Littlbug Twig Stove: Tiny, Lightweight And Effective
A few years ago, I made my own twig stove as a fun winter project. I used it successfully on a few trips, but then it started to get left behind on the shelf; it was simply too bulky and awkward to be easily packed and carried, plus I cut myself on it twice!
The experience as a whole was very positive; I liked the idea of not having to carry fuel canisters with me, and the garbage they created.
Over time, I kept seeing twig stoves pop up on social media, and it was clear that folks who settled on one that they liked, stuck with them. I decided that it was time for me to give it another go, this time with a commercial product - preferably one that didn't poke holes in my pack or slice my fingers like my wonderful creation did!
As luck would have it, I came across an interview with Kent Hering, the creator of the LittlBug Stove on the CW Goetz Camping Show. Kent spoke passionately about his product, its light weight and versatility; the material used in it, and the various options and sizes for it. I was sold!
I contacted the company and found out that one of my favourite retailers, Canadian Outdoor Equipment, was an authorized dealer, so I placed an order with them.
The Solution for a Fire Ban
Now an important digression. In my travels, I've seen how fire bans have become a common summer occurrence. When a fire ban is on, that typically means no wood burning fires of any kind, and that includes twig stoves. Yikes! What to do? Happily, the solution is simple, and it's discussed on both the Canadian Outdoor Equipment and on the Litllbug web sites. The answer is to use a lightweight alcohol stove, like the Trangia.
I'll review the Trangia another time, but suffice to say, it's a very simple, portable solution, trusted for years, and pairs well with the Littlbug. With it, you have the flexibility of a twig stove and a simple burner that is safe to use in all fire bans - a great combination.
For this reason, I included an order for a Trangia with my Littlbug when I contacted Canadian Outdoor Equipment.
Field Testing the Littlbug Twig Stove
I've now used my Littlbug on two separate, multi-day trips and I'm very happy with it. While it sets up easily (there are only four pieces), it does take a little practice to do it quickly. There are so many different combinations possible that set-up can slow you down at first, but don't worry, after five minutes of practice you'll be good to go!
Every time I pull out my Littlbug, I'm shocked at how tiny and lightweight it is. I purchased the Littlbug Junior version, and it weighs just 5.1 oz or 144.5 mg. Folded up, I can place it in the curve of my pack and it's almost unnoticeable (it folds very flat and thin).
When I used it the first time, I wasn't sure what to expect. Would it light slowly? Would I need to "nurse it"? How often would I need to feed it? etc. Well, upon first lighting, I was amazed at the flames shooting out of the stove; it lit up like a rocket!
After about three minutes, the fire started to burn down and I added a few more twigs. You can add twigs though space at the top under your pot, or in holes in the bottom specially designed for that purpose. Either way, it was very easy to keep going, and honestly, rather pleasant! There's something about sitting by a wood burning fire, even a little one, that makes you feel relaxed.
I also used the Trangia several times in the Littlbug so that I knew what to expect of it. Really no surprises here. You change a couple of set-up options with the Littlbug to accommodate the positioning of the Trangia, then you're set. One match, and the alcohol lights up, replacing the twigs you'd be using otherwise.
Slow Down and Enjoy your Time in the Outdoors
Using the Littlbug does take longer to boil water than if you use a typical canister stove. I'd say if using twigs, I can get a boil in about six minutes. If using alcohol, I'd double that to about twelve minutes. At first this sounded so slow, especially if you're used to a "Jetboil" like stove. But, I can probably count on one hand the number of trips I've been on where I've had to "rush" from one site to another; I almost always have lots of times on my hands - one of the reasons I head out is to slow down! So, while using the Littlbug takes a bit longer, it's shouldn't really matter.
The Downside of a Twig Stove
The main downside of using any twig stove is soot. There's no way around it, if you cook over a wood burning fire, your pots and kettles will get blackened. That's a trade off I'm willing to make to not have to buy and carry fuel canisters. A pair of leather gloves and a bag are all it takes to keep the soot off anything else you're worried about.
Am I Happy with my Littlbug Stove?
Absolutely! I believe it will pay for itself very quickly in fuel canisters saved and lightens my load. I recommend you do your own research and see what you think. I believe you'll soon be a convert too!