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Stoves & Grills

Cooking with Sticks and Twigs

Nearly everywhere you’ll ever camp you’ll find all kinds of combustible hot-burning biomass. Sticks and twigs the size of your thumb and smaller. This stuff is way faster and easier to light and to cook with that you’d think, burns nearly smokelessly, and will reliably provide more than enough heat for all kinds of trail cookery.

But why go Neanderthal now, with all those ingenious little gas stoves available? Because A) it’s less stuff to carry so you’ll travel lighter, and B) it’s nearly as fast to gather the fuel and then heat a liter of water as it is to do the same job with a hissing stove. And C), it’s a lot cleaner than you’d think. Soot is confined within the ‘chimney’ of samovar-kettles so you never touch it, and flat-folding stoves come with fabric storage sleeves.

What if it’s been raining all day and everything is wet? Uhh…Dead limbs still attached to trees usually remain dry enough to ignite quickly with only a little help from an accelerant like a small piece of dry paper or a few drips of gasoline, or one or two Esbit fuel tabs (#4113). After they are going the heat provided will dry wetter stuff added later. But when it’s really raining super-hard find a motel and eat at a diner -- (even if you are carrying a gas stove).

About the only places you cannot quickly and easily find sticks and twigs are a few high desert locations.

—Mr. Subjective

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