Never Worry About Fuel Again

Writen by CL

How many fuel canisters does it take to cook food on a 3-day camping trip? How much fuel does one need to store to prepare for a long emergency and how can you assure that this stored fuel stays good? And white gas?

What does that do to the surface water when it sloshes onto the ground? What happens if an o-ring leaks? Dehydrated food, whether used on a backpacking trip or to survive likely food shortages, requires the ability to boil water.

What if you have to evacuate? Do you have a stove that fits in a bug-out bag? The solution to these problems would be a stove that is compact, light, does not depend on o-rings and valves to work, and does not require storing or carrying fuel. 180 Tack offers two such practical and dependable stoves: the 180 STOVE and the 180-VL.

I have been using a 180 STOVE for more than two years now and find it liberating. This is a compact, light-weight cook stove with a stable, generous 6”x7” cooking surface. It only uses a handful of twigs to cook dinner. I don’t have to sweat how much fuel to buy and store or carry. The stove packs down to a 3”x 6”x 5/8”self-forming case, too, that keeps smoky parts away from my gear. It is as light as the tiny micro stoves with a single fuel canister but far more dependable.

Likewise, I have done several field tests with the 180-VL. This triangle-shaped stove is a little smaller than my 180 STOVE, but it would still support a large Dutch oven. I find that I have to refuel the 180-VL more often than the 180 Stove due to the smaller firebox, but it is lighter and costs about 30% less. Both stoves solve the problem of boiling water and cooking quick meals without electricity, gas, or other expensive fuels.

Neither stove has hinges, rivets, screws, valves, or welds that could fail. They are designed to last and are made in America. They create a dependable, simple, and sustainable way to cook.

To be fair, cooking with twigs is not a push-button fire. But it only takes a little common sense to get a hot fire that rivals any toxic-gas stove. After all, the cooking is done with the tiny twigs one might use as kindling for a larger fire. Even on the rainy days, I find dry twigs sheltered under trees. I have used the stoves in the rain, in the snow, and in fair weather, of course. They have not let me down yet.

I went camping with some buddies this spring and due to lack of time and close fishing, we went to a campground. The provided fire grate looked handy, but ten large chunks of firewood and 30 minutes later, I abandoned the grate for my trusty 180 STOVE. A few twigs were all it took and I had my food cooked and several cups of tea down.

The stoves from 180 Tack keep the flames close to the pan, and the stainless steel reflects the heat right where it is needed. The big fire grate could not compete. The fire grate used 8 or 9 large sticks of wood, and still did not do the trick. I splintered a few twigs from one of the large sticks and cooked my entire breakfast on the 180 STOVE. It uses a tiny fraction of the fuel needed for a camp fire.

There are a couple of minor drawbacks to these stoves. For one, since you have to tend the fire, cooking something that takes hours, like a pot of beans, would not be practical. And the pot does get smoked up a bit. The stoves pack the smoky parts on the inside, so that is not much of a bother. And I am willing to wash the smoke off my pans to eliminate the need to buy, store, and carry liquid fuels.

Another thing I like about these stoves is that I know I am cooking naturally; the way people did for thousands of years before our modern conveniences were dreamed up. I like working with nature rather than hiding from it. I like leaving the fuel behind. My fuel does not depend on oil wells, tanker ships, trucks, refineries, more trucks, packaging, electricity, or canisters.

When I cook, I push a little soil to the side first. Then when done cooking, I cover the ashes. There is very little ash anyway, but once covered, there is no sign I cooked there. I also use an optional ash pan for cooking on snow.

Whether you opt for the 180 STOVE with the larger firebox or the 180-VL, either stove makes a sensible and dependable addition to a bug-out bag or a camping backpack.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the report. I need something along these lines for my camp trailer.

  2. HomeINsteader says:

    NICE! Thanks for the recommendation.

  3. Shades of Green says:

    This sounds awesome. I went to the link and watched the videos there and now I know what I want my DH to get me for Christmas. Thanks a bunch.

