Gstove 'Heat View XL'
I'll get this out of the way straight up front. We first came across the Gstove stainless steel camp stoves whilst watching the very entertaining TA Outdoors on YouTube. We instantly fell in love with it and sought out the manufacturer and are now the official Australian & New Zealand importer of the range. Does the fact that we now import and distribute Gstove around the country make this a bias review, it may read that way but hand on heart these are the facts, good, bad or indifferent
We agreed on a deal with the manufacturer and ordered a small test quantity of the range so we could test it out and see if it does what it says on the tin. The results of the four week journey around the Eyer Peninsula and the Gawler & Flinders ranges of South Australia in a chilly and windy September is what you'll be reading about here.
So the first thing we noticed when we unboxed the Gstove 'Heat View XL' was that it was an absolute thing of beauty. The welding quality is good, the stainless steel construction is very shiny and we just found ourselves just looking at it! The 'Heat View XL' is the largest of the Gstove range with a firebox measuring some 500mm in length, as opposed to the 380mm length firebox on the other stoves in the range. All of the stoves have the same width and height dimensions of 220mm Wide & 200mm High.
Anyway enough of the nonsense, what's it like?
The Gstove is not our first contained wood fired camp stove and the first one was a bitter disappointment, it was purchased from a fairly prominent on-line camping and 4WD supplier and sure it's no where near the price on the Gstove but it was also nowhere near the stove that the Gstove is. You can read about our experience with it here.
The Gstove 'Heat View XL' even though the largest of the range and is still a compact stove and it takes a bit to get your head around the fact that you won't be sitting around a roaring fire. The other draw back with it's compact size is that your wood will need a little more processing to get it down to a workable size.
Assembling the Gstove was a very simple affair once the horrid foam packaging was removed. The standard legs, once fitted stay in place and simply fold up under the stove once the R clip has been removed. If, like us you want your Gstove at a more reasonable working height and opt for the extended legs you'll have to remove them each time you want to transport the stove, at first we were a bit annoyed at the prospect but honestly the extra 60 seconds in set-up and pack down time makes the effort well worth while and the legs fit neatly in the end pockets of the Gstove Carry Bag.
The chimney flue, which stows inside the Gstove for transport purposes is a simple affair and is in place with-in a matter of seconds and once up the stove stands at a whopping 2.6 metres high. The standard chimney comes with a top hat style cap, preventing rain from entering the chimney but we opted for the 'Spark Arrestor' which does away with the flimsy top hat and just gave us some piece of mind that we wouldn't be setting fire to either our camping equipment or our surrounding environment.
There's a folding stainless steel grate that goes inside the firebox and allows air to flow underneath the fire creating an extremely efficient burn. It's a simple install at set-up time and the difference it makes in burn efficiency over our old steel stove is amazing. It wasn't uncommon to find unburnt pieces of timber in the bottom of our old stove. Nothing of the sort with the Gstove though, just a fine powder that can easily dragged out with the supplied ash scraper.
The door of the stove has a viewing window that, to be honest turns black with soot if you burn the wrong kind of timber. It's a shame as it's nice to see the fire on those cold nights. The door also contains an adjustable air flow vent that is easy to use and gives great control over the burn rate of your timber. When fully opened we had not only had the stove glowing red but also the the first section of the chimney flue, the heat was immense and all the while the handle of the stove door and the air flow controller remained cool to the touch as long as you left folded out at 90 degrees to the door.
We also added a chimney flue damper control thinking it would allow us to slow the burn rate right down but it turns out it snuffs it out completely. Talking a friend later who does a lot of 'Low 'n' Slow' cooking and smoking of game meats he advised us that the chimney damper should only be used for snuffing out the fire, turns it does what it's meant to!
The cooking surface of the Gstove 'Heat View XL' is large enough accommodate a large camp oven and a smaller saucepan. We used an Ozwit 12" spun steel oven to cook both roasts and casseroles on our journey and as mentioned there was enough room for a small saucepan for boiling veggies. The handy racks on the side of the GStove are great for resting pots and pans when you need to remove them off the heat for serving and then fold up for travel and for carrying. We also folded them up when we wanted to do a slow roast, where we simply sat the camp oven on top of them as opposed to directly on the cooking surface of the firebox. A few heat beads placed in the front of the firebox to get them going then removed and placed on top of the oven gave us the desired amount of bark on our roast beef.
We also added a '3 Litre Water Tank' and 'Premium Pipe Oven' to our set up from the extensive list of accessories available. We found both items to be well made and the water tank did a stellar job of boiling the 3 litres of water that it holds. The handle works well and remains cool enough to remove the tank from the stove to facilitate easy pouring into the morning coffee cup. A word of warning though, it comes very close to the chimney flue when you lift it up and I burnt my finger on one occasion when I wasn't paying attention. As for the 'Premium Pipe Cooking Oven' we can't really give an accurate report on it's performance as we're yet to cook in it. We did pay some attention to the temperature gauge though and had it well above 200 degrees C, keeping it consistent was tricky but we're sure that's just a familiarity thing. Once we've used the oven we'll write something up about.
So are we happy with the Gstove? Well as mentioned we are now the official Australian & New Zealand distributor for the range and the decision to do so was based purely on our experience with the stove over our four week journey.
The full range of Gstoves are available here on our online store.