There I was, in driving rain, cooking breakfast under a tree over an intense, portable fire. Fresh coffee and scrambled eggs.
It was a Sierra Stove I got for $52. It’s a mini-forge, forcing air into a small insulated chamber where a double handful of twigs (or dung or whatever) can heat water in a couple minutes—just a little longer than a butane stove, but with NO fuel or fuel containers to carry. One enthusiast hiked from Mexico to Canada cooking with one, claims Chip in *The Compleat Walker IV.* Chip himself now claims to camp largely solar–with backback solar charged batteries running his flashlights and his Sierra Stove.
The basic unit I got weighs 18 ounces and is clever and well-evolved. Accessory goodies can be found at the manufacturer’s site. The newest item is a titanium version that weighs only 10 ounces, for $129.
I was impressed at how little fuel was needed, and how funky it could be. A switch offers high or low speed on the fan, driven by one AA battery. No igniter–my Bic failed me in the rain, but a Lifeboat match and lil’ firestarter saved the day. Unlike butane, the Sierra Stove does blacken your pots and pans, which is the main nuisance–they go in ziploc bags anyway though. All in all an impressive little rig.
We’ll all want one when the economy collapses completely and we have to live homeless.