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QiWiz Firefly UL Titanium Collapsible Wood Stove

QiWiz Firely UL Titanium Collapsible Wood Stove with an Titanium Pot
QiWiz Firefly UL Titanium Collapsible Wood Stove with a Titanium Pot (sold separately)

I got turned onto wood stove cooking last year, as much for the ambiance of cooking dinner over a fire, as the weight savings from not having to carry stove fuel on trips. But I’ve always wanted a wood stove that folded flat to make it easier to pack, so I asked my wife to buy me a QiWiz Firefly UL Titanium Collapsible Wood Stove as a birthday present earlier this year. QiWiz is an Ohio-based UL stove and tool-maker run by Rob Kelly, who’s the mad professor of ultralight backpacking cooking, grilling, and baking.

While the Titanium Firefly UL wood stove is insanely lightweight and only weighs 2.86 ounces / 80 g (with the side FlexPort shown), the  chief reason I wanted one is that it disassembles and folds flat for easy transport. Most of the other UL wood stoves available today are much larger can-like contraptions that are difficult to pack and take up a lot of space, which you’re unlikely to have if you carry a small volume or ultralight backpack. A wood stove that folds flat can be easily stowed in an external pocket, a desirable feature since segregating it from the rest of your gear and clothing will keep them from smelling like they’re smoldering or on fire.

Stove Design

The Firefly consists of four titanium panels that slot together to form a combination wind screen and pot holder. The top of each panel has a pot support which is narrow enough to hold most cook pots. If you have a very narrow pot or one made out of a beer can, QiWiz sells “narrowlight” supports that slot into holes in the pot holders or frame that will hold the pot at the right height above the fire.

The Firefly comes with 4 interlocking panels and a wire mesh floor. You can augment the base model with a side FlexPort and solid titanium floor to restrict air flow.
The Firefly comes with 4 interlocking panels and a wire mesh floor. You can augment the base model with a side FlexPort and solid titanium floor to restrict air flow.

The bottom of each side panel has two angled feet which hold the bottom of the fuel box (a piece of wire mesh) in place. When purchasing the stove you can also get a very thin sheet of titanium to cover the wire mesh and reduce airflow into the stove, which I prefer because it also keesp hot ashes from falling onto the ground and scorching it.

When you purchase the Firefly, you can also get one of the panels with a hinged FlexPort (shown above) that lets you feed the fire using larger diameter and longer pieces of wood from the side. This is incredibly convenient, especially if you want to simmer something because you can regulate how much fuel the fire gets. To reduce the fire’s heat output pull the sticks out of the firebox. To stoke up the fire, push more fuel in. Simple and very useful if you like to simmer or cook real food instead of just boiling water to rehydrate meals.

Firefly Component Weights, as configured (2.86 ounces/80g total)

  • FlexPort Panel (22 g)
  • 3 x Regular Panels (50 g)
  • Mesh Floor (8 g)
  • Titanium Floor (<1 g)

Cooking and Assembly

When lighting the FireFly, I fill the fuel box with small kindling and finger sized sticks up to the bottom of the pot between the pot supports. I usually keep the FlexPort at least partially open and light the fire from the side, toward the bottom. I often don’t need any fire starter to get it going provided I have dry wood, and a match or two lights the stove up quickly.

When cooking with the Firefly, I usually need to augment my first load of wood in order to bring 2 cups of water to a roiling boil. This can be done from the side via the FlexPort or by inserting smaller pieces of wood, about 2-3 inches long and the diameter of my middle finger, into the corners of the fuel box between the pot supports. I often use both techniques simultaneously, but it really depends on the size of the wood I’ve found nearby and how much I’ve collected.

When it comes time to disassemble the FireFly, I can do this without getting my hands sooty, by holding the edges of the panels. The same holds for assembly. When not in use, I store the Firefly components in a heavy-duty Ziploc bag from Ikea.

What About Rain?

Whenever I carry a wood stove, I always bring along a few cubes of ESBIT (solid fuel) in case it rains and I can’t find any dry wood to burn. A cooking pot provides an ESBIT cube with enough cover that you can cook with it in rain provided you use a small pot stand to keep it off a wet surface. I usually just find a rock, the size of a small tangerine, to use as a stand for my ESBIT cube. I put the rock and the ESBIT inside the FireFly, cover it with my pot full of water, light it from the side using the FlexPort, and use the FireFly as a wind screen. This is much simpler than carrying a lot of extra ESBIT specific components, although QiWiz does sell them for use with the FireFly. (I like QiWiz’s Dual Fuel system so much that I use it for very simple/short trips and plan to review it separately in the next week or so.)

