Saturday, March 21, 2009

Wood Gassifier Backpack Stove

Another of Scott's Do It Yourself backpacking stoves. After building somewhere around 20 different alcohol stove models I find myself becoming intrigued with wood burners for backpacking. I like the idea of not having to pack so much fuel, and there's just something wonderful about sitting in front of a real fire.

This is a double wall, wood gassifier stove. It is supposed to be an extremely efficient wood burner, making very little smoke and leaving very little ash. The principal is a little hard to explain, but it works by igniting the wood gas as the sticks and twigs burn. Cold air is sucked up through the bottom vents in the outer layer, it is heated as it moves up to the inner vents at the top. When you get the burn just right, it looks like flame jets are coming out of the top inner wall holes, but really it's just because that's where the oxygen mixes with the wood gas for combustion.

You can buy commercial models for about $100. Check out the Bushbuddy and the Bush Cooker. This one cost me about $5.00 to make and it is essentially the exact same thing.

I'm pretty excited about this little stove. It's smaller than I thought a wood burner would have to be; it fits inside many solo cook pots. I gave it a test run today and am pretty impressed. I boiled about 4 cups of water with a handful of small dead branches, broken up into pinky sized pieces. There is minimal smoke, if done right, though it does blacken your cook pot... I used tin foil to keep mine clean. I found I had to add a pinky sized twig ever 30 seconds or so.

I am liking the idea of having this as my main stove, but along with a small backup alcohol stove for when it's been pouring all day and I'm tired and just don't want to have to bother with finding dry wood for a fire. This way I won't have to carry as much fuel, but still have that safety net for really nasty weather.

Here's the whole thing set up.
The pot stand worked really well.

View of the inside of the stove.

Here's a look at the inside from the bottom.

All the pieces separated.
The pot stand slides in between the double walls of the stove for storage.
The bottom was kept, the stove rests on this so as not to scorch the ground.

All packed up in the stuff sac I made for it.


  1. I too have been working at diy bushbuddy/falk stoves. Have you come up with a preference. I think I have decided the single walls work just fine and keep it simpler. I also have not had success with J. Falk's design without having to add wood. Your last version is where I ended up too.

  2. I prefer the bushbuddy design, but they both work well. The bushwhacker design has much more versatility, but mine is somewhat finicky (granted, I hadn't built it to exact specs).

    The bushbuddy clone doesn't give me any trouble.

    After toying around with both singlewall stoves and double, I like the double better. J. Falk (designer of the bushwhacker) tells me that single wall stoves tend to have to be pretty tall to work well.

  3. Fantastic, been pondering over the idea of making my own cheap version of the Bushbuddy as they are hard to get in the UK. Looks like you've made a grand job of it. Inspired to have a go myself now!

  4. Great! It's not too hard to build. Here's the thread over at BackPackingLight that I referenced to build mine.

    Read all the way through - there were some changes made down the road that are important.

  5. I love the big stove specially because i like to cook all kind of recipe, how ever i prefer to have a reasonable place. Actually i saw a beautiful stove in a house that was published in costa rica homes for sale it was big and beautiful, i think i will go there because it catched my attention.

  6. Scott,
    Thank you for the pictures of inside the stove, and your link to BPL. Now, on with the quest!


  7. Could you send me the plans in an e-mail?

  8. the building link is broken... do you have the plans? thanks