  4. Good Review. I agree with the points you mention about why you like this “stove.” I have been experimenting with natural cooking methods for a couple of months and share your opinion that cleaning a little soot off of your pots and pans is a small price to pay for the feeling that (more) natural cooking offers.

    I do have to say however…after looking at the 180 website I think the tool reviewed here is pushing the boundaries of what a “stove” is. To me this looks like a wind break with a pot holder on top. Is that all that a stove is? I’m not sure. Maybe my judgement has been clouded by all of the experimentation I have been doing with rocket stoves lately.

    I am not knocking your review at all…far from it…just thinking out loud.

    What is a stove?

  5. Prepper Wayne says:

    Another goodie lil’ woodburner is the Emberlit — proudly made in the USA as well: http://www.emberlit.com/ + http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GSAa7JPYoc (Mikhail is a great guy and savvy inventor/tinkerer). I have both the titanium and stainless steel versions and like the latter better for its heft. Of course, for a bug-in situation you want something that will last for decades: http://ecozoomstove.com/ + http://www.thesurvivalistblog.net/ecozoom-rocket-stove-review/. I went with the Dura. Beauty!

    • Prepper Wayne says:

      Forgot to mention the other small alternative: IKEA hobo stove. I noticed someone below complaining about the cost of the 180 (and others I suppose). Try the IKEA cutlery stand conversion: http://americanbushman.blogspot.ca/search?q=ikea .

      • Oh, love it! I am going to have to make one or three of those! Thanks for the link!

        • Prepper Wayne says:

          And you don’t need the Dremel to cut out the hole for that IKEA hobo stove: I used a wire cutter and that did the trick. The edge will be a bit ragged but you can buff that down with a file. If you want to get fancy, you can use 4 bolts with nuts on the bottom for legs. Check YouTube for various designs of that stove.

  6. Thanks CL,

    Nice Article. I use a similar stove the Emberlit stove. Although I am interested now in the 180 stove. It seems the cooking area is bigger on this stove than the Emberlit. I have just gotten the Swiss Volcano stove where you could use fuel or wood to cook with. I haven’t field tested it yet just playing around in the back yard. I also have the fuel stoves like the MSR Pocket Rocket stove and the Jetboil Flash stove. Both are awesome stoves especially when I want to be lazy, but we should all work on our fire making abilities and to use that skill to cook with. Thanks again for the article, awesome stuff!

  7. That sounds like a wonderful stove! I love that it takes such little wood. I can relate to those grills at the campgrounds. They sure do take a LOT of wood and still seems to take forever to cook a meal, which never cooks evenly.

    I have a question, though, as I was unsure from the article. Do you just use this when you are out camping, or are you using this for all of your cooking on a daily basis? I have been considering cooking outside on a daily basis, over wood, instead of my electric stove (so much more natural, and I figure, more healthy). In the colder part of winter I cook with the wood stove that I heat my house with, but I was thinking of doing this the rest of the year, as I live in the woods with access to lots of small scrap wood. Open to all advice on the subject.

    Now, a tip for you, though you probably know it already. When cooking over a smoky fire, if you rub the outside of your pot down really well with soap (liquid is easiest, but a bar wet down works well, too) before you begin to cook, that black smokey stuff that gets on your pot washes right off quickly, little to no scrubbing needed.

    Great post! I found it very helpful.

  8. Looks good but sign me up for the 90 stove. This one seems over priced. Maybe $1.00 worth of sheet metal and a few punch press operations and the stove costs $42 plus! I’m all in favor of capitalism and making a profit but this is just too much for my pocketbook. Good idea though. I like innovation and thinking outside the box.

    • Patriot Dave says:

      LOL. I was thinking that after seeing Dino’s post. All it is – a wind screen and grid. I have enough scrap metal in the basement to put one together. But I already have a folding stove from decades ago. It is a back up for my butane stove. Sometimes you don’t want to give away your location with the sight and smell of smoke. It is something for every BOB when the gas runs out.

