Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Bushcooker LT 3-Fuel Stove

If you picture a metal bucket the size of a small bear canister when you hear the word "wood stove", check out the Bushcooker LT. I think this just might be the smallest wood stove on the market. But, it's more than just a wood stove. Bring some Alcohol or Esbit along because the Bushcooker can burn those too! In this video, I demonstrate its wood-burning capabilities but there's a quick shot of it's mesmerizing "cyclone" flame pattern when being used with alcohol.



I really like this little gem because of it's compactness. But, because its so compact, I've found that you need to use really small wood (twig size is best). If you put pieces that are too big, the stove might not perform. Also, in order to feed wood into the burning chamber while it's running, tall, narrow pots work best. If you want to use a wide pot, I would suggest using one with a bail handle. Then, just take the pot off, throw in some wood, and put the pot back on.

The stove is designed and manufactured by FourDog Stoves in Minnesota.

Weight: 2.5 oz.
Boil Time: 6-7 min. (wood)
Material: Titanium
Price: $90
The Bushcooker LT 3-Fuel StoveSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

32 comments:

jw said...

OK!

I'm not very familiar with wood stoves for backpacking; the size has always turned me off even with the potential gain of fuel-less carrying. This stove, therefore, looks very interesting. I'm curious, though, in the seven minutes it took to get your boil, how much wood did you have to add? Was it a (more or less) constant feed, or something you do once every three or four minutes? I would presume that this smaller stove would be more labor intensive than the larger wood stoves in that regard, is that correct?

Jason Klass said...

JW,
That's a good question. I guess I didn't really pay attention but I would say that I just kind of watched the flame and when it looked like it was getting low, added more wood. Maybe every minute or 2? It is a little more labor intensive than a larger stove because it can't hold as much wood but I actually kind of like it. It's fun to feed while you're waiting for your water to boil. Plus, I just love playing with fire!

velohobo said...

Cool design and very light weight...but whew, 90 bucks. I've been just building a twig fire inside my windscreen and it works great. I always build my fires on foil to reflect more heat and to leave no trace.

Great review, Jack

Jason Klass said...

Hey Jack,
It's better than $150 for the Bushbuddy Ultra! I don't think $90 is too bad considering it's titanium and multi-fuel.

With your setup, what is your boil time?

Jerry said...

OK.. the question I have is why Jason refers to himself in the third person??? That's just creepy.
Cool stove though.
Nice review.

Jason Klass said...

Jerry,
Well, Jason's a creepy guy. Have you ever seen those parody videos he makes? Weird.

velohobo said...

Boil time? Somewhere between 10 to 15 minutes, give or take 5 or 10 minutes.

Yeah, $90.oo is better than the $150.oo (and the size is a big improvement)and maybe as more people buy them the price will continue to drop.

Thanks, great post, Jack

Some old guy said...

Looks like a good stove, but price point is too high. Around half that $90 and I snap one up.

Hendrik M said...

Out of experience: Its better to NOT use a windscreen with a wood stove. Without a windscreen more oxygen can reach the stove, resulting in a better combustion.

What I don't like about this wood stove is that it has no floor, so you need to carry something with you where the ashes can drop.

If you want a "cheap" wood stove, get a TrailDesign Inferno. Lighter than this one, and cheaper as well.

I, however, would go anytime for the BushBuddy Ultra, a much better design than this one, sturdy, burns clean and also fits in a 900 pot.

Jason Klass said...

Hi Hendrick,
My experience is the opposite. When I don't use a windscreen, the flames are blown all over the place and don't make much contact with the bottom of the pot so you lose a lot of heat. I agree with you that it's better not to use a windscreen if there is no wind but most of the places I go camping are pretty windy and if I didn't use one, it would take forever to get a boil.

Robin said...

A related article on another blog

http://ccorbridge.wordpress.com/2009/08/23/wood-burning-stove-matrix/

compares the boil time of a few stoves including these two. It list the Bushcooker at 23 minutes! vs. the Ultra a 12 minutes.

