Sunday, 26 December 2010

Review of Wood-Gas camp stove LE

All i want for Christmas is...........

After some very heavy hinting my wife Cheryl bought me this. I initially found it on the web and thought it was just the kind of bushcraft gadgetry that would satisfy my Christmas urges. What really interested me was it claimed to be really efficient and super green.
Wood gas stoves were invented as a result of research to find better ways of cooking in the third world where people often cooked on open fires in enclosed places resulting in illness due to breathing poisonous fumes. Basically a woodgas stove works by burning from the top down rather than the bottom up. As well as heat coming from the ignited fuel heat also radiates downwards causing the unburned wood to release wood-gas. Mixed with the smoke this wood-gas is drawn downwards through the vents in the inner section of the stove and then back up via a hollow skin section  where it  emerges through holes in the rim and is then ignited. You get a sort of double burn of the fuel as a result. The puritan Bushcrafter might frown at this since  a battery pack is used to drive an electric fan to draw the woodgas and air into an efficient mix. But as a result you get a much more efficient burn. It can also be made more ecological by using rechargeable batteries and a solar charger.

Here it is in the bag it came with.

When I unpacked it this is how it looks - you get the basic stove plus a battery pack, handle which can be used as tweezers and cross piece to put your pot on and of course a bag to hold it.

This initial choice of fuel wasn't the best - we had these dry Elder twigs in a bag in the garage and they didn't burn that easily, but it gave the stove a good test for its first use. The manufacturer advises using dried twigs and/or wood pellets.

I set the stove up outside on the back doorstep - you shouldn't light it in an enclosed space due to risks of carbon monoxide poisoning. I have to admit for the first lighting i cheated a bit and used a match and bit of Lucky Jim, but in the field it will be with fire-steel and traditional tinder.

This is with it first lit - I added the billy can and plugged in under low power. Low is meant to give about 1.5KW and high 3KW. My only disappointment is that the high ppower doesn't work so we'll have to return it :-((((

The flames getting up better here.

You can just see the jets at the top alight here.

Within a few minutes bubbles are starting to form at the bottom of the billy can.

Soon after steam was starting to come out the top.

Shortly followed by a good head of steam.

At last my first brew - tasted delicious and the stove handle was very handy for squeezing out my tea bag after. The handle is good as pair of tweezers for adding fuel to the top as well as lifting and moving the stove.

The stove is surprisingly cold on the outside - with a full flame going on the inside you can pick it up and hold it in your hand - it's sitting in the snow here and not melting it.
The fuel burnt down to just ash which has very little impact on the environment and also leaves no trace!

I was a bit miffed that i couldnt try the high power setting and sent an email of complaint on Christmas day, surprisingly i receive a reply and from a real person as well. As a result i will be doing a follow up of the manufacturers returns and warranty policy so stay tuned to see how that turns out. 
All in all i was very impressed by the wood-gas stove LE even without trying it to its full  capability.

Review by Alan Kearney


  1. Nice review Alan. I'll look forward to seeing it in action next time we're out.

  2. Gary, when I get a fully working one I thought we could have a "Boil-off!" race against your great wee petrol stove.
    The 3kW claim is quite impressive but I think the main plus is its light weight and I don't need to carry lots of fuel and possibly less water as filter and boil for purifying water is more feasible.

  3. I think that would be good craic, can i be the judge??

  4. How's this for a prompt response?
    "I'm sorry to hear that your WoodGas stove arrived defective.
    I mailed a replacement stove today 1st class mail from the US.
    It should arrive in 1-2 weeks.
    You can keep the defective unit, its not worth the expense of returning it."
    Pretty impressive!

  5. It's a shame it didn't work fully as you really won't see how good it is until you use the high setting. I have the non-LE version (shorter?) and it's great!

  6. I believe alan is waiting for a replacement to arrive so im sure he will do a follow up showing the full capability of it. We will also be doing a boil off between the wood gas stove and a regular petrol stove, stay tuned for that one.

    Thanks for the comment

  7. Are we taking bets?, lol. My Primus Omnifuel is pretty fast you know.................

  8. I'll have to pick my fuel carefully - I think Gary will be running on rocket fuel! ;-P

  9. Mmmmm. I'm sure that I have some Rocket fuel somewhere, LOL

  10. My new replacement stove has arrived! Hurray!