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Thread: Another quest for finding the perfect wood stove

  1. #1
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    Default Another quest for finding the perfect wood stove

    Situation: We are a family of three and I want to do some hot tenting in 0F temperature this winter without upgrading the whole familyís sleeping system (20F). I also do NOT want to wake up more than once during the night to refill the stove. This is critical, I want to fill the stove before going to bed, close the damper and go to sleep for as long as possible without getting cold (donít forget the 20F difference, if not moreÖ). Iíll cut my own firewood from where Iíll set up camp.

    Current equipment: We all have 20F down sleeping bags with Exped Downmats (we also have ridgerests to go underneath as well). Weíll haul all the gear using snowshoes, pulks + backpacks.

    Gear to acquire: tipi tent (6 or 8P Iím not sure yet) + woodstove
    My research indicates that there seem to be 3 ďclassĒ of wood stoves (my own classification):

    1. Class A, what Iíd qualify as collapsible ultralight stoves, ranging from 1.5 to 10 lbs: Titanium Goat, Ruta Locura, Kifaru, Four Dog, Seek Outside, etc.
    2. Class B, what Iíd qualify as ďlightĒ stoves, ranging from 10 to Iíll say 36 lbs: Snowtrekker, Riley, Kni-Co, Sims, Four Dog, etc.
    3. Class C, the heavy stoves, 36 lbs + which I havenít researched much for obvious reasons.


    Class A stoves seem to be able to keep the heat for 1h top. The only exception, is the Four Dog ownerís claim to be able to reach 3-4h. Anyone here experienced otherwise? Evidently, Iíd be more than happy to spend the extra bucks on ultralight stove if they keep me warm for several hours, but that doesnít seem to be the case. So Iím really looking about confirmation or invalidation here.

    Class B stove seem to be the way to go. Iím looking for that delicate balance between weight and the amount of time the stove will be able to hold the heat at night. All things being equal, Iím theorizing itís better to have a bigger stove than a smaller one, so Iíve calculated the Volume by total weight ratio (including pipes, damper & spark arrestor) and I cross-matched the result with each manufacturerís burn time specifications if available. Putting aside all class A stoves, the clear winners are the Sims Sportmans, closely followed by the Kni-Co Alaska and Snowtrekker Large. This is followed by each companyís medium size stove. So I think itís safe to assume itís a matter of choosing between models, especially since Kni-Co actually manufactures both the Alaskan and Snowtrekker stoves. Iíve discarded the Sims Sportmans stove because I havenít found a single review.

    So:

    1. Has anybody compared the two ďbrandsĒ, I should rather say models between Kni-Co and Snowtrekker?
    2. Can anyone comment on these stoves ability to hold the heath? I was told between 4-6h for both!
    3. Iím concerned that both stoves do not have a baffle.
    4. All the math & logic is pretty cool but did I miss anything, do you have a comment?
    5. Ideally I could go for a smaller size stove for weight purposes, would that be possible in my scenario, say a Snowtrekker Medium or Kni-Co Alaskan Jr. (or even smaller)?
    6. There has to be other design differences besides the Snowtrekkerís snow float legs. I mean the Snowtrekker Large goes for 24.5lbs including a shelf while the Kni-Co Alaskan standard package goes for 24 lbsÖIíll call Kni-Co to find out.


    Thanks a lot for reading and commenting

  2. #2
    Member Grayling Slayer's Avatar
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    There is also the option of a propane stove. I have one of the Nuway stoves and always choose it for shorter trips over a wood stove.

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    Member GrassLakeRon's Avatar
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    Big buddy heater and a 20 lb. tank.
    "Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure science"

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    Propane heaters always seem to put out a bit of moisture that I prefer not to deal with. I like wood stoves better during cold months.

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    Your research seems pretty thorough and hopefully you've sought out other forums too. I'm about a year behind you as far as being ready to do winter camping in a hot tent. One thing I do recall from my limited research is that a stack robber is essential for keeping the heat where you want it - in the tent.

    Heh, just checked out the Alaskan model web page and I see a stack robber shown. I presume that's the baffle you're asking about?

