The Bottom Line
- strong and durable
- high heat and efficiency
- uses dried plants for fuel
- cooks cleanly (once started) with little smoke
- tends to smoke a lot when starting
- cross bar to hold cooking pan was uneven, pot wobbled
- base plate not flush, unit was not stable
- Dimensions: 9 in. high x 6 in. diameter.
- Weight: 2 lb. 3 oz.
- Includes stove, battery holder, cross bar to hold cooking pan, handle and carrying bag.
- Requires 2 AA batteries (not included).
- Battery life: 8 hours
- Heat output: low 9,000 BTU/hour, high 12,000 BTU/hour.
- Burn times vary depending on fuel used. I got a 30 minute burn using dried finger-size broken branches.
- Stainless stell construction.
- Solar charger available.
- Suggested retail: $67.95.
Guide Review - WoodGas Camp Stove XL
I was excited to try out the WoodGas XL camp stove, because it is quite a bit bigger than it's predecessor, the WoodGas LE, which I tested last year. Upon setting the stove up for the first time, I found that the unit did not sit flat. It seems that the base plate that was screwed into the bottom was not recessed enough and consequently protruded below the rim of the base causing the stove to wobble on a flat surface. The cross bars for holding a cooking pan were not flush either, which caused the pan to wobble too. A remedy for the uneven cross bars is to file the notch that connects them a little deeper until the bars are flush. I see no easy remedy for stabilizing the base. This problem needs to be remedied at the factory.
On to my boiling test. Taking into consideration the time to set up the stove (1 minute), the time to gather fuel (3 minutes), and the time to start the stove (3 minutes), the WoodGas XL had a pan with 2 liters of water boiling in 25 minutes.
A note about starting the stove. The fire chamber is relatively deep, which makes it difficult to light without some kind of fire starter. The WoodGas Web site sells a starter gel good for about 30 starts for $4.40. I recommend getting some. It makes starting a fire so much easier.
The WoodGas technology produces a hot clean flame. I like this stove, but it has some manufacturing flaws that could be easily fixed. In my opinion, the WoodGas XL camp stove is too bulky for backpacking, although it is very appropriate for other forms of camping. Although you use free fuel found in nature, there is the recurring costs of batteries and starter gel.