COOKWARE

Solo Stove Review: Keeping it Hot No Matter Where You Are

stole stove in nature
John C. Porter
Written by John C. Porter

If you’re into wild camping or backpacking in the wilderness, at one point or another, you have thought about the kind of products you will take with you during your outdoor escapades, particularly the stoves. So, which one is the best?

Maybe you began with the Trangia and now prefer a reliable and lightweight alcohol stove. Maybe liquid fuel’s performance was suitable for your outdoor expedition, or perhaps the convenience and simplicity of the canister gas won your heart over.

However, there is another option – the Solo Stove Series, more precisely the Solo Stove Lite. And despite the fact that it has been used in the ancient days of backpacking, these products seem to be making a comeback!

The Solo Stoves come in various shapes and sizes, but the best are the lightweight options, the ones you can carry with you when you go hiking. This article offers a Solo Stove review that will enlighten you about the significance of having this product on your backpacking trip.

Product Specifications

  • Recommended by Backpacker Magazine and winner of 2014 Gear of the Year award
  • Patented design that makes less smoke.
  • Uses twigs, leaves, pinecones and wood as fuel.
  • Boils water in 8-10 mins (34 fl oz water). 4.25″ Diameter, 3.8″/5.7” tall (packed/assembled). Solo Stove weighs only 9 oz. Made of premium stainless steel and nichrome wire.

Check the price on Amazon

As mentioned, the Solo Stoves come in different models: the Solo Stove Titan, the Solo Stove Lite, and the Solo Stove Campfire. In reality, the only difference between these three options is in their weight and sizes. These products are wood gasifiers. Their dual-wall designs help in pulling in air via the lower vents.

The air is preheated and then fed back through the tiny vents at the firebox’s top for an efficient combustion. This process allows for the use of less fuel and reduces the amount it would take to boil water. In comparison, the Lite model is the best for camping as this can be used over and over again without losing efficiency.

Review

Packaging

The general presentation and the packaging are gorgeous. This is so because pretty products tend to be designed for those who go camping once every year. However, there seems to be an exception with the Solo Stove. Do not allow its stylish appearance trick you into dismissing the product.

The Solo is a much serious appliance when it comes to backpacking. These stoves have an attractive finish and are made of stainless steel material. They are lightweight and heavy-duty as well. These products come with excellent packing bags among other packages.

brand new solo stove

Information about how the stoves are used can be found on the box, so you will not have to worry when using it for the first time. The stove also comes with a nylon stuff sack that you can use to carry it around with during your hiking trips.

The solo pot 900 is sold as a separate item and therefore it doesn’t come together with the stove. If you are interested, you have to purchase it on the website at approx. $35. You can also store your stove in the pot when you are not using it to save on space.

Design and Durability

Designed with a double surface, this stove is a natural convection inverted gasifier. The absence of oxygen during the combustion process and the rising hot air, pulls the air via the bottom holes. This movement of air fuels the flame at the stove’s base while offering to boost the preheated air via the vents at the burn chamber’s top.

This doesn’t mean that your pots won’t get charred as a result. They will, just not as much as with other regular stoves. Washing the charred parts with a dishwashing liquid sure comes in handy in such situations.

Solo camp stove burning the pot

Alternatively, you can apply sand on the parts of the utensils with soot and carry them around without worrying that they will mess up your other items in the backpack. The design also makes the stove very efficient, therefore you end up using less wood to build the fire as compared to the regular camp fires.

You can use the stove for several days while backpacking and camping, and although its surface gets tarnished due to heat, there is no other sign of wear. To damage the Solo Stove, you’d have to kick it like a football, most probably.

Fuel Compatibility

The solo stove lite, will save you a lot on money that you could have used to buy liquid canister fuel and white gas. Why? With this particular one, all you need to find are a bunch of pinecones, twigs, dry leaves or wood and you are set to go.  This is literally very easy to find when you are out in the woods.

Solo stove and fuel options

This is among its best features because not only will you get to move around with an ultra- light stove, but also you will have forgone the danger that comes with travelling with canister fuels in your backpack. You also get to preserve the environment at the same time. Quite impressive, huh?

Dimensions

This amazing stove is around 3.8 inches high and 4.2 inches wide with about 12.8 ounces when shipping. Its actual weight is 0.56 pounds, which is quite ideal since it’s made out of 304 stainless steel which is a lightweight material.

solo stove burning on grass

The best part is you do not have to worry about the shipping weight being over the top; it’s just 0.8 pounds, which will not cost you as much to get the stove delivered right to your doorstep.

