by Todd Walker
A light load is your friend. Whether camping, or if necessary, getting out of dodge.
This past weekend, DRG and I unpacked our old bug out bags to winterize supplies and set up our new BOB’s. Thanks Santa! After unpacking, I realized how many shiny survival objects wouldn’t make it back in our new bags. Prioritizing and finding redundancy in items is my plan to lighten our loads. With DRG’s body weakened by her year-long battle with cancer, I’ll be carrying the bulk, if not all the weight if we had to hump on foot to our designated safe retreat.
I’m middle-aged (50 is the new 30, right?), in good physical condition, and could carry the weight in my old BOB. But why put my body through undue stress. I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. But if I did, I’d make losing weight my number one priority. NOT, body weight – weight in my BOB and other burdens weighing heavily on my mind, soul, and spirit. Let’s deal with the physical bug out bag first.
Ounces count – and add up in a bag. I’ve looked for a camp stove that doesn’t require the added weight of fuel containers – something light, self-sustaining, and tough. I’ve built alcohol stoves before, but they require fuel (extra ounces). Presently, I pack a MSR Pocket Rocket Backpacking Stove. It’s just over 3 oz. and very compact. Then there’s the pesky added weight of a fuel container. I love my little stove. It’s just not sustainable unless you pack fuel. I wanted a stove that could run on stuff we walk past and over – sticks and twigs.
Enter the Emberlit-UL (Titanium) stove. Made in America (Utah), this 5.45 oz. stove arrived in my mail box three days after ordering. It would have been sooner except for the holiday on January 1. I ordered from Amazon. Before pressing the buy button, I sent a question to the company concerning whether this model on Amazon came with the Crossbar Pot Adapters shown on the Emberlit website. Within just a few minutes, I had my answer in my inbox. The crossbars come with it.
Upon arrival, I unpacked my new stove excitedly. When disassembled and stacked it measures just over 1/8 inches thick. Instructions for assembling the stove are idiot proof. Being a guy, DRG knew I wouldn’t read the instructions before assembly. I put it together in under a minute, placed it on the open palm of my left hand, and showed her my new creation. Test time.
My backyard is loaded with an assortment of oak trees constantly dropping dead limbs. Perfect. I collected a small bundle of twigs, pencil sized sticks, and a few finger sized branches. I set the stove on my fire pit and commenced to make fire. Using wax-coated jute twine and unraveled plain jute for my nest, two strikes on my ferro rod produced fire.
I added my smallest twigs on top of the burning nest to feed the fire in my stove. Then, pencil size sticks were added. The vent holes in the sides of the stove worked well to draft air up the chimney. At that point I added a few shavings of pine fat lighter (fatwood) before adding the largest fuel. I love fatwood for fire starting – not necessary – just fire starter insurance.
Once I had a decent fire with a few coals in the bottom of the stove, I added water to my Army canteen cup. I advise using the crossbar inserts on top of the stove for smaller cooking containers. The crossbars allow containers smaller than 3 inches in diameter to be utilized.
On other top feeding stoves, one must lift the cooking container off the stove to feed the fire. With the Emberlit design, the feed door allows you to leave the container on the heat source and feed the fire at the same time. The chimney design works well to draw air and efficiently burn the fuel. As the fuel burned, I simply pushed the longer sticks into the stove to maintain the fire. My water reached a rolling boil in 5 minutes. Tea time.
The company claims the stove’s ability to support cast iron cookware. I fetched a cast iron skillet, bacon grease, and an egg from the kitchen. No, I don’t pack cast iron in my BOB. I wanted to test the claim of strength from the company. If the stove is on a level, stable surface, it will indeed support a heavy cooking container. I fried one egg with no problems – the way I like them – over easy.
I’m very pleased with the performance on my first run in the backyard. I see no reason why it wouldn’t stand up to more demanding, prolonged use. The stove’s sturdy and simple design, weight, and compact size make the Emberlit Camp Stove my favorite. I only wish the storage sleeve was included with the stove instead of being sold separately.
The same stove is available in stainless steel for about half the price of the titanium, but over twice the weight (11.3 oz.). I’m thinking of ordering a stainless steel model for our vehicle emergency kit. The titanium stove cost me $68 including S/H. The overwhelming demand has caused a back order on this item. Go ahead and get your order in if you want one.
The company offers personal customer service and guaranteed satisfaction. Here’s their warranty statement:
“WARRANTY: I want you to be happy with your purchase. Emberlit Stoves and accessories come with a lifetime guarantee. Should your stove fail I will refund or replace it. If you ever have any trouble whatsoever with your stove or questions about your order contact me, and I’ll make it right.”
I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. By the way, I have no financial interest or benefit in this company except that I’m really impressed with their product. I bought my stove with my own funds.
Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,
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I made a very easy and rugged sleeve for my Emberlite from a pair of ripped black jeans. A rear pocket made most of it ready made. I first cut one rear section of the jeans out of the pants. I just slipped the top of the Emberlite down into the pocket the wider end did stick out some, I then flipped over the material until it would cover the exposed edge of the stove plus about 2 inches and with a wide zig zag stiched the rest of the exposed edges of the jean material to size. I then cut free the excess and sewed some velco to make it stay shut when folded. It may not be pretty because you see what was once the inside of the jeans but since they were black it doesn’t matter much. I figure the jean material will hold up well and the black will not show the fire soot that much, plus it is washable.