Recommendation

The Firefly is definitely an ultralight enthusiast’s stove. I don’t mean to disparage it by saying that, but this is a stove for people who like to tinker with their gear and push an idea to its limit. This stove is also optimized (with the FlexPort option) for people who cook, bake, or grill and need the ability to adjust heat during different phases of that process, although it also does a fine job for boiling water for freezer bag style meals. My biggest complaint about the FireFly and QiWiz’s other cooking systems is not with their design but with the purchase process on the QiWiz web site. There are so many options, variants, and components available, that it’s a bit overwhelming to figure out what you want. Still the QiWiz FireFly UL Titanium Collapsible Wood Stove is an awesome deal at $66.00, and less expensive compared to the other ultralight titanium wood stoves available today.

For a video demonstration of the Firefly, check out this video from QiWiz.

Disclosure: Philip Werner’s (SectionHiker.com) wife paid for the QiWiz Firefly UL Stove reviewed here with her own funds. 

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11 comments

  1. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m most interested in wood cooking on trips where I also want to contemplate a fire before bed. So, trips of a moderate duration and intensity. Trips where I just want to eat and go to bed, I use alcohol or canister. Trips where I spend considerable time in camp, it’s easier to just build a proper fire. Trips in between, I’d like the ease of an enclosed fire without the constant tending required by smaller UL wood stoves.

    All of which is a roundabout way of saying I’ve become interested in the Firefly XL as it seems to offer the biggest firebox for the weight of any UL woodstove.

    • That’s a good observation. Small UL wood stoves take some tending. A bigger one will take less. I also prefer a wood stove when I don’t feel like I’m in a rush. Esbit or cannister when the objective is simply to eat and then go to bed.

      Regarding wood stoves vs “proper fires”: I prefer using a wood stove over a campfire because they are much easier to put out and far lower impact. I avoid making campfires because they leave a mark on the landscape unless you take the time to build a mound fire to insulate the ground and disperse the mound afterwards, and that takes a lot of time. That’s just my preference. I backpack in an area with a very high population density and campfire burn scars make me cringe.

      • Yes, I don’t like leaving scars either. When I make a fire on the ground it’s at an established site with an existing fire ring. A lot of the places I hike are heavily impacted and close to civilization. If I want to sleep out I often have to turn a long dayhike into a short overnighter, which means I either start later or have lots of time at camp.

      • Leave no trace. I too use my stove as a campfire. Im Not obsessed with ultralight packing though,in fact I carry
        50 lbs on 2 nighters regularly, so my external frame is huge. No need to worry about space. Ha ha

  2. Wondering how long it takes to cool down before it can be packed – also could this be used during a burn ban?

    • it doesn’t take long to cool down but having picked it up hot, it’s not something I’m likely to do again.

      You really need to check with your local authotities on whether a wood stove can be used in an area during a burn ban. Usually the answer is no because they want you to use a canister or liquid gas stove because you can turn them off and they’re not open flames with flying cinders.

      • I agree Philip, check with local public servants such as the US Forest Service to make sure the fire danger index is low and fires are OK to use in the area you will be in.

        As with any fire, we need to be very careful and also leave as little trace as possible.

  3. Just a comment on Esbit. Like Philip, it is my preferred backup fuel. I agree with him that you do not need any Esbit-specific accessories to use Esbit with your FireFly. However, you will need to somehow get the tab to where the top of the tab is 1.25 to 2.0 inches below the bottom of your pot and provide some wind protection for optimum heat transfer. Esbit efficiency also benefits from having the tab sit in some kind of shallow tray, so that the flammable liquid that the tab exudes can burn and not just trickle away. You can DIY a tray from a small piece of an aluminum pie plate, a scrap of titanium foil, or really anything that won’t burn. A tray that restricts airflow to the tab a bit will also lengthen burn time, which also improves efficiency but slows time to achieve a boil.

  4. due to your review of this stove i have recently purchased it. havent used it yet but have been tinkering with it in the backyard and i love it. so easy to start up a fire going and can get water to a roaring boil in no time. one question, i am planning a pemi loop in august and was wondering if you knew if it would be frowed upon to use a stove like this. ive read the regulations on fires, 200 ft from water etc etc. but basically was wondering if it would be frowned upon to use near the tent sites ( dont plan on staying a t the huts). i will bring esbit for backup, but prefer the wood considering ive had a hard time getting enough water hot enough while cooking for two with alcohol stoves and esbit in the past. thanks

    • I just did a big trip in the eastern Pemi with mine. You’ll be fine. Just one thing I’d recommend is to use a solid sheet of metal under the stove so you don’t scorch the ground under the stove. QiWiz sells these and they fit in the envelope. They weigh nothing. Great little stove. I’m just writing up my trip report which will have pictures of my Firely UL in action. :-)

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