How many travel with out a stove?

I recall one trip many years ago when we did not carry a stove or fuel. Lightened the load a lot. Thinking about doing it again. Something about centering your life around the fire is very appealing.

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And rarely just one.

Relying on firewood availability or the ability to have a fire is not a good thing, particularly in in the dry season when burning restrictions are common. Usually carry at least a 1 burner, sometimes 2 or also a 2 burner.


– Last Updated: Dec-13-13 10:37 AM EST –

to not have a stove means you don't go some places. Its very difficult to cook over a fire in the desert. You need a fire pan.

Its difficult to eat when there are fire bans in the boreal forest.

Gathering wood on the tundra can be difficult and also above treeline if you want soup. A small stove( such as the Superfly) and a mini canister can save your butt if you need hot liquids in you quick.

Now if you were more specific as to where you want to travel you might have gotten a different answer. For sure if you are doing a two night trip on sheltered trails you can live without a stove. I have done that on the Moose River at home. But that is the exception not the norm.

Your question is phrased as a popularity vote which probably is not what you want.

Just dreaming a bit.

– Last Updated: Dec-13-13 9:58 PM EST –

Although I will say that even in the arctic barrenland there is an amazing amount of wood. The problem is it is so dry that it gives off almost no heat. I guess I am thinking about Maine and Eastern Canada below tree line mostly. I've done it on week long trips in Maine and it was delightful.

Fire alone is fine
but in most (not all ) areas in Maine remember that you need a fire permit available from the local game warden.

I forgot my stove once !! And did not have a fire permit…duh. Good ole Moose River… I did not starve.

yep need your fire permits in me

– Last Updated: Dec-15-13 12:45 PM EST –

but its an easy place to go without a stove. I went with scout groups on the allagash and penobscot waterways for six summers and never used a stove. I wonder if there is still plenty of wood available near some of the fancy allagash sites?
We usually had to burn dri ki (drift wood) on the island sites on some of the lakes. The bigger impact than the fires were the homemade latrines, especially on the island sites. A good smoky fire helps keep the bugs away but nobody wants to wander into a forest of toilet paper and fecal matter.

I don't think they''d be too big on fires at quite a few places in Baxter or some spots on the AT near or above treeline.

I can't speak for the there and now, but thirty years ago the mind set in Northern Me was that it was a working forest and that burning wood was fine as long as you were responsible (fire permits, put out your fire completely). It was an easy place to get a fire going, plenty of wood, as well as birch bark tinder (which I carried with me) but some areas lacked hardwoods for good coals for baking. I usually didn't carry an axe or even a folding saw. That was just something the kids could get hurt with in the middle of nowhere.

I understand that there are many places (especially in the west) where a fire is not allowed but I say go for it when the fire conditions allow and the area permits it. Somehow the glow and warmth of a stove just isn't the same.

Not by choice
But I had my stove break on the first night of a five day solo in Flaming Gorge. There’s not a lot of wood up there but I found enough scraps in the fire pits to cook dinner every night. My backup was an MRE with a heater and I never had to use it.

Better to take a small stove and not use it unless essential.



Twelve nights in Quetico in '73. We took
a SVEA stove and maybe a pint of fuel in case we might get to a campsite in heavy rain and be unable to get a fire going.

But we always did scrounge, cut, and split wood. I chopped the end off my left thumb. We had more cleanup after meals, getting soot off the pans.

If paddling through and area with lots of firewood and little risk of wildfire, I still would consider carrying and relying on small stoves for cooking. Not an expert on the matter, just my thought.

2 instances
One, we somehow ended up on the river with no stove, for ten days. All the food we had needed to be cooked. For example, we had Bisquick for breakfasts. You gotta cook. So that meant no fire, no food. One night a torrential downpour turned into snow and left about four inches of wet snow on the ground. Everything was wet and it took us until noon to get a decent fire going. I so wished we had a stove. And, it’s a lot of work to make fires every day, twice a day. Often, You have better things to do with your time than hunt for and process wood for fires.

Two, a guy I paddled with on a multi-day trip never brings a stove. He ate a lot of canned food, cold, out of the can. Yum, cold spagetthi-o’s. He stirred instant coffee into cold water. I didn’t see him drinking any liquid Bisquick mixture though. He says it saves weight and cooking/cleaning time to eliminate not only the stove but the pans and kitchen utensils beyond a spoon and a can opener*.

  • In the second case, my buddy got injured and we had to abort the trip a couple days in. I suggested to Mr. No-stove that he continue the trip without us. His response? “No, I can’t, I don’t have a can opener!” It was true. He’d forgotten it and had been borrowing mine. Of course I offered to give him my can opener, but he turned me down. I just thought it was the funniest reason to cancel a trip.


how much weight saved?
my solo cook kit that I take on backpacking or kayaking trips weighs a little over 2 lbs including fuel that lasts a week and a backup stove.

one very rainy trip where it was near impossible to keep a fire going was enough for me to learn that lesson!

Well, the idea
is to learn the lessons needed to cope without it - even on a rainy trip. It can be very rewarding and what a sense of freedom it offers - not to mention warmth. Some think it adds to the adventure. Not many here obviously!

Love campfire cooking
We do most of our cooking over the campfire, but always take a stove along too. In the spring it’s part of the safety plan as getting a hot drink into someone quickly is a good way to restore body warmth should someone dump. In the summer it is insurance against a fire ban.

As far as weight savings go, for a 4 day trip we would come out ahead leaving the hatchet and saw behind and just using the stove, but where’s the fun in that? :slight_smile:

On long kayaking trips in Southeast Alaska we take a canister and an ultrlight stove in case we need to warm someone up while the fire is starting. We’ve never had to use the canister stove. We use fire for all of our meals and tea. The same for backpacking.

On the rare occasions we are in a national park that forbids fire, we use the stove. Fire is easier, lighter and more predictable than a stove.

stove or fire
The longer the trip the more you need multiple systems. Stoves are handy for quick stops, wet weather, places with little fuel, and fire danger.

Cooking with wood is rewarding most of the time when it is legal.

How bout a wood stove
On pretty much every trip kayak or backpacking I take either my pocket rocket or Esbit and also my Emberlite wood stove. I tend to use my Emberlite more than the others and bring minimal fuel to save weight or space and use them as a backup. Part of the fun of the trip is the hunt for firewood.

… learning to make decent meals over a pocket rocket with bags of dehydrated food is a challenge in itself. It also teaches preperation and planning by packing the meals and conserving fuel. Since most often I am camping with scouts it is a lot eaiser on everyone if they canoe like they backpack.

Any idiot can burn a hot dog over a fire, it takes a special kind of idiot like me to make red beans and rice with beef or chicken alfredo in 5 min with a pocket rocket. This summers mission, jumbalaya.

Anyway, most of the places we go are national forest, or private where we get permission from the owners and only leave bent grass behind. Best way to get invited back is to treat their stuff better than you treat your own.

Always carry one
I always carry one. They don’t weigh that much so why not. Plus you can’t always find firewood and I hate to take it with.

Some have canoe in stove. Some
have stove-in canoe.

and others…
have a stove in a stove in canoe.