Buying and fitting a Wood Stove in a Bell Tent





Before you go off and get carried away with the lovely idea of a toasty warm stove in the tent, consider the following:-

Cost



You can pick up a wood stove from £150 upwards.  There are some lovely ones out there However, budget in another minimum of £200 for a flue, silicon collar, back plate, floor protection, spark arrestor etc.  Do your homework, you need to buy the correct parts to make it safe - it's basically running a fire pipe through a piece of material that you and your family are sleeping in.


Invest in a Carbon Monoxide alarm, and a fire extinguisher, fire gloves
On top of that you will want some basic fire tools - poker, shovel, brush

Other options are fans to circulate the heat - However unless you are prepared to pay a few hundred pound for one of these, the cheaper ones aren't recommended

Roof or side wall flue


Consider where the stove is going to sit?  

A lot of tents on the market now come with a pre-cut flue hole.

I find the placement of these restrictive in that you have to have the stove where the cover is - roof flues are generally at the back of the tent in totally impractical places.  It restricts what you can put there, and often does not take into account a bell tent inner.  You can get round this by angling the inner from the door in most cases though.

The other position they tend to pre-fit both roof and side wall flues is the first panel of the side wall.

This again is a hopeless position if you are planning to use an awning - the stove flue pokes through the canvas, directly where you want to position the guy ropes from the tarp/awning over the A Frame

I prefer the exiting of the stove via the side wall.  A roof flue carries the risk of tar dripping down the roof of the tent and staining the canvas - this doesn’t happen with a side flue, as any tar will drip directly onto the ground instead.


Leakage - the side flue is a lot less likely to leak in heavy rain as the hole sits under the skirt of the tent.  I always make covers (see further down the page) and these eliminate any leakage when the stove isn't used (some just stick an empty litre bottle of water in the hole)

Strong Winds - Its easier to secure the side wall flue from blowing around (see pic below, there is a metal support directly in the floor that supports it.  With a roof flue you are entirely dependent on guys

Personally I am not a fan of pre-set flue exits, and prefer to cut my own.

Heat


Yes they do heat the tent up nicely on a cold night, but for safety reasons I still shut it down during the night.  So waking up to a cold tent is no different to having no stove at all.

If you have ideas of using the stove as a main cooking device, what happens in the summer?

Standing in a tent on a baking sweltering sunny day, whilst waiting for a kettle to boil, isn't much fun.  I use my stove purely for spring/autumn camps, where ehu is not available, or the campsite is just too nice to dismiss, purely because no electric is available


Packing Room and weight


Whilst some of the stoves out there look incredible, dont consider buying anything over 30kg.  It is a pain to try and transport something anything over that weight.

The stove will be heavy on your load, plus it takes a large amount of room in the trailor/car, bearing in mind the size of the stove stove plus all the peripheral parts.

Also consider you will need to pick up logs, kindling, fire lighters etc if not available onsite

Campsite Restrictions


A lot of campsites simply will not allow a stove/open fire, so you are eliminating stays on any of these

Mess


Consider the mess that comes with them.  However tidy you are you will end up with kindling/ash all around the opening.  I have old rugs that I place underneath, but it will ruin them.  (scorch marks etc where I have managed to shuffle coals and flick it out the door!)
Plus bear in mind what you smell like after sitting round a campfire in the evening?  You and the entire contents of your tent will now be tinged with this smell

Safety & Space Needed


Wherever the stove is positioned, you will lose a lot of interior room - it needs plenty of clearance from beds etc

Purchase a carbon monoxide alarm and a fire extinguisher

A wood stove around small children isnt the best idea - if however you are planning this, make sure you have solid fire guards

So the negatives out of the way...

There are all sorts of suppliers out there, I did a lot of homework 5 years ago, and I am sure there are a lot more on the market now.  I will attempt to keep the blog updated with suppliers at the end - as at the end of the day it is your decision which stove you go for in the end.

The next step once you have purchased your stove is to fit it into the tent



Fitting the Stove

If you have a pre-cut flue, it should take minutes to now set your stove up
If not, get the scissors ready...

A lot of people panic at the thought of cutting up their lovely pristine tent to push a grotty sooty flue through the canvas
All you are doing is cutting is a small hole, and its not as daunting as it sounds
Firstly pitch the tent on a level piece of land/pitch.  If its slightly sloped, everytime you camp afterwards will be slightly out on the flue hole
Set up your stove so that the interior flue is pressed against the surface where it needs to exit

If the tent already came with a pre-set flue hole, then yes you have the advantage this is all ready to use.




