These little “pocket stoves” are everywhere nowadays. It’s a neat idea: Something portable, light and reliable to boil water or heat food. It’s basically just a small, wind-resistant metal platform to sit a small cup or pot over with some type of solid or gel fuel beneath it. There’s nothing to leak, or spill, and it’s not likely to malfunction. It’s not terribly efficient either, but you know it will work when you need it.
There are so many similar brands of this type of stove, it’s hard to know which one to buy because they all look virtual identical. The ones on the Chinese web sites were about the same price as the Bleuet on Amazon since they were the seller and it was on Prime, so I purchased it from Amazon. I got it in a couple days, just in time to take it on a camping trip where I forgot to take photos and run my tests on it.
This is a small, folding metal “stove” for boiling small amounts of water or heating small amounts of food. It takes small fuel pellets which are fairly inexpensive. This type of stove is intended for use where you don’t need a big stove, or you don’t want to carry one. These types of stoves are also ideal for an emergency bag or as a backup for your camping gear.
The unit comes with 6 fuel pellets, which are orange in color. The pellets are perforated so that it’s easy to cut them into fourths.
There’s not much to it. Chunk of metal with a couple of folding covers, check. Fuel pellets, check. Extreme fish smell … wait, what? Yep, the orange-ish colored fuel pellets it came with have a strong fish odor. Immediately upon opening the package, I put the stove and all the pellets into a zip-loc bag. Too late to avoid the “hey, why does it smell like fish in here?” comments.
Other than that, it’s pretty much what I expected.
The build quality is acceptable. It does feel a little cheap, but it also appears to be decently well made. The rivets seem well connected, and the pieces are fairly well machined, so there’s really not a whole lot of points of failure possible with this unit.
The stove will hold 4 of its fuel pellets and still be able to fold up completely. Since each pellet will only boil a small cup of water, the unit carries enough fuel on board to boil about 4 cups of water.
Usability – Fuel Pellets
I forgot to test the stove on my last camping trip, but we did use a fuel pellet to help start several camp fires. These pellets smell bad but they worked fine at the camp site. We used a fourth of a pellet for each camp fire.
Usability – Stove
The stove was tested in my backyard on top of a grill for safety. For the test I used a small stainless steel cup full of water. It was a little chilly at 50 degrees F with some decent wind gusts. I placed half a fuel pellet in the stove and used a camp lighter to start it up.
Even with low expectations, it was still a little disappointing. The half pellet burned for almost 11 minutes, without bringing the small cup of water to a full boil. It was probably about 5 minutes short. The wind probably decreased the effectiveness of the stove, but it was a good test of real world conditions. Sometimes it’s windy. It was also good to test it in wind because the design of the stove is wind-resistant if you use it right.
|Half of a fuel cube|
|Set on the grill for safety|
|There’s a lot of wind so we’ll see!|
|Off to a good start|
|Taken at just past the 10 minute mark. It’s definitely about done by 10 minutes|
|This is as far as it got|
Reviewers on the Internet have mentioned being able to use twigs and other small combustible material in these types of stoves. Also, someone gave me a couple packs of gel fuel and a stick of military surplus fire starter material. With that and the 4 pellets inside the stove itself, I’m reasonably confident I could get by for a few days in an emergency. Obviously the solid and gel fuel could be used without the stove to start a camp fire, so it’s twice as nice to have the extra mojo for my emergency bag.
|My Bleuet stove with some alternate fuel sources, including candles|
Hopefully nobody buying this will be thinking it is sufficient for a camp cookout. Even hot cocoa for two is a 30 minute affair. But in an emergency, or when your camp stove breaks, this little stove is a whole lot better than nothing. I don’t want to waste the gel I was given to test it, but I would think the gel would be much more concentrated than these pellets. Either way, the pellets don’t seem to be that efficient for their weight. But I guess they make up for it in reliability. I will be ordering some extra pellets I think–probably better quality ones.
I have also been thinking about constructing a makeshift alcohol stove like I’ve seen around on the Internet. They are usually made out of Aluminum soda cans. I was thinking a low profile custom burner might fit inside this stove folded up. If it were just the pellets, then I’m not sure I would like the stove. But with all the different stuff that works in it, I’m sold on its value as an emergency way to boil water.
|This all goes in my emergency bag|
|The weight doesn’t seem unreasonable for a stove with 4 fuel cubes|