Those of you who follow either my Facebook pages or blogs will know that I enjoy my fishing but that I also enjoy survival tactics, etc. Every now and then a product comes along that I think would be fantastic in either situation and as you can imagine I love finding these types of product.
I recently stumbled across a Facebook page called “Bushcraft Essentials” and with an intrigued curiosity I had a look to see if it was one of the better ones or if it was one of the many mediocre sites that are popping up all the time. I was very surprised to find a selection of products rather than the usual “this is how to survive the zombie apocalypse” posts that seem to be very popular at the moment.
Having a look through the posts something caught my eye which made me want to take a closer look and this was a very simple looking portable stove. Now one of the things that stood out to me was the fact that you flat pack the stove which will allow you to store it with minimum space taken up. The stove also looked like it was of a reasonable enough size to actually be useful enough to either cook some food on or just make yourself a nice cup of tea or coffee.
There are a selection of accessories available for the stove and there are several styles of stove to choose from. Now I probably got a bit over enthusiastic but I ended up with three of the stoves…
The first one was the smallest one which is the micro stove and at the time of ordering was £15.81 it might be a bit small for every day use BUT it fits in my wallet and means I can carry a stove with me 24/7.
The next one is the outdoor pocket stove at £23.75 and will easily boil a kettle or cook food in a small to medium saucepan and is perfect for short fishing sessions.
The last one is the Bushbox XL and is a bit more expensive at £77.60 for the combination version which includes a grill plate but it is ideal for longer stays and camping and can be easily used with larger cookware and is perfect for cooking for more than one person.
Obviously the postage is going to depend on the weight of the order but I found out that it averages around £3-£4 which still isn’t bad. It states in the description that the stoves are made from 100% stainless steel and can be used with a variety of different fuels and I was looking forward to giving them a try and see if they were as good as I expected them to be.
So firstly delivery time, I ordered it quite late on the 7/7/2014 and it arrived on 10/7/2014 so the delivery time from Germany was pretty good. The stoves were very well packed even coming in Their own cloth bags and arrived undamaged and in good condition.
Now all of the stoves can be used with various types of fuel so I thought It might be a good idea to try each stove with a different type of fuel which not only let’s me have a play but also shows how each fuel performs.
Okay the first stove I wanted to try was the micro stove and the fuel of choice for this had to be the “Solid Fuel Blocks” and are available from most camping/outdoor outlets.
These are brilliant little fuels that usually burn with no odour and very minimal smoke and can fit 2-3 of the smaller round blocks in with ease.
As you can see there is burning to the Micro Pocket Stove but it isn’t particularly bad.
One of the things I’d noticed was that Bushcraft Essentials say you can use the outdoor pocket stove as a windbreak for other small burners and as I am a fan of making “pop can stoves” I thought I would try out this out.
As you can see the pop can stove fits nice and comfortably inside the Outdoor Pocket Stove and as it is raised of the floor it isn’t going to leave any burn marks on the ground where you are using it.
Turning the stove so that the three sides that I had attached shielded the pop can stove from the wind worked perfectly and I managed to boil the cup of water better than any other time I’ve used a pop can stove so this test was a huge success and I was very impressed with its performance
and as you can see it hasn’t particularly marked the pocket stove so if you like to keep things looking shiny then this method is ideal for you.
The final method (which at the time of review I haven’t been out to try yet but will update this blog when I get chance to) and to be honest is the one most of us will use is the natural fuels such as twigs, leaves, pine cones, etc and these burn quickly which is why the larger Bushcraft XL is better suited to this method. Now before I get into how it performs there is a little trick (or cheat) to use with this method and that is if you are going to be cooking food and you have access to them it is well worth taking a few BBQ coal briquettes with you.
The reason I say this is that you can quite easily cook food using the twigs, etc but you are going to have to constantly keep an eye of the fuel level as it burns very quickly and will need topping up on a regular basis. Whereas if you put a couple of BBQ briquettes in at the beginning these will give you enough heat and constant fuel supply in order to give you plenty of time to cook your food.
Using this method will also boil the water quicker than any of the other methods although it is going to burn the stove considerably. Let’s face it though most of us who enjoy this style of cooking and making our drinks aren’t going to be bothered about a stove looking used. Every now and then give it a quick brush off with a wire brush to remove any build up of burnt fuel, other than that that’s how it’s meant to look.
The Bushbox XL holds a reasonable amount of natural fuel, has easy access to the fuel area for lighting and topping up the fuel and I love the tray at the bottom for catching the ash of the burnt fuel which not only saves the ash burning the ground as it falls out but it also keeps the area nice and clean and as an added bonus helps to retain the heat from the fuel for a bit longer.
Overall I am very impressed with the build quality, the customer service and the performance of my Stoves. They have performed better than any natural fuel stove I have owned and certainly keeps the surrounding area clean and more burn free than any other stove I’ve used. The sizes are absolutely perfect and they cook food and boil water with impressive efficiency.
You can find out more about the products and ways to use them via the following media channels…