Alpkit
  • Seek Outside - Titanium Stove

    Review
    seek outside Ti Stove
    By Wayne Jones

    For winter camping it's good to have a heat source in your shelter. We all know the dangers of open fires and barbecues and the obvious solution is a stove. However most stoves are both heavy and bulky, this titanium flat pack stove is light and packs small enough to be portable yet when assembled, it allows a large enough combustion chamber to heat a sizeable shelter.

    Review

    Once the pieces of the stove are laid out it's a simple process to assemble the stove, each piece fits together quite nicely forming the main body of the stove. It's important to think about the position of each piece. The first time I assembled the stove I fitted the front door section the wrong way up with the ventilation holes at the top. The titanium body becomes rigid when you insert the 4 threaded bars through it. Each bar has a flanged nut that acts as the top stopper and another for the feet. It takes a little practice to get everything stable but once assembled for the first time the nuts are in the correct position so it becomes easier. Seekoutside recommend that you assemble the stove and

    give it a good burn at home prior to use in the field. This is sound advice as the stove flue is made of extremely lightweight titanium foil and has very sharp edges.

    To form the flue the chimney is rolled out, coiled lengthwise and the wire rings supplied keep it in place. It's important to take your time with the flue's pipe as it is easily dented and can bite back.

    Seekoutside supply a good number of wire rings to evenly secure the flue pipe. There was some debate amongst the testers how best to connect the pipe to the damper. After a little experimentation it was decided that the flue was most stable inserted inside, resting on the damper. Once assembled, the beauty and weight of the stove can really be appreciated. It's incredibly light but feels suitably robust.

    The stove door is incredibly simple. A folded sheet of titanium with wire handles that slide in two runners. I was concerned that in use, the wire loops would become extremely hot and there would be a risk of burning yourself. So far using the stove without gloves I have not managed to burn myself on the door.
    With practice I have reduced the set up time to less than 10 minutes.

    OK so now how good a stove is it? We all know titanium is light so that is no surprise. It's a flat pack stove so once assembled there are plenty of gaps around the joints and especially around the damper piece at the junction with the main stove body and the flue. I was concerned that this would affect its performance.



    The test unit is the large model so it's not too difficult to get a good fire going. There is plenty of space for kindling and the door is just the right size to allow larger pieces of spilt logs for a more sustained burn. The flue provides a really good draw and once the door is closed, the little stove turns into a blast furnace and you can hear the air being forced through the vents. The gaps in the joints become less important as the titanium heats up and expands.

    The damper valve works well in reducing the flow rate and reducing the rate at which wood is consumed. This type of stove is not really designed to be filled with wood and then left overnight gently warming your tipi on a slightly chilly winter evening. This stove produces a lot of heat for its size. As the photos show we managed to get most of the body of the stove and the flue glowing cherry red.

    It requires attention being fed medium sized spilt wood every 20 minutes or so depending on the type of fuel used. I burnt a variety of different species of tree to see how well it coped with less premium wood and if the flue would cope with deposits of tar residue. You really don't want a fire half way up your chimney in a tipi miles from nowhere. The spark arrester copes well and I didn't have any issues burning damp punky oak and sweet chestnut. It is important to create a sizeable bed of embers in the stove first or you may have to relight it if left.

    As with all stoves inside tents you need to aware of ensuring good ventilation to prevent excessive carbon monoxide and ensure you don't touch the stove as it gets extremely hot. It's a stove after all. We managed to boil cold water in a coffee pot on the stove in under 10 minutes. Not bad for titanium which is a poor conductor of heat compared to stainless steel. Once the stove has been fired a few times it takes on a nice used patina, like a carbon blade, it shows it's history.

    The biggest advantage of this stove is that it is incredibly low weight for its size. Every time I use it I am surprised all over again how little it weighs compared to conventional stoves. It allows one to consider taking a stove back packing or snow shoeing. It takes up a tiny amount of space in my dry bag so is great for canoe trips. I was impressed with its draw and the simplicity of the design. Seekoutside understand that simple and efficient design makes for a product that works well and keeps the weight and costs down.

    As with almost every product on the market there are things I would prefer to change. I would like to see a method of reducing the air flow at the front of the stove in the door or along the bottom vents. The feet attached to the threaded bar could do with a method of fixing them in place as they are easily lost. Also it would be nice if they were anodized in a bright colour so easily spotted in the snow.

    Conclusion

    Having used the stove now throughout the winter season it has performed very well. It has proved robust and durable despite its low weight and some harsh treatment from my clients.

    Rating

    Ratings are out of 5, 1 being bad and 5 being the best
    Fit for Purpose - 5/5
    Versatility - 4/5
    Durability - 4/5
    Value for money - 4/5 Pricing around $350

    Overall - 4/5


    Links

    Website www.seekoutside.com.
    http://store.seekoutside.com/wood-stoves/

    Rudd Van Tiels views on the stove.

    This is a review about the Seek Outside titanium stove. Size large, with a 11 foot long flue pipe. It was around 1 degrees Celsius when we decide that it was finally time to give the stove its final test, after having had a good amount of burns already it was no longer an off the shelf model but a used stove making for a more accurate test.

    At first while assembling the stove there seemed to be a fair amount of gaps between the bottom panels and the sides which initially worried me in context with the performance of the stove, also the seal between the flue pipe and the top panel worried me on first glance. Having the stove setup, which I have to say was a good experience, slots together fairly easy and straight forward, we went ahead to assembling the flue pipe, mind your hands as the ridges of the titanium flue are still razor sharp and it builds a bit of tension as you roll it to its intended shape, so a bit of care should be taken to avoid the flue pipe springing back and cutting your hands. The sturdy metal rings go on to the flue pipe and after a bit of spacing it is a fairly rigid pipe. Keep in mind that the material is very thin to save weight and therefore should be treated with care or else you will and up with bumps in your flue pipe which are esthetically more harmful then they functionally are but still. However most of the not so severe dents will come out when rolled back into storage shape.

    We slid the door on, which had two small metal wires coming out to serve as handles which to my experience worked exceedingly well as the wire automatically channels all your force in the direction necessary , no more pulling your stove across the room while your door is stuck due to distorting the thin titanium door.

    After having lit a fire inside the stove and having added a bit of fuel my worries about the seals completely disappeared, the stove had massive amount of draw and was up to temperature in no time with a small tornado going on inside the stove, the amount of heat generate by the stove was more than sufficient even without a shelter and it was great working alongside of it on the shave horse.

    Because of the immense draw however the stove needs refuelling quite often, if you start it up with small fuel and build a nice bed of embers and swap to big fuel, you can stretch this refuel to as long as 30 to 35 minutes but it is a stove that will require attention in refuelling, keep in mind however that we did attach a 11 foot flue which is quite long for such a little stove resulting in a far above average draw.

    The stove cools down verily quickly so can be packed away quite fast after being used. The bag that came with the stove is a standard Cordura bag that easily fits the stove parts, I do like that you do not have to squeeze the parts into the bag but I would have liked to see a more sophisticated storage system.

    The final verdict:

    I would like to give it a 8 out of 10, as I see a few points of improvement such as adding some contrasted labels to the wire rings of the flue as they are very easily lost. The spark arrestor did its job perfectly as I did not manage to see a single spark, and I would like to see a stop point for the little screw on feet, for the bottom, so you can't accidentally screw them off and lose them. I do however see that it might be useful on uneven ground to screw the feet up allowing you to peg the stove into soft ground.

    All and all a good stove
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