The 180 Stove is a simple, three-sided box-style stove that can be used as a wood-burning camping stove, a grill, or as a Leave No Trace fireplace when used in conjunction with a ash pan. I like bringing the 180 Stove with me on autumn trips when I want to have a fire after dinner since it gets dark so early. Unlike other wood stoves, which are designed exclusively for cooking, you can also use the 180 stove as a mini-fireplace to help reduce the impact of a fire if you’re camping at a wild site without a fire ring or pit.
The 180 Stove consists of three stainless steel panels that slot together, leaving one side open so you can feed the fire with larger, longer burning pieces of wood. Three cross bars fit into slots on the two long sides of the stove (or simply over the top edges) and provide a surface to hold a cook pot, frying pan, or that you can grill on.
Unfortunately, there’s no base to the 180 Stove, and while that’s probably ok if you cook on a durable surface like mineral soil or river stone, you’re going to scorch the ground and kill off all of the micro-organisms in it when the burning wood touches the forest floor. 180 Tack (the company) manufactures an add-on to the 180 Stove called a Snow and Ash Pan ($17.95), which will protect sensitive ground and which I always carry when using this stove. It can also be used to provide a base for the stove in winter, to keep your fuel off the snow.
Once assembled, I like to light the 180 Stove by filling the fuel compartment under the grilling cross bars with medium-sized pieces of wood, while piling smaller sticks on top of the grill and basically setting the stove on fire. Once lit, the small sticks fall between the grilling supports and create hot coals that ignite the large pieces of wood below. Alternatively, you can start a small tee-pee fire and then place the stove on top of it when it gets going.
Cooking on the 180 Stove is the same as many other wood stoves with an open front door, so you can restock the stove with longer pieces of wood that you push forward into the firebox as they are consumed.
The 180 Stove (10.4 ounces) isn’t going to set any ultralight weight records and if you’re weight obsessed, this isn’t going to be a stove you look at twice. But to its credit, it folds flat for easy storage and is nearly indestructible because it doesn’t have any hinges or soldered points. There is also a smaller and lighter weight version of the 180 Stove called the 180 Flame, which weighs 6.4 ounces. (The Snow and Ash Pan weighs 5.9 ounces and is only sized for the larger stove)
The Elusive Leave No Trace Campfire
Besides it’s use as a group stove, the primary reason I enjoy using the !80 Stove because I can use it as a portable Leave No Trace fireplace when I’m alone and when I’m backpacking or camping with friends and we want a small social fire to sit around at night. You’d think something like the 180 Stove would be more available, but I’ve been looking for a Leave No Trace campfire solution like this for almost two years with little success.
- The fireproof blankets used by river guides are all too heavy and difficult to obtain
- Vargo’s Titanium Fire Box Grill is too flimsy and best used with charcoal briquettes, not wood
- UCO’s Firebowls are also best used with charcoal briquettes for car camping, not backpacking since they are too clunky and dirty to pack
- I’ve even tried to build a fire-box stove similar to the 180 Stove using Nimblewill Nomad’s Little Dandy stove plans, buying steel and metal snips, but failing miserably in the process.
While the combination of the 180 Stove and the Snow and Ash Pan weigh in at close to a pound, they do provide several different functions including a wood (and charcoal) stove that is large enough for multiple people to use at the same time, a grill, and a LNT fireplace. While I wouldn’t bring this stove on trips where I want to travel fast and spend as little time in camp as possible, it does provide a convenient multi-purpose cooking and low-impact entertainment solution for the colder/darker half of the year when I want to watch a little hiker TV at night.
- 180 Stove (MSRP $49.95)
- Size In Use: 7″ L x 6″ W x 3 1/4″ H
- Size Stowed: 7″ L x 3 1/4″ W x 0.6″ H
- Weight: 10.4 oz (295 grams)
- Material: 304 Stainless Steel
- Tough 5 mil plastic pouch
- Snow and Ash Pan (MSRP $17.95)
- Size In Use: 7″ L x 6″ W x 1/4″ H
- Size Stowed: 7″ L x 3 1/4″ W x 1/4″ H
- Weight: 5.9 oz (167 grams)
- Material: 304 Stainless Steel
Disclosure: Philip Werner received a sample of the 180 Stove from 180 Tack for this review. He has also received samples of other products mentioned in this article including the Vargo Titanium Fire Box Grill from Vargo Outdoors and a UCO Firebowl from Industrial Revolution.