Caldera stoves...ways of getting warm...
Sometimes a little fire isn't enough, but sometimes it is, plus it gives you more options for starting a bigger fire. I got interested in these stoves when reading about Buck Nelson's PCT hike plans (http://www.bucktrack.com/PCT_Gear_List.html). He researches gear carefully and had made significant changes from his previous gear list, mainly to save more weight. But I got motivated about these stoves one cold, wet, cold...wet-all-day-long day of our spring bear hunt. Mine came in the mail weeks ago. I plan to keep it and a couple of fuel pellets with me in my pack as a way to warm up quick. Not needed on all trips, but might be good to have on others.
Yesterday, a friend told me about his sheep hunt - getting trapped high up due to low clouds and no visibility. It rained, they got hypothermic... some drama followed, but they're OK now. Another story from a moose hunt years back, he and his partner got cold and wet crossing a stream. How many times have you needed to start a fire and couldn't? It happened to them. Got cold - everything's wet. Hands won't work hardly. Like Dave said as he told his story, sometimes even birch bark won't light. I got this caldera stove because it's light, compact and with a couple of fuel pellets, could be a small, but quick and effective solution for when you want, or need a fire. It isn't always survival at stake, but could be worth its weight in boosting morale. At least it's something you could do until the sun breaks out.