Monday, November 12, 2018

Gear Review: EcoZoom Dura Rocket Stove

There was this thing called a “rocket stove” a few years back. I originally heard about them not from preppers or backpackers, but from off grid-living and permaculture forums. A bunch of people were getting really excited about them, and how efficient they were.

It soon became apparent that I would have to test one out. I figured that I'd get to it as soon as I could, and didn’t put a lot of effort into finding and testing one until one day when my neighbor actually gave me one for free. He had been given an EcoZoom Dura  for Christmas by both his father and his father-in-law, so he gave me one of his rocket stoves because he knew that I was interested in that kind of thing.

I was initially excited. This was after all, a cool new toy to play with. However...

(I want to preface this with the fact that if a company representative wants to get a hold of me and explain what I have been doing wrong, I will happily listen.)

... the only way that I ever got the Dura to stay lit was with liberal application of liquid fuel (lighter fluid, rubbing alcohol, etc.), or by blowing on it in order to provide oxygen to the fuel.
  • I made sure my fuel was dry.
  • I double and triple checked the instructions. 
  • I verified that I could light a fire in a fire pit – one match only – and that I had no problems being able to do that fairly consistently, even in somewhat adverse conditions. 

I assumed that this was just a problem with me, that I simply didn't understand how to operate a rocket stove or something along those lines, so I made sure it wasn’t something I was doing wrong by having a couple friends give it a try, and we all had the same lack of success: once we had the fire going, it would only stay lit for a short period before going out. Something was obviously fairly wrong.

As it turns out, my neighbor had the same problem and assumed that after giving me his extra stove that I would share the secret of Prometheus with him, and that he too would be able to show off by frying eggs in his backyard during a perfectly normal day.

I've tried a couple of different stove designs since then, and found that they tend to be not only lighter, but also easier to use, and most importantly they stay lit and you can actually burn things with them. 

My Rating: 1 out of 5
I've been told (though I cannot verify) that the current generation of EcoZoom rocket stoves has solved that issue. But until I can try it for myself, I have to give the EcoZoom Dura 1 out of 5 stars.

Good luck, and don’t forget to practice.

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