Preliminary review of EcoZoom Versa rocket stove
First Impression: I am going to LOVE cooking on this stove!
I just got this thing this afternoon and could not WAIT to try it out.
It is small enough to fit perfectly on my Dutch oven table, which “lives” on our covered wooden deck. I thought I’d have a lot of safety concerns about burning this device on the deck but now – with all due caution of course – I do not. I think my most important impression is that it seems virtually windproof. The fire is thoroughly protected within the body of the unit. The metal table also has a wind screen. I don’t have another outdoor cooking device that is this likely to survive a windy cooking session.
I was nervous about starting with wood, but I wasn’t getting any usable heat out of six charcoal briquettes after 20 minutes (too far below the grate – more briquettes would have done the job, but the the object of this device is to be able to cook with scrounged materials). So I broke down and fed three skinny sticks of fir kindling into the firebox.
It smokes quite a bit until it warms up and really starts to draw, after that it was smokeless.
After putting the kindling in, it took about 20 minutes to heat a quart of water to boiling. (Oh, it was 40 deg F outside). Closing the lower draft door brought the temperature back down to a simmer, but it took a little while. I’ll be using one of my heat diffusers with it, probably.
My three little sticks of softwood kindling burned for 45 minutes. Yes, it does need to be tended.
The fire never crept out of the fire box. It did not burn the wood sticking out the door.
The cooking surface is pretty neat. There are ridges that hug the bottom of the pot and stabilize it.
If I could have anything, it would be some sort of lid to help snuff the fire, along with closing the doors.
I absolutely LOVE this stove. My next experiment will be with hardwood kindling, perhaps varying the number of pieces. (The sticks in the picture were about 1″ diameter and a foot long.) Then probably scrounged sticks which are plentiful here.
Barbecue tongs and gloves are useful. It will be a little while before I can actually cook on it, but my inner Outdoor Cook says this stove is a winner.