Share Your Thoughts – Win a Solo Stove

Solo Stove

Way back in August of 2012 I was contacted by Jeff of Solo Stove to see if I would be interested in testing one of his stoves and sharing my thoughts via my blog. I was just one of many outdoor bloggers that he contacted. Here are a few notable blogs that have reviewed the stove recently: Stick’s Blog, Tim Miner, and Wilderness Dave.

To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of wood burning stoves and this is not my first time trying them, but I agreed to try the Solo Stove in the hopes that this one would be different and might possibly change my opinion of this interesting class of stoves. It didn’t, but that’s me.

Despite my lack of interest in wood burning stoves (it’s a soot thing), the Solo Stove is an extremely well made piece of gear, the finish is superb and it functions about the same as other stoves of this type (hold that thought) that I’ve used, including some that I’ve made myself using a drill and some soup cans.

This is not a review of the Solo Stove though, I have something else I want to discuss with you – something that reared it’s ugly head the minute I shared my first photo via Flickr of me testing this stove. It’s the question around the design of this particular stove and its origins, in particular with regards to the Canadian BushBuddy Stove.

I don’t own a BushBuddy stove, nor do I really care to, but I have friends that own them and use them. They’re very loyal and love their BBs.

Solo Stove

Solo Stove vs. BushBuddy
The question around whether or not the Solo Stove is completely original or if it has “borrowed” some of its design from that of the BushBuddy has been the topic of conversations for a long time on backpacking blogs and forums. Let’s face it, it’s not uncommon to see similar versions of a product in the backpacking market – hello, Kelly Kettle and Backcountry Boiler! We see it all the time. Should we actually be celebrating this as healthy competition in the stove making industry that in the end drives down cost and makes gear more accessible for us all? Is $120 versus $70 or the diference in weight all this is really about?

I voiced these concerns to Jeff at Solo Stove via email recently. He responded thoughtfully and was extremely open and upfront about the topic. I’m guessing he gets asked about it an awful lot. There is even a dedicated page on the Solo Stove blog discussing the differences – read it here. So you can’t knock Jeff for not trying to address this, he’s certainly not sweeping it under the carpet. Yet the argument surrounding the Solo Stove versus the BushBuddy remains.

Solo Stove

Voice Your Opinion to Win this Solo Stove
So here’s what I would I thought we could do. Leave a comment below regarding your thoughts on the Solo Stove versus the BushBuddy debate for an opportunity to win the Solo Stove that I recently tested – you should read that as “it’s used and slightly sooty.”

Do your homework before going off on a rant. Check out both of the stove maker’s sites (links above) and feel free to Google and see what others have to say about this debate. Above all, keep the comments civilized and constructive – I have no problem deleting offensive comments and banning repeat offenders. My blog, my rules.

I’d like to try and get this all out in the open once and for all and see what you really think about the similarities between the two stoves. There’s no social tweeting or following requirement this time, unless you want to share this post with others. Just leave a constructive comment below to be eligible. It would definitely help to also mention if you do or do not want to be entered to win the Solo Stove – depending on your opinion. I’ll use Random.org to pick a winner one week from now on February 6th.

What are your thoughts on this?

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Thank you to everyone who left a comment on this post, there was a lot of good debate and it seemed that most people had an opinion one way or another. The winner of the Solo Stove (selected from all the comments using Random.org) is Jordan Hipple. Please contact me via email so that I can follow up with the stove.To everyone else, just because the giveaway portion is over doesn’t mean you can no longer leave a comment. Have your say!


Disclosure: Solo Stove provided Brian’s Backpacking Blog with a complementary stove for the purpose of testing.

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  • Alex

    Fake ass Chinese copy of a beautifully crafted Canadian original. Bushbuddies are lighter and stronger too. The hippy that makes BBs didn’t patent it, and Solo Stove stole his idea and is trying to put him out of business. Finally, I strongly suspect that Solo Stove astroturfs their Amazon reviews. I give lots of stuff negative reviews on Amazon and I have never had a backlash like I did for my zero-star review of the SS.

    So, count me as one of your loyal readers that is a loyal Bushbuddy user! :) I’ve had my BB for about four years and I wouldn’t go camping with anything else.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Thanks for the comments Alex. I wanted to get honest feedback and you certainly didn’t disappoint. I assume then that you do not want to be entered to win the Solo? ;)

      • Alex

        No thanks Brian! I could use a new pack, a good thermarest, a down quilt and an UL tent though.

