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Compact Folding Camping Stove Screen

Collapsible Winter Stove Windscreen
Folding Winter Stove Windscreen

I rarely carry a stove wind screen except in the winter when I really need one to conserve fuel for melting water. Other times of year, I either have plenty of fuel (wood/canister fuel) or can more easily situate my stove behind landscape features to keep it out of the wind.

But I hate carrying stove screens in winter that you have to store rolled up or big pieces of aluminum that you can fold flat but never last more than one season. They’re not space efficient in my winter pack, which is very space constrained, or they have so many sharp edges and I’m wary of letting them close to my inflatable sleeping pad, my sleeping bag, or other delicate gear.

Rather than create yet another flimsy wind screen for this winter, I decided to try a compact folding wind screen that folds up accordion style. It’s purpose-built for the MSR Whisperlite and other comparably sized liquid fuel stoves.

I tested the silver windscreen (shown above) this past weekend on a winter shake-down backpack I did in the White Mountains in very frigid and windy weather and it worked remarkably well. I use an MSR Whisperlite stove and the collapsible wind screen is the perfect height to protect  the stove flame and wrap around the pot I’ll be using this winter without getting in the way of the pot handle.

The folding windscreen has 9 panels, each 5 and a quarter inches tall and 3 inches wide. Each panel has a cutout at the bottom which provides air to the stove and is high enough to feed an MSR fuel line through, thereby protecting the fuel bottle from the stove flame. When folded up, the stack of panels measures 1/2 inch and weighs 4.1 ounces. That’s about 2.5 more ounces than my last home-grown aluminum wind screen, but I expect to save that in better fuel efficiency.

Collapsible Wind Screen
Collapsible Wind Screen

I also like the way in which the leaves of the stove can be pushed down into the snow around the pot so that they don’t move around every time you lift the pot up. The end leaves have two feet that you can press into the ground (these are wires with little handles) if you want to anchor the screen in 3 season conditions.

But best of all, I like how this screen folds up into thin stack of rectangular leaves. The edges are all smooth and it packs flat in my pack. I wish it were an ounce or two lighter (hint: someone should make this in titanium), but having a wind screen that will last multiple winters is good enough for me. This is $10 bucks well spent.

Disclosure: Author purchased this product with his own funds. 

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21 comments

  1. I don’t know about this one, Philip. Those screens are just heavy! My entire windscreen weighs about an ounce or so. And, I thought that was a bit much since I used two layers of anealed heavy duty aluminum foil, folded at the edges so it wasn’t sharp, with corners clipped and rounded off (mostly through use.) It is the same one I made several years ago and has been out about 300 nights, several seasons. Note that I DID aneal it to remove any work hardened charateristics. I just stuck it in a HOT oven for an hour or so. Next time you need to clean your oven, make up 2-3 screens and put them in, though this depends on your oven. They get really pliable and soft. If you have been using them for a while, rolling, and unrolling can make the metal harder called work hardening. Just re-aneal them. They get so soft they fold easily into most shapes.
    http://www.mlevel3.com/BCIT/heat%20treat.htm

    Aluminum is LIGHTER than Titanium. They taught us that in 7th grade chemistry along with a few exceptions(density, alloy, etc.) Atomic weight is around 27 with a low density. Ti is about 48 with medium density. Both metals are alloyed for general camping use, so, ti is only about 30% heavier for pots, windscreens, etc. A common assumption, due to advertisement hype, is that Ti is lighter than Al. Nope.

    • I go through this same process of making wind screens year after year. I even bought two basting tins at the supermarket before buying this windscreen. it is better than anything I have ever made and will last longer. I’ve pretty much given up on UL for New Hampshire winters. I keep my gear very light, but when it comes right down to it, I can make up the added weight difference elsewhere in my 40+ gear list. I’d rather not fight my gear and home made screens have always been a battle for me, one which I always lose.

    • Just read that link you sent. That annealing process look insane. Too dangerous for me or my wife’s stove!

    • who cares if aluminum is lighter than titanium? look at comparable products, the Ti ones are consistently much lighter. often Ti products can be made thinner than aluminum, by a long shot, reducing the volume and weight of the materials.
      in several cases my Ti products have proven to be stronger and/or more reliable as well.
      i’m sure this could also be the case for windscreens:
      http://suluk46.com/products%20%20-%20P9%20Ti%20Windscreen.html

      • These windscreens aren’t designed for use with a whisperlite / liquid fuel stove.

      • thanks for your reply, Philip. i was just illustrating how light Ti products can be. i think these Ti examples are lighter than my aluminum flashing MYOG windscreens.

      • Thompe2, The suitability of ti for any purpose is always debatable. For rigid structures that will take a lot of vibration at high heats, it is better than aluminum, aircraft for example. For camping stakes, ti is better since it is more rigid. For camping pots aluminum is better, because the same guage aluminum works as well and conducts heat a bit better. For most uses, either metal can be used. Ti is not a good a conductor of heat and electricity as aluminum. It makes excelent heat resistant items and some campers prefer ti cups because it does NOT conduct heat to their lips. I would suggest it has the same effect with pots. Some magnesium/aluminum alloys are lighter than aluminum due to density, but these are not suitable for pots or wind screens.

