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Reviews > Cook Gear > Stoves > Ultimate Survival Tech WetFIRE Stove > Test Report by Mark McLauchlin

Ultimate Survival Technologies
WetFire Stove
Initial Report 19th August 2009
Field Report 7th November 2009

Long-Term Report 11th January 2010
By Mark McLauchlin

WetFire Stove out in the rain


Reviewer Information

Name: Mark McLauchlin
Age: 30
Gender: Male
Height: 1.76 m (5 9)
Weight: 80 kg (176 lb)
Email: mark at swanvalleyit.com.au
City: Perth, Western Australia

Backpacking Background

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 possible. 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.

Product Information

Manufacturer: Ultimate Survival Technologies
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.ultimatesurvival.com
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)
MSRP: N/A


Product Description

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.

Leg Profile Folded Stove Leg Pivot Point
Side Profile of WetFire Stove leg WetFire Stove folded WetFire Stove leg pivot point

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 on.
 
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.

First strike Tinder begins to ignite Tinder alight
Fire Starting Tinder on WetFire Stove, first strike with Light My Fire Mini Firesteel Fire Starting Tinder begins to ignite Fire Starting Tinder alight
Tinder fully alight Tinder after burning
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 field further.
 

Heineken Pot MSR Titan Kettle
Heineken Pot 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 level.
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 cold conditions."

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."

Summary

Things I liked
Extremely light weight.
Simple design.
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.


Field Report
7th November 2009
 
WetFire stove
 

Field Conditions

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 time.

Field Performance

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 for myself.

My food list for this hike is as below:

 

Breakfast x 1 Cereal
Lunch x 1 Nuts, food bar
Dinner x 1 - home made dehydrated Chilli Con Carne
Drinks 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.
 

WetFire Stove with Tinder

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 pursue the 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 little stove.

As 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.

Summary

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.
 


Long-Term Report
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.
 

 

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