/ Wood burner for tent advice?

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Bjartur i Sumarhus on 27 Jun 2017
Considering buying a wood burner for my bell tent (it's a 5m one) for no other reason than it seems like it could be fun to have one in the colder months and think the kids would love it. Had a look online and there seem to be a few standard designs that come in around £200-£300 (frontier stove/ firebox stove). I was told to go for a rear exit flu that exits tent through the side wall rather than the roof by one large online bell tent retailer due to better rain protection.

These two designs seem like the most popular choice , but I have one gripe and that is you cannot see the fire. I have seen some tent stoves that have glass doors/panels but these are twice the price.

So does anyone have and use a tent wood burner and have any tips on which one to go for, or even to not bother at all? (before I make a potentially expensive mistake ;-)

Thx in advance
Oliver Houston - on 27 Jun 2017
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

Do you use a woodburner at home? Firewood's probably an expensive heat source if you're just using it camping occasionally. I wouldn't be too concerned about not being able to see the fire, after a while you know almost instinctively how often it needs topping up (mine's about an hour for softwood, 1.5 for ash, 2 for beech/oak).

Personally, I wouldn't be bothered with the faff camping, but then we only camp with a good forecast and don't have kids.

Also, consider the size, I assume they're pretty small, so you'd need to chop down logs in advance as you wouldn't want to be doing it at a campsite, potentially in the rain.
Jenny C on 27 Jun 2017
In reply to Oliver Houston:

Also where will you source wood from? For a good burn (maximum heat output and low emissions) it needs to be well seasoned, have you space in the car to take tent, stove, wood, kids etc?
Siward on 27 Jun 2017
elliot.baker - on 27 Jun 2017
In reply to Siward:

is that safe? doesn't it make the tent really smokey without a chimney of some sort?
jimtitt - on 27 Jun 2017
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

I´ ve built a few for myself and other people, adding a glass in the door isn´ t cheap!
Rear-exit is ok BUT it´ s harder to get a good draw and you usually need a support, best is a tee-chimney where the lower part is both the support and helps the airflow.
Hassle in smaller bell tents is usually the oven has to be so near the middle to get away from the sloping sides that the horizontal chimney has to be far too long (you want to be at least 50cm from the tent sides, the radiant heat can be brutal).
A decent one should burn with the door open once it´ s all going o.k and the chimney has enough draw, make sure there´ s a deflector plate built into the oven or it will be rubbish!
And fit a spark arrestor on the chimney!
Siward on 27 Jun 2017
In reply to elliot.baker:

It is safe? Safe enough yes. The tipi walls are a good 5 feet away all around.

There is a large opening in the roof which funnels smoke out.

I was using smokeless fuel there. I lit it outside and when the initial smoke died down moved it inside, carefully!
malk - on 27 Jun 2017
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

a few people sell gas bottle wood burners on ebay for cheap
or how about an outdoor pizza oven?
jonnie3430 - on 27 Jun 2017
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

Have you thought that teaching your kids glamping may mean that they won't camp unless they can glamp, and won't be able to, or want to, rough it when they are old enough to go camping themselves, but can't afford to glamp?

You could split the cash that you would spend on this stove on an adventure fund for them to spend on outdoors kit and train tickets for their own adventures, I know I never had enough of either growing up.
Chris Harris - on 27 Jun 2017
davidbeynon on 27 Jun 2017
In reply to jonnie3430:

It's worse than that. I bet he lets them live in a house between camping trips as well!
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 27 Jun 2017
In reply to Oliver Houston and others...

Yes I have a wood burner at home and have a good supply of firewood, I also have a log splitter so easy to break it up small enough to fit in the small tent burner.

In response to the faff of camping, it is actually going up in my paddock at home for the summer months and probably for some weekend parties in the autumn and winter as well (which is where the wood burner might come in handy) If we go camping away from home we use a Vango family tent.

