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Bushcraft Essentials Bushbox Outdoor Pocket Stove Review

Bushbox Outdoor Pocket Stove
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Price:  $40 List | $35.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Small packed size, durable, good for a zombie apocalypse
Cons:  Blackens pots, requires constant monitoring, unusable during fire bans, inconsistent heat and no control of flame, burning chemicals like esbit is gross
Manufacturer:   Bushcraft Essentials
By Jessica Haist ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 10, 2015
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OVERALL
SCORE
  • Fuel Efficiency - 25% 5
  • Time to Boil - 20% 1
  • Versatility - 25% 4
  • Weight - 15% 7
  • Stability - 10% 6
  • Packed Size - 5% 10

The Skinny

These types of wood and chemical fuel burning stoves have become en vogue lately with the lightweight backpacking crowd as well as with survivalist types. We at OGL were not very impressed with the Bushcraft Essentials Bushbox Outdoor Pocket Stove — despite the funny name. We have not bought into this type of backpacking, and we feel it brings more uncertainty to our trips than it brings positives. We think these stoves are a pain to use and are a big gimmick.

If you are putting together a tool kit to survive the zombie apocalypse, this may be a good item to throw in because at some point white gas and butane are going to run out! To see what we thought of the rest of the backpacking stoves we tested check out our Best Backpacking Stove Review.


Our Analysis and Test Results

Although it's a great tool for the apocalypse, we don't think the Bushbox Pocket Stove is good for much else — except for maybe campsite entertainment.

Performance Comparison


It took us about 8 minutes to boil water with the Bushbox at low elevation after getting the fire going. Tester Jessica Haist pours a well earned cup of tea.
It took us about 8 minutes to boil water with the Bushbox at low elevation after getting the fire going. Tester Jessica Haist pours a well earned cup of tea.

Versatility


Despite our first impression that these types of stoves could be very versatile, after a bit of thought and testing we realized they are not versatile when it counts. Yes, you can burn wood, other organic material, Trangia, or Esbit in it — but with all of these fuels there is no flame control. Not to mention Esbit smells terrible and will ruin your wilderness experience. Depending solely on gathering wood and organic materials presents its own set of problems. We spent a lot of time in the Sierra Nevada this summer where there is a serious drought and a complete fire ban — so we were unable to bring the Bushbox with us on any trips. Even if there was not a drought, many places have permanent fire bans and bans on collecting wood in alpine areas because it disturbs this fragile environment. If you are in a place like the Pacific Northwest where there is a lot of precipitation, it could be difficult to find dry materials from day to day to light your stove with.

You will also need to carry an additional sack to store your stove and pot inside your backpack because the flames blacken the bottom of any pot you use. If left uncovered, that would create a sooty mess in your backpack. When we used the Bushbox car camping, we coated our pots with dish soap before putting them in the fire so they were easier to clean off afterwards.

The Bushcraft Essentials Bushbox Outdoor Pocket Stove will blacken your pots when you burn wood. We coated this pot with dish-soap so it was easier to clean.
The Bushcraft Essentials Bushbox Outdoor Pocket Stove will blacken your pots when you burn wood. We coated this pot with dish-soap so it was easier to clean.

Fuel Efficiency


When we burned wood in the Bushbox, we made sure that we had a lot on hand to continually feed the flames. This amounted to about two large handfuls of dry tinder and kindling sized sticks, and it took us about 8 minutes to boil a liter of water at low elevation. If you are just burning wood, there are some environmental benefits because you are not burning any fossil fuels like white gas or Butane. When we tried burning Esbit, one cube of Esbit did not quite bring the water to a boil in the time it took the entire cube to burn, about 10 minutes.

The Bushcraft Essentials Bushbox Outdoor Pocket Stove needs a reliable source of dry wood. We used about two large handfulls to boil a liter of water. Jessica Haist is getting ready to make some tea.
The Bushcraft Essentials Bushbox Outdoor Pocket Stove needs a reliable source of dry wood. We used about two large handfulls to boil a liter of water. Jessica Haist is getting ready to make some tea.

Boil Time


It is a long process to boil water with the Bushbox. First you have to collect your materials, then get it started, and once you have the pot on the flame you need to continually feed the fire to keep it going. As stated above, it took us about 8 minutes to boil a liter of water at low elevation with a wood fire, and we burned through one whole Esbit tablet at 7700 feet, and half a liter of water did not quite boil — it was just starting to fish eye.

An Esbit tablet just getting started in the Bushbox stove. This burning chemical smells horrible and burned out before water came to a boil.
An Esbit tablet just getting started in the Bushbox stove. This burning chemical smells horrible and burned out before water came to a boil.

Weight


The Bushbox is surprisingly heavy for its size, weighing 9.2 oz. We would rather carry one extra ounce of weight and take an MSR Micro Rocket with an 8oz canister of fuel, and have confidence that we will have a hot dinner that night.

Stability


The Bushbox is a relatively stable platform. We balanced a 2 liter pot on it with no troubles. When you use its trivets for better air circulation, it becomes slightly less stable.

Packed Size


This is the one advantage we can see to the Bushbox Pocket Stove over its competitors in this review. It packs down extremely thin and you can just slide it along the back of your pack with no problems. Its dimensions are 5 x 2 x0.2 inches.

The Bushbox pocket stove does fit into your pocket and its packed size is this stove's best feature.
The Bushbox pocket stove does fit into your pocket and its packed size is this stove's best feature.

Best Application


We think this stove is a novelty item for survivalist types who like to go out on weekends and try different methods to live off of the land. It is also a good item for your zombie apocalypse survival kit. If you run out of white gas for cooking your scavenged cans of beans and whatnot, the Bushbox would work well. In all seriousness — there may be certain thru-hikers who love this stove and could use it to cook Ramen noodles every day — but this would take a lot of diligence and good weather. We definitely recommend reading the directions before using the Bushbox.

Value


The Bushcraft Essentials Bushbox Pocket Stove rings in at about $40. We would rather spend this $40 on an MSR PocketRocket, a much more functional product.

Conclusion


This is the only wood burning multi-fuel stove we have tested, so we have no comparisons available within its category. That being said, we think this category of backpacking stove is a bit of a gimmick. Wood burning backpacking stoves leave too many question marks to bring on a long backpacking trip as your primary stove. You could bring this stove as a back-up in case you accidentally run out of fuel for your primary stove, but there are too many variables that are out of your hands otherwise to depend upon this as your primary means of cooking.

Chance assembles the Bushbox. We found it a little tricky to assemble and take apart.
Chance assembles the Bushbox. We found it a little tricky to assemble and take apart.

Other Versions and Accessories


Bushbox Ultralight Outdoor Pocket Stove
Bushbox Ultralight Outdoor Pocket Stove and
Bushbox Titanium Outdoor Pocket Stove
  • Cost - $45 to $50
  • Ultralight versions of this multi-fuel stove

Bushbox XL Combination Kit
Bushbox XL Combination Kit
  • Cost - $108
  • Larger stove for group cooking


Jessica Haist