Firefly wood stove (2.7oz)
Got my FireFly stove in the mail last month. This is my second wood stove, and I'm fairly certain it will be my last. I started out with the making a hobo stove, and just got this FireFly.
My FireFly weighs in at around 2.7oz with the flexport side option. The reinforced tyvek pouch QiWiz included weighs in at nearly 1/2oz so I probably won't use it. Luckily, the stove came in a great USPS tyvek mailer! I have also found that it fits perfectly on the bottom of my pot cozy underneath my 900ml pot. That would be the ideal way to store it for no weight penalty, but I'm thinking about changing to a smaller pot so that may not be possible anymore. I wanted something that folded flat in my pack.
Had time to do ~5 quick burns in it today and am super impressed with this stove so far. I took it apart and put it together again in between burns just to try to gain more experience with it. Soot on the fingers is a complete non-issue. You handle the sides along the edges, and they basically just fall right into place when you're assembling it.
Feeding wood through the top with a pot on it is easy enough - par for the course, pretty much. The flexport is cool to have but I don't really see myself using it all that often. Kind of wish I had gotten it as a 5th side so I could just use the basic stove, but it only adds like .2 of an ounce so whatever.
The thing I was most excited about with this stove is the fact that it has a mesh grate on the bottom. Theoretically this would make it easier to light because you can get at your tinder from the bottom. I have to say that this feature FAR surpassed my expectations. It is so ridiculously easy to get a fire going in this thing. It takes off like a rocket compared to BushBuddy and Ti-Tri/inferno. The bottom mesh is welded (not woven) stainless steel with 1/4 inch spacing. Should last a good long while, and can be replaced if it does wear out. If you want a stove floor that lasts forever, there is an optional notched titanium floor, and a perforated stainless steel plate floor.
I think the tinder just has a lot more air available to it due to the open bottom design of the stove. In the FireFly, all the tinder ignites very quickly, and burns much more intensely so it gets the kindling going faster too. Starting fires just feels much more "secure" - there isn't as much fiddling, huffing and puffing required because the fire can grab so much air, and all that air is feeding it from the bottom. With wet wood and cold days the bark is removed quickly with a safe locking blade knife and I only remove about half of it and it still starts very well.
With the FireFly, though, I can just turn it on its side and easily light the tinder with a lighter. I found I could throw some wood shavings in the stove, light them, throw a few twigs in haphazardly, and immediately put the pot on while continuing to feed twigs through the top. With so much air available through the bottom grate, there is really no way to smother to flame this way. With other wood stoves I needed to wait several minutes for the flame to establish itself and start burning down before putting the pot on. Another effective way is to use Vaseline soaked cotton balls and light from the bottom.
Boil with one load?
One thing I was hoping I'd be able to do with this stove is load it up once with wood, light it, and set it off to the side and have it boil 2 cups with no further feeding. The idea being that I'm at a shelter or something and it's raining, and I want to use wood. I want to be able to put the stove out in the rain, far away from people so the smoke won't bother them, and have it boil without me needing to sit there and feed it twigs.
I tried twice and was moderately successful. I put some wood shavings in the bottom and loaded it up with sticks as tightly as I could, lit the shavings, immediately put the pot on, and walked away. As expected this produced a ridiculous amount of smoke. If I had waited the smoke is reduced
I was able to get weak boils both times I tried it in 30* temps with some wind and semi-rotten wood. No rolling boil, but it easily got the water hot enough that I could have cooked up a pasta side. I imagine I'll get better at loading the stove with more practice - I was kind of throwing sticks in wherever I could fit them. If I turn the stove on its side and stack the pieces in vertically like that. Or I could just walk out and add a few twigs when it's halfway through burning. I found that sticks no fatter than my pinky work best so there is no need to take an axe or saw.
It took around 6-7 minutes to get that weak boil after I lit it. It takes longer from start to finish this way since you need to carefully load the stove, but this technique could be useful from time to time.Alcohol?
Basically the multifuel option is just a couple little wires attached to support a wind screen, and an aluminum stand to raise the height of the alcohol/esbit burner.
I was aiming to be able to cook meals with 1/2 an ounce of alcohol. I figured this would require either the windscreen or a reflectix cozy. Since I wanted a cozy anyways to protect everything from soot on the pot, it seemed an easy choice to ditch the wind screen. This seems to have been a good decision.
I'm getting a boil with 1/2 an ounce of alcohol with 25* temperatures on my back porch. I made my own little burner, from a 2 oz shaving cream can stuffed with vertical fiberglass, and a top wick. The Ti stove becomes my wind screen. One trick for cooking with less fuel is to use less water. With less water to heat, the water you have will get hotter. You can also put your food into the water before putting it on the heat, which gives it more time to cook. I cooked up a pasta side this way. About 2 minutes in the reflectix cozy afterwards and it was perfectly done.
I'm very happy with this stove!
The two main reasons I was interested in it were the low weight (one of the lightest wood stoves available) and the ability to fold flat itís about a ľ inch packed. It surpassed my expectations here and I already appreciate how much easier it makes bottom lighting. As soon as you are done boiling, it can be dumped out and heat concentration is lost so it quickly goes out. The Ti parts cool quickly and can be bagged in a few minutes and back in the pack. Hope you enjoyed reading this, I now own two stoves one of each size, I use the larger one when backpacking with friends and it can handle larger pots and requires less feeding.
Where I purchased it: http://www.qiwiz.net/
how to use video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Js86FfmhQ2g