        Seriously – I would like to be on record as putting in a huge vote for woodgas stoves. The more I think about mine, the more I love it. You never have to even think about fuel, which is really liberating, and I love the smell – it smells like real camping to me. I should also say that I find the soot very manageable. It’s very dense, almost like a lacquer, presumably because the smoke is being reburned. The stove goes in the pot and the pot goes in a small stuffsack, and my gear stays completely clean, although everything smells like smoke, of course. Another thing – I have a Backcountry Boiler too and I find myself reaching for my Bushbuddy almost every time, except for day trips where I’ll want a solo tea break. The BB burns cleaner, smells better and boils more water.

        • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

          Once you get over the soot problem wood burning stoves are great. They are not so great when you are above the tree line for an extended period of time or in other places where fuel isn’t so easy to find. Thanks for following back up with the hue NO vote :)

  • brent

    The patent world is very dodgy. Change one or two little features and a product is no longer protected. I feel bad for any business that Fritz may have lost. I have owned a bushbuddy and it is a beautiful piece of work. I wish Fritz would use some of his metal skills to up the bar with another creation. It must have taken some cahones to say, “Hey I can make one of those!” with the many obvious similarities between the two.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Brent, the patent world and process is a nightmare and probably why a lot of cottage manufacturers simple don’t bother to get involved. It may have afforded Fritz some protection, but then as you say it may not have if there are “differences”. Thanks for your feedback!

  • brent

    Dang, is that the solo stove? I did not realize that it was IDENTICAL to the Bushbuddy inside the fire box.

  • http://www.facebook.com/clinton.ausmus Clinton Ausmus

    I have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed reading Sticks review of the SS. All that being said, the BB is the original of this concept, at least as far as I can remember, and it is smaller and lighter than the Solo. Also I’ve never heard a negative review of the BB and it is been around quite sometime.

    If you go by those points alone, the BB rises above the SS like a rocket; however the cost of the SS does make it more appealing to many people looking to try a more natural approach to our backcountry cooking adventures.

    Both stoves have their merits, and as far as I have read, both perform wonderfully.

    Edit: Upon further reading, I realize I was looking at the assembled dimensions of the SS. So the BB only wins in the weight category I guess. Still, I would not turn my nose up to either of these products.

  • David Mackenzie

    I do not own or have not used either of these. I have seen many versions of this stove on Youtube and considered making one but have not gotten that far. I would say with so many variations and ideas around one could not consider this design “theirs”. More power to someone who can actualy manufacture and sell “Their” wood burning stove. WOuld love to have one to try on my next backpacking trip.

  • http://www.facebook.com/adan.cortes.94 Adan Cortes

    Both stoves are wood gasifiers and work based on the same principles so it is not rare that they are so similar , if they were radically different then they would not work as gasifiers , equipment that serves the same purpose in a similar manner will always look alike ( another good wood stoves the Emberlit and the Fire Fly are very similar as well , almost identical ) a couple Titanium pots of the same capacity will look the same , I don’t believe this is done on purpose and manufacturers sure have a tough time making sure their designs work properly and don’t look too alike another products already on the market .

    Having said that wood gasifiers are more efficient burners than regular wood stoves and IMHO a smart choice , but I am not too concerned about weight (yet) .

  • http://www.backpackingnorth.com/ Mark Roberts

    This is a very interesting post, Brian.

    I’ll start by saying I don’t want to be entered into the raffle.

    A few months ago, I received an email from another Jeff – Jeff Tinker of Nomadic Stove Company. I copy the email below as it’s much easier to do that than attempt to summarize it:

    “My name is Jeff Tinker, I am the apprentice of Fritz Handel, the maker of the Bushbuddy stove. I am also making and producing the Bushbuddy stoves, under my own trademark, in the US. I make the stoves with 100% American materials—the stainless steel, the paper for the instructions, the cardboard, the tape, and the glue are all made in the US. The reason I am emailing you is because I came across your wonderful pictures of the stove from searching on Google. I was wondering if I could have your permission to use your pictures of the stove without watermarks or references in a gallery on my website. I could also pay you a nominal fee if you would like. About a year ago, a customer has bought one of our stoves and sent it to China for mass production. Ever since he started selling stoves, he has been paying customers lots of money for reviews and advertising. Now, many people know about their stove, the Solo Stove, and never hearing about the Bushbuddy. Unfortunately, we are now slowly beginning to go out of business and I’m not able to afford a photographer to take product pictures. Please let me know if I could use the pictures, I look forward to hearing back from you. Thank you so much for everything.

