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Frontier Stove

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This particular wood-burning stove is a recent addition to the market from Camping Solutions, having been launched to the general public in October 2010. There are many different varieties of wood stoves and fireboxes available for the bushcraft/camping community, Tenttipi alone seem to produce over a dozen, but what’s interesting about the Frontier Stove is that it wasn’t originally designed for general sale. Instead it was designed in conjunction with the humanitarian community for use in Third World countries to assist with disaster relief and aid projects.


The terrible earthquake that hit Haiti a year ago last January is just one of a number of disaster areas where I’m told by the manufacturers that frontier stoves have been sent. It’s certainly very nice and refreshing to see a company that is willing to devote considerable resources and time into developing a product that serves a humane purpose rather than simply being motivated by profits, so immediately Camping Solutions had a thumbs up from me right off the bat.






Now to the stove itself, according to the box it is:

Weight – 11.15KG, though the actual stove is slightly less once out of the packaging.
Dimensions – 49x27.5x29cm

Which for a solid steel stove that’s billed as ‘portable’ is pretty much spot on, it’s certainly light enough to carry by hand for short distances and significantly lighter than some of the more substantial tent stoves on the market. The flue packs down neatly inside and there is a convenient carry handle on the side of the stove which gives one pretty portable package. Obviously you’re not going to be carrying it in your bergen but it’s well suited to car camping or for establishing a bit of a base camp. Winter fishing trips also springs to mind!



The stove is quick and easy to assemble, each of the three legs is held in place by a small pin chained to the base so it can be removed quickly without fear of losing it, once the leg is in place the pin is reinserted to lock it in. Inside the fire box are five flue pieces and a small ember plate that is pushed into the slots just below the door to catch any errant embers or ash. After the first couple of uses the ember plate seemed to warp slightly and I had some difficulty getting it to fit into place properly. It wasn’t much of an issue as I don’t really bother with it anyway but if you’re using it in the garden and want to protect your pristine lawn or decking it hardly presents the most insurmountable obstacle!

The flue sections include one with an in-built flue dampener, which goes on first with the dampener at the top – you can then attach the rest of the sections to a height of your choosing. When all the pieces are used, the flue reaches a height of approx. 2 ½ metres but obviously if you only need a short flue you can leave the other pieces at home to save on weight. The top hotplate has a large hole in it with a lid that can be removed to provide direct flame for your kettle or cooking pans which I thought was a nice touch, the lid also locks into place to prevent it falling out in transit.


One the stove is assembled, which barely takes a couple of minutes, it’s simply a case of lighting it up and getting it going. Now, I have lit probably hundreds of campfires using all different types of techniques but I must admit  I had a little difficulty getting this one going on the first attempt, this being my first wood-stove, so don’t be disheartened if you experience similar troubles. If you were doing it with firelighters and fuel logs I doubt you’d have any trouble at all but I’ve always felt that would be cheating! The trick seems to be leaving the hotplate off at first so you can gradually feed kindling in from the door without starving the flame of oxygen. Also, you will want to use longer, thinner fuel than perhaps you usually would to ensure an even flame the length of the stove as it is quite a bit longer than it is wide. After some initial issues I decided to do it properly and assembled a nice collection of kindlin' gradually increasing in size which seemed to do the trick!



The hot plate provides good heat and you can happily cook a large meal with a couple of dutch ovens for example, as there is enough space to balance a couple of large pots or pans -  this is exactly what was done on a recent camping trip and it performed perfectly well at feeding 10+ people with a venison stew. I have also used the stove in the garden for doing fry ups and as part of a BBQ. Once the stove has been going for a while the all-metal handle can get quite hot, and you could burn yourself if you’re not careful. It’s a simple oversight that could have easily been prevented by adding a little wooden knob or similar but otherwise there’s very little to criticise.



Now I have not used this stove inside a tent or tipi as I don’t own one, I prefer a hammock or bivi myself, but I reckon it’d do a decent job  as it does radiate quite a lot of heat and would perform even better in a closed environment. The flue will easily accommodate most tipis, bell tents or even your shed but you may need to invest in the flashing kit available from Camping Solutions or similar to make it safe.


This is not just a bit of camping gear as you could easily find yourself happily using it in the garden, as a patio heater, in your shed or garage or as part of the family BBQ for example, so it’s a pretty versatile bit of kit. It’s significantly more lightweight and portable than other alternatives, a testament to its background in humanitarian aid projects, and does its job well. It’s also significantly more affordable than quite a few other wood-burning stoves on the market.  Added to that, it is easy to assemble with no fiddling around and with the black finish it looks the business too!


Truth be told, since it first arrived in July, I have found very little to criticise! I will continue to use the stove over the coming months and really put it through its paces but it seems like a solid investment for anyone looking for an affordable, portable wood-burning stove for those trips when campfires aren’t practical, or even just a casual cookup in the garden!


0 #1 Southey 2013-03-25 14:38

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