Gear Review: Bushbuddy Camping Stove
I’ve always held a fear of running out of fuel for our camp stove.
The thing is, I didn’t know it was a fear. I thought it was a fact of life; something to be accepted and be prepared for. After all, there was no alternative other than multi-fuel stoves and good planning! (Which we have not always had and has left us scavenging Canada Tire stores for fuel canisters and once boiling water over a fire carefully crafted between boulders one cold October day.)
Then Raven mentioned the Bushbuddy. He really only needed to mention it and show me the picture. After that, I wanted to give it a try. A stove that promised to boil water in 10 minutes yet burned small sticks? Actually, anything that burned could be used as fuel – grass, bark, dung, fabric. All this in a small package designed to fit inside the Snow Peak Trek 900 (.9L) titanium pot. Why not give it a try?
We went with the standard Bushbuddy though there is an ultra light version available, which is made out of stainless steel and 1.5 ounces lighter than the standard. When we are motorcycle camping . . . well delicate items can be destroyed. I like lightweight gear, but 1.5 ounces was not enough to make me give up more rugged materials!
We tried it at home as soon as our Bushbuddy arrived in the mail, of course! Raven got a small fire going and I helped scavenge twigs. It took us awhile to boil water, but we were not discouraged. Raven reread the instructions and we realized some of our errors: use progressively bigger sticks if possible, build up some coals, THEN put a pot on top, keep feeding fuel if needed. Okay, we’d be better organized next time.
The first field test was night 1 of the Trip of Trials. Happily, dinner that night was ONE of the few things that did not go wrong that day! Not only did I make it to the grocery store five minutes before closing – enough time to buy scallops, a salad, and chocolate milk and bar – but the Bushbuddy worked BEAUTIFULLY. I cannot tell you how excited I was to be able to cook scallops and make pan bread while those store bought fuel containers stayed safely locked in my rear pannier. All the world became a source of fuel. But the real beauty was that the stove not only worked, it worked really well.
In a side by side test done later, the difference in time to boil water was less than a minute between our multi-fuel Primus and Bushbuddy. The added time of getting the fire hot with adequate coals runs between five and ten minutes, depending on the fuel used. To me the extra time is insignificant. I’m usually whistling happily, knowing I would not be running out of fuel that night (not to mention, I usually do cooking prep while the Bushbuddy gets to temp).
We used the Bushbuddy during the entire Trip of Trials, giving preference to our other stoves only at breakfasts or while boiling water for drinks on a short break. All big meals were done on the Bushbuddy. We not only got pretty good at getting the stove hot enough, but we started searching for and storing preferred wood or fire starting tinder inside the stove. Once we returned for the trip, we found excuses to get out the stove on occasion. It turns out to bake potatoes exceptionally well!
So, would I recommend the Bushbuddy? Are you KIDDING??? You need to ask that? Why haven’t you bought one yet?!?
Seriously, it is my favorite stove ever. It goes with us on all trips, even in the Westy as the “just in case” backup stove. No, it isn’t the ideal stove for every occasion. You need the time to get it warmed up, you do need to be in a place that has SOMETHING to burn, and you need to be able to let it cool down before packing it up. If you have those three things, it is the perfect stove.
Get one. 🙂
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