When it comes to having alternative methods of cooking food when the power is out, most preppers have it covered. For some, an outdoor gas grill will do the job while for others, camp stoves, fire pits, and rocket stoves of various types will ensure that at the very least, there will be a viable method for heating both food and water.
My favorite are rocket stoves, mostly because they are fueled by wood and biomass. To that end, since the start of my own prepping journey I have been enamored by the amazing Solo Stove. I started with the Solo Stove Lite and have now moved up the line with various sizes so that I now own a total of four, including the fantastic Solo Stove Campfire. That is how much I love my Solo Stoves.
A couple of months ago I was contacted by Solo Stove and asked if I would like to do and all-new review of the Solo Stove. Of course I said yes, and of course I arranged for a giveaway; this time for both the Solo Stove Lite and the perfectly sized Solo Pot 900.
More about the giveaway in a moment. First let me tell you about the Solo Stove.
The Amazing Solo Stove
The Solo Stove is very compact and lightweight and is easily, at 9 ounces, carried in a backpack. It comes with it’s own little pouch which is easy to stash and which keeps the stove protected from other gear that may be rattling around in your bag or your kit.
The Solo Stove is fueled by bio-mass, such as twigs, small branches, and leaves. Initially I thought this would be a problem at my Arizona location because after all, my home state of Washington is the Evergreen State and there is an abundance of biomass everywhere. Here there is desert brush and cactus.
Much to my surprise, one walk along a desert trail wielded a huge bucket of biomass. The moral of the story? If you have discounted an emergency stove fueled by biomass you are missing out on an opportunity to use free fuel found in nature and not something you purchase at the local Home Depot.
Getting back on topic, the Solo Stove uses bio-mass broken into pieces that are the size of your finger so that they will fit in the combustion chamber. It burns quick and hot so I suggest that you gather up your bio-mass in advance because it will get burned up fairly rapidly. You will want to tend to the stove and keep the hot flame alive by adding additional biomass to the combustion chamber as it is consumed.
There are two methods for starting the fire and I tried both.
1. With the grate in place, fill the combustion chamber to the top with bio-mass then start the fire by lighting it from the top. In my test I used dryer lint as a fire starter and lit the fuel with a match. Once you have a fire going, keep feeding the fire until the stove is drawing. You will know this is happening when you see that the fire has spread across the top of the stove and secondary combustion will be seen near the air vents.
2. With this second method, put in enough bio-mass to cover only the bottom of the combustion chamber. (The biomass sits on a grate.) Add your fire starter (again, I used dryer lint) and start your fire. After the fire is going, keep adding bio-mass. Soon your stove will be drawing, forcing the heat up through the chamber. I actually prefer this method although both methods work just fine.
Once the fire is going, place the removable cooking ring on top of the fire. This top piece holds your pan on the stove and also contains an opening for adding additional fuel.
You are now ready to start cooking.
For this test I boiled some water in the Solo Pot 900 so I could prepare a Mountain House meal. It took less than 10 minutes to boil a full pot of water.
The 30 ounce pot is made of premium stainless steel and includes side handles and a lid. The lid has its own handle that is rubberized and does not get hot (or at least it didn’t for me). The Solo Pot 900 has been specifically designed for the Solo Stove with the added benefit that the two nest together for easy storage.
I have also used this same small Solo Stove to prepare a large pot of rice. Starting with four cups of very cold water in an old Revere Ware pot, it brought the rice and water to boil in about ten minutes. Once it came to a full boil, I let the covered pot simmer for bout 20 minutes until the rice was done.
I was concerned about the stability of the stove with a large pot sitting on top but there was no problem. Regardless, I would never leave a Solo Stove (or any rocket stove) unattended.
The official instructions for using the Solo Stove can be found here: The Solo Stove User Guide.
Some Important Tips for Using a Rocket Stove, Including the Solo Stove
If you plan to use your Solo Stove, or any rocket stove device that uses bio-mass, for cooking when the power goes out, take the time now to gather up some biomass in advance (like now) so that it will be nice and dry when the time comes. I now have two large boxes ready to go when and if the time comes.
