New Life on a Homestead: Hot Ash Review

New Life on a Homestead: Hot Ash Review

June 28, 2016

The Hot Ash Stove

Hot Ash Stove Review

Meet Hot Ash.

It’s a compact, lightweight, portable rocket stove perfect for camping, off grid cooking, and emergency preps.

The Hot Ash Stove efficiently cooks and heats water, requiring very little wood to burn. You can literally cook a meal with a handful of sticks.

All of the pieces tuck neatly into each other to save a ton of space in your pack. It even comes with its own handy carrying bag to keep everything neat and tidy. Weighing only 3 lbs, it’s light enough to carry pretty much anywhere.

Hot Ash Stove Review

Assembly is easy, and requires no tools. The two wingnuts used to hold the stove together are easily tightened with your fingers. 

Hot Ash Stove Review

There are clear instruction on how to put the stove together, if you just aren’t sure.

Let’s put it to the test, shall we?

The Field Test

Hot Ash Stove Review

It took me less than a minute to assemble all of the pieces as shown. Super easy. I did drop a wingnut during the process which made me realize how easy it could be to lose one in the field. Don’t drop the wingnuts.

Once the stove is put together you’re ready to start cooking. Use the stove the same way you’d use a burner on your range at home. Eggs and bacon? Perfect. Chicken noodle soup? No problem.

 

Hot Ash Stove Review

The stove top will accommodate something as small as a camping cup or as large as a 12″ pot or pan. It’s even strong enough for heavy cast iron cookware.

 

Hot Ash Stove Review

Find level ground to place your Hot Ash Stove on before building a fire. The built in stand on the back helps keep the unit steady.

Hot Ash Stove Review

There’s an opening in the front where you load your fire starting material and small sticks. Collect dried grasses, bark, twigs, and small sticks to build a fire. Make sure you clear the area around the stove of anything flammable before lighting a fire in the stove.

Hot Ash Stove Review

I’m no master fire builder, but I have cooked on other rocket stoves quite a few times. On first attempt I found it difficult to get a fire started in the Hot Ash. There is no damper, so no way to regulate air flow. Eventually I was able to get a good burn going. It does take some practice to get the hang of it, and the choice of burning materials will definitely affect efficiency.

 

Hot Ash Stove Review

Once a good fire is going you can add a few small, dry sticks to feed the flame, pushing them further in as they burn. Continue adding more sticks as needed to keep the fire going.

Hot Ash Stove Review

I thought I’d test the stove’s ability to heat 2 quarts of water to see how quickly it could reach a rolling boil. That’s probably close to the amount of water I’d boil for my family of six for soup or just-add-water meals on a camping trip. 

Hot Ash Stove Review

The stove burned very hot. You have to be careful not to touch any part of it while a fire is going. Definitely keep curious kids away! 

Hot Ash Stove Review

The Results 

After 25 minutes of feeding a blazing fire, the water was at a simmer. This was significantly longer than it took me to boil water on an Eco Zoom Stove, another rocket stove with its own set of pros and cons. If I had used less water I have no doubt it would have come to a boil much more quickly. A cup at a time would heat very quickly, I’m sure.  Perhaps my choice of wood affected the outcome as well. The sticks I used were dry and fit to burn, but a harder wood might have burned hotter. When you’re in the field you may not have much choice in what you burn, so it may take longer to cook depending on what you have available for fuel.

I waited about 10 minutes or so for the stove to completely cool before I could dump the ashes out and pack the Hot Ash up. Make sure you pour water over the ashes to put out any remaining hot coals.

Cleanup is messy. You must disassemble the stove in order to pack it up compactly again, which means touching lots of soot. Be forewarned, anything that touches the stove will get blackened.

All in all, I was very pleased with the Hot Ash Stove’s ability to heat using very little wood. Because it is so lightweight and compact, it would be my first choice for a travel stove. As a matter of fact, I’ll probably keep it in my car emergency kit to replace the small Esbit folding stoves I currently have in there. Those little fuel tablets stink like crazy and burn up pretty quickly, leaving the Esbit stove useless once you’re out of tablets.

Check out this quick video to watch the stove in action.

 

The Pros & Cons at a Glimpse

Several design elements set the Hot Ash Stove apart from other off grid cooking alternatives:

  • Easy to assemble, doesn’t require any additional tools.
  • Lighter and more compact than other rocket stoves on the market.
  • Great for travel. Can be carried in a backpack.
  • Heats with wood, making it cheap and easy to fuel.
  • Uses much less wood than a traditional campfire.
  • Made in the USA from quality stainless steel.
  • Sturdy, strong materials. Can hold up to a 12″ pan.
  • Comes with a Lifetime Guarantee.

As cool as the stove is, I did note a few downsides to consider with the Hot Ash:

  • At 3 lbs it is a little heavy for backpacking, though definitely doable.
  • No damper to control flame.
  • It’s a little tricky to get a fire started, but once it gets going good it works pretty well.
  • Takes longer to heat than some other travel stoves.
  • Gets extremely hot to touch.
  • Because assembly is required, there is a chance that you could lose a wingnut in the field and not be able to properly assemble the stove for use.
  • Must be cooled completely before it can be packed up or moved.
  • Clean up is a little messy. Be prepared with baby wipes or soap and water to clean blackened hands.
  • Cost. At $140 ($129 on Amazon) it’s on the higher price end for portable stoves. 

Hot Ash Stove