By Mark McLauchlin
Name: Mark McLauchlin
Height: 1.76 m (5’ 9”)
Weight: 80 kg (176 lb)
Email: mark at swanvalleyit.com.au
City: Perth, Western Australia
I have been hiking since 2006 with most of my hiking consisting of day walks averaging 16 - 22 km (10 - 14 mi) and short overnight trips where
Most of my hiking is along the Bibbulmun Track and Coastal Plains Trail. I consider myself to be a light hiker with an average pack weight of 13 kg (29 lb),
which I am working to reduce. I generally sleep in my tarp tent or huts
that are often scattered along the various hiking trails.
Manufacturer: Ultimate Survival Technologies
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufactured Location: China
Listed Stove Weight: 13.04 g (0.46 oz)
Measured Stove Weight: 12 g (0.42 oz)
Listed WetFire Cube Weight: 5.67 g (0.20 oz)
Measured WetFire Cube Weight: 4 g (0.14 oz)
Listed collapsed dimensions: Length 3 1/8" (8 cm), Width 1 1/4"
(3.3 cm), Height 1 3/4" (4.6 cm)
Measured collapsed dimensions: Length 3 1/8" (8 cm), Width 1 1/4" (3
cm), Height 1 3/4" (4.5 cm)
The WetFire Stove is described by the manufacturer as "an ultralight,
all-purpose stove that weighs less than half an ounce." It is made from
light weight and extremely strong titanium.
The stove itself is a very basic design consisting of three fold-out
legs and a rectangular dish shaped platform to hold the tinder. Each of
the legs have a serrated profile to assist with stability and to cater
for different diameter pots.
When not in use the stove legs fold together to form a compact, easy to
store cooking setup.
|Side Profile of WetFire Stove leg
||WetFire Stove folded
||WetFire Stove leg pivot
The manufacturer claims that one WetFire tinder will boil
a cup of water in 5 to 6 minutes in all types of weather. This is a real
positive for the stove and something that I will record and report back
Initial Trial and Impressions
The initial trial of the WetFire Stove and tinder was in a more
controlled environment (under my patio) and followed the instructions as
per below from the manufacturer. I found this to be really easy
and ignited with one strike.
I later placed the WetFire stove and a block of tinder out in the
rain and wind and ignited it again. To my excitement it was just as simple
to get a flame which burned to completion without any issues at all. As
per the manufacturers recommendation I can see that a windshield will be
a good idea to keep the flame centred on the bottom of my pot.
The wind did not seem to be an issue with the burning of the tinder
however it was impacting the angle of the flame, thus affecting its
efficiency to heat the contents of the pot or cup.
|Fire Starting Tinder on WetFire Stove, first
strike with Light My Fire Mini Firesteel
||Fire Starting Tinder begins to ignite
||Fire Starting Tinder alight
|Fire Starting Tinder fully alight
||WetFire tinder after burn
I have tested two pots which I own with the
WetFire Stove for stability and fit. The first image to the left
is with a home made Heineken pot which has a base diameter of 8
cm (3.1 in). This combination worked really well and was quite
stable. The second image (right side) shows the stove with my
MSR Titan Kettle which has a base diameter of approximately 11.7
cm (4.6 in) and again this fit really well and was also very
stable. Both of the combinations below will be tested in the
||MSR Titan Kettle
Reading the Instructions
The instructions for the stove and WetFire Tinder are on the back of the
packaging. They appear to be simple and easy to understand.
The following instructions are taken directly from the manufacturer
on the use of the WetFire Stove and tinder as a combination.
"1. Find an area of firm, level ground or an even surface. Make sure
it is clear from any debris or items you do not intend to burn. Open the
legs of the WetFire Stove to create a tripod, ensuring that each leg
rests securely on your cooking surface and that the tinder platform is
2. Place cube of WetFire tinder on WetFire Stove tinder platform.
3. If lighting stove with sparkling fire starter, scrape the op of the
tinder cube with a knife, your fingernail or tip of your fire starter to
create shavings on top of the cube.
4. Light tinder by shredding sparks down onto cube. (We recommend
Sparkie, Blastmatch or StrikeForce fire starters.) If lighting stove
with a match or solid flame, place cube of WetFire tinder on WetFire
Stove tinder platform and light cube.
5. Place cup/pan on stove. The WetFire Stove is compatible with most
metal camping cups and pans. We recommend using titanium or stainless
steel cookware with a minimum of 3" diameter. In windy environments it
may be necessary to create a windscreen. Boil time may vary in windy or
The following instructions are taken directly from the manufacturer on
the use of the WetFire tinder in other conditions.
"WetFire tinder can also be used to start your campfire. Prepare WetFire
by scraping shavings into a pile and lighting with fire starter. In
inclement weather, and entire cube may be needed."
Things I liked
Extremely light weight.
Few moving parts.
Easy to setup.
Tinder was easy to ignite.
Tinder burned well in wind and rain.
Things I disliked
Nothing at this stage.
This concludes my Initial Report. The Field
Report will be amended to this report in approximately two months from
the date of this report. Please check back then for further information.
