Toaks Titanium Wood Stove Review

Toaks Titanium Wood Stove
Toaks Titanium Wood Stove

The Toaks Titanium Wood Stove is a can-style wood gas stove that weighs 7.9 ounces and can be used to burn wood on camping and backpacking trips. It’s an inverted double-wall gasifier stove that burns wood and smoke more efficiently than a single walled can with holes punched in it, because it burns the wood as well as all the smoke that is produced by the fire.

It works like this.

  • Burning wood produces smoke.
  • You get more heat/energy if you burn wood and smoke.
  • The trick is to burn the smoke before it gets away. Some gets away when you start your fire, anyway.
  • You do this by adding oxygen to it from the top down (inversion).
  • The fuel supply (dry wood) is all around you. No need to carry it.
  • The stove is dead simple. Nothing to adjust or maintain.
The Toaks Wood Stove is a three can system that slides together for assembly
The Toaks Wood Stove is a three can system that slides together for assembly

Assembly Instructions

The Toaks Wood Stove is a three can system that slides together for assembly.

  1. The leftmost can in the picture above, is the pot support on which your cook pot rests. It also has a small rectangular opening on the side that you can feed small sticks into to add fuel to the fire.
  2. The middle can is best described as the fuel box because it holds all of the hot coals that fall into it from above. It also has a perforated bottom to promote air flow from below.
  3. The rightmost can acts as a pot stand and a windscreen.

It’s very easy to assemble this stove incorrectly (having done several times), so I thought I’d provide some illustrated instructions here on how to put it together.

Take the middle can with the perforated bottom and insert into into the leftmost one with the fuel feed hole on the side.
Take the middle can with the perforated bottom and insert into the leftmost one with the fuel feed hole on the side.

Push the can with the perforated bottom all the way through the leftmost can, which has no bottom.

Push the can with the perforated bottom all the way through the one with the fuel feed.
Push the can with the perforated bottom all the way through the one with the fuel feed.

Next, turn the rightmost can so that the outside air holes are facing down and slide the two joined cans into it from the top. This prevents the top can from sliding down and suspends the bottom of the other can an inch or so off the ground so that air can flow up through its perforated bottom.

The assembled stove
The assembled stove

Cooking with the Toaks Titanium Wood Stove

Once assembled, fill the stove with wood up to the halfway point of the top can. When filling the stove with wood, put bigger pieces of wood on the bottom and smaller stuff on the top, but don’t over fill it by putting as much wood in it as will fit. You want to preserve good airflow through the stove.

Light the stove from the top of the wood pile using your favorite fire starter and accelerant: a vaseline covered cotton ball works well. Once lit, the wood will burn from the top down. It will also burn very fast because the cans act like a flu, drawing oxygen into the fire. This is a good time to boil a pot of water or cook a soupy meal, because the stove will burn very hot when it gets going. It’s not a good time to cook a meal if you need a simmer, because once this stove gets going, the fire burns like a jet engine.

When the wind blows, much of the heat generated by the stove burns out the side of the top section, not through the top
When the wind blows, much of the heat generated by the stove burns out the side of the top section, not through the top

Simmering is tricky with this stove because it burns so hot and efficiently. Instead of long-lasting coals, like in a campfire, this stove burns all the wood you load it with to ash. While that’s desirable for Leave No Trace because you don’t leave behind partially burnt wood, I’d recommend that you get a box stove with a bottom fuel port like the QiWiz Firefly or the Emberlit FireAnt for more control over a burn if your menu requires simmering.

While you can add wood to a burning fire through the fuel port in the upper can, I’ve had very mixed results doing so. First off, the fuel port in the upper can is annoyingly small, so you can only add very small pieces of wood. You’re better off just removing your cook pot and dropping wood in from the top. Next, if there’s any wind, most of the flame and heat from the fire burns out the sides of the upper pot. It’s a real problem with this stove, actually.

Transport

When disassembled the stove fits nicely in a GSI 1.1L Halulite Boiler Pot
When disassembled the stove fits nicely in a GSI 1.1L Halulite Boiler Pot

When collapsed, the Toaks Titanium Wood Stove fits nicely in a GSI 1.1L Halulite Boiler Pot. The only problem with carrying it this way is that this is a pretty sooty and dirty stove, so you’ll need to re-clean your cook pot before you can use it again.

