Written by Phil Brown, Badger Bushcraft Blog Monday, 28 January 2013 13:57
In the first few days of 2013 we purchased a Frontier Stove and Water Heater from Camping Solutions UK of Redruth in Cornwall. We have been using these great bits of kit over the last few weeks for both fun and on some of our courses with clients and I have to say that we are very impressed and thought that the company and equipment deserved a review on the Kit – Tried and Test section of our Badger Bushcraft Blog.
Some while ago now we heard how good the Frontier Stove was when talking to our good friend George Aitchison. I’ve known George for some years now and he has an eye for a good piece of kit and the experience to judge if it fit for task.
Over the years we have been fortunate to have used a lot of stoves, cookers, heaters, etc. in a wide variety of circumstances and weather conditions. We have a stove for our Lavvu but it is an all round disappointment on a host of minor levels and we have wanted to replace it for a number of years but could not warrant the £700.00 price tag of a suitable replacement.
When we discovered that Camping Solutions Frontier Stove retailed at only £140.00 with free delivery it was a “no brainer” we simply had to have one to try. We also decided to invest in their 3 litre brushed stainless steel water heater to harness the full potential of the heat generated and to have hot water to hand literally “on tap”.
First off the customer service, product knowledge and advice were exemplary. We place our order and the delivery arrived to our office by 10:30hrs the following day.
The packaged contained two cardboard boxes – one for the stove the other for the water heater.
On unwrapping and removing the stove I was impressed at how solid the construction was and also at how light the stove weighed despite the fact that all the flue sections were stored in the belly of the device. The history of the stove is that it was designed and manufactured for humanitarian aid and use in disaster zones; my initial thoughts were that I’d be delighted and mightily relieved to have a Frontier Stove at my disposal in times of need.
The quality of finish and manufacture is exceptional for the stoves modest price tag and I felt confident that the product was more than fit for task and suitable for our needs.
I really liked the way the legs locked into place both in the open and closed position, this made it exceptionally east to transport, carry and erect. With the legs down and locked in place with the sprung ball bearing pin it was exceptionally solid. The feet also had the provision to be either staked to the ground with thin metal tent pegs or to be nailed or screwed down in a fixed camp scenario.
With the stove firm and stable we the unpacked and assembled the flue sections, the first length of which has a well designed and manufactured damper allowing you to control the draw of air into the stove and therefore adjust the way the stove burns fuel and as a result alter the temperature for both cooking and heating purposes.
The flue sections easily slot into one another and form an exceptionally rigid and stable chimney and with this in place we could then fit the stainless steel water heater which again was exceptionally well manufactured, designed and incredibly easy to fit by wrapping it round the flue and locking it in place.
The water heaters carry handle also made it easy to fill up before fitting and the slide over lid stopped dirt and debris from falling in whilst not creating an airtight seal that would pose a hazard.
The tap and handle of the water heater were attractive, functional and easy to use.
As for lighting the stove it was a doddle. We split some partially seasoned oak into pencil, finger, thumb and wrist thick sections and about 300mm in length.
Into the belly of the stove we placed a bed to oak kindling and on top of which we laid a line of four fluffed up cotton wool balls smeared in a modest amount of petroleum jelly. We then lit this with a ferro firesteel and placed the fuel in with the thinner kindling to the bottom.
Once the stove was loaded with fuel we ensured that the damper was fully open and closed the door onto the first latch position allowing maximum draw of air.
Despite the fact that the fuel was not fully seasoned we were exceptionally surprised at how we the fire established itself in the stove and how little time this took. Within several minutes the stove was roaring away and we closed the door but left the damper open.
At this stage I grabbed the stainless steel pan from a Zebra billy can from the back of the Land Rover and started to cook some sausages, which were soon sizzling and cooking away nicely.
With the sausages cooked and in some chunky fresh homemade bread we filled the belly of the stove with wrist thick sections of oak then closed the damper down to extend the burn and to see how well the stove “stayed in”.
Within several minutes the smoke had thinned considerably and the stove continued to tick over for some two hours burning hot enough to boil the three litres of water in the water heater but also remaining fuel efficient.
To say that we highly rate this stove in an understatement! We would score the stove and water heater both at 10 out of 10.
Combined with the very affordable price tag, free delivery and exceptional customer service this piece of kit is a must have for not just those that are interested in bushcraft and survival skills but for those who love camping, have an allotment or just want to use it in the garden.
We shall be using our Frontier Stove and water heater with a wide range of clients and groups and I can see it being really useful when teaching in schools where it may not be possible to have an open fire.
Our next purchase from the suppliers Camping Solutions UK will be the bags for both stove and water heater – this will make it really easy to transport and store and it will also keep it together in the Land Rover on our travels.
If you have tired this product and like it do let us know.
All the best,