    Cordially, Jeff Tinker
    http://www.nomadicstovecompany.com

    As I’m sure you know, the BushBuddy is also made under licence (or so I’m led to believe) in the EU, and sold as the BushCooker – http://www.bushcooker.com/

    I decided not to reply to Jeff Tinker’s email, partly because I don’t agree with providing my photos for free commercial use, and partly because I had no idea of the authenticity of the apprenticeship status. Also, it seemed unethical for me to allow photos of Fritz’s product to be used to sell another person’s, albeit identical product.

    So, by my current tally, there are now three companies (Solo Stove, Nomadic, Bush Cooker) selling variants on Fritz’s original BushBuddy (which, I should add, I own).

    I feel that selling a stainless steel version that is heavier, but cheaper, and without (I assume) a license is highly unethical. But that’s business I suppose. I would like to think that the backpacking community has a self-administered ethical code that would start the alarm bells ringing at actions such as this. But maybe that is just my misguided faith in humanity and justice.

    As a person operating a small business, I naturally come out on the side of the original developer – Fritz – who, it regrettably seems, has not effected an adequate patent on his work. Nevertheless, I feel I want to support the little guy, who works hard out of his shack in Canada, and probably doesn’t make a ton of money, and is no doubt struggling to survive like many of us, against an exploitative competition, which in this case seems to be gaining the upper hand.

    It’s a shame that Fritz wasn’t able, for whatever reason, to maintain control over his designs, but I can’t stomach the idea that all his hard work is being stolen. We bloggers get upset if our words and images are stolen and re-posted without attribution. For that reason I have to back Fritz. The Solo Stove is a shocking attempt to put other people out of business and livelihood. I have no idea about the legality, but I know it’s ethically untenable.

    To end: I love my BushBuddy. It’s not the stove for everyone, or for every circumstance, but in the right conditions, you can’t beat it.

  • http://samh.net/ Sam Haraldson

    Fritz Handel designed and built a fabulous piece of handcrafted metal in a completely off-the-grid shop in remote Canada. Yes, you read that right, off-the-grid (read Hendrik’s excellent interview with him to learn more). His designs and creation are now being built in a similar fashion by his protoge Jeff Tinker using similar methods.

    I appreciate good design, superb craftsmanship, and products made in the U.S. and North America. These are product standards I hold in the highest regard. Those who copy an idea for the purpose of mass-production and cost savings aren’t craftsmen, they are cowards.

    I have used a Bushbuddy Ultra stove for approximately five years and am looking forward to seeing one of Mr. Tinker’s versions of it as they become available. From the immaculate spot-welds to the wooden box used for packaging the Bushbuddy stove represents a gear purchase to last a lifetime and there is a heritage in the product to match it.

    The Solo Stove appears to me to be a cheap fabrication that I don’t expect lives up to the craft standards of Mr. Handel or Mr. Tinker’s Bushbuddy products.

  • Don Milligan

    Brian,

    I made a decision a while ago to try and support the cottage industry more than the big box stores.

    I will admit that I have made purchases from Walmart and REI but if I can at all, I will not purchase anything made in China.

    Just a short time ago I was doing research for a stove that could do it all, liquids, solids and bio fuels and I very quickly

    ran into the dog fight with BB & SS, (even the names share similarities) while the design is almost identical and the differences very minimal I can see that they both bring something valuable to the consumer.

    BB a really versatile stove. $120

    SS a versatile (maybe stronger but heavier) stove at a great value. $89 on sale for $69

    BB has taken on “Nomadic” as an apprentice American stove maker that will offer two versions of the BB $110 & $100 and are even offering
    “seconds” of their product for $75, built in the U.S.

    Regardless, I decided to purchase my “do it all” stove from Evernew, and I am very happy with it.

    Don

  • http://twitter.com/hike_maryland Hike Maryland

    There are obviously too many similarities to totally discount the idea that SS adopted some of the BB design (same type of steel, size, placement of holes, etc.) given that it appears BB was around first. However, when you have companies with similar designs inevitably one is going to have to improve on or move out of the product design. SS simply being cheaper than BB also would not be a huge motivator in me buying it. Both have good reviews from people’s opinion I trust (Hendrik, Tim Miner, etc.) so I think I would have to see them in use before I could say yes to one over the other.

