Saturday, August 6, 2022

Essentials: $4 IKEA Stove

 I’m on the trail again, this time near the cute little town of Oswestry. Oswestry is big enough to have several grocery stores, many churches, and some beautiful parks and quaint little shops and houses. Some of them look and are ancient, almost tumble-down ancient.

I was walking down the street and out of town this evening when I walked by the Oswestry School, founded 1407. 1407!!!! Wow. 

And they were playing cricket today. Right ho!

 I sent a box of extra things home today. When you’re carrying everything on your back, your feet and your back keep you honest. They don’t let you carry anything that’s not absolutely necessary. 

There are a few simple things that far outweigh their cost and weight in my opinion: my stove, my solar panels, and my headlamp.

Headlamps provide all the light you could ever need. Mine weighs as much as one AA battery but lasts about 20 hours. If moths are attracted to its light, I can switch it to red light and the moths go away. It makes setting up camp after dark—or finding a camp after dark—a cinch. Don’t leave home without it!

Solar panels are a bit pricey, and heavy, but in our modern battery-filled world, they can be a lifesaver. When my headlamp runs out, 2 hours in the sun gives it back its twenty hours of light. My solar panel also charges my phone, my iPad, my drone, and my watch. If it’s a sunny enough day I’ll hang the panel from my backpack so things can charge as I walk along. But the best charging comes while I’m eating my meals and I can point the solar panel directly at the sun. If I do it right, it covers all of my battery charging needs.

Now the star of the show, one that I was very skeptical about initially, is my stove. At home I have a really nice little gas camping stove that nests inside a little set of pots. But I was worried I’d have trouble finding replacement gas canisters over here, so I went with a simpler system: a $4 Ikea kitchen spoon holder. No joke. It weighs nothing, functions exactly like a Solo Stove, and I never run out of fuel. At first, I had to master starting fires with it, but now it’s second nature. Today, for instance, I crumpled up a few receipts from my grocery run, filled the rest of the space with small and then larger sticks, lit the paper on fire, and boom!- we had a fire.

There’s something really consoling about sitting by a real fire. If I need to cook a dish longer, no worries, there is an endless supply of twigs in this world. It’s not quite as clean as a gas stove, but neither am I carrying around a pressurized canister of explosive propane wherever I go.

I have many other little gadgets that make my trek possible, but these three are special.

Hope you have a blessed Sunday tomorrow!


  1. Keep up the great posts! Haven’t commented often but am reading. - Fr DB

  2. Good! Glad you enjoy them!