At a glance
Plusses: Indestructible, campfire cooking, can burn multiple fuel types
Minuses: Weight, slow boil and cooking times
Features: This stove can burn multiple fuel types – wood, charcoal, firestarters and liquid fuel in a Trangia burner.
The stove folds flat and fits inside a compact pouch. Two trivets can be used as pot supports and to move the hot stove and to tip ash out without burning yourself. There is a folding base to catch ash and a folding grate on which to place wood. A separate removable grate can be inserted halfway up the stove to provide a platform for Esbit fire starters and liquid fuels.
Construction: Made in Germany from stainless steel, the stove feels solid and every bit as heavy as its 450g (there is a titanium version which weighs 270g). There are several simple steel hinges that work smoothly and are claimed to never clog.
In use: Assembling the stove is easy – it just folds out. Actually using it is a bit trickier and requires patience and practice.
I used the Bushbox to cook some sausages and boil water. I prepared a small pile of wood and used paper to ignite this. A firestarter would have been quicker to set the larger chunks of wood alight. The manufacturer says once the stove has reached optimum temperature, there should be very little smoke and soot.
I managed to boil 500ml of water in about nine minutes and I cooked two sausages in a similar time.
I found the fire tricky to get started, but easy to maintain once it was going. However, each time I dropped wood into the fire, it resulted in more smoke and soot. By the time I had finished cooking, my pot and pan were black and this proved difficult to clean.
I didn’t break any speed records, but I did have fun. Sitting around the box, tending the fire and cooking my food in the outdoors over an open flame made me feel more in touch with the cooking process and I also felt more connected with my surroundings.
Value: It’s a cheap stove with even cheaper running costs. It’s incredibly durable and well-made to ensure a lifetime of use. If you’re ok with the slower pace of cooking, sooty cookware and the need to make your own fire, it represents good value.
Verdict: I enjoyed cooking on the Bushbox – the flames seemed to enhance the flavour of the meal and the overall cooking experience. But I found starting the fire fiddly and dealing with my sooty cookware afterwards was a chore – I would recommend packing a separate bag for your cooking utensils to avoid getting soot throughout your pack.