We already have fire pits and bonfires at home, and also have camped with the kids in "normal tents" with zero luxuries (i.e not glamping) when camping on holiday.

@ JimmTitt ...thx, good point. I will look into this a bit more, nothing worse than struggling to light a fire that won't draw

@Jonnie3430 , I take your point, but my children are young and I think they will relish the idea of camping away free from parents in the years to come more than needing to be glamping (i might be wrong though) , also, the glamping aspect of this is more to get the wife involved than the kids ;-)
Pbob on 27 Jun 2017
In reply to elliot.baker:

In Canada they describe wood burners for tents as 'hippy killers'.
captain paranoia - on 27 Jun 2017
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

Have a look at the MYOG forum on backpackinglight.com There are plenty of designs of tent woodburners. Though most of them feature Ti foil, Ti plates, etc (the lightweight bit is key here...).
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toad - on 27 Jun 2017
In reply to Pbob:

I use a carbon monoxide alarm with mine and ive never heard a peep from it, but im careful with my venting. The bigger risk is the red hot chimney in a relatively small space. I know some people use dog crates to surround their stove but again, its more a case of being careful.
toad - on 27 Jun 2017
In reply to jonnie3430:

Ive never really thought of my tentipi/ stove setup as glamping. If you're camping out of the back of a car its equivalent to a big family tent, but warmer and (importantly) drier.

I know a couple of people who use this setup for canoe camping, which is probably more hardcore than most climbers driving onto site and sticking their quasar up before heading to the pub.
Timmd on 27 Jun 2017
In reply to Pbob:

> In Canada they describe wood burners for tents as 'hippy killers'.

I was wondering about carbon monoxide.
toad - on 27 Jun 2017
In reply to Timmd:
if it's externally vented ( i.e. It's got a chimney) and there is adequate low level air venting (my tentipi has 3 zippable low level vents) CO shouldn't ever be a problem, anymore than a log burner at home, but a CO monitor is not a big issue, compared to the overall cost of tent + stove

ETA I think it's more about it being a relatively novel set up, so people are careful. The nat. Trust will rent you my setup at Langdale, so it's been properly risk assessed. Costs an arm and a leg, mind
Post edited at 21:12
wbo - on 27 Jun 2017
In reply to toad: you carry a wood burning stove on the canoeing?.?

toad - on 27 Jun 2017
In reply to wbo:
Not me, but I know people who do.

http://www.timgentoutdoors.com
wbo - on 27 Jun 2017
In reply to toad: in Norway rather than being called a tentipi ITS called a laavuu. I always wanted one, but god i hate camping in it. Fresing cold every time and the only tent I've ever had blow down.

I dont understand the fascination with tarps either.

toad - on 27 Jun 2017
In reply to wbo:
Tentipi is a brand, I guess. I've always found it remarkably stable, compared to a similar size tunnel tent, and much quieter in the wind, but I think the design does have the potential for being cold, but you can't really compare it to , say a three / four person geodesic.
solostoke - on 27 Jun 2017
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

I have an expedition in an emperor tent. No window but you have to have the door cracked open on it anyway. It's good and it heats up well but you do have to fettle with it a lot more than a stove at home where you can leave it be for a few hours at a time. It does stay in all but overnight though not kicking out much heat.
Definitely worth it for stoking up after a cold wet day out.
Don't know where I'd place one in a bell tent though without getting in the way.
Timmd on 27 Jun 2017
In reply to wbo:

> in Norway rather than being called a tentipi ITS called a laavuu. I always wanted one, but god i hate camping in it. Fresing cold every time and the only tent I've ever had blow down.

> I dont understand the fascination with tarps either.

In parts of America or southern or central Europe I'm thinking tarps could be great.
wbo - on 27 Jun 2017
In reply to Timmd: i can see that, but it doesn't seem a good technology transfer to a country with horizontal rain. Ergo the thread
Where someone looks for advice for a bivi bag to use under their tarp.