        But, it is impossible to produce any material structure of the *same physical dimensions* out of ti that is lighter than aluminum. The material simply weighs more than aluminum. Most manufacturors simply cheat on the size to save weight. For camping, the high strength of ti is rarely needed. Other than holding itself up, there is no reason for the strength of ti in a windscreen. For other high strength uses, eg stakes or wood stoves, ti makes perfect sense.

        I put several heat exchanger rings in the bottom of my al pots. It gets roughly 15-18% greater heat efficiency than without. I CANNOT add heat exchanger ridges to ti pots. Forming al is easy, forming ti is impossible in most home shops.

        To me, ti means a loss of efficiency in terms of weight and conductivity. I use it for it’s strength, and, where high heats will effect it. I use it for my spoon, thin and strong. I use it for my stove, and high heats. I use it for my stakes for rigidity. I do not use it for pots/lids. I do not use it for my windscreen. Aluminum works fine for those applications.

      • all good points, Marco!
        i have yet to find a pot setup better for my uses (in summer) than this one:
        http://www.rutalocura.com/Ti_Pots.html
        i haven’t seen a 550mL pot that is lighter. maybe they just don’t exist, but if someone made in in Al it would be lighter? i doubt it because those Ti pots are so thin. but they remain strong. i just throw it in my pack with my stove in it.
        i pretty sure the boil times for a cup of water in comparable conditions wouldn’t differ all that much (without added heat exchanger fins, etc)

  2. PETAL Theory. PET and Al have synergy. Cut the top off a 1.25L PET bottle. Roll the 25g foil windshield from a BBQ tray around your fuel bottle and place inside the PET bottle. The cutoff PET bottle can be used to store nearly a litre of liquid at camp. A PET bottle can also fit over the end of a rolled up inflatable mat. The cutoff top can be used as a funnel. The caps fit Platypus.

    • Been down that road before with something similar – the Trail Designs screw together caddy. Takes up too much space. This is just a winter windscreen fo rme – I don’t intend to use it any other time of year.

  3. I use this one as my only windscreen. Like you said, not light, but I really can’t be arsed to baby the foil ones. I have a beautiful MYOG screen (not my work) that’s never been out of the backyard. I can’t figure out how to carry it in a way that’s crushproof and doesn’t take up a big chunk of my pack. I bet a cottage manufacturer could come up with a version 2 oz lighter and 50 bucks more expensive.

  4. Absolutely abhor the roll type aluminum ones. I do carry this type on occasion especailly in the Desert where finding just the right place out of the wind are rare. Hint; camping in canyons hoping to stay out of the wind rarely is a good idea, as the Sun drops the winds coming storming down those canyons..If you sit in the right place, that wind sounds like a train whoosing by..

  5. I used the taller version w/my canister stove on a hike 2 weeks ago. Screen worked great, but you have to watch the 2 anchor posts, as they easily slide then poke through the bag when stowed. Definitely don’t keep it close to anything that could be easily punctured. I’m going to try putting a small piece of duct tape on the bottom of each on my next trip in hopes of keeping the posts from sliding.

  6. The Solo Stove windscreen is like this, but taller (and heavier). It is 9 inches tall, which means it shields a tall canister stove decently. $20, 7.4 ounces.

    http://www.solostove.com/stove-windscreen/

    Somewhere, I have a similar three-part screen that my dad made. He punched squarish holes in the aluminum and folded tabs through them for hinges. It worked pretty well.

  7. I will roll my regular alu foil around my fuel bottle, secure it with an elastic. Problem solved??

  8. Careful you don’t catch those dry leaves on fire in your picture!

  9. Which pot is that that you’re planning to use for winter and what size is it? Primus Eta Power?

    • I will probably end us using an evernew 1.3 L I have. I was experimenting with a Coughlans ALU in this photo because I can get my entire cook and stove system into it but it’s heavy. Still the colander in the lid really helped filter out the spruce needles in the snow, although they are an excellent sources of vitamin C. I’m not into spending money at the moment so I’ll probably just make do with what I have this year – but that ETA pot from Primus is very tempting. I actuall had one on backorder but Primus messed up in sending it to me, and I never re-ordered it.

      • Thanks Phil. Which size Primus Eta pot would you use for winter solo, and for winter 2P? They come in 1L, 1.8L and 3.0L.

  10. I have a trangia alcohol stove system I use for car camping. Basically it is is like a really heavy caldera cone. You have a wind protected unit that the pot sits. I know they make remote gas and liquid fuel burners that fits in it. I wonder if you could use the titanium Caldera cone like that with a liquid or remote canister stove instead of the alcohol or esbit burner. The cone doesn’t weight hardly anything and can fit in your pot if you have the right now. If you can build a fire in it you would think it could stand up to the heat from a gas burner.

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