Vargo Outdoors has been crafting high quality, titanium backpacking gear since the early 2000’s. The company was born after founder, Brian Vargo, posed the question “Why is my pack so heavy?”  We have all asked ourselves that question before while bikepacking, usually in combination with a few choice words – “Why is my #%$*ing bike so heavy?” – When you are weighing in by the gram and ounce for each piece of gear, knowing you will be lugging whatever you bring across miles of varying terrain, every detail counts. Vargo Outdoors stands by their philosophy: Do more with less. Their mission is to provide you with gear you can be confident in, which is lightweight, functional, and allows you to go further. Although Vargo products were designed and built around the sport of backpacking, the idea translates extremely well to the world of bikepacking. Vargo Outdoors uses one major resource for all of their gear: Titanium.  Titanium is a low density, high strength, material that is known for it’s lightweight characteristics. Vargo products are built to last. Titanium has two extremely useful properties – it has an extremely high corrosion resistance, which will give you confidence in the backcountry on long bikepacking excursions. Secondly, it has the highest strength-to-density ratio of any metallic element. vargo We were excited at the opportunity to test the Vargo Titanium Hexagon Wood Stove.  Amongst many unique qualities, the Hexagon Stove has one that stands out the most. This stove is 100% fueled by natural and renewable resources. If you know how to build a small fire, you can use the Hexagon Stove. Another very notable characteristic of this stove is that it folds completely flat – as flat as a pancake. Additionally, it is about the size of a very small hand and comes in a small nylon case, making it very easy to store just about anywhere you wish. It would fit in all styles of bikepacking bags, with the exception of a top tube bag as it would be too round. Vargo vargo The set up of the stove is very intuitive. You simply fold out the stove like an accordion, and place the slits that are on the hexagon shaped bottom into the walls of the stove where there are designated slots. Once the stove is set up and secured, find the flattest spot on the ground you can find. We found this crucial to the process of using the stove, as to allow oxygen flow through the bottom to keep the fire hot. vargo IMG_5009 vargo vargo vargo After you have your flat spot, simply build a small fire inside the stove, light your tinder, and watch the fire grow. Vargo has built in a hinged door for the stove so that you can continue to fuel your fire until the contents start to boil. The one thing we noticed was that we had issues with the hinged door hitting the bottom of the pot while re-fueling. However, Vargo suggests you use a more narrow, taller pot, (something similar to the Vargo BOT ) for cooking on this stove. Lastly, we recommend using a lid with this stove to ensure a quick boil time.  We happened to forget the lid for our pot while on an overnighter, so although the coals were very hot and the stove was functional, our boil time was much longer than we had hoped.  However, when boiling with a lid, the times were very similar to boiling with a canister stove. vargo vargo Overall, the stove is lightweight, easy to use, and a perfect size for packing. A huge bonus is you do not have to carry fuel. For one pot cooking in the backcountry, the Vargo Titanium Hexagon Wood Stove is the way to go.  If you were planning a bikepacking trip in the dessert where wood is scarce, this may not be the stove for your adventure. However, you would not have any issues in most other climates. Vargo Outdoors makes a variety of products that are perfect for your next bikepacking adventure. For example, their versatile Titanium BOT (“bottle-pot”) fits perfectly into the Salsa Anything Cage, and other fork cargo cages such as the Cleveland Mountaineering Everything Bag.  Other very notable products that are bikepacker friendly are their titanium utensils and their ultralight alcohol stoves.

2 Comments

  1. Or the alcohol option, like a 34 gram Evernew Ti stove. Get the Ti cross stand too.
    http://www.evernewamerica.com/overview-1-1/
    You can make a wind screen out of aluminum flashing, I found some relatively inexpensive 10-mil titanium foil on the web, and all pieces nest very well inside a 600ml Snow Peak Ti mug.
    Trick out the kit with an 8 gram carbon lid…
    http://www.rutalocura.com/Carbon_Lids.html

    • Neil Beltchenko
      Neil Beltchenko

      Barry,

      Thanks for sharing. We may have to take a look at the Ti stove. So much awesome gear available these days, its great!!

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