Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Boundary Waters Guest Blog: Product Review 180 Tack Stove

Never Worry About Fuel Again

How any fuel canisters does it take to cook food on a 3-day trip?  What happens if an o-ring leaks?  And white gas?  What does that do to the surface water when it sloshes onto the ground?  How about the cost-saving, environmentally conscious option of carrying NO FUEL?

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, at the end of the trip, I don’t have canisters for the landfill.  The stove packs down to a 3”x7”x5/8”self-forming case that keeps smoky parts away from my gear.  It is as light as the tiny micro stoves with a single fuel canister.
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 stove in the rain, in the snow, and in fair weather, of course.  It has 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 was all it took and I had my food cooked and several cups of tea down.  The 180 Stove keeps the flame close to the pan, and the stainless steel reflects the heat right where it is needed.  The big fire grate could not compete.
Another thing I like about my 180 Stove 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, or canisters.  I am in nature, after all.  It feels good to leave that stuff behind.  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.

The 180 Stove is sold right on the Piragis website.  Go to
Get out there!  Curt Linville

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