  • ryball

    I don’t have a dog in this hunt and don’t have the loyalty to either side that I see in the other comments. I totally understand the issue people have with the two stoves being nearly identical.

    By that same token, at the very least, it is nice to see that the issue has been addressed and not simply ignored.

    In the past, in situations like this, I have typically chosen to side with the original due to obvious quality differences and brand loyalty in those instances and have taken the penalty in price. In this case, if I were to buy one, I’m not sure I wouldn’t go with the cheaper one.

    Call me what you will. I have two kids, now and don’t have the disposable income I once did. The differences in the long run do not outweigh the price for me.

    Would I have liked to see a little more individuality in the second stove? Sure. Is it idea stealing? Maybe. Does it matter to me Joe Blow consumer? I’m leaning towards no.

    Needless to say, I would love to be entered to win this stove.

  • Jaxx

    Arguments on both sides duly noted . that being said it comes down to personal preference. put me in for the stove .

  • http://www.facebook.com/mangus7175 Angus Ancheta

    When I first heard of the SS, it was back in January 2012. Various threads on many forums began speculating that Fritz was working with Jeff with the SS. It was later confirmed that Fritz was NOT working with Jeff on this. Was the SS a direct copy of the BB? It looks like it.

    I don’t think anyone can deny the similarities between the two stoves. Aside from the weight and the cooking ring design, they are essentially the same. As already mentioned here by others, it boils down to preference and who you would personally support. Fritz or Jeff?

    Not having owned any of the stoves, it’s hard for me to put a stake on either one. Do I find it immoral for Jeff to “copy” or “borrow” Fritz’s design and go of on his own? Yes…but who’s to stop Jeff or anyone else for that matter. The story between the SS and BB is not uncommon. You see it in the car industry, movie industry, etc. You can even see this happen between the many Alcohol Stove manufacturers out there…you can search YT and can find many videos of rants about “my stove is original” or “you copied my design”, etc.

    The solution is, if you feel you have the next best idea or design, patent it! That way you are protected. So, the next question is if I want to be entered…YES please :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/joslyn.bloodworth Joslyn Davisson Bloodworth

    I have recently been wanting a wood stove very much!! I personally like the Solo stove better than the Bushbuddy mostly because of cost since I have never had the chance to see either in person. I have read plenty of things about both and lots of people like one or the other better but after all the testing and reviews I have seen, I don’t really feel like there is that big a difference between the two excepting for cost and weight. Though if the construction methods are different than longevity is probably better on one than the other. But like I said I have yet to see either, but I’m hoping I get to see one after this contest! :)

  • http://jdmitchbiketowork.wordpress.com Joshua Mitchell

    I suspect that most people calling the Solo a “cheap knockoff” either a) haven’t actually handled one in real life, or b) have no idea what goes into multi step forming of SS. Is there a nostalgia to a handmade design? Yes. But there’s a reason things get manufactured by machines.

  • Eric Nelson

    I have not used either stove, what I see is the Bush Buddy is the Cadillac and the Solo is the Geo…. One of them gets you there in Style and the other is a point A to point B Stove.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bentbrook.gc Bentbrook Gc

    This is a hot topic that raises some burning issues (groan–sorry!). For the record, I am curious about woodburners, but presently use an MSR Pocket Rocket.

    I suppose the relative merits of these stoves in terms of functionality are not at issue: reviews appear to have covered the more or less objective, qualitative aspects of the Bushbuddy and the Solo Stove; additional users will ultimately decide such things for themselves.

    It appears from Handel’s interview that this isn’t much of a legal debate: a man who regards his “camping gear as almost a part of me” is not going to squander precious time that might be spent with wife or wilderness embroiled in litigation.

    What remains, then, appears to be an issue of ethics. As I understand it, Fritz Handel is a man in the tradition of some of the fathers of bushcraft–he cites Horace Kephart in his interview, and anyone who has read Nessmuk or later Kephart or others will doubtless recognize the spirit of innovation that epitomizes bushcraft (or woodcraft as those guys called it) at its best. There is a spirit within this bushcraft community of reverently acknowledging one’s forebears and passing on or updating their ideas; more recently Cliff Jacobson acknowledged his own indebtedness to those earlier woodcrafters. It seems to me that Fritz Handel is walking very much in their moccasins: he acknowledged his debt to John Hall (and other stove tinkerers and designers), and–by not pursuing patents–also appears to have left the door open for others to tinker and, conceivably, improve upon his own designs. With 860 units sold in the year prior to his interview, it hardly appears that Handel is seeking to make millions. His bushcrafting mind is applying itself to an age old riddle.