I recall on another forum some had bought a similar lavvu to mine, but planned on using it, sans pole, as a tarp (lightweight!). It would be a nightmare to get up and working as ITS pretty high, well over 2m. His wife hadnt been camping much before, i doubt she was impressed with this.

I dont have a woodburning stove, but i do have a portable barbecue

summo on 28 Jun 2017
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

> In response to the faff of camping, it is actually going up in my paddock at home for the summer months and probably for some weekend parties in the autumn and winter as well (which is where the wood burner might come in handy)

Why not just build a small cabin / posh shed? ;)

Bjartur i Sumarhus on 28 Jun 2017
In reply to summo:

Designated agricultural land, so building is difficult unless I stick cows or sheep in it, or the shed/cabin is on skis.

and I have a few sheds already, although I wouldn't describe any of them as posh, and I wouldn't relish sleeping in any of them unless I had a tool/spider or rat fetish ;-)
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 28 Jun 2017
In reply to Pbob:

I already considered this risk and would use a carbon monoxide alarm from the house. I was reading recently that disposable BBQs are a big killer in tents where people think they have gone out, but they are still slowly burning and they keep them in the tent for warmth.
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summo on 28 Jun 2017
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:
> Designated agricultural land, so building is difficult unless I stick cows or sheep in it, or the shed/cabin is on skis.

A sheperds type hut is not that bad a plan, provided you have the means to move it. Although you could fit a conventional tow hitch. City folk pay a fortune to sleep in them, just as much as a drafty Wigwam.
Post edited at 09:09
duchessofmalfi - on 28 Jun 2017

Before you make a potentially expensive mistake, make sure you have a CO alarm fitted.
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 28 Jun 2017
In reply to summo:

Even just the wheels and chassis go for big money these days with no hut on top. You are right though, no issues with the council for one of those as it's mobile.

andrew breckill on 28 Jun 2017
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:
Hey there, the yanks been doing it for years they call it hot tenting, search some of the hunting forums in the US, plenty of good practical advice on them ref woodburners. I find some of the responses amusing, like were would you get the wood? and ooh its too expensive. I buy bulk bags of birch/oak for £95 delivered. Its seasoned and kiln dried (important as damp wood reduces heat output). I use it for hot tenting, in my chiminea and BBQ cooking, real BBQ that is, indirect heat and burning hardwood not charcoal.
Post edited at 13:36
summo on 28 Jun 2017
In reply to andrew breckill:
Kiln dried?! Great if you are buying building wood, but over kill for firewood. Air dried and stored indoors is just as good.
Rick Graham on 28 Jun 2017
In reply to summo:

I like the stories of folk who pay over the odds for kiln dried then store it outside in the open.

Doh
elliott92 - on 28 Jun 2017
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

if you go on the bushcraft forum or on bushcraftuk forum, plenty of people have made their own and have posted photos. super easy to make out of an old ammo box
andrew breckill on 28 Jun 2017
In reply to summo:
Lol, It was actually the cheapest i could find at the time, didn't go out specifically to buy kiln dried wood at that point, but there you go.
To the smart alec no i dont store it outside in the rain.
Post edited at 19:38
Rick Graham on 28 Jun 2017
In reply to andrew breckill:
> To the smart alec no i dont store it outside in the rain.

Never said the story was about you.

Rick, sitting smugly at his PC, glancing over his shoulder at two to three years supply of seasoned timber at the bottom of the garden. All obtained FOC from building site tree clearance

Might start collecting again soon.
Post edited at 19:48
andrew breckill on 28 Jun 2017
In reply to Rick Graham:
True, you did not, my bad. I am about to seriously prune my apple tree, a few thick branches coming down, i have no idea how long it will take to dry though. Will be used with the oak to low and slow my boston butt.
I guess you may not have paid much attention to what trees it came from off these sites if used as heating fuel. i would be interested to know what if any hard woods you might have. There are quite a few that can be used for bbq.
Post edited at 20:25
Rick Graham on 28 Jun 2017
In reply to andrew breckill:
Some good websites out there with the pros and cons of various species.

