Hi everybody! Making a fire with a hobo stove has to be among my favourite outdoor activities. I find it very convenient to carry a collapsed stove somewhere in my pack and be able to prepare a nice hot tea or something to eat while hiking or walking. The impact on the forest floor is very small and I find a great pleasure in looking for dry wood and kindling and feeding it into the little stove. In addition to that, here in Germany it is generally prohibited to make an open fire in the forest - (don't get me started on that...) and if the fire is contained within a hobo stove, chances are higher that it will be tolerated in case somebody notices you. In this post I would like to share some of my thoughts (and far more important: pictures!) of three different hobo stoves and two seperate day trips. In the middle of the following pictures sits my old Künzi Magic Flame that I have been using for some years now, to its right The Bushcraft Essentials Bushbox and on the far left its larger brother, the Bushbox XL which was kindly provided for testing by Mr. Hoppenrath of Bushcraft Essentials. A big „Thank You!“ for that! I have already reviewed the Künzi stove here: http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/916054-Review-of-my-new-Hobo-Stove-(lots-of-pics!!), so the focus of this post will be the Bushbox XL. For all the specs and details please go to the manufacturers website at www.bushcraft-essentials.com The Bushbox XL features a „fold out“ mechanism very similar to design in the Künzi stove. Below the grid on which the wood is placed, the Bushbox XL additionally has a second, solid sheet of metal to keep the embers or ashes from falling onto the forest floor. The smaller Brother of the Bushbox XL, simply named the „Bushbox“ consists of four individual wall pieces plus a grid and an ash-pan and is assembled by simply fitting the pieces into each other with little links. I found that both stoves are set up easily and rather intuitively. Another big reason for me to use these kind of stoves is the ability to burn wood. I have used gas and liquid fuels on camping trips for some years, but I like *almost* everything about using wood as fuel for a camping stove: the availability, the preparation, the smell and so on. (What I don't like is to clean the soot off my pots..). While I usually find the wood while I am out in the forest, this time I brought some dry wood with me to process. I used my Silky Oyakata saw and an Enzo Camper in O1 steel with homemade beech scales for batoning. This first trip took place in the beautiful bavarian forest. A wonderful area and one of the very few places that had snow for christmas this year! To make fire with the stoves and have ourselves a cup of hot, spiced wine, we found a nice spot on the slope of a hill with a little wind protection from a large rock. The stoves were stacked with wood, birch bark and some paper and soon we had hot wine and something to warm our hands on. I set out with the idea to make a very precise test to find out how long each stove needs to boil 500ml of water, but in the processed I realized this would be very hard to achieve without losing the fun. One would have to be extremely scientific about when to put how much of which wood onto each stove to get a proper comparison. So I will just say that all the stoves work very well and each serves a special purpose that I will describe further down. From my experience you will have a rolling boil of 500ml water within 5-10 minutes for the Bushbox XL as well as for the Künzi, depending on the circumstances (wind, wood, temperature etc.). The regular Bushbox will take roughly something between 8-15 minutes. I am still learning to make the cooking process as efficient as possible (when to put on new wood. etc.) but to be honest I personally don't care if it takes 5 or 15 minutes to boil the water when I am just enjoying the outdoors. In a survival situation the priorities would change, of course. Here are some more pics of the beautiful area before I move on to the second day out with the Bushbox XL. That one involves BACON. Now I have your attention, right? Bark beetle likes wood processing, too: We went out yesterday for another small hike in northern Germany (close to home). This time I wanted to prepare some basic food and see how this works on the Bushbox XL. I was especially interested in the long barbecue grid that can be bought as accessory. When I saw this grid I instantly thought it should be very useful, and it has proved to be a brilliant idea in my opinion. The extra length is perfect for preparing bacon, toasting bread or roasting longer sausages or steaks, fish, what have you. It also works to keep food warm while you eat. So first we picked a nice spot that had a wonderful view, yet was slhielded from looks and the wind. Lovely spot with thick layers of moss covering the floor. I used two wedges from trees that had been cut down to get a level surface for the stoves. This time I brought the Large and the small Bushbox with me to be able to prepare two different things simultaneously. I have found this to be a great improvement for the “outdoor cuisine“, it is not a big extra effort to entertain a second (or even third!) woodburning stove, but with a bit of practice (working on it!) you can prepare a nice meal without having to swap and re-heat pots. Of course it also is a question of the weight you are willing and able to carry. I would not want to go on a hiking tour with my three stoves, but for daytrips, canoe trips or car camping with the focus on nice outdoor meals - why not! This time I had my trusty old custom knife with me. Designed by myself, made by Jürgen Schanz. Very hard to beat this knife along with a saw regarding wood preparation for the hobo stoves. When burning in the stove the barbecue grid started to bend as you can see in the pictures. This didn't cause any problems and the stove was still easily disassembled. You can just bend it back straight afterwards if you want. I actually found it to be beneficial as the fat would gather towards the middle of the aluminium foil and not drip down on the sides while roasting the sausages later. Sorry to make your mouth water with the following images, we had buns with bacon and sausages and afterwards apple pancakes with sugar and cinnamon. And there was black tea with milk and sugar of course, it was so good. The sublime sound of sizzling bacon is right up there with the eagles cry in my book of the great outdoors. [video=youtube;5uB3vhDmsUA]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uB3vhDmsUA[/video] [video=youtube;S5HI7t-irBs]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5HI7t-irBs [/video] The capacity of the Bushbox XL along with its very high quality makes it a very attractive hobo stove for me. The barbecue grid really is fantastic and I can see me using this combination very often. Comparing the three stoves they really all serve their own purpose: The regular Bushbox with its tiny pack size and minimal weight is great as an „EDC“ woods carry option that will make you a perfect hot beverage whenever you want. It will also boil a soup or meal for one person. If you want to cook with larger pots for two people and don't care about fancy grids or extreme versatility for all pot sizes, the Künzi is still a great stove. It's weight and size is somewhere between the two Bushboxes which makes it comfortable to carry. The Bushbox XL weighs more than the Künzi, but it also has a larger packing chamber which can be very useful. You can burn larger pieces of wood, accumulate more coals, it will radiate more heat and most of all with its many very thought out accessories it is the most versatile stove I have at the moment. It will securely accomodate large pots as well as a small tatonka mug. So much for the little overview of my stove “collection“, hope you have enjoyed it, feel free to ask questions if you like!