    The maker/marketer of the Solo Stove (patent pending) may or may not fall in this same tradition. With patent pending, I assume there is an economic motivation for protecting the Solo Stove design. Despite the design similarities noted in web forums and even in “Bushbuddy Stove vs Solo Stove: The Official Review” (housed, it should be noted, on the Solo Stove page), I did not see reference to Fritz Handel on the Solo Stove site, though this was perhaps due to my getting lost amid the marketing of stoves and accessories. The Solo Stove site is much more commercial in design and execution than the Bushbuddy site, and if–as someone alleged–the site is using Bushbuddy tags to draw browsers to that site, the tragedy of this debate may be that greed and imitation might one day (or even already) yield richer rewards than curiosity and innovation.

  • Steven

    Though I am not fond of the idea of soot, I do like the idea of using natural resources for fuel. And even though the stove itself is heavier than my alcohol stove now, the use of twigs and sticks means I don’t have to carry the weight of fuel. The contrasting technology is intriguing to me and I would be humbled to be the winner of one. That being said, I think Jeff at Solo stove lays it out clearly with his side by side comparison. The 2 stoves are the same! Sure the construction is different in that it uses a different number of pieces of metal to make the stove and less welds, but the dimensions and burn are the same. Jeff says it himself. “Both the Bushbuddy and Solo Stove share identical dimensions with regards to air intake vent holes, the secondary combustion air holes at the top of the inner firebox, firebox grate depth, ash pan depth and placement, and inner firebox depth. The Bush buddy and Solo Stove provide an identical burn.” If that’s not admitting that you copied the stove exactly, I don’t know what is? China does this all the time with products and gets away with it. If Fritz does not have any kind of patent on the design, regardless of how many pieces of steel he uses, I suppose it leaves the door open to whomever to make a direct copy. All things aside, if I were to purchase one, it would probably be the Solo Stove. It’s cheaper, could be more durable, and I like the improvement of only 3 legs on the cooking ring. I think his branding is much better as well, at least on the website. The marketing of the BushBuddy is also a bit sketchy to me as a consumer. The name, the site, the fact that he’s in Canada, all red flags and reasons for me to go with the Solo Stove.

  • Brian

    I’m all for protecting IP, but it seems to me that there are only so many ways to make a compact wood burning store… Definately interested in winning the stove.

  • Kevin Simpson

    I would love to try out this stove. I haven’t owned a wood burning camp stove and been relying on my multifuel stove. It looks like the biggest difference is in the weight of the unit. Hardcore ultralight backpackers may prefer the BB. I definitely agree with others’ posts that suggest protecting the IP that has gone into both of these products.

  • Zach Norris

    It seems irreverent to me that these two camping stoves are similar. The engineering concepts weren’t pioneered by BushBudy or Solo Stove. It’s very similar to debates and lawsuits between cell phone makes today. Also disliking the solo stove because you think it’s a cheap knock off is illogical unless you’ve tested them side by side. (Would like to be entered to win the stove)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000127363649 Jordan Hipple

    ya know ive been a stovie for a loooooooooong time and i have looked at both

    they both use the same wood gas style burn system but that doesnt make it a copy of the other … look at the msr dragonfly vs the optimus nova both are mulitfuel stove using the same style remote pumped pressure system but are different stoves

    with the bb vs solo its very similar they are different the solo stove has less welds but more weight the solo also have the ability to just pour denatured alcohol into the stove and light you cant do that with a bb

    with the bb you get a solid wood only stove that weighs less but has more possible points of failure but i dont think they will but it could, also it is alot lighter but costs more … it all boils down to are you willing to pay to be lighter

    id love to win – wood stoves are the only type i dont have

  • Steve Breault

    Recently I have become interested in trying out wood burning stoves. in my research on the matter, I have found that both of these seem to have benefits; the Bushbuddy has a weight advantage, and the Solo Stove, due to it’s more robust materials, is presumably more durable. Additional benefits for the Bushbuddy is that it is the innovator and it’s lower weight maximizes the lightweight aspect of using found materials as your fuel source for cooking. For the Solo is that it is filling a niche, the “hard on their gear niche. I feel like because it is less costly and the materials are thicker, I would be less likely to be afraid to damage it. I’d love to be entered to win this stove to start down the path of wood burning stoves. Thanks for reading

  • Stephen

    Lots of great comments, I don’t think there’s much to add. I would think that while it might make the price go down it may also improve sales for the original maker.