Unique features

What sets this stove apart from the hundreds of similar stoves out there? We have a few reasons why you should consider purchasing the solo lite stove to cater for all your backpacking needs.

Free fuel

Many people are nervous when it comes to using portable stoves since they find fuel to be expensive. Fair enough, liquid canisters and white gas can be pretty expensive. When you take part in an extended trip, this cost could quickly add up.

Solo stove fuel source

To get your Solo Stove fully operational, you will only require some dried leaves, pinecones, twigs, sticks, and many other fuels that can be obtained outdoors. This makes it possible for you to create space in your backpack since you will not be obliged to carry any fuel.

Patented model with less smoke

When going for a backpacking trip, you should always consider a design that will produce less smoke. As an experienced backpacker, you are aware that cooking from the campfire is not a suitable technique.

There are a lot of drawbacks to this process, but the most prominent of these drawbacks is excessive smoke. Your wood burning stove should be able to produce less smoke, and the Solo Stove is not an exception.

solo stove burining without smoke

This product comes in a patented design which creates both ultra-clean gasification and secondary combustion. The model makes it possible for the fuel to burn efficiently and completely, producing less smoke.

Fast boil time and lightweight

If you are undecided as to whether or not you need to carry this stove with you, you don’t need to fret. This product only weighs 9 ounces despite being constructed from a stainless steel material. The stove is a perfect option for people who are in need of lightweight products. Its boil time is about eight to ten minutes.

Compactness

When looking for an outdoor stove system, make sure you pick one with a compact size. The Solo Stove is a combination of a pot and a stove and still manages to remain efficient when considering space.

solo stove

Owing to its compact design, this system shouldn’t take a lot of space in your backpack.

Backpacker magazine recommended

If the experts’ opinion matter to you, it’s essential to mention that the Solo Stove has been recommended by the Backpacker Magazine and the Discovery Channel. This product is also a popular choice among outdoor enthusiasts and survivalists.

Value for Money and Guarantee

Ultimately, what we all want to know is how much a product costs. The solo stove lite will set you back approx. $70, which is a good value for your money since you will be getting a camping stove with amazing superior features. This price is after getting a discount of approx. 30%.

value of solo stove

The good news is, you get a warranty of one year from the date of purchase. The warranty only covers manufacturing defects and not wear and tear or misuse of the stove. If you have any claims, you can contact the manufacturers for further assistance.

There is no other guarantee on purchase, given on the site, and therefore, you might consider contacting the manufacturers for a more precise assurance when you decide to acquire the stove. However, the fact that this stove was pronounced as the winner of the gear of the year by backpacker magazine should tell you a thing or two about just how perfect it is.

Main Competitors

Ohuhu Portable Stove

ohuhu portable stove

The Ohuhu Portable Stove is ideal for camping and related emergency situations. It’s an ultra-light cooking stove that backpackers can carry easily, using a mesh carrying case you will get with the purchase. You will be amazed at how easy it is to set up the stove.

The only thing you are required to do is set up the stove chamber on the base plate, add some twigs, fit the pot rack and just fire it up. The compact design is made to provide pot stability, which is made possible by the 3 arms support system that creates a stable cooking platform and distributes heat evenly.

You can use wood, twigs, pinecones, dry leaves and even solidified alcohol as fuel which makes the stove environmental friendly. It’s crafted using high quality stainless steel which can withstand high temperatures and weight without undergoing wear and tear. This ultimately makes the Ohuhu stove very durable.

So, why would you consider buying the Ohuhu and not the Solo stove lite? Simple! The former is much cheaper; goes at approx. $20, therefore if you cannot afford to fork out much money for a camping stove, Ohuhu is the right fit. Secondly, you have an alternative to use solidified alcohol when wood and twigs aren’t readily available.

With the Solo stove, there are no such options.You should however be a bit skeptical about the pot support system of the Ohuhu. If you are not careful, the 3 moving parts may break. This is one good reason to consider the Solo stove because of its compact base.

Goswot Portable Stove

goswot portable stove

If you have been searching for one stove to fulfill all your outdoor needs, then look no further. The Goswot Portable Stove is the right fit for your picnics, hiking and barbeque activities. It weighs about 13.3 oz. and the purchase gets you one stove and a mesh bag you can store it in.

