I once went on a Leave no Trace course designed to teach you how to be environmentally friendly in the outdoors. We had spent two days carefully covering our tracks and preserving Mother Nature camped in the Cairngorms, near where Bynack Stables bothy used to stand. All very worthwhile stuff. Just as we were about to leave I headed to the river to clean my teeth. As I stood on the river side the ground beneath me began to tremble and I leapt back, just in time, as about 20 feet of the river bank collapsed leaving a huge scar. I had been one eco warrior too many. I tiptoed away, hoping no one would notice.
On the weekend I was inspired to buy a Fire Spout, which is a sort of eco-friendly wood burning camping stove. This is a review for the little device. Basically it is a portable chimney that burns small sticks so you can cook your tea in the wilderness.
They don’t call them a fire spout for nothing. If you light one on a windy day you’ll be lucky to get within six feet of it as it glows red and pours fire into the atmosphere. They are, however, quite fun to use, and the wood smoke smells nice.
Well they are eco-friendly. Burning a few twigs has little environmental impact and, of course, you should never run out of fuel. Should civilisation collapse an you be reduced to scavenging in the woods with a bow and arrow and a fish hook (a bit like living in Wick) they would be the perfect companion, allowing you to cook for years.
They are slow, compared to gas. They cover everything, including you, in soot. You can’t use them in a bothy, unless it has an open hearth, and you certainly can’t use one in a tent. If you did so you’d be standing next to a smouldering heap of nylon in seconds.
Are they a practical alternative to a gas stove for back packing? Not really, but they have their place and are fun to use.
I keep mine in the garage, waiting for the collapse of civilisation.
If you want one go here http://www.occuk.co.uk/outdoor/fire-spout-100.htm