    It’s hard to make something so simple different. Sorta like dental floss, I mean it’s floss right?

    Oh and yes, I do want to be entered into the contest.

  • Bpeck

    The comments have been great and I would have to agree that both the BB and SS are similar but different enough to coexist in the same market. I enjoy cooking with wood and don’t mind the soot and clean-up. Thanks for providing this great Blog!

  • http://sectionhiker.com/ Philip Werner

    Maybe the Bushbuddy guys should copy the SoloStove blogger outreach strategy and carpet bomb the web with free products for review. In many ways the popularity of the SoloStove has nothing to do with price or functionality but with the fact that bloggers are willing to write about it and promote the fact that it’s less expensive for what is essentially the same product. No one is forcing those bloggers to write about the product: if they really felt an ounce of sympathy or loyalty for the Bushbuddy, they could turn down the opportunity to do a review. The fact that they don’t is what I find interesting, and a bit demoralizing, if only because those backpacking bloggers are writing about the same boring thing over and over.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      So you’re changing your stance on the Solo Stove? Last year you said it was affordable, welcome competition that should be celebrated! Now you’re more sympathetic and loyal than other backpacking bloggers because you chose not to review it?

      Philip Werner – November 16, 2012: Henrik – that’s competition. I like the new solo because it’s so much less expensive and very well made. Copying other people’s concepts and improving them is not without precedent in the backpacking market. For example, the kelly kettle was around for a long time before the Backcountry Boiler. Rather than cry foul, we should celebrate that stoves like these are coming down in price and more accessible to mainstream hikers.”

    • http://www.jeff-foliage.com/ Jeff Foliage

      It’s one of those things… where we need to write about something… Nature abhors a vacuum as much as bloggers hate not having something to write about…

  • LNTCamper

    I’ve used a couple of wood stoves and have to say the soot thing does dampen my enthusiasm. I’m not saying, though, that if I was the lucky pick I would decline it! Both stoves do look remarkable alike, but I think any efficient gasifier would be quite similar. Fritz’s BB does shine a little brighter in my eyes, being a cottage build rather that a mass product. I usually like to support the little guy, but I’m not into flaming anyone. Que sera, sera. Cheers.

  • Patrick

    Just a few days ago another blogger wrote about this same stove.. what I don’t understand is how you, him, and (I’m sure) a couple others will write about this stove. It seems the content is very similar and on time.. either way I wish to throw my name in the hat to win this stove, and I do enjoy the variations in content. I wouldn’t mind a closer look at the stove to form an informed opinion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/allen.bishop.18 Allen Bishop

    While not having any experience with either stove, one can see small but distinct differences between the stoves. I liken it to tires, both look the same from a distance, as you get closer you see a difference in the tread and sidewall design.
    The biggest difference I see in the two stoves is the construction, Bush Buddy using a welded outer shell and the Solo Stove being of one piece outer shell. The second difference is the top rim where the cooking rings sit, though subtle, they are different, whether they make any difference in the burn hard to tell.
    In the long run the one piece construction is most likely to be the more durable. Both in my opinion could be better served to consider manufacturing a Titanium model and save a bit of weight and increase durability.
    Enjoying your blog Brian, keep up the good, honest work. Go ahead and throw my name in the hat, always up for trying another stove.

  • barney j-stroke

    I have used a Bush Buddy for about 5 years. The only difference I see between it and the Solo Stove is that the top pot stand has a slightly different design. The rest of it looks like a knock-off. If I win this, I’m sending it to Fritz who can do whatever he wants with it

  • Jeremy K.

    Very interesting. Lots said already so I’ll just point out another example.

    Recently I’ve been researching alcohol stoves and have come across a very similar example to this with the Trangia and Esbit Alcohol burners. From the reviews and videos, I have seen two differences between these stoves: the jets and the snuffer/simmer attachment.