Grill and other cooker ware are not included with the purchase, therefore you can decide to buy these items separately. The best part, the stove fits very well inside the base, hence storage will not be an issue for you. In fact, you are left with extra space.

This stove is made out of high quality stainless steel which makes it very solid and durable. Moreover, the material makes the stove very light and portable. What’s more, it’s very versatile when it comes to fuel choices. You can use wood, charcoal or even solidified alcohol. Setting up the stove will take you just a few minutes.

The downside is that you do not get any detailed instruction manual on how to set it up, but just on a first glance, you will know what goes where. When compared with our reviewed product, the Goswot does better when it comes to the price. Buying this stove will only cost you approx. $18, which is far much cheaper than the Ohuhu.

However, there is a bit more setting up and maintenance needed with this than the Ohuhu. Therefore, if you need a stove you can just unpack and use immediately, it may not be the right fit.

Ouspots Camping Stove

ouspots stove

The Ouspots Camping Stove comes in handy for all your picnic needs, camping, barbeques and even emergency preparations. It only comes in silver, and one regular size of 18.5*13 inches and weighs just 13 ounces.

On purchasing, you will get one Ouspots wood stove and a mesh bag that you can use to store it in for ease in carrying and also to avoid wear and tear. Grill and cookware and not included with the purchase, therefore you have to buy them as separate items.

The unique design incorporates a double wall that aids in the secondary combustion, making the burning a more efficient and clean affair. The vents at the bottom allow air to enter the stove and directs the flow up to feed the primary combustion. The air heats up and rises up and out the top vents causing a secondary combustion at the top.

The Ouspots is made of stainless steel material that makes it very durable and stable for use. This material also makes it an ultra-light stove that is easy for travel when backpacking. The components are also easily removable for ease in cleaning after use.

Another notable feature is the stove’s good ventilation which makes it easy to light a fire and keep it going. Moreover, you don’t need to buy expensive fuels as the stove utilizes readily available wood, paper, twigs and leaves. It also has a high thermal efficiency for full fuel combustion.

At just approx. $20, this stove gets you a good value for your money. If you cannot afford to pay so much for a backpacking stove like the Ohuhu we have reviewed, then you should strongly consider buying this one.

Overview

So why should anyone consider using this stove? The answer to this revolves around the experience. If you usually hike in the hill and are in need of something you can use to boil water without much hassle, the Solo Stove may not be what you need.

But if you will be backpacking in a forested place, and the trip involves much hiking as camping, the stove is an excellent fit. It’s a great pleasure to utilize this product, and without the few downsides, it gives you the feeling of an actual campfire.

enjoying the solo stove with friends

In areas where campfires are not allowed, you may be able to have your way with the Solo Stove. Therefore, hikers and campers in the heavily forested regions will greatly benefit from using this product because if you are certain of finding twigs and sticks, you are assured of having your cooked meals even in the middle of the wilderness.

Additionally, if the idea of having a campfire at night when camping appeals to you, and you do not want to go through the hassles of building one, or if you want to minimize your pack by carrying no fuel, then the Solo Stove is what you need.

PROS:

  • Free fuel
  • An excellent way to go green
  • Ultra light, durable and will leave extra space for storage
  • Takes little time to  boil water, which saves you energy

CONS:

  • It’s expensive when compared with other similar stoves with almost the same features.
  • Does not provide alternative fuel use in case of harsh weather conditions
  • Your utensils will be covered in soot after use, which may end up staining your other items if you are not careful with the storage

This product offers an economical way to utilize fuel for cooking and back country entertainment. Although, there are slightly lighter and less expensive wood stoves out there, the Solo Lite is among the few commercial stoves which have an integrated heat shield.

This component prevents the ground under the stove from getting scorched or burned. This product is also a suitable option if you want to leave your campsite without a trace.

Now, if you have already used this stove, feel free to share your thoughts on it by leaving a comment in the comments section below, where you can also leave a question if you have any. Also, if you found our review to be useful, please share it on social media so that your friends can read it as well.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John C. Porter
John C. Porter

John is passionate about hiking long distances. His record is over 65 miles in one day with backpacking gear. John hiked over 10 thousand miles, tried over 100 hiking shoes and visited 56 countries so far. His favourite hiking route is West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.

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