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A portable woodburner? Made of metal? Whatever next?!
Meet my much loved (and much used) collapsible woodburner with a cute pot belly and a multitude of uses.
This is the Frontier stove, well known on the internet amongst campers and hippy types. It is a folding metal complete woodburner that can be used for heat and cooking, and it all packs away tidily into a case. It comes with a 6ft long narrow flue and detachable legs. This is an amazing invention which can be used in place of a Chiminea or for those who want to have the comforts of home when camping/ in a Tipi etc.
I have a lot of friends who are travellers, mainly of the "New Age" traveller variety. Most live in converted buses, but a couple live in Yurts and Tipi's all over the country. One of the most important things about being on the road is that to ensure survival, you need a reliable heat/cooking source. Most of my friends have had custom crafted woodburners, made by yet another traveller friend who is very skilled in making pint sized burners that kick out maximum heat. Alas due to disability, I cannot live on the road, but I do still have dreams of doing so. In fact despite my health, I do plan one day to get an old Merc bus and convert it taking my daughter and dogs travelling.
This burner is amazing. Not only could it be used in the situations described above, but it is equally at home sat in the garden, looking gorgeous and kicking our lots of heat and good cheer.
THE NEW FRONTIER:
This stove was originally created for aid agencies and charities, to be sent out to disaster areas. Being both a cooking and heating device, it is also portable and lightweight enough to carry about to remote areas.
It comes to you in a metal case which initially seems unlikely to be able to hold a whole wood burning stove. Like the tardis though, when you open it up and look at the design, you can really appreciate the brains behind this. All of the parts pack away tidily into the case, including the flue pipe which sits inside the belly. Even the legs pack away.
This stove is quick and easy to assemble and looks gorgeous. Despite its light weight, once constructed it is strong and durable. It feels safe to use and is stable enough to hold a full kettle of water (mine is cast iron and weighs a ton) or saucepan. We also have a fire trivet but this burner looks great with an old fashioned kettle on the top.
It has a classic woodburner design complete with an attractive dipped pot belly, enabling it to heat up quickly. Despite its portability it can also be used as an everyday heat source in a live-in vehicle. I am genuinely stunned at how clever this stove it, and how it was designed. There are accessories that you can buy to add to the versatility of your stove including a aluminium water tank which is large enough to supply enough hot water for a small bath if needed, Just amazing.
All that is needed to set this up is to open out the tripod legs which are under the belly, attach the flue lengths together and add to the stove. There is a small grate which clips on to the door. And all that is left to do is to light it.
When using fire outside, I really do not like to use any kind of firelighter or chemical, so I start with newspaper and a pile of dry thin kindling/sticks in a pyre shape. Once you light the stove it will take very quickly and the draw on it is good. Once you have this going well then you can pile on more dried wood in larger chunks, and use a few pieces of smokeless coal. Once the fire is established, it stays in well. There is a damper to adjust the air intake and therefore heat output too.
The round door is easy to use and closes securely but obviously this gets hot very quickly. In fact the whole stove does, because it is not made of solid cast iron like an indoor burner so take extra care. The design of the body and the shape of the door mean that it is easy to access to refuel or clean. I use a special wire brush to clean out the flue and stove, and it is important to do this because such a narrow flue can get easily blocked.
When you have finished using the burner you can simply let it cool and clean it, tuck the legs underneath and pop the flue pipe inside the stove for storage. The dimensions when packed away are 450mm x 200mm x 250mm.
This burner can use any type of solid fuel, so coal, charcoal, wood, sawdust, briquettes would all be ok to use. If using coal then I recommend a smokeless type. Obviously it is best not to burn unseasoned wood unless you want to risk a build up of resin in the flue, increasing the risk of fire and tar deposits.
I have had some funny looks cooking outside on this in my garden, when I have a perfectly good kitchen in the house. But I love summer evenings and I love being outdoors, and in that moment I can imagine the freedom of being on the road, carrying your home and possessions with you as you explore the world.
I have used this in a tipi as well as the garden but not yet in a bus. In the tipi I used some fire-board around it for extra safety and sited it on a slate slab as a hearth. It worked brilliantly although I had to be inventive with the flue by extending it with a car exhaust pipe! The flue is 6ft long and tall enough to ensure that you do not get blow backs from the smoke. Even on windy days this has been effective.
This stove is so good that even on chilly winter nights you will really feel the benefit of it. It is an incredibly sociable object which draws people around it, plus it is a great conversation piece. A folding stove of this quality and cleverness is always good for a conversation.
Cooking on this is easy. I use a dutch oven, which also gets used on a trivet over an open fire. The top of the stove fits most size of kettle and dutch oven with ease and gives off enough heat to make cooking fast and efficient. I have cooked soup, made mulled wines, cooked a bean chilli on this as well as using the top as an impromptu toaster/griddle. Every time the results have been great.
I can find nothing at all to criticise about this stove and love it. It is the kind of object that will last a long time and can be taken wherever you go including the beach, camping and random adventures. Being so portable and easy to set up, anybody could use it. The fact that you can buy extras like the water tank makes the thing even more wonderful in my book, as I know for my traveller friends the process of boiling water for washing is hassle and takes ages.
Keep it clean by sweeping the little flue regularly and the inside of the burner. A wire brush is good for this. It is very important when you have a flue this narrow that you look after it and ensure that it does not get blocked. I have adapted a wire brush on a long handle for the flue pieces which keeps them clean and clear. Mine has no signs of rust and after use it gets stored inside. If using in a bus you could use stove paint.
* Lightweight, portable and easy to assemble.
* Classic design
* Durable, compact when folded down, lightweight
* Can be used as a stove or just a heater.
* Suitable for canvas tents and tipi's, gardens, camping, beach trips etc
* Adjustable damper for heat control
* Upgradeable with additional products inc water tank.
Amazing invention for cooking and heating in the garden or out and about. The design is clever and everything packs away into a little case. Absolutely 10/10
Available on the net starting at around £139.99