Best Wood Burning Backpacking Stoves for Camping – Redcamp Wood Burning Camping Stove Review
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Cooking is a vital part of any camping trip when you plan to stay overnight, especially if you’re not on a solo adventure. Cooking for a group of hungry campers can be daunting. The problem can be made worse depending on the location of your camping trip as a camping stove can weigh anywhere from 7 ounces to well over 5 pounds.
While there are dozens of stoves designed for camping, only a handful are capable of using multiple fuel sources successfully. That list gets even smaller when you need something large enough to handle more than a simple cup of soup. In our quest to find the perfect multi-fuel camping stove, we came across an interesting option, so now we’re back with our Redcamp Wood Burning Stove Review.
There’s not a lot of information about the Redcamp company. While they do have an official website, which is always a plus, it’s essentially a placeholder at the moment with no working links and a maintenance message at the time of our review. Websites aside, the stove arrived unscathed in a proper box, and came with a handy carrying case as shown.
The stove was covered in a protective coating, and while it kept it from getting scratched, it was almost impossible to remove. If you plan on picking up the Redcamp wood burning stove, be sure to unpack and unpeel it before you head out on the road. Otherwise, you will have a lot of litter to deal with and will need to add additional prep time to your cooking plans.
The outside peels loose in seconds, but the inside is a different story – especially the hinges. If you think I’m being dramatic about plastic, the company even tells people it can take around 10 minutes to peel. Frustration cost me an extra five, so after around 15 minutes, it was finally time to check out the stove in all its shiny glory.
Camping stoves are not complicated, and the best models are made to withstand wear and tear from the outdoors. The entire stove is made from 430 stainless steel, including the grill top, grate, and ash tray. I didn’t intentionally try to damage the stove, but it was dropped more than once and packed away at least a half-dozen times.
On that note, setup is an absolute breeze with Redcamp’s camping stove. As long as you don’t forget to peel the plastic off beforehand, you can have it ready to roll in less than 30 seconds. The inner grate is attached, and the wire grill top and solid bottom plate both fit inside the stove when it’s not in use. To fire it up, you simply need to open the front, load the fuel of your choice, and get your camping cookware ready.
Size & Weight
If you’re backpacking or prefer to keep things light on the trail, a camping stove is a luxury that comes at the cost of space. Thankfully, that will not be a concern with Redcamp’s wood burning stove, which was part of the draw.
Redcamp’s camping stove is made from a series of stainless steel panels that are 8.5” high and 5.5” wide. That’s its size when unpacked, but the width drops to only 1.5” when you fold it up for transport. It’s heavier than smaller propane camping stoves, however, and outweighs pocket stoves like the Esbit as well.
This stove weighed 1 pound and 13 ounces on the scales, so it certainly won’t break your back but is still around 8.5” long when closed. With that in mind, it’s the smallest portable multi-fuel stove we have seen that can cook and boil.
According to Redcamp, this stove is rated to work with a variety of fuels, including gas, wood, fuel tablets, spirit burners, and even charcoal. There is more than enough room for a small spirit burner, and those will sit nice and flat. Tablets work perfectly on the lower plate, while wood and larger sources of fuel go into the main chamber.
I didn’t test out all the types of fuel the company recommended but had no issues with the fuel sources I tried. Gas could be an issue depending on your propane system, but could be easier to pull off on the larger version of the Redcamp camping stove.
How we tested
For this review, I used several kettles from our camping kettle roundup along with a few frying pans. Several sticks were also sharpened and sacrificed to impale marshmallows. Natural fuel sources include small twigs and sticks from the woods and a handful of wooden shims left over from a remodeling project.
For alternative fuel sources, we chose Coghlan’s Fire Sticks and fuel tablets. We went with Esbit’s tablets as we used the Esbit Ultralight Pocket Stove alongside the Redcamp kettle in the tablet test and for a few photos to give you an idea of the Redcamp’s size. With that in mind, we aren’t pitting these two stoves against one another as they serve entirely different purposes.
Boiling and Cooking on the Redcamp Stove
In my initial test, I decided to boil around 1-liter of water in our camping kettles. The stove performed as expected, although you will want to make sure the ground is fairly level with larger pots. That said, the camping stove performed admirably on slightly uneven terrain as well and never even scorched the grass.
The boiling test performed as expected, but our fuel tablets outperformed sticks, twigs, and tinder. The tablets were on the ash pan, so there is more distance to the bottom of the pot, but they still boiled water faster than wood in general when unassisted.
Once you add an accelerant like a fire stick, the stove springs to life with a bundle of twigs. If you’re looking to cook quickly, pack a few tablets or a half stick to speed things up. Otherwise, tablets are the winner for speed and ease of use if you need to boil.
With cooking, you will want to stick with wood and stoke a good fire. I was able to get this little box roaring enough for a grilled cheese and a couple of eggs in a cast-iron skillet, which it handled with ease. Marshmallows and hot dogs are ideal for this one as well. Considering the top measures around 5.5,” this stove is suitable for a variety of cookware.
This is another area where you may be better served to use a tablet with wood depending on what you plan to cook and the conditions outside. Wind can play a significant factor with a wood-burning camping stove, although they do sell Folding Outdoor Stove Windscreen if you want to take Mother Nature out of the equation to a degree.
The stove cools off relatively quickly after the fire dies down, but cleanup can be difficult, depending on the fuel and your location. If you pack the carrying case, it won’t be an issue; otherwise, you could end up with soot all over your gear.
When you buy something from an unknown brand, you never know what you are going to get or if it will even arrive intact. Well, the Redcamp stove was a pleasant surprise all-around. The big draw of this stove is its ability to work with multiple fuels and portability. It exceeded my expectations in both of those areas.
Redcamp’s wood-burning stove worked well with everything I threw at it and would be perfect for a spirit burner as well. Needless to say, it performed as advertised, and it’s impressive to break out at a campsite given how well it can cook for its size.
The stove hasn’t warped in close to a dozen fires, a few of which were larger than intended. It seems to be well-built, although I was not a fan of the wire grill top or the insane amount of plastic covering the stove. Those are minor complaints, however.
If you are looking for a fun little stove that can cook and boil with multiple types of fuel, the Redcamp camping stove is well worth a look and comes with a 1-year warranty. It’s ideal for backpackers and backyard campers, although a larger model of Redcamp camping stove is available if you prefer a traditional grill top and don’t mind adding 3 pounds to your pack.