Cost £38 + post
How used Brew and barbie in the back garden.
Bad points: A bit fiddly, but you’ll soon get the knack. Will get grubby. A hinged version is a tempting thought.
Description: Four- or six-sided stainless steel wood stove assembles in a minute with height adjustable bases and a grill. One wall segment is open for adding more fuel and the kit also includes a third base for a Trangia burner. You can also mount the floors higher to burner solid fuel. All the segments lock together to make a sturdy, stable structure and the perforated bases and slotted sides permit air circulation while acting as a windbreak.
Two wire tent pegs or chopped down coat hanger (not included) can slot through the sides so something like a 500ml Tatonka cup (right) can sit low inside for added efficiency, and unlike some similar cups, the handles will be outside. You could also use the grill as a load-spreading base on soft terrain to stop sinking and help maintain air-flow underneath. Plus, if you have back problems they make a Honey Stove in titanium, and if you want to cook bigger you can buy two extra side sections with a bigger base plate and grill to make an octagonal Hive Stove. It all disassembles in ten seconds and packs totally flat.
Review: I spotted this interesting looking stove on someone’s paddle blog, tracked down what it was and bought one. I ‘got’ the Honey Stove at first sight: a simple fuel container / pot stand / windbreak that breaks down flat to more or less the size of a slimline dvd case.
I’m not especially bushcrafty but recognise the value of a supplementary stove to either save butane or act as a back-up or alternative cooking device. Apart from driftwood, northwest Scotland isn’t really woodstove country unless you carry your fuel, but a Mediterranean setting certainly is. And as with the Woodgas stove I used in Turkey last year, you could pretty much carry this as hand luggage on a plane. No need to track down the right sort of gas canister at the other end.
Once the novelty wore off, the Woodgas stove – with its unintuitive top-down burning, flimsy pot stand and preferred tinder and pellets – was a bit too clever and as bulky as a Coleman, though still very light and unfiddly to assemble. The Honey stove burns conventionally with paper under twigs and sticks. ‘I could make that with an old paint pot!’ I hear you exclaim. Go ahead, but don’t forget to stamp your paint can flat before you pack it away, then pull it apart again when you next need a cuppa.
The included Trangia-style burner support is a nice touch but for me a bit redundant – I got over Trangias in the late 70s and never got into solid fuel tablets either. To me the whole point of a stove like this is to use locally sourced fuel.
The smaller square format for a cup (right) looks a bit small to carry am adequate charge of wood but six-up you can fit in plenty and my MSR Stowaway (left) sits just right.
First go out of the bag 500ml of water boiled in 9 mins in a bit of a breeze and a bit of refuelling. I don’t think I measured the Woodgasser but I’d say it’s about the same once it got ‘on the gas’, and I bet the Honey would be quicker still in drop-down, wire-peg mode or with a bit of practice. There’s no benefit to woodgas when it comes to sooty pots.
While the tea brewed I slapped on some tasty garlic and herb chicken kebabs on the grill. Never used them but I found a couple of charcoal BBQ coals and in no time my succulent, aromatic lunch was encased in a crisp shell of burned meat – will we ever learn! But the last skewer cooked up to perfection on glowing embers not flames as if from my local kebab shop.
I was curious to see if the stove got warped by the heat – the Woodgas fuel bowl shrunk a bit which affected performance if not located correctly. The Honey’s floor plate and grill were a little warped but all still slot easily together. The stove has lost its BNIB new sheen and was a little mucky with soot, but otherwise unchanged.
I also got round to trying the trick of wiping the cooking pot with liquid soap before using it to make cleaning easy. It works – the soot wipes right off (left); you could clean it with a bunch of grass. Who would have thought soap was so fire-proof.
UK manufacturer may explain the relatively high price for simple stamped or CNC cut steel, but the unit’s adaptability, versatility and unbeatable compactness make it feel much better value than the MkII Woodgas stove. There are much cheaper four-sided Chinese-made stoves like Lixada on ebay using similar assemblies but BPL.UK’s six-sided version makes a marginally more spacious and stable burning platform and, as mentioned, can be expanded (for a hefty £24) to a bigger, eight-sided stove. A heftier than average knife may be needed to split wood into the ideal, pencil sized pieces but the Honey Stove is an effective and foolproof supplement to a faster butane stove. Looking forward to trying it out beyond the garden.