Robin
BackpackBaseCamp Blog

Jason Klass said...

23 minutes? That's really strange. I'd like to know more about the conditions. Starting water temp, the type of wood used, elevation, etc. It should have taken that long.

Marty said...

Jason
Nice stove.. Looks light, and well made...

You might try loading the stove with wood first and setting it on top of the dryer lint after you get a flame going.... Just a thought...

Oh and I'm liking the new lay out of your videos... Looking very professional..

Jason Klass said...

Hey Marty, thanks a lot! I thought about filling it first but thought it might be easier to get going by slowly building it. I'll try it the other way next time.

Jason Klass said...

Robin,
Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I contacted Carol and asked her some questions to see if I could get down to the bottom of why her boil time was so much longer than mine. Here's what I found:

1. She used one liter of water. I used the standard 2 cups. That's quite a big difference in volume.

2. She didn't use a windscreen and I did.

3. We were using 2 different models of the Bushcooker.

I think these differences would account for the time difference, although it would require more testing to confirm.

ccorbridge4 said...

Carol here. I saw Jason's post and was going to contact him, when he checked in with me. His above summary of the differences we discovered in our tests is right on the money. One other difference we found was elevation. Jason 5000ft; me 2000ft

Jason's probably right on the standard amount of water in a test. I'm new to this testing thing. I just went to backpackinglight and saw they used a liter to test the Bushbuddy Ultra. So I used that as my standard.
Great post and discussion Jason!
Carol

Jason Klass said...

Carol,
No, thank you to YOU for all the feedback and testing on your part. As an unreformed gear head, I appreciate your attention to detail and our exchange. I'm glad we're close to figuring this out.

Long FishTails said...

Jason - have you tried to make one out of a soda can or the thicker European beer cans? Somehow, it just seems like one could be made that way... I don't know much about the wood/multi feel stoves, but the price is a limiting factor. So far.. one of my favorite stove are your tea lights - hooked on steroids. Cheap, simple, fast to make, and pert-e nifty!

Liz. said...

So, Jason, how do you personally like the Bushbuddy? Do you have a comparison? I love the wood and multi-fuel stoves concept, but I can't decide which one... it would be nice to see each side by side in action!

Jason Klass said...

Hi Liz,
I like the Bushbuddy a lot. The only think is that it's kind of big. But that's typical of most wood stoves. I will probably do a video on that one soon too. I was just more excited about the Bushcooker because it's so light & compact.

MasterDunbar said...

Jason,

What are the major positives that one would consider using a gas or wood stove over the other stoves that require gas tanks?

Weight?
Efficiency?

Jason Klass said...

Hello Master!
That's a good question. I would say that the major benefit is weight savings because you don't have to carry fuel. If you're in a place that allows fires, you've basically got an unlimited fuel supply. So for longer trips, this can be a huge advantage. Of course, if it rains for 3 days straight and all the wood is wet, you might be out of luck. Like anything, there are pros and cons.

srparr said...

Hi Jason,
Great video! I hope you can answer a question for me before I add this stove to my Christmas list!

When used as a wood burner, I'd expect the stove to be a bit sooty when you put it back in the SP700. How do you prevent the stove soot from getting all over the inside of the pot? Currently I "line" the inside of my SP700 with a cut-off water bottle that fills the entire pot/mug. Do you think this is feasible with this stove (how tightly does the stove fit in the SP700)? I'm looking for a way to keep the inside of my pot clean.
Thanks!

Basti said...

Hi Jason,
After I've seen your video I was fallen in love (not with you... with the stove). Now it's nearly november and there is still no sign of than wonderfull piece of titanium at GossamerGear.
I also tried to send an email to FourDog stoves. I'm still waiting or an answer.
Do you have any idea how (or where) I can purchase such a stove?
Greetings from Germany,

Basti

Jason said...

