The Lixada folding wood stove is a fun little thing to take with you on camping expeditions. It isn’t really a true alternative to an alcohol or gas stove, but it works – you can cook food on/with it. However, it takes considerable effort, including good preparation and careful monitoring. There again, that’s part of the fun. I’ll probably have it as a permanent fixture in my camping bag except for those times when I’m really trying to cut down on weight and take ONLY the absolute essentials.
WEIGHT & DIMENSIONS:
The woodstove is 10.2cm tall and tapers from 11.2cm wide at the top to 12.7cm wide at the bottom. It folds completely flat and is very packable at only ~320g.
The Lixada woodstove is an extremely simple design. It’s little more than a hinged stainless steel unit with one corner that connects into a square that is held together with small metal tabs. My cooker fits together great when folded in one particular way, and much less well when folded another way. So, I marked the metal with a sharpie so that I can quickly and easily fold it. But, after a few uses the metal becomes darkened (on the inside) so it becomes obvious how to fold it.
A couple of quick design comments:
- The top of the stove is quite big and only relatively large pans will fit. To get around this, I fashioned supports from coat hangers (you can see them in the pictures) and then went on to develop a ‘grill’ plate that I can put on the top so that I can barbeque fish/meat directly over the flame.
- The holes in the base/pan are quite large (diameter 1.5cm) with the result that ash and embers fall through easily. That’s good in some respects because the fire maintains a good supply of air from below, but I think that they’re perhaps a little too big. It’d be a more efficient burner if they were about 3/4 the size that they are.
- If you don’t want to actually burn wood in the stove, it doubles as a reasonable pot holder for a trangia-style alcohol stove (see pictures).
- It comes in a little bag … which is completely useless. Mine ripped on the third time that I took it out. I now carry mine in a zip log bag (so that if it’s dirty it doesn’t mess up or stink up my other kit).
In terms of using it, after a little experimentation I’ve found that the best approach is:
- Before lighting, ‘brace’ the stove with a couple of stones at the back. It means that when you’re pushing wood into it from the front you won’t accidentally push it over.
- Place a flat stone in front of the main hole on the front. This will allow you to elevate the long pieces of wood that you stick into it and allow them to protrude horizontally (rather than pointing upwards at an angle). It works even better if the longer sticks are actually pointing slightly downwards into the stove – so try to find a stone that is slightly taller than the bottom lip of the front hole of the stove.
- Put paper in the bottom of the pan. If you’ve got firelighters, use them, but it’ll light without them.
- Place a few small twigs on top of the paper. It seems to work best with sticks that are 2-4cm long and 1cm thick. Try to get a 3-4cm depth of twigs, mainly packed towards the back of the unit (away from the large hole in the front).
- After lighting (and once the twigs are burning well) place three or four long (>30cm) pieces of wood through the hole at the front, directly on top of the smaller pieces of wood.
- As the fire consumes the longer sticks, just keep pushing them in a little further until they’re fully consumed. If you want the fire to keep burning, add more.
- It helps a lot to continue adding a twigs to maintain the fire. They burn fast though, so collect a good supply before starting.
This approach works well for me. I can boil a pan of water in five to ten minutes. It’s almost impossible to regulate the heat though, so this is a ‘rough and ready’ form of cooking. It’s also important to note that this is NOT a wood gas burner and it will create smoke. Obviously, the more dry the wood you use, the less smoke will be developed. As the fire heats up, more smoke will be burned, but there’s no such thing as a completely smokeless fire.
Personally, I don’t use my Lixada wood stove as a cooker very much. I use it more as a nicely contained little campfire. That way I tend to just keep feeding the fire and it’ll burn along with minimal wood for a good long time. I usually spend 15-20 minutes gathering wood and breaking it into 4-10cm long pieces and that gives me enough to keep the fire going for 1-2 hours.
Overall, this is a great little unit and I like it a lot.
It’s worth the price just for the entertainment that it’ll give you the first time you use it.
4.5 OUT OF 5
We rate this stove at 4.5 out of 5 stars
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