Gear Review Review - Bushbox Stove

Discussion in 'Functional Gear & Equipment' started by DKR, Jan 21, 2017.

  1. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    The item under review:

    The "Bush Box Pocket stove. The company offers 3 stoves, this is the middle sized stove.

    Yes, I grabbed these images off the net - because it looks just like this. BTW - less a 'stove' and more of a pot stand.

    Why the BushBox?

    Mostly to replace the potholder from my Trangia mini, I'll get more into this a bit later.

    Ordered off Amazon, it arrived from North Las Vegas in three days to Alaska. First class flat pack. Came with a cheap cotton bag to hold the parts. I put everything in a pocket organizer, so now my pencils have company.

    Went together, as shown, with no issues.

    Holds my Trangia burner no problem.

    Using the alcohol burner, I cooked a load of mac & cheese for my littlest buddy first night I had it on hand. The combo worked like it should. The breeze we had didn't seem to bother the burner, so it works better than the Trangia mini pot holder for a windbreak. I'm not kidding myself, I have a full height windscreen I'll use with the alky stove.

    The top (burner section) of the Trangia burner sits at 1 1/4 inches below the pot bottom, which is just about right.

    The burner plate (the one with holes) has a second, higher, position for using Esbit tabs.

    The Bushbox stove will also hold a small can of Sterno fuel instead of the Trangia.

    Win-Win-Win – for me.

    What else? The stove is made from stamped Stainless Steel. The wood grate can go on top to act as a grill, but then you can't burn wood as well. I have no idea what you could grill with this thing – but it not just possible, but easily done. Pretty much WYSIWYG.

    Anleitung in Deutsch geschrieben, wenn Sie kein Deutsch verstehen (you don't spreken ze German), you need to go on line to find the Engrish manual. (English Manuals) The site also offers additional information on cooking…

    Now, about the Trangia mini… I bought the Bushbox to replace the pot holder than comes with the mini-Trangia pot. This one:


    The Trangia mini pot holder is really marginal, to be polite. On mine, the pot wasn't as steady as I wanted. I constantly worried that it would tip over stirring soup, and thin soup at that. I'd hate to think what it would do with a thick stew.

    It makes a lousy windbreak and can really only be used with the pot that comes with the system - or a larger pot... If I were to do it all over, I would have purchased just the burner, then the Bushbox. Yes, it costs more that way, but gives a lot more flexibility.

    The pot holder worked, but required a windscreen in even the gentlest of breezes. OK, I have a really good collapsible windscreen I've had for decades. The screen even folds flat...but.

    In addition, I can't use any other fuel in the burner part of the system. That's not the fault of Trangia. The pot holder was designed to hold the mini and a Trangia burner. Any 'fault' is mine.

    The pot holder is marginal (I said this already, but…) at best, even with the pot it was designed to hold and won't work with any smaller pot. I tried to use it with my GSI Soloist and while the potholder and burner did fit inside, it was just too unstable for my comfort. Not very efficient as well.

    So, while the pot is fine for it's size and the system works, it does have some real world and serious limitations. I wouldn't recommend the system to anyone - now.

    So, I bought the Bushbox.

    Is it worth nearly $40 USD (w/shipping) I paid? Dunno, it's your money, you tell me. For me, it was. This will be in my vehicle kit. The big driver was flat pack and wide, solid area to hold any number of pots/metal cups/etc. I'll note that currently, this sells for under $30 on Amazon, so being an early adapter can be somewhat costly…


    What about an Esbit stove? The image above shows the problem. As delivered, it pretty much sucks for smaller pots/cups. Forget ever using a Trangia or other (soda can based) alcohol burner.

    I did mod the Esbit stove as shown below, and now can use Esbit tabs, and small sticks, in a pinch. The wood doesn't burn all that well, owing IMO, a real lack of draft.


    Here is the now modded Esbit, works with any pot/cup I own, but still holds no chance at ever using an alky burner.

    BTW - the new(ish) Esbit pot/stove with the Trangia knock-off burner system (below) does pretty much everything.


    Everything, that is, that the Trangia mini does, and is designed to burn alky in a Trangia knock-off at only twice (or more) the cost - and is marginal with wood burning.... I would still recommend it over the Mini for anyone starting out. But. While the new Esbit will work with other pots - they must be as large or larger than the 470mL pot that comes with the system.

    This leads me back to the Bushbox stove. Cost is about the same as the Esbit Trekker system shown above. The Bushbox stove will work with any pot/cups that I own or will own. NO mods required.

    This stove is designed to work with a Trangia burner and my testing shows it works well in a light breeze. I'm not kidding myself, I'll still carry the windscreen, but now everything folds flat, flat. No mods required.

    This stove is designed to work with Esbit tabs, no mods required.

    And of course, this stove is designed to burn wood. I'm no fan of wood burning, but it is an option open to me.

    Is it a good choice for you?

    Well, for me - it is because of the versatility it offers. Now when I load up my bike and grab the grand-kinders, I know that any pot/cup I take will work with any fuel or burner that I chose to carry. The Bushbox stove provides a solid, stable surface to hold the pot/cup without any kind of modification!
    So - for now anyway, the stove has proven to be happiness in a small, flat package.

    Esbit test:

    I waited for a good and chilly day outside. It took only a minute to set up the Bushbox stove to use an Esbit tabs (large vs small).

    I set the tab on a small square of al foil, rolled just a bit to make a lip. Otherwise, as the tab burns, the liquid will drip thru the holes and be lost fuel. A top from a Altoids mini tin works well for this task. However, the Altoids tin won't fold flat.

    How well did Bushbox work as an Esbit stove? In the first test burn, I set the tab on it's 'side' - that is to say, thin side down. Lit it off and set my 1.1 Liter GSI SS kettle on top with 2 cups of water inside.

    The tab burned nicely, and bloomed - the flame stayed mostly inside, with some going out thru the top hole set. I made a set of measurements:

    2 mins in, the water was 100 F
    4 mins in, the water measured 160F
    6 mins had good bubbles on bottom and at 7 mins, a full rolling boil.
    Thermometer is accurate, the kind used to measure water temps in restaurants.

    The tab burned out completely at just under 9 mins. Because I had set it on it side, the burn was shorter, but hotter....
    The pot trivits (the bars across the top surface, were glowing red hot by 3 mins in.

    Final Results:

    With Trangia, Wunderbar.

    Using Esbit tab, more Wunderbar.

    The small Sterno can worked well enough. Keep in mind that Sterno burns at a lower temperature than alcohol.
    I didn't bother with a wood burn, there are plenty of pages on the Web covering this stove with wood – or, more properly, twigs or sticks. I've no doubt it will work well, this review is focused on fuels other than wood.
    The GSI pot, of course, worked the treat as well.
    (Mods - this is not a contest entry. Just posted to prime the pump, so to speak)
    chelloveck, Ura-Ki, Brokor and 7 others like this.
  2. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    Very nice review, pro's and con's, suggestions based on actual use, what you did to use it or improve it, solid information on time to boil water, alternatives available. Makes a pretty good template for an unbiased review with pictures. Thank you for your time and sharing with us.
    chelloveck and Ura-Ki like this.
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