    • Warmongerel says:

      Good stainless steel ain’t cheap.

  9. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    Thats pretty cool, but if your camp is fixed, two concrete blocks and a panel of expanded metal and you are good to go. If you want to lower the panel, dig in the blocks or some some material which is less thick.

    Learned a neat trick from Scott William’s blog for cooking with pots. Short version: Cut a green 3′ long branch, cut into equal lengths, sharpen on end and drive into soil to form a tripod platform for cooking implement. Wood should be green to extend its life past a couple of fires. Or just get some metal rebar and be done with it.

    That is a neat stove – thanks for writing about it.

  10. Tactical G-Ma says:

    CL,
    Good article. I might just get me one.

  11. A bit of soap on the outside of the pan before you cook makes it easy to later clean off the smoke.

  12. Why I like the idea of the cooking naturely and this portable stove, and I think this would be great for a bug out bag, I find it more practical to have wood burning stove/oven. I have one still boxed but have cooked and cleaned with an identical one. If I was going to have a stable place to stay I much rather a wood stove to not only cook and clean with but also heat my home or room.

    If I were traveling by vehicle I’d likely like to have a rv, pop up camper, or camper with gas to heat food as though I was at home. And those of use that live in concrete areas may not have access to fuel such as branches and leaves. Some preppers live in apartments and condos. It truly depends where you are located what your advantages and disadvantages are going to be.
    If you live off grid you have the advantage of being away from people but also the disadvantage of being away from like minded people unless you have co-opted and live on the same property or your neighbors share the same ideas. Then you have to determine how likely people will invade your property for your resources.

    Living on the grid in cities and urban areas offer benefits of finding jobs* (not true everywhere) Discounted prices for groceries* (not true for the poorest of the poor areas) and advanced resources and community outreaches and help. Disadvantages can be being prohibited to own pigs, goats, and fowl livestock. Some areas don’t allow you to air/hang dry laundry.

    We must keep in mind whether we are staying or leaving and what resources we’ll need. If we have just a truck yes this might be a great item to own and pack, but those that have campers may keep it as a back up or until their fuel runs out. Those prepared to stay may have solar panels to use, wood stoves, or other products to ease a transission into the unknown with the comfort of home.

    Like minded people have already said they are staying until/unless they have lost everything. Meaning their livelyhood and homes. Why leave if it hasn’t affected you? Or you are still safe at where you are at?

  13. Russell Keys says:

    Thanks for posting your views on this. I was looking into another stove advertised on your site. But it looked like something that could be too easily knocked over with kids involved. I feel the 180 stove is the way to go for my family. Thank you. It’s nice getting opinion from people NOT attatched to the advertising that have actually used the item numerous times and will tell you both pros and cons of it. Thanks!

  14. Thanks for the report. I already have the Bush Buddy wood stove, but that is smaller and more for a single pot… I decided to get one of these too, with the 2-piece ash pan as well t prevent soil scaring..

    • I must say… the order fulfillment on this 180 stove was FAST… I ordered on Thursday and received on Monday!

  15. One thing about collecting twigs… In a downpour I’d suggest you get the dead dry twigs off a tree, not collect them underneath a tree. They are much drier, and even in a Louisiana downpour dead twigs on a tree are the driest tinder you can find.

    This sounds like a good alternative to fuel-operated stoves in a bug out bag. Common sense says that really, we should not be packing fuel-operated stoves in bug out bags at all if there is any possibility of being “bugged out” for, say, more than two weeks. The space necessary for that much fuel would be better used in a number of ways.

    Thanks for the article!

  16. i make a woodgas stove that is just as lightweight and portable. anyone can make these with the most basic tools. i show how,in this video, to make one from two cookie tins. ive cooked bacon and fried chicken on mine. here is a video of how i make them.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dT3UkOHVhW0

  17. RE: smoky pots……….many moons ago I learned that if ya coat the bottom of yer pan with soap it cleans right up….smelly but effective.