With a pen mark a circle outside the tent where the flue is pressing

Then cut out the circle - this will be getting bigger, so dont panic about overcutting here

If you have a cooling chamber to go around the flue, fit this to the flue pipe now, then add the silicon collar.  The circle will need to be cut big enough to clear the collar completely, but allow you enough fabric for the outer frame and screws to still grab the fabric

The fabric can just be seen on the inner side of the outer metal ring

So you will end up with a piece of fabric similar to this




The final hole will be about this size


You will need to pierce the fabric to allow the wing nut screws to push through into the outer ring frame



And thats it!  Just under cut the circle if you are a bit nervous, you can always cut more out






Making a flue cover





If you are a bit handy on a sewing machine it is easy enough to make a cover.

If you need to match a particular tent colour, or just want it to be exact, just use the tent bag for material (it's easy enough to make another bag).  Cream canvas is readily available, so I would just use 1/2 metre of a waterproof same grade (285g min) fabric rather than trash the tent bag.  Alternatively try the seller where you purchased the tent, they sometimes have 'sacrificial tents', and may let you have a square of fabric

These are excellent for tent fabrics : https://www.profabrics.co.uk/

Method:


 Just cut out a square a few inch larger than the circle cut out

Edge the sides and add one half of the velcro to three of them.

Lay the cover on the tent JUST UNDER the skirt (on a side flue).  Then sew the BOTTOM edge to the tent.
You are sewing the bottom edge so that when in use, if the cover falls down it will fall below the flue, rather than sit on it, which is obviously a fire hazard

Now sew the remaining three pieces of velcro to the corresponding places on the tent

Rhubarbs cover:-







Suppliers


(Any feedback would be appreciated, as I have only experienced the one supplier)




Model: Woodman


Weight: Approx 24kg

5kw

the 4kw for comparison against the 5kw

The smaller red 4kw stove on top

I started off with a 4kw, but decided to go a bit larger, mainly so I could cram a lot more wood in it and forget about it for a few hours.  Trying to keep a wood stove in overnight is a bit of an impossibility, and tbh I'm not happy leaving a fire going all night.  I tend to stoke it up for a few hours before I go to bed, then just let it die down.

There are some nice smaller stoves on the market, such as the pip squeak stove.  However cute this stove is, it is going to take a lot of kindling continually fed to keep this going.  For novelty value its attractive, but not really an option for winter camping where this is your only source of heat




Attractive, but a bit impractical for any great heat source

The frontier stoves are very popular as a cheaper option.  The disadvantages with these are the legs tend to stick out a lot, and the flue pipe is fairly narrow.

A nice space saving option as the flue can be stored in the stove

With its 'War of the World' legs

As with the pip squeak stoves, there are several suppliers.

The frontier tends to retail at about £150

There is a nice review on the frontier stove here: http://www.bushcraftuk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=77049


A few other suppliers, but do your homework on flues, weight of the stove, exit points etc, and whether they are suitable for your tent:





Beware of military stove ebay buys, gas bottle conversions etc.  Whilst ok for use outside, I wouldn't recommend using these inside your tent

The Orland 



Another new addition, but a nice looking stove

https://www.orland-living.com/



Vesta Stove


https://www.vestastoves.co.uk




Tree Tents Camp Stove




5 comments:

  1. Hi

    We would love it if you could add our Buashmaster Camp Stove to your list http://www.vestastoves.co.uk/shop/Bushmaster-camping-stove

    Nice Blog

    Best Regards

    John
    Vesta Stoves

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a nice blog! Believe me I am very impressed with this blog. I have a suggestion to use Defra approved woodburning stoves. When you will buy wood burning stoves, make sure they are DEFRA-approved. Because you can use them within a smoke controlled area (when burning wood).

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hii, Thanks For Sharing your great information about wood Burning Stoves We Have providing the same services.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks so much for your wonderful blog. It's been so helpful as I have started on my adventure with bell tents. I now own a 4m PIG from canvas and cast and just bought the Orland stove. Would you be able to recommend any campsites where they allow wood burning stoves in your own bell tent? It would be great to share a list with other campers.
    Thanks again for your lovely posts and sharing your experience.

    ReplyDelete

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