I’m a sucker when it comes to great looking product design. I was researching rocket stoves and how they are so much more efficient in both heating and in reducing the amount of biomass fuel required to heat things. After looking at many how to do it yourself versions made out of coffee cans etc, I came across this well designed one made by Envirofit and started to learn more about it at their website. www.envirofit.org/
The Envirofit G-3300 cook stove sells on most websites for about $95- $110, but I found a new one for listed sale on ebay. The seller had “make an offer” and after a little bit of back and fourth, I purchased the stove for $78.50 (shipping included). I was really excited to see if this stove lived up to the hype that I saw in many of the promotional videos out there, and I figured out a way to evaluate it.
I was going to time how long it takes to boil 8 cups of room temperature water in one of my deep cast iron pans. I planned to do this three times. Once on the Envirofit stove. Once on the propane side burner on my barbecue grill, and a third time on our electric kitchen range top. Continue to see my results…
I split 1 piece of firewood into 10 pieces, roughly the same size. This was from a bundle of firewood that you would purchase at a market or gocery store for backyard campfires, etc. The wood was very dry so I knew it would burn quickly. I used 1 piece of newspaper as my tinder, and made about a handful of small wood pieces as kindling.
I lit the fire with a butane lighter and started the digital timer.
The fire started up immediately (thanks to the newspaper and very dry tinder and wood. Flames initially came out the opening on top of the stove, but quickly went down. I attribute this flare up to the newspaper. Very little smoke was being given off. There was only one time which I even could see a little smoke being given off. I could see small bubbles forming on the bottom of the pan a little after 5 min. from ignition. At 17 min. and 37 seconds I decided the water had reached the boiling point. It wasn’t in a full on rolling boil, but there was no doubt in my mind it was boiling. I wish I had a thermometer to verify but I’m not a scientist and I think you get the idea.
It took 17 minutes and 37 seconds to get 8 cups of room temperature water to boil in this cast iron pot. I used 1 piece of newspaper, a handful of tinder and 6 1/2 pieces of fuel wood to get it to reach that point. I think that is pretty good. I was impressed with the speed that it took to get the water to boil as well as the lack of smoke that came out of the cook stove. Like I said, I only once could see smoke and even the smell of the fire was very minimal while the water was heating.
Same cast iron pan, 8 cups of room temperature water, same timer, this time on the side burner of my propane gas grill.
On high heat, it took 13 minutes and 25 seconds for the water to come to a boil.
Same cast iron pan, 8 cups of room temperature water, same timer, this time on my electric range.
On high heat, it took 10 minutes and 41 seconds for the water to come to a boil. I admit, I was a little surprised that the electric range brought the water to the boiling point faster than the propane burner. I had my money on the propane when I started this experiment. I think because it was indoors and not subjected to the on and off breezes, that it may have had an influence.
As you can see the difference between boiling water with propane from the electric baseline is a little more than 4 min. and the difference between wood and the electric baseline is nearly 7 min. I’m sure I could roughly figure out the cost in dollars to heat the water, but since I am not a mathematician and to be perfectly honest not all that interested, I will let the heating time required to boil be the separator. I believe the findings are fairly obvious to anyone that has or does cook directly over a campfire anyways. The difference between the times of the three heating methods is fairly insignificant. To me the difference is really trans-portability and availability of fuel. Ok at 11.5 pounds, your not shoving this thing in your backpack, but for car camping, it does not seem to be an issue. I guess if you have an electric hook up at your campsite, you could use an electric burner but that seems fairly limiting. I have a two burner propane stove that we use fairly often, but it goes through those small green propane tanks pretty quickly. To me this seems like a great way to be able to to heat food anywhere there is a dry biomass fuel source.
I believe the Envirofit G-3300 wood cook stove lived up to the hype and exceeded my expectations in the areas of cook time, lack of smoke, and small amount of wood used to heat. I think the product looks cool, seems very durable and is easy to operate.
I’ looking forward to using this on many trips to come, especially in some of the deserts in Southern CA, where you cannot have fires unless they are contained. I believe this more than qualifies…and it should allow for some fantastic marshmallow roasting in areas which otherwise would be off limits.
Visit the Envirofit website for more information and some good videos.
Disclosure: I own this product and purchased it using my own funds.