Srparr,
I just line it with one of those Brawny towels. But I like your idea of the cut off water bottle. I think it would fit but it depends on the diameter of the bottle.

Jason said...

Hi Basti,
I just emailed Don at Fourdog Stoves about it to make sure he got your email. This is the busy season for him so he's probably overwhelmed with work right now.

Jason Klass said...

Basti,
Please email Don at fourdogstove@msn.com

It looks like he didn't get your email

Basti said...

Hi Jason,
Thanks for your help. The bushcooker arrived today.
The service from fourdogstoves was very good and shipping surprisingly quick. (only 4 days to Europe starting right after payment!)

I like the stile of the bushcooker. It's functional, compact and lightweight.
Great stove.

mobilecarty said...

Interesting post regarding getting this stove to work efficiently. I bought one from Don when he was over here this summer, and we discussed the various merits and differences between his stove and my Honey Stove design.

You are right it is cute and light and robust. However I'm with Carol, and I've yet to get a decent burn time out of it, no matter how I try. When Don demo'd it to me, he had a windshield which rested on two pegs which were slid through the air holes at the bottom. Thus protecting the upper area, but not starving the lower of air.

He also used a combination of a primary source, such as a tin lid of meths or an esbit tablet, lit beneath the stove and then wood inside the stove. The flame was indeed impressive, however there wasn't a prolonged heat output, so the heat died away very quickly. It looked good on the demo, but since then I just haven't been able to raise a pint of water to the boil successfully. I give up long before 23 minutes.

I believe an eye needs to be kept on the air feed, as the slightest blockage seems to damp the fire and reduce the output dramatically.

It is a lovely looking stove and a neat design. However I think it fails to be simple and reliable, something others like the Honey and the Bush Buddy/Cooker does every time.

If you want hear the interview I did with Don about it please check the podcast out here.

http://www.backpackinglight.co.uk/page116.asp

Bob Cartwright

Jason Klass said...

Hi Bob,
Thanks for the comments! I haven't tried a Honeycomb stove so I can't comment on that one. But let me clarify, the Bushcooker LT is not a beginner stove. It works well for someone with more advanced fire skills and patience to learn how to use it--someone who is willing to have to do a little more work in order to get a big weight savings. I might make it look easy through the magic of video editing but the truth is you have to practice a little with it to get a feel for the stove. If someone isn't willing to attend to the stove and have patience, then it's not for them. Nothing wrong with that.

Carol's results aren't accurate for several reasons. Probably the biggest reason is that she didn't state that she was trying to boil a full liter of water rather than the standard 2 cups. That made a huge difference. Simply put, anyone who gets a 23 min. boil time with this stove is doing something wrong. Even my absolute worst tests with the Bushcooker LT were 10-12 minutes. All I'm saying is that I think it's always important to weigh user error with design.

BTW, do you have a link to your honeycomb stove?

yourethestrongestfrogintheworld said...

Jason,

Great info so far, but I still don't see what I'd call definitive. Are you using the stove on trips, or still testing it at home? Is alcohol still your go-to?

I ask, because as much as I'm trying to simplify my pack, I'm also trying to simplify my gear closet. Buy one, toss two...

A wood stove seems like it could simplify my storage and sourcing of fuel. Lifestyle simplicity. Does this stove offer it? Does another stove offer it?

Jason Klass said...

yourthestrongetstfrogintheworld,

Jeez, please don't make me type THAT username again! Anyway, I'm still a devout alcohol stove guy. I have tried all sorts of wood stoves and while they're cool, I still can't get over the soot factor. I like how alcohol burns clean. I love the advantage of not having to carry fuel and have a (potentially) unlimited supply, but it's not always practical. So while no wood stove will ever be my "go to" stove, I do enjoy taking them out on some overnighters because they're fun to use. I guess what I'm saying is that if you don't mind the soot, have fairly decent fire skills, and are going backpacking in an area that's conducive to it, wood burning stoves are a good choice. The Bushcooker is among the best I have tried.