Something else you should do now is gather your fire-starting equipment and tinder. Matches, fire steels, BBQ wands, lighters – they are all going to work. You can amass a lot of dryer lint over time and it is 100% free. I keep empty TP tubes next to my clothes dryer and stuff them with lint as I go.
You can also soak cotton balls in petroleum jelly which is a great use for the stuff if you no longer want to use in on your skin. (For that, consider making some Simple Salve, a petroleum jelly alternative that is petrochemical free.)
Learn how to start a fire! It is a simple skill that will take you just an hour or two to master. Apartment and condo dwellers, this also includes you! When I was a city girl, I knew nothing about fire building and the first couple of times I tried, I pretty much smoked out the neighborhood. So take heed, start practicing now, and you will be an expert in no time.
And finally, rocket stoves, including the Solo Stove, are designed for outdoor use only.
Solo Stove is providing a Solo Stove Lite and a Solo Pot 900 for this giveaway.
The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific next Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article. Please note that the winner must claim their prize within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.
Note: Due to Customs requirements, this giveaway is only open to residents of the United States.
The Final Word
Have you even thought about how you would cook if you had to leave the comfort of your home? That is where the Solo Stove shines. It is lightweight and portable plus, because it burns biomass, you can find fuel almost everywhere. Add a lighter or some matches to your survival kit along with dryer lint or fire cord, and you are all set.
I do want to extend a special thank you to the nice folks at Solo Stove. From the very beginning, Solo Stove has been a sponsor of Backdoor Survival and for that, they deserve a round of applause. It is sponsors such as Solo Stove that allow me to keep Backdoor Survival 100% free for everyone.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Bargain Bin: Below you will find links to the Solo Stove and other items related to today’s article.
Solo Stove & Pot 900 Combo: Ultralight Wood Burning Stove: This combination is perfect for your bug-out kit and especially for heating water for use with freeze dried meal pouches. The stove nests inside the stove. Lightweight and it burns biomass, no other fuel is needed. Recommended!
Other Solo Stoves & Accessories: I personally own four solo stoves including the large Solo Stove Campfire. They are compact yet well-built and perfect for cooking off-grid with just a bit of biomass. They come in varying sizes so you can choose the one that is right for you.
Zippo Street Chrome Pocket Lighter: Zippo has been creating virtually indestructible, windproof refillable lighters for more than 75 years. The Zippo Street Chrome pocket lighter is no exception. This lighter features a classic textured chrome finish and carries the same lifetime guarantee–to either work or be fixed by Zippo free of charge–for life. All wearable parts including flints and wicks are replaceable. Every prepper should own at least one Zippo! Learn more about Zippos in the article What You Need to Know About Zippos and Lighter Fuel.
Diamond GreenLight Kitchen Matches – 3 Pack (Strike anywhere): Our local supermarket in Friday Harbor told us that they do not stock the strike-anywhere matches because they self-combust. Urban legend or CYA? Who knows. Amazon sells them.
100 BIC-style Lighters Disposable Classic Lighter: Running about 16 cents each and free shipping, these are great to have on hand for both survival and barter use. Want fewer than 100. You can also get a pack of 50, currently priced at $11.
Cast Iron Skillet with Hot Handle Holder: I feel that everyone should own a basic, 12” cast iron skillet. In spite of the myth, they are easy to care for and over time, will become a family heirloom. On grid or off grid, cooking with cast iron is the way to go.
The Ringer Cast Iron Cleaner – Stainless Steel Chainmail: I purchased one of these in October 2015 and it is friggin’ fantastic. You will never ever have to scrub cast iron again. I can’t say enough good things about this gizmo. You want one (and I definitely need to do a review).
Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel: This “Scout” is the one I own. Using this basic pocket fire-starter, you can get a nice fire going under almost any conditions. This is a small, compact version and is my personal favorite.
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