Consumers know Patagonia mostly for high-tech apparel and softgoods. But its latest product announcement is decidedly old-school and named simply the Patagonia Wood Burning Stove.
Small, wood-burning cookstoves are a longstanding mainstay of hikers, bushcrafters, and general outdoor adventurers. In the right climates, where burnable organic material is plentiful, they work well. Simply collect some dry wood, leaves, or other flammable biomass and start a fire to boil water or cook over.
This type of stove usually uses simple engineering to increase airflow and improve secondary combustion. And there are quite a few on the market already. But Patagonia took a nice angle on this traditional design, resulting in a stove that weighs just 7.5 ounces.
But there’s more to this stove than meets the eye. It’s the center of the Untethered Kit, which one could look at as the brand’s most minimal kit to date. It’s one that Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard asked for and designed to, as the brand says, “go simple and get deep.”
Patagonia Untethered Kit
At the heart of this kit is the Patagonia Wood Burning Stove. But it also includes a Patagonia x MiiR Quantumiir Pot with a heat exchanger and silicone lid (weighs about 12 ounces), a Lightweight Sleeping Bag (to add warmth for those sleeping in their clothing), and lightweight Middle Fork Pack, meant to carry the bare essentials in a tough nylon bag made of 50% post-consumer recycled content.
Patagonia Untethered Kit
- Wood Burning Stove: $99
- Patagonia x MiiR Quantumiir Pot: $49
- Lightweight Sleeping Bag: $199
- Middle Fork Pack: $149
- Available: Late spring or early summer 2020
It’s something of an odd kit for a brand most associated with high-tech fabrics, sustainability stories, and apparel meant for pursuits like skiing, ultrarunning, and mountaineering.
But the Untethered Kit aims for a different type of exploration. A longtime project for Chouinard, the kit encourages wandering exploration, uncoupled from mealtimes.
“He wanted something that was light enough to not be concerned with the weight penalty of carrying it, reliable enough to set up and use just about anywhere, and because it was Patagonia, it needed to be something that would stand up to abuse,” the brand told GearJunkie.
“He thought that using available deadfall was a great way to decouple from weight and increase range and started cutting up bean cans and building fires in them. The project evolved from there.”
It’s a product that could resonate with a broad demographic in the outdoors — people who want to head into the wilderness with less.
The question for me is: Where does Patagonia’s new kit fall in the continuum of camping tools? And ultimately, why did it decide to build this?
‘Go Simple and Get Deep’
Patagonia’s marketing text about the kit is a good hint as to its origin:
“Put the least amount of stuff between you and your experience with the Untethered Kit: a versatile-yet-basic wood stove, cook pot, pack, and sleeping bag. It ditches the limits and waste of gas fuels and high-tech gadgetry, so you can go simple and get deep.”
The brand said that while the stove uses simple fuel, it’s an effective system that makes you more engaged in the cooking process.
“Although the stove is purpose-built to be very simple, it’s not just for primitive camping. It’s adaptable to lots of situations and shouldn’t be thought of as a dumbed-down option,” the brand said.
With that in mind, I loaded it up with fuel and started a fire.
Patagonia Wood Burning Stove Review: First Test
The Wood Burning Stove is fairly simple. It consists of a base with raised wire mesh fire grate, a cone in which you build fire, and a pot rest that sits on top of the cone. In total, it weighs 7.5 ounces. And while light, there are lighter stoves on the market. There are also more advanced, heavier stoves with more engineering for secondary combustion.
So, how does it work? Well, just start a fire on the grate. This is a little fiddly because the grate is small and, if you’re using small twigs, they can fall through the holes. But I figured out a good technique to get a small fire started pretty quickly.
Basically, I made a teepee on the grate, put on the cone, and slid a match underneath through a hole in the cone.
Then, add sticks into the cone over your small fire. Thanks to the wind-blocking and chimney-like nature of the cone, just setting in sticks vertically quickly resulted in a blazing fire. Make sure to add the pot rest early before you have a roaring blaze, as everything gets hot very fast.
I didn’t actually cook over the stove, as it was just a quick backyard test. But the fire gets very hot, and fuel dwindles fast. I’d expect in real-world use, you’d need to add wood to your fire three to four times to boil a liter of water. But this should happen fast with good, dry material. Obviously, cooking times will vary a ton depending on outdoor temps, wind, and the fuel used.
The plusses for this little stove are light weight, simplicity, and ease of use. The stainless steel should also last quite a long time.
On the downside, the single-wall stove gets really hot quickly, so you may want gloves to handle it while cooking. It also burns through wood very quickly and will likely require re-stoking of the flames during a cooking session.
I did not use the Patagonia x MiiR Quantumiir Pot because the brand only has a couple of samples at this point, and I need to send it back un-charred — it looks really nice. With the copper heat exchanger, stainless steel construction, and silicone top, it looks like a steal for $50.
And for its first wood stove, Patagonia delivers what seems to be a solid product. For those looking to go more minimalist on their hiking and camping retreats, this provides a new option from a well-known and beloved brand.