few key elements: 1. fuel (provided by wood, which is evaporated into gases (‘wood gas’) during combustion); 2: heat (initially provided by a spark or match, and subsequently by combustion itself), and 3: oxygen. Open fires are innefficient because they are oxygen starved just where all the fuel and heat is. Fan- and convection-assisted gasifier stoves inject warm air into the heart of the combustion, so giving the wood gas an opportunity to fully combust.

Whenever solid fuels are burned, carbon monoxide (CO) is released. Charcoal is a particular offender pushing out huge amounts of CO – and can be particularly dangerous because it is often percieved as a cleaner fuel because it doesn’t give off smoke. Carbon monoxide is a lethal colourless odorless gas; you can’t smell or see it. It is much more easily abosrbed into haemoglobin in our blood than oxygen, so it suffocates humans. DO NOT use wood or charcoal stoves in homes, tents, caravans or any enclosed space; good ventilation is required for safety. If you want indoor space heating, you need a stove with a chimney. Pregnant women and children are particularly senisitive. If you think you’ve been exposed, get fresh air and seek medical attention.

Fuels

The Rocket Stoves need to be fed with longer pieces of wood, enabling just the ends to burn. Other stoves can burn chunks. In the case of the Sierra and BushBuddy the smaller the better. We usually carry a hand hatchet which make light work of fuel preparation. Higher density fuels like pine cones and some barks will work better in all stoves than leaves and wood shavings. However, these are great for getting fires going (particularly oily barks like silver birch).

Use dry wood, don’t overfill the combustion chamber, and where there’s a fan make sure it’s up high enough for the stage of burn. Practise is another good way; you will become adept at optimising the performance of any stove with a little time.

Yes, it can be a bit damp here, but you can usually find dryish wood. The trick is not to look on the floor but up; standing dead wood (i.e. still attached to trees) doesn’t get waterlogged (just wet on the outside from rain) and can often be very dry. Otherwise remove the wood sticking up into the air from fallen dead branches. The stoves can tolerate dampish wood, but you must get a good fire going first. We tend to carry some waxy lighting papers and a handful of dry kindling when out wild cooking just for this.

A three year-old recently taught me this: if it goes ‘snap!’ you’re ok; if it bends and smells like cabbage, it’s too wet.

Products & ordering

Many of our products are sent out individually so unless you are ordering a significant number, it doesn’t result in savings in postage. If you think your order should benefit from a volume discount, drop us a line and we will certainly consider it.

Yes. In English.

Sure. Write out your order in full detail, address and telephone number and enclose a cheque made payable to Wild Stoves. Please don’t forget to add postage and packing. Send it to the address given in Contact.

If you’re ordering a reasonable volume, quite probably. Drop us a line before you order.

Firstly, because we absorb import charges (any product over £30 is liable to VAT, duty and a courier release fee). Secondly, we have already done the waiting, usually 3-6 weeks. Thirdly, we receive our stoves by ship where possible, so have a lower carbon footprint than if individual units are airmailed in.

Absolutely. Select your items, go to the checkout and check postage costs by entering your country. If none is available, contact us and we will get you a quote.

You can buy them here.

Because we source our packaging when we can from a charity reclaiming packaging from local businesses. This saves on waste, keeps our prices down, and still protects your products in transit.