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Reviews > Cook and Food Storage Gear > Stoves > Zip Ztove Sierra stove > Owner Review by Dawn Larsen

Zip Ztove Sierra Stove
Date:  1 July 2008

Name: Dawn Larsen
Age: 47
Gender: female
Height: 5’ 4” (163 cm)
Weight: 165 lb (74 kg)
Email address: vicioushillbilly AT yahoo DOT com
Florence, South Carolina USA

Backpacking Background:
I am getting back into backpacking and just recently (in the last year) backpacked some private trails twice in Tennessee.  I have been an avid car-camper for ten years and I have kayak/canoe camped for three years, both mostly in Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas. I am slowly collecting lighter gear (approximately 35 lb [16 kg] pack weight) as my car camping gear is heavy.  I hike hilly/rocky trails especially in Tennessee and Missouri.  I just moved to South Carolina and am planning to check out the terrain here with my fourteen year-old son.

Manufacturer:   ZZ Manufacturing, Inc.
Year of manufacture:  purchased in 2006
Listed weight of stove: 1 lb (0.45 kg)
Weight as delivered with battery: 1 lb (0.45 kg)
Dimensions: The combustion chamber measures 4" diameter by 2.75" deep (10 cm x 7 cm). Unassembled the stove measures 5" round by 3.5" (12.7 cm x 8.9 cm).  Assembled the stove measures 6.25" high (16 cm).
MSRP:  $57.00  US  
Battery type – one AA battery
Operation time is about 6 hours on one AA battery.  
Made in USA

unassembled stove packed stove manufacturer's image

Product Description

The Zip Ztove Sierra stove came with: the burner bowl, power supply, blower and instructions. The Zip Ztove Sierra stove is an aluminum backpacking stove that burns almost anything combustible:  wood, dried dung, leaves, pinecones, paper, charcoal and other solid fuels.   This stove is operated by igniting combustible material in the well of the stove (called the combustion chamber) and then turning on the fan to force oxygen through the fire to make the fuel burn hotter and more efficiently. To assemble the stove, I set the burner bowl on top of the blower, which also acts as the stand. There are two speeds to regulate the temperature.  The manufacturer states that it will boil water in four minutes on the highest setting. Any backpacking cookset can be used with the stove.   It is powered by one AA battery. The instructions warn not to put the battery in backwards because that turns the fan in the opposite direction and will suck the fire into the motor and ruin the motor. The battery compartment is marked clearly.  The blower and power supply store inside the combustion chamber of the stove when not in use. Accessories and parts are sold separately.   

Field Experience

I have used this stove at least ten times a year for the past two years primarily during the summer months, in Tennessee and Missouri, in rain and sun.   I sold my duel fuel backpacking stove after I bought the Sierra stove because the Sierra was lighter and I didn’t have a fuel bottle to carry.  I just burn what I find. I have burned sticks, leaves, pinecones, pine needles, and paper.  I have used this stove as my only means for cooking on a three-day river trip and it worked great.  

To ignite the fuel:  Like the instructions suggest, I carry cottonballs smeared with Vaseline in a ziplock bag. I put one cottonball under four to five 3" (7.62 cm) sticks, or whatever else I find to burn, in the combustion chamber. I use a match to ignite the cottonball because it is difficult to get a lighter down into the combustion chamber. The cottonball ignites quickly and this seems to help when the fuel is damp.  The fan also seems to dry out the damp fuel as the cottonball burns. After the initial fire is established, I add enough sticks to fill up the combustion chamber to 3/4 full (per the instructions), make sure that fuel ignites, then turn on the fan.  There is room between the stand the pot sits on and the rim of the combustion chamber to add more fuel so I can continue to cook as long as I add fuel. I cannot see how much fuel is in there because the fire burns so hot, so I add more fuel ( a stick or two) approximately every two minutes. The fire has never died for me.  I do have to break up the fuel because the diameter of the combustion chamber is only 4” (10 cm) and  2.75” (7 cm) deep, so the sticks should be about 3.5” (9 cm) long, at the longest.   The fuel burns completely to gray ash because the fire is so hot with the forced ventilation.

On the highest setting one quart of water really does boil in 4-6 minutes in the summer, in Tennessee, which is humid and hot, 80 F to 100 F (26.7 C to 37.8 C), especially when I put a lid on the pot.

Three main considerations that make this stove different from other stoves are:
1. Finding dry fuel in a downpour.  However, it truly burns anything combustible very efficiently even if the fuel is damp. I have never tried to burn water-soaked fuel because I always seem to find something “damp” rather than soaked to burn.  
2. Carrying extra batteries to make sure the fan will run.  The stove will work without the fan, but not nearly as efficiently. I had to do this once when the battery got wet because I left the battery, not the stove, out in the rain.  I have never used more than one battery in one weekend cooking two meals per day on it.  
3. Burning wood, or wood related fuel (dung, leaves, pinecones), turns my pans black.  I think this might help with heat efficiency, but it is kind of a mess.  I just make sure that I keep my pans in their own stuff sack so the black junk doesn’t get other items in my pack dirty.  I have also, rubbed gravel and/or the ash left from the fire in the stove on the bottom of the pan to take off some of the black.

This stove has always worked very well for me.  I take it to cook breakfast when we car camp because it’s simpler and quicker to use than my duel fuel two-burner camp stove. The burner bowl does get hot to the touch.  It cools in about ten minutes, five to six minutes if I leave the fan on after the fuel has burned up.  It rains a lot in Tennessee, and I have always been able to make a fire in this stove.  It is aluminum, so it dents and scratches easily, but I have not been especially careful with it and it operates fine, it just looks bad. I like that this stove’s motor is a simple mechanism and a new motor from ZZ Manufacturing can be ordered for US $7.00.


I absolutely would recommend this stove for multi-day trips. This stove requireds no stinky spilled fuel, is lightweight, and easy to use.  I will continue to use it in my future backpacking, and kayak day/overnight trips.  

Things I like:
1.    light
2.    simple
3.    repairable
4.    no fuel to carry

Things I don’t like:
1.    battery powered and batteries run out
2.    turns my pans black


Read more reviews of ZZ Manufacturing gear
Read more gear reviews by Dawn Larsen

Reviews > Cook and Food Storage Gear > Stoves > Zip Ztove Sierra stove > Owner Review by Dawn Larsen

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