Basking in the glow of a fire during a camping trip or after a long day of work is one of the best ways to unwind during cold winter nights. But finding a way to start a fire in a safe, efficient way can be a challenge — especially if you live in a state (Colorado for me), where fire risks abound and campfires are, more than often, banned.
Enter: the Solo Stove. Advertised as a compact campfire stove ideal for backpackers and hikers looking to save space and weight, the gadget uses a unique stainless steel design that allows for a more complete burn of wood and other biomass — resulting in less ash and smoke.
After getting one of the Mesa Solo Stoves (the tabletop version sells for $80) for Christmas, I was eager to try it in the backyard to see if it lived up to the hype.
@solostove Stuck between fuels? Well, lucky for you, Mesa was made to run on more, so whether you’re #teampellets or #teamminifirewood, you can still light up with ease. Learn more about Mesa’s fuel capabilities using the link in our bio. #solostove #solostovemesa #tabletopfirepit #pellets ♬ original sound - Solo Stove
Great for S’mores and Snuggles
Though I found that keep the fire going meant I had to throw more than one or two little logs every five to 10 minutes (as advertised by the company), the stove did create a nice robust flame that was sufficient to keep myself, my partner, and our two small dogs warm — so long as we huddled by it.
The small flame was great for roasting s’mores and other small meals such as hot dogs and kebabs. Since the stove is pretty small, larger meals that require the use of a medium-sized or large pot are not recommended.
If you have a big family and require a larger stove, the Texas-based company also sells fire pits, pizza ovens, and larger camping stoves, but they can be much pricier compared with standard patio heaters and fire pits: the Bonfire 2.0 retails for $260; Yukon 2.0 for $460; and Ranger 2.0 for $200.
The Bottom Line
The company claims that its products create very little smoke — the result of a design that creates a flow of air between double walls, helping fuel the fire and produce a hotter burn — but I found that it still created a pretty thick smoke cloud when the fire started to die. That being said, it was easy to reignite the flame; just blow into the stove, throw in a few more mini-logs, and voila.
Overall, I found the tabletop Mesa stove to be a super sweet gift that, thanks to its compactness and durable design, should be able to withstand hefty use in the wilderness. This year’s camping and hiking trips are about to be lit. (Literally!)
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I clean the Solo Stove?
Cleaning a Solo Stove is relatively simple and straightforward. First, make sure the stove has cooled completely before starting the process. Remove any debris or ash from the stove using a small brush or a damp cloth. Pay attention to the corners and crevices of the stove, as ash can accumulate in these areas. If you have access to compressed air, it can help to blow out debris stuck in hard-to-reach places.
Wipe down the stove with a damp cloth to remove any remaining soot or dirt. For harder-to-remove stains, use a mild soap solution and a scrub brush. If the stove has been used with a liquid fuel such as alcohol, clean the burner and fuel line. Dry the stove completely before using or storing it.
- How does the Solo Stove work?
The Solo Stove features a double-walled construction and unique air flow system that allow for a more complete burn of the fuel (usually wood) powering it, according to the company: A bottom air vent allows air to flow into the stove and feed the fire, while the top vent allows hot air and gases to escape. This results in less smoke and a hotter, more efficient fire — one that uses less fuel than a traditional campfire.
A stainless steel cooking ring sits above the fire, providing a stable platform to place a pot or pan to cook with.
- How much is a Solo Stove?
The price of a Solo Stove varies by model and retailer. The company offers a variety of models with different sizes and features, such as Solo Stove Lite, Solo Stove Titan, Solo Stove Campfire, and Solo Stove Ranger, and prices range from $65 to $160. Some Solo Stove models are available bundled with companion accessories such as a pot or windscreen that sell for a higher price.
Store prices may also vary based on location, taxes, and shipping costs. You can find some sale promotions or deals periodically on the Solo Stove website or from other retailers that may allow you to buy at a discount.
@mrfender76 The flames are burning tall because I lit it with fatwood. #campfire #campstove #solostove #diy #howto #minibuilds ♬ original sound - Taylor Shuck