I was able to spend some productive time with the folks from Hot Ash Stove. They are currently on Kickstarter which ends December 1, 2015. What I was able to see and discuss at the meeting was very informative.
For starters, this is not an ultralight wood stove. This is a portable Rocket Stove. This means it follows a different dynamic in the way it utilizes fuel, heats food, and acts. According to Wikipedia,
A rocket stove is an efficient cooking stove using small diameter wood fuel which is burned in a simple combustion chamber containing a vertical chimney, which ensures almost complete combustion prior to the flames reaching the cooking surface.
This allows the user to pickup small deadfall and have a way to heat food, boil water, or create a meal, all on the go and very easily.
It is, in my opinion, lightweight and we discussed ideas and ways to make it lighter. For those worried about ounces in your pack, it is still a viable option versus something like a Whisperlite or other gas-fuel fed, backpacking, stove. At the moment, it is less than 3 pounds according to measurement but again, they are dropping weight by using a lighter gauge metal without compromising the integrity and durability of the product.
I tested durability by dropping it onto rocks from a 3-foot and 4-foot height. I then tested it by throwing it onto the rocks from 6-foot away. Other than a couple of scratches, I saw no damage. This is comforting if you were to drop it off a picnic table or if it fell out of your pack. I do not have a cliff to try and drop it off more than 50-feet. My thought is if this were to happen, you probably would not retrieve it anyway.
Another test was the typical water boil test. According to their claims it is around 12 minutes for 4 cups of water at 45-degrees. I was able to boil two cups, standard for most quick meals, in 6 minutes 32 seconds in 53-degree weather plus wind at about 9 mph. This seems to line up with what they are saying and if someone is willing to do the math and extrapolate, then more power to you.
Two of the biggest factors that I like about the stove is the fact is it is made here in the U.S.A. and it has a Lifetime Warranty. Yes, you heard me right, L I F E T I M E! That is all I need to say about that since you know how I feel about both of those factors.
I think the Hot Ash Stove will be useful to many campers. While I understand some car campers want their grills and full size Coleman stoves, I think this is useful when cooking for 2-4 folks. An 8″ Cast Iron skillet is used in their video and with the legs in place, it holds the weight with no wobble. Keep in mind, my tests were done with no legs or fuel chute. Which means I was using just the fuel chamber and chimney for these tests and it passed boldly including my 12″ Cast Iron Skillet. Not too bad, if I say so myself.
Finally, I think one of the best targets for the product is bushcrafters and survivalists. I know preppers fall into these categories as well but the reason I say those targets is the product is simple and easy to use as well as compact. From a survival perspective, if you are bugging out or in a situation that warrants low profile, the Hot Ash Stove produces minimal smoke due its design and separate air flow chamber. This simulates a Dakota Fire Hole and helps when you need a quick water boil or bite to eat but still need to keep moving. I stress this fact as it was one of the first things I noticed once the stove was lit. Keep in mind, wood type and dryness also play a factor in keeping the smoke at a minimum and having low ash residue at the outset.
Do me a favor, at minimum, go check out their Kickstarter page here and consider backing them. They are good folks that I have spoken with often and the Hot Ash Stove is a great product. Besides, the intro video shows Duffy cooking BACON in a Cast Iron Skillet and after speaking to them, he considered cooking a potato on the heat shaft. I did just that but was grilling meat on the shaft as opposed to the potato. Bacon! Cast Iron! Cooked Meat! Either way, it was a win!
Use your instincts to survive