Until just a few days ago, I had never heard of the Vargo wood stove. Right off the bat I was impressed with this stove – it looks like it can go anywhere and cook just about anything.
The Vargo wood stove is versatile enough to be able to use wood, sterno, or an alcohol stove inside of it. As I took thee stove you of the box, the first thing I noticed is how thin it is.
Vargo Wood Stove Dimensions
- Height Folded – about 3/4 inch tall
- Width – the widest part across the base is about 5 5/8 inches
- Height un-folded – about 4 inches tall
- Top width – about 3 inches across
- Base – about 4 3/4 – 4 7/8 across
The bottom of the stove has 19 hexagon holes stamped in it, which as about 3/8 across.
The way your “supposed” to use this stove, is you find some small pieces of wood and build a fire inside of the stove. But while looking at the stove, and doing some thinking, I found that a sterno / methanol gel fits perfectly into the stove. I know the Vargo Hexagon Wood Stove is not designed to be used like this, but oh well, it works.
The methanol gel that I’am using came from wal-mart. It was bought for my daughters wedding, so that we could keep stuff like the beans hot.
Lets do some math. Lets say that you carry 8 ounces of denatured alcohol on your backpacking trips. 2 ounces of liquid fuel might give around 15 minutes of burn time in a liquid fuel stove. This gives you the ability to cook 4 times. 16 ounces should give you 8 cook times.
A lot of it depends on the way the stove is designed. Some stoves might have a longer cook time, while other stoves might have a shorter cook time.
200g / 7 ounces of methanol gel will burn for about 2.5 hours – at least that is what it says on the side of the can.
- 8 ounces liquid fuel = about 4 cook times
- 7 ounces of methanol gel = about 10 cook times
Cook times will vary on the type of stove that you use, so these times are just rough estimates.
Or, just use wood like the stove was designed for, then you do not have to worry about carrying fuel.
After the methanol gel was lit:
- 5 minutes – bubbles were forming on the bottom of the pot and we were getting steam.
- 10 minutes – a light boil.
- 15 minutes – a rolling boil.
This test was done on April 25, 2010 – about 100 feet above sea level with an air temperature in the low 80s.
Th Vargo wood stove has changed the way I think about cooking on hiking/camping trips. In the 1990s – until recently I used a single burner stove and a 1 pound propane bottle. But this gets heavy and bulky. When the bottle is empty, then it has to be disposed of.
So why not carry a stove that you do not have to carry extra fuel for? If you dont have to carry liquid fuel, then it can not leak in your pack. So if your looking for something lightweight, compact, and easy to carry. I think that is where the Vargo Hexagon Wood Stove comes into play. Backpackers and hikers could carry a 7 ounce can of sterno, or use wood from the forest.
This next test was done on May 2, 2010, at about 100 feet above sea level, and with an outside temperature of around 80 degrees. The water that was used in the test came out of the faucet, and was allowed to sit outside for about 15 minutes. It was then put into the pot, and put on the stove to boil.
One of the members of the forum thought the sterno took a little long to cook, so I decided to test the stove with a homemade alcohol stove inside of it. With my homemade alcohol stove, 1 ounce of HEET / denatured alcohol gave a 5 minute burn time. 2 ounces of HEET / denatured alcohol gave about an 8 minute burn time.
From a prepping point of view, this could be an ideal stove for a bug out bag.