    The jets on the Esbit stove alternate small and large (Trangia is constant) and have either two more or two less, I can’t remember. That shouldn’t result in a large difference in operation. The simmer ring on the Esbit has a foldable adjuster so you can adjust it more easily than the Trangia one. The dimensions on those stoves were almost identical as well.

    Like others have said, small differences are big in patent law.

    I don’t know about the Solo Stove. I probably wouldn’t buy one, but then I probably wouldn’t buy a BushBuddy either (planning on ordering a Trangia soon and have built several gasifiers on my own). With the Esbit and the Trangia, I think that the overall Trangia system – 27-series – is better than the Esbit 5 piece system.

    I wouldn’t mind winning a Solo however to play around with on my next camping expedition (or, more likely in the near future, in my backyard). I would like to be included in the contest.

    • Jeremy K.

      Two other thoughts

      1. Going from 18 pieces and 200 welds to 12 pieces and ~30 welds is a significant redesign. It also shows that he has intimate knowledge of both stoves.

      2. One person, making a product for $120 that requires around 200 welds and 18 pieces that need to fit together precisely to work well, is not likely making much, if any, profit off of that product.

  • Jo

    Fritz has invested some time and transpiration in the evolution of the Bushbuddy whereas the Solo Stove has simply copied his design. However, it was Fritz who told me about the Solo Stove (which I didn’t know before). He did not at all seem to be angry about it. Instead he seemed to hope it would lure some buyers away from him, so he could spend more time on further improving and developing the Bushbuddy. As long as Fritz is fine with the Solo Stove, I wont object it, too. Nevertheless, if Jeff of Solo Stove would try to get Fritz out of the market by the means of patents, I would regard this as a severe foul and highly unethical.
    That being said, I would preferably buy a Bushbuddy, if I could afford it. But in the meantime I’d like to be entered, so I could already improve my skills in using woodburning stoves.

  • Steve W

    If you like mucking around with fire these things are lovely. For me the soot isn’t an issue as I love the smell of wood smoke and am not that worried about smelling vaguely kippered. I own a bushbuddy and love it. However its very lightness means that is quite easy to over balance. I trashed the pot stand on my in a clumsy treading incident which didn’t do the potstand any favours. I could imagine stainless steel might be bent back something which Ti doesn’t really let you do.

  • Tim

    This discussion is all very interesting. In a perfect world, the better more carefully built stove would certainly be the successful one. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. With such a simple design, it seems hard to say for certain that a similar product is copying the original. Having said that nothing about this situation seems cut and dry. I’ve never seen either stove myself but from the general opinion they are far two similar to simply dismiss them as completely separate designs. In the end, I think I would have to side with the original. Unfortunately the only thing to do at this point is encourage others to go for the BushBuddy Stove and let them know they are supporting a homegrown product with no ethical grey areas behind it.

    Having said that, I’ve never used a wood burner before, and free gear is well… free, so please enter me in the drawing.

  • Jeff

    They are indeed very close in design. Much of that may be because they are the same style stove. Could the firebox be that much different and still be efficient? I’m not a combustion expert so I am not sure. In backpacking it seems to come down to weight vs price vs quality with most of the gear that we choose. Based on the bit of research I have done, there are some differences in each of those categories. Add me to the drawing, I would love to try a wood burner.

  • Mat

    With the end goal of performing a certain task, any number of devices that aim for this goal in an efficient manner are going to end up very similar. If I set out to make a wood-burning stove there are going to be some very obvious obstacles to get past such as:

    1) Suspending a cooking container over the flame
    2) Blocking wind from blowing out the flame while still allowing oxygen flow to feed the fire
    3) A compact solution to allow for nesting and/or easy packing

    Once I made my design to meet those requirements I would most likely find it to look very similar to whatever else on the market is also trying to meet those requirements. In order to not be blamed for copying someone else I would be forced to change the appearance or functionality just to be different, which could detract the efficiency of the device.

    I would be very frustrated as a builder if I had to give up certain functions or efficiencies just to be different from another product out there, although I understand that is a major reason for patents. If everyone can make the same product, there’s no advantage to spending resources on R&D without being able to capitalize on it.

