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Reviews > Cook and Food Storage Gear > Stoves > 180 Tack 180 Stove > Test Report by alex legg
180 Tack Stove
Test Series by Alex Legg
Initial Report October 15th, 2012
Field Report January 8th, 2013
Long Term Report February 19th, 2013
Name: Alex Legg
Height: 6'4" (1.9 m)
Weight: 195 lb (88 kg)
Email address: alexlegg2 AT yahoo DOT com
City, State, Country: Tucson, Arizona, USA
I grew up backpacking in the Rockies. I hike ranges throughout Arizona and Colorado year round. I carry a light pack, mostly water. I prefer a tarp shelter to my heavier 2-person tent. I do many day hikes and I also spend as many as 5 days out at a time. Temperatures range from below freezing to above 100 F (38 C), and elevations from 2,000 ft to 14,000 ft ( 610 m to 4, 300 m). I bag a mountain almost every weekend, and I walk my dogs 4 miles daily through deep sand and overgrown mesquite trees in our local washes.
Product Information and Specifications:
Manufacturer: 180 Tack, LLC. Made in USA
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Material: 24 ga, 304 Stainless Steel
Listed Weight: Stove: 10.4 oz (295 g)
Snow/Ash Pan: 5.8 oz (164 g)
Measured Weight: Stove: 10.4 oz (295 g)
Snow/Ash Pan: 5.7 oz (162 g)
Listed Dimensions: Assembled: 7 in x 6 in x 3.25 in (18 cm x 15 cm x 8 cm)
Folded:7 in x 3.25 in x 0.6 in (18 cm x 8 cm x 1.5 cm )
Measured Dimensions: Same as Listed
MSRP: Stove: $46.95
Snow/Ash Pan: $7.95
Product Description and Initial Impressions:
The 180 Tack Stove is a backpacking stove that burns natural fuel such as wood and leaves. The stove is assembled by connecting the three side pieces and the three cross bar pieces. The pieces interlock using a tab and slot design. No tools are required and the unit goes together pretty easily. I didn't look at the instructions at all until after I had put the stove together and played with it. The two long side pieces have the name 180 STOVE cut into them. The smaller back piece has six holes that measure about 0.5 in (1 cm) in diameter. The holes all look like they are to help with airflow.
I had to do a little bending of the crossbar tabs to get them to fit well, but it was not an irritating issue. The stove feels really strong once the crossbars go in. For weighing under a pound, the 180 Stove feels like it can hold a lot. My curiosity got the best of me and I set a heavy 9 in (23 cm) cast iron skillet on top. Much to my surprise, the 180 Stove held the cast iron with no trouble. Wow was all that came to my mind. I doubt that the stove will have any trouble holding my ultra lightweight backpacking pots regardless of how much food I stuff into them.
The snow/ash pan assembles by easily connecting the long tab and slot. The 180 Stove fits perfectly right on top of the pan without a problem. Not that I would, but I could probably carry the stove with the burning fire all over camp while the stove sits on the pan. It's a pretty sturdy fit.
The stove disassembles just as easily as it assembles, and then it all stacks together making its own compact case. The snow/ash pan fits conveniently on the outside of the compact case without adding much to the total size or weight. Two hook-and-loop straps came attached around the case to help keep the ensemble from falling apart. I don't especially like the hook-and-loop straps so I may substitute them for two rubber bands.
Trying it out:
After I set up the stove I wanted to see just how well it worked. I found some small dry twigs and a little bit of dryer lint to get the fire started. At first I tried to build the fire inside the stove, but my hands could barely fit in to work. I removed the outer crossbar and was able to get my hands in to work on the fire. When I later read the user guide I realized how much easier it would be to simply build a small starter fire, and place the stove over the hot flames. Funny how it pays to read the user guide or to stop and think a little. I can however see how if wind was present, starting the fire inside the walls of the stove may be beneficial, but I do like the easy approach. The 20 oz (0.6 L) of water that filled my cooking pot got to a simmering boil in under ten minutes and I poured it into my French press for some coffee.
I noticed that the crossbars got covered in soot pretty quickly and so did my cooking pot. I was able to clean off most of the soot after the metal cooled off, but the odor of campfire remained. I am not bothered by this at all, and I went ahead and folded the stove up and stuffed it back into the plastic bag it was shipped in. The smell doesn't seem to come through the plastic much. I will probably use a bandana to clean the metal surfaces off when I'm on the trail.
This is a strong little stove! It holds way more weight than I expected, and it is super easy to assemble. I like that I can burn natural fuel and keep some empty fuel canisters out of the landfills. I look forward to getting this stove out in the field!
Things I like:
1. It gets dirty fast.
2. Edges could be sharp
I have used the 180 Tack Stove on numerous occasions. From car camping to backpacking to playing with fire in my front yard. A few of the trips are mentioned below.
I used the stove on an overnight trip to the Santa Rita Mountains in Coronado National Forest. The elevation ranged from 4,500 ft to 7080 ft (1,370 m to 2,158 m) and the temperature ranged from 15 F to 45 F (-9 C to 7 C).
