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  • Stoved and confused.......................

    I have a new small hot tent on the way, about 11' X 8'
    A Smokehouse Outfitter 1 hammock hot tent to be exact.

    I haven't decided if I'm buying or building a stove, that part I can sort out.

    The problem I'm having is I can't decide how big a stove I need.
    I have no intention of attempting an all night burn, my sleep system is all set down to -20F to -30F
    I would just use the stove for drying out clothing, cooking or just relaxing.

    I will be traveling by canoe until the rivers freeze to hard, by sled, and occasionally by Jeep.
    So I want my stove to be reasonably light weight.

    I know it varies by design and wood quality, but best guess, how big of a firebox would you estimate I should shoot for to get say a 1:45-2:00 burn? (Just a random time I chose for no good reason other than convenience)
    I'll take stove recommendations too in case I don't build one, I don't have budget in mind. But I won't spend enough time using this to justify a 700-800 dollar stove.

  • #2
    I am not expert, I have only had one stove, but I can give you my experience.

    For a tent I use a Sierra Designs Guide Tarp that I have installed a stove jack into. At the base the diameter is about 10' and the top is about 7'.
    For a stove I use a Kni-Co Trekker.

    I have used this (and another similar) combo for about 3 years now, about 6 weeks in total. The stove is plenty! I have been in temps of -30C and have had the mid-level of tent over 40C. It is hot enough I can take 10 minutes breaks, in my long johns, in the cold staring at stars and not feel a a chill. I am twitchy so I tend the fire frequently. If I fill it up with wood and ignore it, like when I go to bed, the temps will fall off but it stays comfortable well over and hour.

    Given you don't need a air-tight/all-night burn the Kni-Co stoves are very reliable, durable, a manageable weight, and affordable. They pack up quite nicely too. I recommend getting one of the side tables as well, it comes in very handy and packs into the stove with everything else.


    • #3
      No expert here either, but here are some ideas from experience in Manitoba, temps to -40C without windchill.

      If it is cold out and you are asking for lots of heat output from your stove a 2 hour burn is pretty much not going to happen unless you have a BIG stove. If it is cold and we are heating the tent, melting snow, and cooking food while wet items are drying in the apex of the tent then the stove is working at its maximum, and I'm putting a split in every 10-12 minutes in order to keep up a steady output. If cooking is done the tent is warmed up and everything is dried out then the draft and damper are turned down and that time might double or become 3 splits every 30 minutes. If I let the stove go for 2 hours there won't be much heat coming off it for the last hour. Of course, warmer weather changes everything.

      Assuming you choose high quality wood you have a long stove pipe set almost vertical, and you keep the stove just pumping the heat out...

      I think a stove of about 650 cubic inches (Seekoutside medium) to be winter cold weather functional only in a very small tent, say under 45 square feet with a 6' single peak and sloped sides/short sidewalls. You'll have to feed that little guy every 15 minutes when it is very cold.
      A 1800 cubic inch stove (ex: a 10x10x18 Four-dog) can heat a 64 square foot tent reasonably well at -40...if you have good wood, and little to no wind.
      A stove of (almost) 3500 cubic inches (ex: 12x12x24 Kni-co) can heat a tent with more than a 3 times larger footprint - even up to 180 sq. feet reasonably well.

      Generally, the larger the stove the poorer the wood it will take and still perform ok, especially if you mix 3 splits of good wood with one of mediocre wood. But the colder the weather the less tolerance you'll have for that poorer quality wood.

      If you cover half your stove-top with pots, half of the heat that was emitting from your stove top is not available to heat your tent - instead that heat is now melting snow. So you might want to plan for your new stove to be able to produce enough heat for the tent AND cooking at the same time.

      If you have too much stove heat on a warmer evening you can always unzip the door; but on the cold and windy nights when your stove can't keep up with the tent's heat loss there is little you can do except wish you had a bigger stove.

      Put-together stoves can't be beat for their light weight but fiddling with nuts, bolts, thin metal sheets, and lining parts up perfectly at -35C when you are tired from a long cold day and your blood sugar is dipping is never a good thing, and almost never even ok. Sometimes it is the worst part of your day.

      Hanging puts you off the floor in a significant way - this is good for being able to live in the warmer parts of the tent.

      Good luck with your new set up, Justin P.! The tent sounds excellent.
      Last edited by Undersky; 10-08-2020, 12:47 AM.


      • #4
        I think the points Undersky makes about wood quality are really important. A lot of the stuff you read or see on the net has folks using good dry hardwood not crappy half rotted jack pine that seems to often be all I can find nearby. For your tent I’d go with something like the Knico Alaskan Jr that is 12 x 12 x 18 or equivalent. You may be ok with the next size down if your night time temps are only down to -20 and that’s what we have in our 10 by 8 Snowtrekker. It does get a bit cool right at the far end of the tent though when the temperatures approach -30 so you have to repaired to sit up by the stove.


        • #5
          I believe burn time has more to do with how many btu's available to burn. You may need a larger fire box to burn larger pieces of pine vs. hardwoods like oak. Having a long burn depends on how air tight the stove is as well. Four dog stoves seem to be the most air tight camp stoves available. you cant go wrong with a 2 dog stove or their large ti stove. For reference I have the same size tent footprint crew snowtrekker.

          Also, stove design plays a role in how much heat is extracted and exchanged inside the tent given the amount of energy expelled. I have a kni-co, they do not have a baffle from the factory, it will use twice the wood to heat the same space compared to a baffled stove of the same size and wood type.


          • #6
            Thanks everyone!
            All great and very helpful answers!
            Even though in the back of my mind I knew better, I was wishfully thinking of smaller stoves than what everyone is recommending.
            I've only every used behemoth stoves in a monster wall tent, or a tiny stove in my ice fishing shack.
            I don't have any experience in this middle ground area.

            I think I need to lower my expectations and raise my size limit.
            I'm relatively lazy in the woods and filling a stove every 15-20 minutes ain't exactly how I'm looking to spend my leisure time.
            I actually think what might end up happening is me fabricating a medium sized stove for late fall and early winter, and then probably buying a deep winter stove.
            I'll probably buy the big stove because I don't have titanium in my steel storage rack in the shop.


            • #7
              That's not a bad way to go either IMHO. I have multiple stoves for different tents and situations. No one stove does everything perfectly.

              post what you come up with!


              • #8
                Originally posted by Heavy Duty
                That's not a bad way to go either IMHO. I have multiple stoves for different tents and situations. No one stove does everything perfectly.

                post what you come up with!
                I will.
                Honestly, I keep dragging my feet....... I might end up starting out the season with a five gallon bucket stove.


                • #9
                  I have the 2 Dog Stove in steel heating a 11.5 X 9 shortwall Snowtrekker. I believe that stove is 11 x 11 x 18. I got that size so it would fit in the travel system I was using at the time. I do find it a bit small once the temps dip below -20*c. Near the back of the tent gets chilly at those temps, but I spend most of my time close to the stove anyways, and let the fire burn out overnight. I do believe the baffle in the stove makes the stove much more efficient.

                  The stove has worked for me, but I do wish I had a tad bit bigger firebox for the cooler evenings.