- FYI, REI is currently on sale.
Portable wood-burning stoves have come a long way over the years. Nobody knows this better than Solo Stove and Bushbuddy. These two brands have built up a huge fan base thanks to their efficient, lightweight, portable stoves. But which brand is better?
Bushbuddy has been around for decades, handcrafting quality ultralight backpacking stoves. Their lightest offering weighs a mere 4.5 ounces. Meanwhile, Solo Stove has blown up since their initial Kickstarter. And so has their product line. They produce everything from lightweight backpacking wood-burning stoves to cookware.
Founded by brothers Jeff and Spencer Jan, Solo Stove was born in Dallas, Texas, in 2011. Since the launch of their first Kickstarter campaign, they’ve built up quite the cult following.
- #A sidenote here: I'd highly recommend you to check out REI's informative meal planning chart before you read further.
The Jan brother’s motivation came from the desire to create an ultralight backpacking stove that could boil water in minimal time. That and create one that uses sticks as fuel.
This sparked the creation of the Solo Stove Lite. This was the first in a line of many products geared toward outdoor enthusiasts.
Bushbuddy has been around since 1999. The company was founded in Canada by a man named Fritz Handel.
At the time, Handel had been using a wood stove that ran on batteries. Not exactly ideal for the backcountry.
Handel decided to improve this shortcoming by designing a portable wood stove with no batteries required. He handcrafted numerous models before developing what would become the Bushbuddy Stove.
Although Handel is now retired, Bushbuddy still handcrafts all their stoves. Today, they operate out of an off-grid workshop in Alaska.
You can find out more about the creation of Bushbuddy and Handel’s fascinating story here.
A quick glance at the product lineup, and you’ll notice Solo Stove has quite the offerings. Their products range from portable wood-burning camp stoves to fire pits to grilling accessories.
They’re also now offering a cookware line. I purchased the Solo Stove 2 Pot Set about a year ago and am loving it.
This set is compatible with the Lite and Titan. I find it also works with a standard propane camping stove. Due to the size, I wouldn’t recommend taking the 2 Pot Set backpacking.
Bushbuddy is much more limited in products. Yet what they lack in quantity, they make up for in quality.
Their stoves are all handmade in the USA. Currently, they offer two wood-burning camp stoves with matching pots. These are the Bushbuddy Mini and the Bushbuddy Stove.
The Mini is extremely lightweight, making it ideal for the solo backpacker.
Even the Stove is exceptionally small. Small enough that it nests inside the Snow Peak 900 and TOAKS 15mm.
There is controversy about whether Solo Stove ripped off Bushbuddy’s design.
While I can’t attest to whether there’s any truth behind this claim, I can attest to the similarities in design.
Solo Stove and Bushbuddy both feature rocket stove technology. If you’re unfamiliar, the idea behind a rocket stove is that fire will burn more efficiently with less smoke. This is achieved by using an insulated simple combustion chamber.
To the naked eye, Solo Stove and Bushbuddy camp stoves look almost identical. However, Solo Stove has updated the air intake holes along the bottom of their newer models, giving products a more distinct look.
Both Bushbuddy and Solo Stove use a double-wall design constructed from stainless steel. That said, the Solo Stove products have a thicker wall.
Solo Stove uses 304 stainless steel to make their products. Bushbuddy products are “made from a high-quality stainless steel.” The Mini is specifically made from lightweight titanium.
Bushbuddy is superior in weight. Their lightest stove is the Mini which is only 4.5 ounces. No joke!
Solo Stove’s lightest option, the Lite, weighs a bit more at 9 ounces. That’s still heavier than even the 6.4 ounces Bushbuddy Stove.
This isn’t that big of a deal if you’re transporting the stove from car to camp.
But for backpackers, ounces quickly add up to pounds. You’ll appreciate the lighter Mini on a multi-day backpacking or thru-hiking trip.
Bushbuddy is the pricier brand of the two.
While their price point isn’t vastly different, those who don’t have specific brand loyalty are more likely to opt for Solo Stove. Solo Stove has a very similar design and works just as efficiently.
That said, if you prefer handcrafted goods, Bushbuddy is a better buy. Especially if you’re a backpacker, their stoves will save you weight and space in your pack.
Who It’s For
Both companies are for any outdoor enthusiast looking to burn sustainably. What defines them are their differences in process, product, and mission.
Bushbuddy is pure craftsmanship. They state they don’t rely on “aggressive advertising.”
Peruse their website, and you’ll get the feeling they're geared toward the survivalist, bushcraft, and backpacking crowd. That and anyone who can appreciate products handmade in the USA
Solo Stove is targeted more toward the general outdoor community. This includes campers, backpackers, beachgoers, picnickers, barbecue lovers, families, and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
Which brand is right for you is purely a matter of lifestyle and preference. Personally, I dig the Bushbuddy Mini for backpacking but love the Solo Stove Bonfire for camping.
Bushbuddy and Solo Stove both offer terrific portable wood-burning stoves. Each produces quality products that burn efficiently, creating less smoke.
Which is better is a matter of lifestyle choices. Bushbuddy offers ultra-lightweight stoves that any backpacker would obsess over. Meanwhile, Solo Stove offers more products and accessories tailoring to your activity-specific outdoor needs. Each filling a niche worthy of building a fire.