I went on another overnight trip to the Wilderness of Rocks in Coronado National Forest. The elevation ranged from 7,280 ft to 9,080 ft (2,219 m to 2,768 m) and the temperature ranged from 25 F to 50 F (-4 C to 10 C).
I tested the stove on a 22 mi (35 km) segment of the Arizona Trail starting in Patagonia Arizona. The trip was 2 days and 1 night. The elevation ranged from around 4,100 ft to around 6,400 ft (1,250 m to 1,951 m) and the temperature ranged from 20 F to 55 F (-7 C to 13 C).
Performance in the field:
The 180 Tack Stove is cool. I can't say that it's easier to cook my food on than using a fuel based stove, but it can be a lot more fun. The 180 also packs down a lot smaller than my fuel stoves. I already enjoy playing with fire anyway and this stove allows me to do that while also cooking my food. I have always taken a back up fuel burning stove, so I haven't used the 180 as my sole source of cooking yet. This has allowed me the freedom to spend time making the fire without worrying about whether or not I was going to eat that night.
My only complaint with the stove is that it gets black with soot quickly and then my hands and pots are a mess. The soot wipes off the pots easily, and off my hands with a little more work. I store the stove and the ash pan inside the original stove packaging to keep the mess contained. The package is just a simple reusable plastic bag similar to a sandwich bag, but much thicker. Once inside the bag, the stove packs into my pack easily.
I think for a thru hike in a dry climate, this would be great. In the summer I would have better luck in the higher elevations than I have been in during this test. The Sky Island Mountains that I have been testing the stove in have had a good amount of snow and rain, leaving me with little dry fuel to find for the stove and forcing me to use my fuel burning stove. On car camping excursions I have just brought dry wood up to make the process easier.
I also spent a lot of time playing with the 180 Stove in my yard. It gave me the chance to practice starting fire with different fuel sources for my survival training while having a safe spot to keep and move the flames. I have used petroleum jelly soaked cotton balls to get a flame started as well as pine needles and dried grasses. I really like that I can keep these items contained in the 180 Stove and more safe from the wind than if I was starting fire out in the open. I also really like that I can pick up the entire unit and move the fire when my dogs run up. It has also been useful when it started to rain out and I just picked up the fire and moved it under cover.
Overall I like the 180 Stove a lot. It packs down to a very minimal size and the mess of soot created by the fire is easily contained in the plastic storage bag. I look forward to using the stove on some long thru hikes during the dry season when there will be more burnable wood around. I will continue to carry the stove on backpacking trips and car camping trips for a long time to come.
Things I Like:
1. Packs down small
2. Easy to move the stove with fire inside if necessary
3. A more "Green" approach to cooking than my fuel burning stoves
1. Soot, lots of soot.
2. What should I do when everything around is wet?
I would like to thank 180 Tack LLC and BackpackGearTest.org for the chance to test this product!
I have continued to use the 180 Stove on all my backpacking and car camping trips throughout the last part of the testing period.
I took the stove on a 2-day 1-night trip to the Catilina mountains north of Tucson. The elevation was around 7,500 ft (2,286 m) and the temperature ranged from 25 F to 55 F (-4 C to 13 C).
I also used the stove on an overnight trip to the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson. The elevation ranged from around 5,000 ft to around 8,000 ft (1,524 m to around 2,438 m) and the temperature ranged from 30 F to 45 F (-1 C to 7 C).
The stove also was used on an overnight car camping trip to the Rincon mountains east of Tucson. The elevation was around 6,500 ft (1,981 m) and the temperature ranged from 35 F to 50 F (2 C to 10 C).
Performance in the Field:
I hope I have this stove for a long time and I think I have a good chance. The sturdy metal construction and lack of mechanical parts make it pretty hard to break. If anything gets bent then I bend it back. If it gets wet then I wipe it off. I haven't had any rust issues even after leaving it out in the rain overnight.
I have again found in difficult to find dry tinder in the high country I have been exploring, but I have had great luck with pulling coals from a raging fire and tossing them into the stove. A good coal of about 2 in by 2 in (5 cm by 5 cm) is enough to easily cook some hot dogs or water for coffee. I like to get some flames burning on the coals when I boil water so I try and throw some dry sticks on.
This stove has been a big hit among my backpacking friends as well as with people I have met along the trail. Everyone I have talked to loves the idea of a natural fuel burning stove when weather permits for dry fuel. As I tell people, I do have to wait a bit longer for food to cook, but it is so much more fun to play with fire than to watch a blue flame burn from my fuel burning stoves.
This has been a fun product to test and one that I am happy to own. I look forward to burning stuff and cooking with it in the future.
Things I like:
1. More fun for me than using a fuel burning stove.
2. Strong and durable.
3. Environmentally smart
Things I don't like:
1. Lots of soot
2. Hard to use if there is no dry tinder around.
I would like to thank 180 Tack, LLC and BackpackGearTest.org for the chance to test this cool product!
Read more reviews of 180 Tack LLC gear
Read more gear reviews by alex legg
Reviews > Cook and Food Storage Gear > Stoves > 180 Tack 180 Stove > Test Report by alex legg
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