    Lewis in MN

  18. I picked up a similar stove at the local Army Surplus Store a couple of years back. I have used it several times and am completely satisfied with its weight, durability and easy storeage capabilities. I am planning on buying one for each of our children to put in their BOBs.

  19. That looks pretty nifty . not a bad idea for backpacking or on the fly camping .

  20. worrisome says:

    Remember please folks? That you can dig a small hole but some scraps of wood in it, light it, drop an old bbq grill – in my case I had a small light weight grill made, the smaller the better and accomplish the same thing…

    • The Grey Wolf says:

      One thing to consider greatly and look out for are roots in your dug pit! Root structures can catch and carry an ember for weeks and weeks before igniting a full blown forrest fire, believe it or not, even when covering a burnt out fire with a lot of dirt when you’re done! Rocks in the bottom of the pit might minimize root ignition but not guaranteed. Worrisome I agree, the dugout pit and grill method does work, given wind protection from depth of the pit and the ground does not have much moisture underneath.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Did just that in a marsh once. After ten tries and the hole kept filling up with water, I gave up. ;) On top of a mountain (near Greer) in the winter I found the ground too hard to dig a hole under the snow. Perched on the side of a granitic pluton after finding a nice little cave, I once unable to dig a hole in the level solid rock floor. Merely anecdotes….of course.
      Point being that alternate stoves are all useful and all have their limitations. While trekking, I carry a fold up stove for kindling burning, 2 cans of sterno for a small empty tuna-can-stove (6 fuel pellets…in case) and a little fold up grill for worrisome’s solution.
      Have several different portable stoves utilizing several fuel sources.
      Two is one and one is none, eh? Three is better. ;)

      Good review CL. Thanks!

      • SurvivorDan says:

        I bet most of you trek/hunt/camp with several different fire starters. I carry a flint striker, two magnesium strikers, matches, lighters, sealed waterproof match container, a magnifying glass, makings for a friction fire, tinder, etc. I once used an old monkey skull for a stove. No…just kidding.
        How about someone write an article about the three best portable ‘stoves’? 3 lbs total weight for all three. Utilizing three different portable fuel sources. Just a challenge…. ;)

        • SurvivorDan says:

          Remember the Emberlit article?
          I have one – titanium version is less than 6 oz. Works well. I do like the larger size of this 180 stove. If I wasn’t carrying a full load for a long hike I wouldn’t mind the greater weight and bulk. At least I could make coffee and do some cooking at the same time….

  21. Tom Foley says:

    I have to speak to the issue of pricing. Someone mentioned that the metal should cost a buck and then ten there were the simple steps of a punch press, etc. and the price should be much less. I’ve been in U.S. manufacturing for 23 years and let me tell you, this attitude that everything should be priced as cheaply as Chinese made products has got to stop in this country. we’re only shooting ourselves in our feet by thinking that way. Yes, you can go out to your local Walmart and find something similar that may or may not do the job for a while. But, what do we gain? We save a few bucks up front. However we also sent our money oversees to a country that is growing by leaps and bounds an is poised to eat our lunch. Instead, that money could have stayed on our soil and employed our neighbors instead of some underpaid, overworked employee in Asia. And for the cost of this stove – do you have any idea what it takes to manufacture in our country? Our businesses are held to much more stringent safety, environmental and insurance regulations over here. Our workers are paid a wage that allows them to feed their family and pay their mortgage. Understanding this industry, I can honestly say that I’m a little surprised it doesn’t cost at least a bit more. I, for one, have purchased one of these stoves because I applaud American ingenuity and will always support the little guy on my own soil rather than save a few dollars and ship my money oversees. I’m not even going to get into the environmental costs of buying the same stove from China. Manufacturing, truck shipping, boat shipping, another truck to bring it to you local crap store….. Think about it. Now I’ll get off my soap box. Please people – just think about the affect you have on your own community when you buy the cheap junk from China ~ Tom

    • Tactical G-Ma says:

      Tom Foley,
      Here here.