7th November 2009
During this phase of my report the Ultimate Survival
Technologies (UST) WetFire stove has been used on five multi-day
hikes. The multi-day hikes were along the Bibbulmun Track and ranged
from 13 km (8 miles) to 26 km (16 miles). Two of these hikes saw
large amounts of precipitation and the temperatures ranged from a
low of 8 C (46 F) to a high of 29 C (84 F). The terrain was
relatively flat, as are most of the areas I hike in. The most recent Field trip was
an overnight hike which consisted of a 31 km (19 miles) round trip
in the Dwellingup region. The temperature reached 27 C (81 F) during
the day and 11 C (52 F) during the early hours of the morning as
recorded by my wrist watch. There was no precipitation during this
For the field performance section of this report I am going to
concentrate on my last outing, as described above, with the stove as
it provides for a range of uses that are typical of a multi-day hike
My food list for this hike is as below:
Breakfast x 1
Lunch x 1
Nuts, food bar
Dinner x 1 - home made dehydrated
Chilli Con Carne
Tea and Gatorade powder
Dinner was a home made dehydrated meal of Chilli Con
Carne and really involves two stages of preparation. Firstly I add
cold water to the meal which is stored in a resealable plastic bag
and then left to rehydrate for approximately 1.5 hours. Once
satisfied that the food has been rehydrated I then pour the contents
into my cooking pot and heat through until hot and ready to eat. The
use of the stove and the tinder in this case is merely to heat the
contents of the cooking pot. It failed dismally. Despite the stove
being used in a sheltered area (inside the trail shelter) and a
windshield being in use the WetFire Tinder was unable to burn long
enough to heat the food to eating temperature. The tinder did
however burn to completion. As I only packed a limited number of the
tinder I had to complete the heating process over an open fire.
MSR Titan Kettle in use with stove.
The next time I came to use the stove and tinder
combination was with my morning cup of tea. In this case I was
boiling enough water for two cups (usually gets me going in the
morning), which is approximately 600 ml. Again the stove was in a
position where is was not exposed to wind or rain and a windshield
was use. After approximately 5 minutes the tinder had fully burned
and yet the water was not at a temperature suitable for use. In fact
there were no signs of the water starting to boil at all. The air
temperature at this time was approximately 14 C (57 F).
Based on the two documented uses above and many other times using
the WetFire Stove and Tinder out in the field I would suggest that
this is a setup that would be suited to emergency situations or
where only small volumes of water are needed. The combination does
burn long enough for a single cup serving of hot water. I did not
use of the stove and tinder for cooking fresh meals as the burn time
simply falls short of what would be needed.
As there are two pieces of equipment as part of this test series I
will note that other sources and brands of fuel also work with the
stove and perform significantly better in terms of burn time. The
fact that the stove is multi-brand fuel compatible is a positive one
and should be taken into consideration when evaluating this great
can be seen from the image above, and as noted in the Initial report
the cooking pot does fit very well on the stove and did not display
any signs of instability. The amount of soot created is a little
unpleasant and somewhat difficult to clean while out in the field
with limited water supply. Once home it was easy to clean off with
hot soapy water and a course sponge.
Overall I am happy with the stoves performance. It is extremely
light, compact and packs well, seems to be quite durable, supports
the two cooking pots I utilise very well and can be used with other
brand fuels. The tinder ignites very well, usually on first strike.
On the negative side I am disappointed in the burn time of the
tinder and the vicious soot it creates.
This concludes my Field Report for the Ultimate Survival
Technologies WetFire Stove.
11th January 2010
During this phase of the report series the WetFire
stove has remained part of my essential hiking gear, mainly due to
the stoves weight and compactness. It has accompanied my on five
days on the trail which has included various Northern sections of
the Bibbulmun track. The temperatures have ranged from 15 C (59 F)
to approximately 32 C (90 F). As we are in Summer there has been no
rainfall. The majority of these trips covered approximately 30 km or
18 miles either in a single day or a short overnight hike.
As reported in my Field-Report the Stove itself performs really
quite well and when used with either of my two cooking pots, and MSR
Titan Kettle or Heineken pot I have found the stability to be very
good, nothing has been spilt as yet. The stove shows no signs of
damage or excessive wear; it does however have a rather large amount
of soot build-up due to the nature of the WetFire Tinder. One issue
which I thought may have come up is the strength and reliability of
the small rivet that acts as the hinge for the legs, however it too
has performed well and looks like it will continue to do so.
This brings me to the next part of the test, the WetFire Tinder. I
am unhappy to report that the tinder has still fallen short of my
expectations and has not performed any better than what was reported
in the Field-Report. Still I am unable to boil or get even close to
boiling two cups of water which is the normal amount needed for me
to re-hydrate a meal. With this in mind I feel as a primary fuel the
Tinder is not suitable. Each occasion I have used the WetFire stove
and Tinder I have carried an alternate fuel source due to this
failure. In my opinion the WetFire Tinder can only be used in an
emergency situation where any form of heat is better than nothing,
or the Tinder can be used as a fire starter.
Overall I am very happy with the test series and the weight
advantages the WetFire stove has provided me. I will continue to use
the stove on my hiking trips along with an alternate fuel source
which performs much better. Another factor for me in opting to use a
different fuel is the lack of availability in Australia for the
WetFire Tinder. This little stove has created a lot of attention
both on and off track. It truly is a great stove and I look forward
to many years of use.
This concludes my Long-Term Report and the test
series for the Ultimate Survival Technologies WetFire Stove.
Thank you to Ultimate Survival Technologies and BackpackGearTest.org for the
privilege of testing the WetFire Stove.