The stoves discussed in the video below are:
Vargo Titanium Hexagon Wood Stove
Esbit Pocket Stove
Hand Made Penny Stove (Fosters Beer Cans)
The stoves in this video each use a different type of fuel. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of stove and fuel.
The Vargo uses wood as fuel. Wood burning stoves are great because they don’t require you to carry fuel in your pack. Wood is generally abundant while "in the woods” backpacking so finding fuel is almost never an issue. This particular stove also does not require the use of a wind guard because the fire is completely protected within the stove walls. In my opinion this is also the most durable of the three stoves in the video.
There are a couple of disadvantages to wood stoves, however. The first is that soot can build on the bottom of the cookware and stove to be a little messy. This is usually not a problem with the Vargo because it comes with a nice back to pack it in. Also, a pot cozy can be used to store the cookware so it will not make anything in your pack dirty.
Another possible disadvantage with the wood stove is very wet weather. Personally this has never been an issue for me. As a backup you can always carry a couple esbits (solid fuel tabs) in your pack. These work great in the Vargo and may other wood stoves.
When I was in boy scouts as a child I remember making a can stove and using it all the time. This may be why my preferred stove for backpacking is the Vargo Hexagon Wood Stove.
The next stove on the list is the Esbit Pocket Stove (solid fuel). These stoves are great because they are very small and can literally be carried in your pocket. They are very inexpensive and fairly durable. The fuel burns clean and does not leave have the soot residue like the wood stove.
The drawbacks to the Esbit Pocket Stove is that the fuel is pretty heavy. They definitely require a wind screen and the fuel tablets don’t burn very long. Also, these tablets can be difficult especially if you are doing long trips out in the middle of nowhere. I carry this stove in my car and use it more for emergencies. I also use it on day hikes, and when camping.
This brings us to the third and final stove, the hand made Penny Stove. These stoves are incredibly fun to make and really do work well while out in the wild. These are arguably one of the best stoves in existence for backpacking. They are very light weight, fairly durable, work extremely well, are durable and are by far the less expensive.
For me this stove is a top contender with the Vargo Hexagon. If you are most interested in price and cleanliness then definitely make one of these and you will not regret it. You don’t have to stick with just a Penny Stove either. There are ways to make tons of other stoves that are just as incredible out of cans. One difference between the Penny and some others is that the Penny takes two cans while others only use one can.
Fuel for can stoves is fairly easy to find. I use denatured alcohol, which can be found in most hardware stores. This makes it a better choice than the Esbit for extended trips. Especially when you have to go into unknown towns to buy supplies.
Some issues with the can stoves are that you will likely have to make a few before you have one worth using. This isn’t always the case. Especially if you are good with your hands. Also, you will have to carry enough fuel for your trip in your pack.
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