Recommendation

I’ve had the Toaks Titanium Wood Stove out on a few trips and have had very mixed experiences with it. While its adequate for boiling water, it’s awful heavy for a titanium wood stove (7.9 ounces) when compared to smaller box-shaped stoves that fold flat for easy transport. I also think the top can in the three can set-up is way too tall and should be cut down to a third of its height so less of the stove’s heat is diverted out its sides when the wind blows. Finally I don’t understand why this stove is packaged as three separate pieces when at least two (the bottom two) could be welded together into a single component. I feel bad for Toaks because they make such good Titanium cookware, but if I were you, I’d give this wood stove a pass.

Likes

  • Easy to light
  • Flu-like air flow burns hot and fast

Dislikes

  • Non-intuitive assembly.
  • There are too many ventilation holes in the top can. If there’s any wind, the heat and flames exit from the side of the top can and don’t warm the pot efficiently.
  • The rectangular hole in the top can is very small, so you can only feed the stove with annoyingly small pieces of wood unless you remove the pot and feed it from the top
  • Very dirty stove to carry inside a cook pot.

See also:

Disclosure: Toaks provided Philip Werner (SectionHiker.com) with a free Titanium Wood Stove for this review. 

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20 comments

  1. Good review, intriguing stove. I think I’ll stick with my Solo Stove, however.

  2. Liked this review, I agree on all your points but mostly on your blunt honesty. With likely refinements this will be a worthy stove.

  3. Philip, I have used a wood stove for a few years now. Mine ( Four Dog Stove, Bushcooker) is very light, and dead simple, no assembly required. It fits perfectly into my 1.3 liter pot including a carbon cloth windscreen and boils water quickly. The time varies depending on the quality of the wood. The pot does get carbon on it but an old cloth ditty bag helps with storing the kit. I cheat sometime and carry a few Esbit tablets to use with the stove.

    • Same here.

    • Hey – thanks for the review! I’ve been using a solo stove for a couple years, and I’ve been tempted to get the lighter Toaks or Four Dog Ti stoves. Philip (or anyone else who has experience with all these stoves), did you have similar problems with wind when you used the solo stove? I didn’t see any mention of it in your review, although I can’t say I’ve had much trouble with it. Also, (and maybe more importantly) have you noticed a significant increase in effieciency from the gasifier stoves compared to a simple fire box (like the Qwiz)? I’ve been happy with the solo, but I’m curious if a fire box would be just as good.

      Thanks!

      • The solo stove will have fewer problems with wind because the wind screen is solid and the fuel cell has far fewer holes in it.

        Gassifier technology was far more important in world war II when people drove cars using it due to the shortage of oil (in Germany). It’s really unimportant today when used in camping stove because wood is so readily at hand.

  4. I have been researching all sorts of stoves and playing around with my own versions of some wood stoves for backpacking. The many different designs range from simple firebox/hobo stove designs to more elaborate wood gas and TLUD designs, with different sorts of hybrids in between. What is important to understand, and what is not always clarified, is that the fire building and burning technique used for a TLUD (Top Lit) is VERY different from the traditional methods used for building campfires and using firebox type stoves (Bottom Lit). Whereas firebox stoves are basically as their name implies: little boxes to contain mini campfires, wood gasification stoves, and especially TLUD stoves, are more precisely designed in regard to oxygen flow, and more finely controlled combustion. Optimum burning in a wood gas stove requires that short segments of sticks be preloaded into the firebox rather tightly, with the fuel level kept below the secondary air holes, then lit from the top and allowed to slowly burn downward. The stoves perform at their best when fuel is burned as one single “batch”, much as an alcohol stove is burned with, say, one ounce of fuel at a time. If more wood is added to a wood gas stove, it is best added in the same small sizes, judiciously, later in the burn, just to keep the gas production going. And, it is also important to always keep any added wood below the secondary air holes. If these wood gas stoves are overloaded with wood coming up too high, as I have seen in many videos on You Tube (including the video I have seen on the Toaks stove), the fire will behave like a campfire, not like a gas stove. It’s hard to get a feel for how a wood gas stove performs when the person demonstrating a burn on a video overloads the stove. Although I was able to find videos that showed the effectiveness of the Solo and BushBuddy stoves burning as wood gasifiers, I would like to see how the Toaks and the Caldera Cone with the Inferno attachment perform when burned appropriately. Unfortunately I couldn’t find many videos showing proper technique with these two stoves.
    I think these are important distinctions to bear in mind when comparing stoves. If you like the aesthetics of a campfire, and you would like to stoke the fire in a more traditional manner, and don’t mind dealing with more smoke and soot, then you may prefer a firebox type stove like the Emberlit, Vargo, FireFly, Littlbug, Firebox, Bushcooker, Caldera Cone (without the Inferno insert) or a DIY hobo stove. If you want a more smoke-free, efficient burning stove, and don’t mind learning to practice a new technique and losing some of the “campfire” feel, you may be looking for a design more akin to a Solo, BushBuddy, Biolite or Toaks stove, or like me, may enjoy experimenting with designing your own DIY wood gas and TLUD stoves.
    I’m not an expert, but hope I was able to help out in this discussion?