  6. #6
    Member Grayling Slayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muskeg_Stomper View Post
    Propane heaters always seem to put out a bit of moisture that I prefer not to deal with. I like wood stoves better during cold months.
    The Nuway stoves vent out the chimney so there if no moisture inside.
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    [QUOTE=Grayling Slayer;1494859]The Nuway stoves vent out the chimney so there if no moisture inside.[/QU

    Or carbon monoxide, I have used a Big Buddy a fair amount and it scares me every time ...but I'm still alive. I could be talked into a Nuway pretty easily...so much easier than wood and no middle of the night relight and playing with the dadblamed wood stove, smoke and ash.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

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    I had put aside propane based heaters because in my experience, it is near impossible to start one in sub 0 temperatures? They say it requires venting so what are you using as venting system Inside a tent? How do you figure out how much propane you need for a particular outing? Then I need to figure out how to carry this on my back

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    Member Sapere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Motabobo View Post
    I had put aside propane based heaters because in my experience, it is near impossible to start one in sub 0 temperatures? They say it requires venting so what are you using as venting system Inside a tent? How do you figure out how much propane you need for a particular outing? Then I need to figure out how to carry this on my back
    I have a NuWay stove. Itís the 3500 model. 20,000 BTU / 2 burner. Iíve been using the stove for a couple of seasons now and Iíve collected data on burn times. With one burner on low, the stove burns about 0.06gph at approx 5-6,000 BTU. Just to give you an idea, that is about 72 hours of burn time from a full 20 pound (~4.7 gal) steel tank. With both burners cranked (20,000 BTU), you can get about 20 hours off the same tank according to the manufacturer. Realistic normal use lies somewhere in between.

    Keep in mind the stove is vented; so much of the heat is lost outside the tent. The advantage is any moisture (product of propane combustion) is also vented to the outside, so the heat inside is fairly dry. I typically leave my stove with one burner on the lowest setting, and that's sufficient to keep my 10x10 Arctic Oven comfortable even at sub-freezing temps. Sometimes Iíll click on a second burner if it gets really cold or I need to dry gear out.

    With regard to the venting, the stove has a hole in the top to accept a 3" stove pipe. Accordingly your tent will need a roof jack to accommodate the stove pipe. Some tents (ie. Arctic Oven) come standard with these, and there are tutorials out there that describe how to install one on any tent.

    Iíve never had an issue lighting the stove at any temperature. I also keep the propane tank inside the tent which helps immensely when it's really cold. Many advise against doing this for obvious reasons. But if you leave the tank outside and itís -20F, the vapor pressure will drop off and youíll have issues keeping the stove lit. Just take the time to set it up properly and it will be no more safe/unsafe than any other hot-tent setup. Propane has a distinct smell, but slow leaks can go unnoticed. Each time you set up, use fresh teflon tape on all connections. Always check your connections for any leaks using soapy water. Always use a LP regulator at your source.

    While a propane setup is still inherently heavy, and probably not something you want to carry on your back, there are ways to decrease the weight. I have a fiberglass propane tank thatís a little bit smaller than a 20 pound steel tank (volume wise), but less than half the empty weight. Really nice if you need to transport it any distance from the truck, boat, etc. You can also see the volume of propane remaining inside the tank, which is handy.

    I have a Kni-Co trekker wood stove that takes the same stove pipe. It's sat unused since I got the NuWay. No more clogged spark arrestors or restarting the fire at 3am. Propane all the way.

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    Moto,

    First....for a family of three, I would suggest an 8 man vs 6 man tipi.

    I've used a Kifaru 12 man with a 4 dog Ti stove for over a decade. As you suspected, the collapsible stoves leak too much air to hold a fire for very long and I quickly gave up on those. I get about a three hour burn out of my 4 Dog I'd guess. Most of my firewood is small dry spruce and dead willows. The stove, stove pipe, and Tipi come in at 20 pounds combined.

  11. #11
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    I've got the Kni-Co in my Arctic Oven... There is no way to get a 6 hr burn out of the stove using fuel available here. The stove is more airtight than a collapsible, but it's still not that airtight. A 2 hr burn is about all I get using dry spruce. There is a damper in the flue and an air damper in the door, but adjustment is crude at best. If a guy could get some red oak or some denser, longer burning fuel it would be a different story but spruce and birch just burn fast.

    Be aware that once the fire is out, a tent cools extremely fast.

    I keep a bundle of wood beside the stove and just wake up every couple of hours and cram in some more fuel and drift back to sleep. I never even leave the bag.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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