One new addition to the car this winter is a Sterno folding single burner stove. I picked it up for just under $10 on Amazon (also buying Sterno fuel too) and it’s going to be placed in the car for camping and emergency use. I really wanted to get one of these for a long time because it’s far more versatile than the Esbit Pocket stove and if your sterno runs out, it will work with wood as well. The sides and back are enclosed, protecting your fire from wind to some extent, but what’s really cool is that the front flap can fold upwards to enclose your flame if there’s just too much wind.
Sterno 7oz fuel cans run for about 2 hours and can boil an 18oz cup of water in just over 5 minutes. I purchased two 6 packs so I wouldn’t have to think about buying more fuel again for a long time. I will be putting three cans in the car when the temps are only in the mid 60’s during the day and lower to avoid issues with heat. Three cans are good for about 6 hours of cooking or in a real emergency, you can stretch them out over 24 hours per can by covering 3/4 of the lid for a slower burn (I also have two 100 hour candles in the car).
The stove will also work with other fuel cans as well as the smaller 45 minute 2.6oz cans, but will take longer for water to boil.
Ultra Portable Stove collapses to 1.5 inches thick!
One of the best things that I like about the stove is that it can fold down to only 1.5 inches thick, making it a perfect item to throw in a day pack or backpack for some all day hiking. Our family also has a Toaks 1600ml Pot and Pan combo that also fits in the day pouch. Boiling 32oz of water on the stove takes about 12 minutes so we won’t have to pack more than one can of sterno fuel to get us through a lunchtime stop. If we are planning to do dinner, we might take two Sterno fuel cans just to be sure.
Another thing that really helps is to have a wind screen when there’s any amount of wind over a light breeze. I use Reflectix that’s about 14 inches high that can wrap around the stove, leaving a gap of about 6-8 inches, to reflect the heat and block wind. If its pretty windy though, you’ll have to hold the Reflectix from blowing away, unless you anchor it with camping pegs.