However, my attitude is summed up by comments made about twenty years apart from my usual climbing partner.

Q. c 1988 What woods best? ....
A. Ash Oak ...... blah blah

Q. c2008 What do you burn on your stove? ........
A. Anything combustible and free

edit and dry
Post edited at 21:15
Bimble on 29 Jun 2017
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

I've got a Frontier Stove, and whilst I've never used it inside a tent, it's great kit. You can get a flashing kit & spark arrestor to prevent singing the canvas.
Jezzer - on 29 Jun 2017
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

Please be very careful everyone

Stoves are lovely appliances, but for good reason in a building there are strict regulations for ventilation, flue, combustible materials and CO alarm

Building regulations may not be mandatory for a tent or some types of temporary structure, but you should still consult BS 6762-2 Part 2 : CODE OF PRACTICE FOR THE INSTALLATION OF SOLID FUEL FIRED HEATING IN PARK HOMES AND TRANSPORTABLE ACCOMMODATION UNITS

Only pick an appliance if you have clear manufacturer's instructions that you can follow

Only use wood of the type recommended by the manufacturer and store it safely

If in doubt consult a HETAS Registered Installer
toad - on 29 Jun 2017
In reply to Jezzer:
There are a combination of reasons as to why we can't have nice things. One is that there are many, many numpties out there, however I am far more worried about screw in gas cartridge stoves in the hands of 19 year olds in pop up tents, or portable twin ring gas stoves in a family tunnel tent with a family that camps once a year,than I am about portable log burners in larger tents in the hands of, in the main, experienced and responsible adults. I am probably not going to consult eitherBS6762-2 part 2 or a registered hetas installer for a tentipi eldfell or equivalent, which Is not a boat, van, caravan etc, although I will read the manufacturers instructions.

Oh, yeah. One of the other reasons is that there are a great many people who even with the best intentions, might not respond in a reasonable and proportionate manner to manageable risk. Cf all sorts of landowner concerns about climbing and liability.
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jimtitt - on 29 Jun 2017
In reply to Jezzer:

> Please be very careful everyone

> Stoves are lovely appliances, but for good reason in a building there are strict regulations for ventilation, flue, combustible materials and CO alarm

> Building regulations may not be mandatory for a tent or some types of temporary structure, but you should still consult BS 6762-2 Part 2 : CODE OF PRACTICE FOR THE INSTALLATION OF SOLID FUEL FIRED HEATING IN PARK HOMES AND TRANSPORTABLE ACCOMMODATION UNITS

> Only pick an appliance if you have clear manufacturer's instructions that you can follow

> Only use wood of the type recommended by the manufacturer and store it safely

> If in doubt consult a HETAS Registered Installer

Oh dear me!
Toerag - on 30 Jun 2017
In reply to andrew breckill:

> I am about to seriously prune my apple tree, a few thick branches coming down, i have no idea how long it will take to dry though.

Depends how small you chop it and where you store it. General rule of thumb is 2 years for stuff chopped to the right size to feed a stove. The most sensible thing to do is buy or borrow a moisture meter and check it. Wood is considered dry enough to burn if it's <15-20% moisture. Kiln dried wood tends to be about 8%, the same as normal building timber kept indoors. Normal air-dried stuff ranges between 8 and 15% depending on where it's kept. Heartwood is driest and can often be used well before sapwood, so big rings of wood can often be split into wedges then the inner parts of those used the same year with the outer sapwood used the year after. Bark stays damp for ages and I strip it if I can.

andrew breckill on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Toerag:

Cheers bud, i have a moisture meter kicking about somewhere, jeez though, didn't think it would take that long to dry. Good job i have a bulk bag of kiln dried then. Not that i have used either bbq or wood burner in the last two weeks. Thank good i am of to ibiza in two weeks where i will actualy be able to see the sun.

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