Gasifier Wood Stoves For Backpacking & Camping. What Are They & How Do They Work?
Gasifier Wood Stoves For Camping. What Are They & How Do They Work?
Gasifier wood stoves are becoming more popular, especially in temperate climates where there is no shortage of fuel (wood) to use. There are a few reasons for this, especially for the backpacker, fisherman, or cycle tourer.
- No need to carry fuel such as gas canisters, spirit fuels, and solid fuel tablets.
- Lighter weight because of the above.
- Reduced volume of kit.
- Availability of freely available fuel.
What is a gasifier stove?
A typical gasifier stove is constructed with an inner drum and an outer drum, with air holes lower down.
How does it work?
A normal fire burns from the bottom up. A wood gasifier stove burns from the top down. Drawing heat and air into the cavity wall between the two drums. The air between these two drums is heated by the fire. As it rises it is ejected into the inner drum just above the fire. Where it creates a secondary combustion, meaning that the fire burns hotter and more efficiently.
Simply put it uses heated air that it generates itself to turn the smoke and air into a hotter more efficient stove.
The benefit of this is increased boil times and a lot less (if any) smoke.
We've covered the advantages of a gasifier wood stove. What are the disadvantages?
Ultimately, you do need wood, so if you're based in an area with no wood, then these would (wood!) be pretty useless.
These do work with damp wood but do take a little longer to get going. Best to grab dead would that isn't lying on the ground.
These stoves can make your pots sooty. No not the kid's yellow puppet tv character, but blackened. It would be worth carrying your pots in a bag to prevent them from mucking up your other kit in your backpack.
They can take a bit of practice to start them off.
Things to consider when buying a gasifier wood stove.
Gasifier wood stoves come in smaller solo sizes through to family sized ones. The packable size should also be considered, especially if backpacking.
Pots, pans & mugs.
Some are designed to incorporate a pot / mug that can be stored within it, therefore reducing overall pack size. These also have the advantage of nesting neatly and securely when in use.
Generally made of stainless steel or titanium. You pays your money....etc.
Can you easily add more wood with a pot on the stove? You should be able to figure this out from the pictures of the stove. Though most are easy enough to use.
When we talk about wood, we typically mean twigs. Some gasifier burners can be used / converted into spirit stoves with the addition of a Trangia type of burner.
Some also have a built-in fan to facilitate the burning process and have a usb charging point for charging a mobile phone from. But these typically weigh a lot more.
Overall though, I also think another reason for their popularity is that it feels more 'back to nature'. There's nothing quite like cooking on a real fire.