Sierra Zip Stove

Made of titaniam the Zip weighs 10.7 oz, and burns debris. Here in the forests of Michigan that usually includes small twigs (thumb width and smaller), leaves, pine needles, pine cones, paper, and bits of charcoal from old campfire sites. When not in use the whole thing fits inside my 0.9 liter titanium pot.

It works like a black smith forge. On top is a burn chamber and below is a battery powered (one AA battery) fan. A fire is started in the burn chamber and the hot air that it produces is cycled back into the chamber by the fan. The result is a very hot, intense combustion that boils the water in my pot in just three or four minutes. The fan is controlled by a switch with three settings; high, low, and off. In normal use the fan will be on high, but the low setting allows a simmer mode. The battery is expected to last 6-8 hours.

I use Coghlan's Fire Paste for a quick start. At home the paste is transferred to a film cannister. In camp I place a handful of twigs in the burn chamber. Then I dip the end of a twig into the paste, light it, and insert it deep into the pile of twigs. Finally I turn the fan on and within a minute or two there is a roaring blaze in the chamber.

Since the fire is so intense, the fuel disappears quickly. It is necessary to keep adding fuel as food is cooking.This is easily done by inserting twigs etc. in the space between the stove and the pot. Lumps of charcoal from old campfires last a little longer than most other fuels so I seek them out. When it is over, all that is left is a white powdery ash which will blow away in the slightest breeze.

As with any wood fire, the bottom of the pot will quickly be covered with soot. This can be avoided by coating the bottom of the pot. The coating can be soap, or Sierra suggests using a paste made by mixing a little water with ash from the stove. I have chosen to let my pot turn black, then clean it up at home. Of course this means I must keep the pot out of contact with anything that I want to keep clean. I carry the pot encased in a home made foam pot cozy on top and a cut down milk carton on bottom. The milk carton also serves as a wash basin and the cozy is also for keeping food warm. Each adds about an once of weight to the cook kit.






On the left is the stove all packed away and nested neatly in my pot which is restiing in part of a plastic milk carton. On the right is my foam cozy. Nestled against the top of the cozy is the lid for my pot which has been cut from an aluminium pie plate.

My cook kit, all put away and ready to return to my pack.

P.S. Although I still like this stove, I have switched to the 5.1 ounce Bushbuddy debris burning stove. Since there is no fan in the Bushbuddy you do have to depend on good fire starting technique in wet weather.