Cool and Rainy Day

That's what I needed, (and an excuse to play with a Stove) With the rain soaking my prospects for an "outdoor" adventure, I settled for a hot brew in the shed. It had been a long time since the smell of wood smoke had wafted into my nose so the plan was to burn some.

On the "stove" shelf in my shed is one or two (Six) home made wood and or alcohol burners I constructed while under the incurable shakes of cabin fever.

I opted to use a coffee can variety today seeing how I had plenty of wood and precious little alcohol, plus I love the way smoke lingers and settles on rainy days so all in all it was a first class plan.

Being inside without a cross breeze to evacuate the smoke produced by the can stove, I used a small window fan to draw out the smoke. If this had been a "Wood gas" stove, the efficiency of the preheated air and recirculated smoke would have made this spot of tea almost smokeless.

The advantages of fueling a stove with indigenous fuel is of course the weight factor. Bottled and canned fuel is heavy and costly. Wood, Pine Cones, Bark and other natural materials abound and are light wight and lets not forget free.

Of course the standard cry of the gas bottle camper will be : What if it's raining and everything is wet? Good point, but counting on wood as your fuel for cooking, light, and warmth is always a challenge. Those that know how to find-gather-light damp wood will always find a way, those that cannot need to learn or move down a rung on the food chain.

A can stove is so user friendly only those incapable of starting a fire will be at odds with it. They burn hot and very clean. What ashes they do produce are slight and easy to redistribute into the environment again (cool and safely of course) without detection.

The real secret is in the preparation. Wood needs to be pencil sized or there about and roughly the size of the receptacle (burning chamber of the can). I use a fixed blade knife and baton (stout stick) to split my can stove fuel. Although time consuming, I find it pleasurable and therapeutic. I'm always impressed by how much LESS wood I burn in the can stove as apposed to in a campfire. The concentrated and controlled heat does the job so much better and the embers last a bit longer. The ambiance is lacking but hey, what can I say? The lack of bright fire light will make star gazing that much easier.

Dry wood can almost always be found even in the dampest forest if you know where to look. Thankfully this stove uses so little that a hand full or two will be all that is necessary to produce a hot meal and steaming brew.

The "WoodGas" stove is one of the best trail stoves you can use and I plan to pack one on my next trip, but the Hobo can stove is a cheap lite weight alternative as well. Enough plans for these exist on the Internet for you to find a model that suits your needs and creative ability. Try it instead of the gas bottle stove some time, prepare a meal or two in the yard or on your patio to get the feel of how much wood will be needed and what it takes to tend one. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Safe Travels