  5. That’s a shame that it doesn’t, based on your review, work any better. I think it’s darned clever how it all nests together, and it has a fairly good sized fire box, which is really a great thing if your wood is a bit damp. With a larger fire box, one can add enough wood such that the lower layers dry out the upper layers. Small fire box stoves don’t have the capacity; when you finally get your wood dry via the burn, you’re out of wood.

    HJ

    • Friar Rodney Burnap

      It a great stove, you have to uses there wind screen with it…then you won’t have the problems mentioned in this review…their is always a learning curve…

  6. I have to disagree. I have used this stove many times and never had the issues you are having. First it produces almost no smoke. I haven’t had any trouble loading through the port on side and I am able to simmer just fine. The flaw is in the way you describe starting it. That is a good way for boiling water but for cooking you should load slow and steady and not preload.

    • Definitely have to agree with you on this. I have never had these issues with my toaks stove. You have to be aware of where your making the fire and if it’s windy and you think you’ll need more wind break then try to create one out of your surroundings. With all fires a heavy wind will mess with it so the complaint of fire coming out the side in the wind isn’t surprising.

      Like all things this stove takes time to master. loading it with wood and allowing the gas to get burning then a steady feed every minute or so of small finger sized wood will simmer no problem for however long you need.

  7. Thanks for the review. I’m looking at a titanium stove instead of my corrent Solo Stove, not just because of the weight but because the combination of heat and potash is very hard on steel, so that you get rust even with 316 steel.
    But the Toaks stove is simply not there yet. If they lifted the inner pot up higher they could create a better primary draft and make it easier to light. I would need to use this with a dish beneath, as one of the primary reasons I’m using a stove is a general fire ban all summer long, when grills and stoves are allowed as long as they keep the fire risk down.
    The tall upper ring could actually be of good use if they designed it to fit a pot inside, like they do it with a Trangia stove. You use the heat better that way because you force the heat all the way up along the pot. While this is all too tall and unsteady. This way you just let the heat out too early. If you don’t get enough air in through the primary and gasifier stages the design is failed at any rate, so why make the extra holes?
    I look forward to a second version, as they really need to rethink this design.

  8. i just couldn’t keep the fire going and I was thinking maybe it is because I could not find dry enough wood. Now, reading this article, I am thinking that I started the fire the wrong way by putting the fuel at the bottom and then adding the wood later.

    Maybe I should try the loading all the wood and then add the fuel on top method.

  9. Friar Rodney Burnap

    I own many kinds of Stoves and many wood burning stoves the Toaks doesn’t have the problems mentioned in this review if you use a proper windscreen the blowing wind doesn’t get to the top part of the stove, with a Toaks windscreen, but provides air to blow into the bottom of the windscreen an into the stove…so the answer to this Toaks Stove is use a Toaks Ultralight and screen…

    • Chuckle. The wind screen built into the stove doesn’t work, so you suggest using a second one? That makes no sense. It’s a defect with the tent’s design.

      • Friar Rodney Burnap

        Toaks Sales a wind screen for this very stove backpacking stoves work better with a wind screen… 1. read the instructions The Toaks wind screen will take care of most of the problems mentioned in the review…
        This is a top down wood burning stove…large wood at the bottom of stove and smaller wood as you get to the top of the burning chamber… don’t block the gasifying parts after the stove is started.

  10. I have to disagree with the final assessment of the review. There’s a bit more to learn about using stoves of this kind. One needs to take care to use the stove correctly, and there are definite caveats to keep in mind in doing that. Used right, and with a lightweight aluminum wind-screen (home-made, in my case), the stove works wonders. You DO have to think of it as more like an alcohol fuel stove, burning steadily and hot to its end, but for quick boiling in preparation for insulated “slow cooking” or for on-the-spot hot soup, beverage or other boil-necessary food (e.g pasta), the stove is just right.

    Want to simmer, because you are in camp all day? Get an aluminum Dutch Oven, or gin up an adaptation with a larger stainless-steel pot, and simmer over a camp-fire (or, for those unfortunately far away from true wilderness, on a good quality liquid-fuel stove). Even a firebox style stove–and I have one of those, too–calls for constant attention for any long-term simmer.

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