    • Warmongerel says:

      I agree to that with one caveat: I will not support union labor. The unions are doing more to subvert this country than any group out there. They are the thugs of the Socialist movement.

      • I’m with you on the union statement. As everything else, unions were started with good intentions and went south from there. They have unfortunately gotten out of hand in many (not all) cases and are now hurting us. Good point Warmongerel

      • ‘They are thugs’ is right!

        Many years ago when I was very young, my father was a manager at a chemical plant; the union went on strike and my father being management had to cross the line… however, he felt those were ‘his people’ and brought baskets of food and firewood as he went into work… then one day the union brought in ‘members’ from other areas and when my dad went in to work with food and firewood he was beaten, kicked and hospitalized.

        Would you really wish to be associated with such animals? Not me!

        I grew up never being a ‘union’ believer… today they have the FLSA, OSHA, EPA and other organizations to protect individual workers, and IMHO for the most part unions only protect lower performing workers and higher senority people that do not perform as well as lower senority workers from being let go…

      • Warmongerel says:

        Tom, the unions were a good idea 100 years ago, but what Mike said is correct: the government takes care of keeping the workplace safe and “fair” now.

        The thing is, the original union movements of 100+ years ago were a good thing, but they were infiltrated by Communists and, as such they became completely anti-capitalist.

        Communism is a parasitic ideology. They latch on to popular movements and corrupt them to their own beliefs. They did it with the civil rights movement (e.g. Black Panthers were Communist), Women’s rights (Leftism first, women’s rights second…see Bill Clinton), even gay rights.

        All of these causes were “noble” when they began, but the Commies infiltrated them and use them to advance their anti-capitalist agenda.

    • Prepper Wayne says:

      Made in the USA!

    • A lot of the Chinese stuff falls apart anyway, you may end up having to buy a replacement therefore paying more money in the long run.

      • HomeINsteader says:

        So true, Banaras. Unfortunately, too many for too long have only been concerned with, “what comes out of my pocket right now?”. The long-term consequences are simply not part of the equation for most people.

      • Tactical G-Ma says:

        Banaras
        You get (in most cases) what you pay for. In any extreme situation, you need reliable equipment. But repair or replacement may not be possible. Test your preps and buy durable goods and spare parts when possible. Those of us with limited or fixed resources may have to become very resourceful. But chances are we frugal folks are accustomed to making-do. Remember, necessity is the mother of invention.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Mr Foley! A man with integrity. Your soapbox is a good one. Kudos!

  22. Stuck in CA says:

    The husband and I just had a conservation about additional cooking methods being a needed part of our preps. Thanks, I will be looking into one of these.

  23. Warmongerel says:

    Looks pretty cool, CL.

    I have a Volcano stove, but it’s not very practical for carrying. I like the way that you can break this one down and slip it in your bag.

    Thanks for the review.

  24. Hey , they shouldn’t have given the diagram on their web site out ………I just made one at work with scrap metal , except mine has 4 grill posts instead of three .

  25. Stoves like this a great until you enter the Sierras in the summer where the law forbids “open flame” cooking. True, when you’ve gone 4 or 5 days into the wilderness, there are no rangers around to fine you… but the chance of starting a forrest fire is still there. That’s a good time to use something like a jetboil.

    When car camping, i prefer cast iron fry pan (also called a spider because it has legs like a dutch oven). set in on a bed of coals or pile of burning twigs and you’re good to go. No need to have a pan and a stove – its all-in-one with a spider or a dutch oven. And for cooking for the family, you can stack ‘em up and cook meal, veggies, & dessert at the same time. Lots of cast iron made & sold in US.

    Still, great article, because everyone who preps has different needs, and this stove is great as an alternative to cooking with white gas.

  26. HomeINsteader says:

    So, you’re in a situation where you NEED a fire, but not one that will shout, “HERE I AM!”. Dakota fire! Do an internet search – you’ll get lots of hits. Nearly smoke-free. Be sure you put it out with water – as pointed out here recently, roots in the ground can stay hot and ignite a fire.