    • Mat

      Saying that, I would love to be entered to win so I can test one of these bad boys out :D

  • al toid

    I own an original handcrafted bushbuddy and love it. I was quite shocked to see the obvious ripoff on the market and wouldn’t buy one for that very reason. It’s a cheap and dirty tactic. Solo Stove is also infringing on the Trangia design too by offering those types of stoves as well on their site. And well, mass produced in China….probably by lil’ boys chained to their workstation. Need I say more. I take a honest dude in Canada tryin’ to eek out a livin’ for himself, takin’ a lil’ pride in his work over all the others any day!!

  • Knotty

    Based on dimensions alone, it’s easy to see that the Solo is a cost reduced knockoff of the BushBuddy. While Fritz readily admits that he has taken no steps to protect his design with a patent (why would he, since these types of patents are cost prohibitive to defend for a small business) I feel the outdoor community should stay away from knockoffs. While you can save money by purchasing a knockoff, in the end it costs everyone because it stifles innovation. Who’s going to bother launching a cottage industry company if they know the idea will be stolen if their product is successful. If you want a BushBuddy buy one. If you can’t afford it, then go the DIY route but don’t purchase a knockoff.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dave.brawner David Brawner

    Wow… how did the topic suddenly become a forum for patent rights, infringement, liability, litigation, and from a libertarian perspective, usefulness in a free market.

    Patents aside, I own both stoves, being something of a stove junkie. In fact I own, and have built DIY “knockoffs” of just about every stove there is.

    Like knives, stoves can be a lifesaving tool, or a useless burden to carry around.

    In my opinion, I prefer the solo stove and, since I have both, can attest to the fact that they are not similar enough to seriously call the solo a “knockoff”.

    I prefer the solo becasue it adapts to other fuel and burner options beyond the BB. This lets me put together a more comprehensive “system” depending on my planned trip. i.e. I often nest an alcohol stove like a DIY or Trangia “Style” (is that a “knockoff too?) and can then choose my fuel based on current environmental availability.

    I’m not a full blooded Ultralight but do treat the matter of weight v. utility very seriously as I do practice a minimalist approach to my trips.

    I own several gas canister stoves, liquid fuel stoves, and multi-fuel stoves that I acquired over the years. My two favorite “go to” stoves are an old (original) Svea 123 and the solo (usually with an nested alcohol burner as noted above).

    Call me old fashioned but when the going has been toughest, that old Svea has NEVER let me down.

    Oh, and one minor gripe on the Solo. When using wood (or pine cones, or whatever) the construction can make ash removal a messy project. There just doesn’t seem to be a good way to empty the container other than turning upend and shaking (and shaking, and shaking) until it’s empty.

    Anyone have a better way to dispose of the ashes????

  • anonykron

    I don’t agree with everyone complaining about stealing ideas, look at how many companies manufacture cars, refrigerators, etc. All of these different companies selling similar products yet nobody complains how the idea was stolen, nobody is fighting for Henry Ford since, according to some opinions, a Ford should be the only car on the market, anything else and it’s a knockoff.

    I have been looking at both stoves and I think I’ll go with the solo for a few reasons, mostly because it seems more indestructible. I think a big problem with the Bushbuddy as far as sales go are due to the website, hardly any pictures or information so it seems risky to buy anything from that site, fix the site and sales will increase.

    If the contest is still going, I’d love to win a Solo Stove.

    • Jag

      Patents exists to foster entrepreneurship (reward inventors) but they expire after 17 years (in the USA) and then anyone can use the designs. Thus Henry Ford’s original patents expired a long time ago ;-)

  • Jag

    Every inventor has ample opportunity to apply for a patent in one or more countries. If cost is an issue money can be borrowed but it makes no sense to not use the law to protect intellectual property and then complain about an idea being copied after the fact. All adults have heard the terms “copyright”, “trademark” and “patent” enought times to know what they are and if not people can research to their hearts’ content. As far as I can tell many consumers of the handcrafted BB are upset because the inventor did not file patents for his invention and other manufacturers are selling the same item for almost half the price? DId I get that situation right?

  • Joe

    Bought a Solo stove a few months ago.

    Didn’t know anything about the BushBuddy or ripoffs or patents. I did know that the design is old and very well-known.

    The people complaining about the Solo Stove being badly-made have no idea what they are talking about. Used it over 100 times, every day for the last few months. It’s solid, with no problems.

    Just because you don’t like, you can’t just make up stories about it not working.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Joe, great feedback and excellent point. I never said (or at least I don’t think I did) that it didn’t work, far from it – it’s a great stove and I gave this one away. The issues was more around originality and design. Good to hear you are out enjoying yours!