Fire is one of our most critical survival tools. It keeps us warm, cooks our food, gives comfort, and is useful for making other tools. Knowing how to not only make but use fire is an essential skill. This becomes more obvious especially when modern conveniences are unavailable. People skilled in fire craft can forgo some luxuries in this category.
Stoves are one item that makes life easier in unfavorable conditions. They come in many styles with each design having its own advantages and vice versa. Some are better for long term survival or a bug out bag than others. Backpacking survival stoves are perfect for filling these two roles. Something like the EmberLit stove is an excellent choice.
It’s been well over a year now since first receiving the EmberLit. As you can see, the stove has seen a lot of heavy use. The EmberLit is the big brother to the smaller FireAnt model. They’re designed and manufactured right here in the US. A lower weight, more expensive titanium version of the Original is also available.
EmberLit Stove Review
Overview & Dimensions
It came with a storage pouch, instructions, four sides, one bottom piece, and two crossbars. Weight is 11.3 ounces according to the EmberLit website. Dimensions are 6” high, 3.5” at the top, and about 4.75” at the base according to my measurements. Assembly is straightforward using the provided, easy to understand instructions. The crossbars rest in the four corners, not the V-shaped cutouts at the top.
Sterno, pine twigs, and scraps of wood are the types of fuel used for this evaluation. Cooking various types of food in the Pathfinder stainless 25-ounce cup with lid was part of the test. The goal was to see how long it takes for 16 ounces of water to boil. Testing my frying pan on this stove is something else I was eager to try.
Removing the crossbars makes loading the stove with tinder less challenging. Lighting the fuel is easiest to do with something like a match. Using a piece of fatwood lit with a Bic also works well. Filling it a quarter to half full with the scraps leftover from woodworking came next. These scraps consisted of soft and hardwood mixed together. Ventilation is excellent thanks to the vent holes located around the bottom of the stove.
The wind is always a problem when cooking outdoors. I waited for good weather conditions to get the best possible results. Boiling water took right under six minutes using wood. Heating a pack of grits, oatmeal, or hot chocolate isn’t a hassle for the EmberLit Original. Moving the stove is safe to do by grabbing it with pliers at one of the holes near the bottom.
Frying bacon with my nine-inch Paderno carbon skillet was the last trial using wood for fuel. This pan is a little difficult to use on this stove. I recommend using a smaller pan that’s more stable and cooks better. Heat distribution is a little uneven with the nine-inch diameter. The stove concentrates most of the heat in the middle of a pan this size.
Using Sterno With The Emberlit Stove
Fixing a pack of Raman noodles using Sterno was the final test with my cup. Elevating the fuel can with tent stakes and the crossbars move it closer to the top reducing heat loss. This raised the burner one and ten-sixteenths of an inch from the top. The Pathfinder 25 ounce cup is wide enough to sit on top of the EmberLit without the crossbars. It took almost ten minutes to cook a pack of noodles and the water never came close to boiling using Sterno.
The EmberLit is nice to have in windy conditions when an open fire can be a real pain to cook with. My cup handles remained cool using Sterno for fuel, unlike the wood. I tried cooking in my frying pan using the Sterno which didn’t put out near enough heat to be effective. All the stove pieces aren’t connected which increases the chance of losing parts. The nylon storage pouch will need replacing before too long as it’s starting to show more signs of wear.
Do I always carry or use my EmberLit? No. Do I recommend it? Yes!