Vargo Titanium Hexagon Wood Stove Review
If you are looking for a super lightweight wood stove that almost disappears into your pack, the Vargo Titanium Hexagon Wood Stove is a very good option. It has a number of great features that put it near the top of the pack in the wood burning camp stove category.
Small wood burning stoves are often overlooked, but there are some good reasons to consider one. The most obvous reason is that there is no need to carry a fuel canister. This means a lot less weight in your backpack, no risk of leaking fuel, no worry about running out, and you’re always going to find bits of wood to burn.
Setup and Design Features
The durable titanium constructed stove easily folds out from its pancake sized storage form into a hexagon shaped wood stove. Wood can then be added to the stove through an easy access hinged door. The conical shape forces heat up to the pot more efficiently. The stove weighs 4.1 oz., has a 5” x 4” size when open and packs down to 5” x 0.5” when folded up. The size and weight is definitely one of the key features of the stove and benefit over comparable stoves in the wood burning stove class.
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This one piece stove folds out and then snaps together forming a very seemless and functional stove. Like most of the wood stoves I have reviewed, the Vargo burns small wood and other small organics you can find out in the woods. Also, like other stoves in this class, it requires a certain amount of maintenance to keep the fire burning at a high level. Take a look at this video if you want to see how the whole process works.
Due to being so light and easy to use, along with operating on materails you’ll find just about anwyere, this is one of the most portable stoves on the market. Whether you’re a cyclist, backpacker, hiker, if you’re cooking needs can be met with this stove it makes sense to have one.
It will take between 6 to 10 minutes to boil a liter of water depending on how well you are able to stoke the fire and the type of wood you have available. The Vargo stove is not quite as efficient as some of the higher priced wood burning stoves because it only has a single burning chamber (see Solo Stove or Biolite for double chamber models). This basically means that you will spend a little more time stoking the fire. Many people will probably tell you that they enjoy stoking the fire and getting that campfire feel so they can handle this additional work. Take a look at this link if you are interested in getting a little more information about how to build a campfire.
There is very little maintenance required for the stove other than just keeping the soot cleaned from your pots and pans. It has hinges so there is the potential that these can wear out over time. The manufacturer recommends using a pot no larger than 1.5 liters in size. This is one of the major limitations of the Vargo stove. It’s because of this size limitation that it is also such a great stove. It packs smaller and is lighter than the comparable wood stoves in this category. The stove cools down extremely quickly because of its titanium construction. Take a look at the Vargo website to get additional information or find other products that work with the Hexagon.
The Vargo comes with a carrying case and has no parts kit. It does not have a huge amount wind resistance and has no auto ignition. Temperature control can be a little difficult to get the hang of like many of the wood camping stoves. The Hexagon will cost between $50 and $60 which puts it in the middle of the pack for pricing.
- Super light and compact
- Super easy setup and back down
- Titanium cools very quickly after use
- Can be used with some alcohol stoves as a windscreen
- Soot build up on pots and pans
- Higher amounts of smoke output from fire
- Takes some work to keep it going
- A limit on the size of the pot it supports
When choosing the size of material you are burning a good rule of thumb is to use sticks no larger than your finger. Place metal tent stakes across the top of the stove in order to cook with small bottles. There are a number of alcohol stoves that fit inside the Hexagon stove. This allows the Hexagon to double as a windscreen and give you the ability to have a backup stove.
Patience is the key though. It’s not that it takes a long time to get a decent flame, you need to be patient building up the size of the twigs you’re feeding into the stove. Start small, and as the flame strengthens you can add thicker and large twigs and bits of material.
The main issue I found was that by sitting on the floor you get a build up of ash on the bottom. There are two ways around this. One, you can dig a small hole in the ground beneath the stove. Or, two, you can try and raise it slightly with some kind of legs.
The second option has the advantage of allowing some airflow which can help hold a flame in some weather conditions. You need to take into account the weather you’re dealing with really, the windshields are awesome of stopping wind hitting the flames directly so you can allow as little or as much wind as you need.
Vargo Hexagon Wood Stove Summary
The Vargo Hexagon Wood Stove is super small, super light, and super easy to setup and back down. With a little practice in fire building you will have this stove setup and cooking your meal in less than a few minutes. It doesn’t have all of the frills of some of the other backpacking stoves, but does build a solid fire and is fairly efficient because of the conical design. It is a good stove for 1 or 2 people in the backcountry and provides a good stove for emergency preparedness.
It doesn’t have all of the frills of some of the other backpacking stoves, but does build a solid fire and is fairly efficient because of the conical design. It is a good stove for 1 or 2 people in the backcountry and provides a good stove for emergency preparedness.
It’s a popular choice among the cycling community for all of the above reasons covered in this article. There are few stoves this small and light that allow you to hop off your bike almost anywhere and fire up to boil some water or warm up some food.
When all of these key features are taken into account it demonstrates that the Vargo Hexagon Wood Stove can fill that wood burning stove need for you. If you’ve never used a wood stove before and you’re looking to leave those fuel canisters at home you’re in for a treat.
This stove is also a great option as a backup emergency stove in your backpack. Even if you don’t need it because of your main stove letting you down, I bet there are occasions when you or someone else wants to use it. For the sake of a little bit of space in your backpack it’s a no-brainer for me.
Give it a shot and tell us what your take is on the Vargo. I am confident that if you are looking for a lightweight, compact and quality constructed wood burning stove, the Vargo will do the job.
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We have something similiar – the Honey Stove (no idea who makes it). I just find the need to keep putting small bits of wood in constantly a bit like hard work! Unlike a Trangia, which once you set going, it keeps going as long as there is fuel, with these wood burning stoves, they just seem to be so high maintenance!
Consequently, we don’t seem to use it too often.