Pat’s Product Review: The 180 Stove

If many of you are like me, and are from the old Army school, you know all about canteen cup cooking. The old-style canteen cup had a locking “L” handle, that made it perfectly suitable for heating water in your canteen cup, as well as heating meals, or even cooking in that little cup. Today’s canteen cup that the US military issues has dual folding wire handles, that are not conducive to placing it on a fire – the handles are too close to the heat source. Sometimes “newer-er” doesn’t equate to “better” in my book. When you have something that works, and works well, you leave it alone, but the military isn’t like that for some reason.
I’m always looking for a way to lighten my backpack, and the older I get, the wiser I get – at least I believe so. It wasn’t that many years ago, when I could hump a CFP-90 pack, fully loaded, with a sleeping bag, and all the gear I needed for survival, and plenty of gear I didn’t need. Today, my CFP-90 sits in the back of my closet in my office. I’ve gone to a lighter and smarter pack for my survival and bug out purposes. And, if there is anything I can do to lighten my pack, and still maintain all the gear I need , I’ll do it. I’ve carried a small “stove” in my pack for a lot of years, only problem with this little stove is that it takes those little fuel tabs that the military used to issue – I don’t know if these tabs are still an issued item or not. But it was a hassle to have to carry enough of these fuel tabs for cooking on, for more than a day or two.
Enter the 180 Stove from 180 Tack, a Colorado-based company. The 180 Stove is a compact, folding, put-it-together camp stove, that is small enough to even fit in your rear pants pocket, yet large enough to provide an ample cooking surface for large cookware, as well as my trusty old-style canteen cup for heating water for coffee, tea or hot chocolate. What makes the 180 Stove a great backpacker companion is that you don’t have to haul any fuel for it. You can use twigs, sticks, dried grass, etc., for your fuel to cook with. Now, unless you’re in a barren desert, or the Arctic, finding some form or “fuel” shouldn’t be a problem for you. Heck, you can even use dried cow chips for a fuel if need be.
The 180 Stove takes about 30-seconds to assemble, and you don’t even need to read the instructions to put it together, it’s “that” simple. I like simple – simple is easier and usually fool-proof, too. The 180 Stove is made out of quality stainless steel, with interlocking components, so that there are no moving parts, hinges, welds or rivets that would normally cause a product like this to fail you in the field.
Unfortunately, the 180 Stove arrived during the heat of the summer, and we have burn restrictions in place – no open fires, period. However, I was able to test the 180 Stove in my covered carport, that has a gravel floor and is exposed on the front and the back ends. For fuel, I simply gathered some twigs and pine needles, and put them under the cooking surface of the stove and lit it. Inside of a minute or two, I had a flame hot enough to boil water and cook a burger. I needed to add some more fuel during the cooking process, but it only took a few seconds to take care of this chore. Very little fuel is need for cooking.
The assembled 180 Stove is 7″ long 6″ wide and 3.25″ high, the folded stove is 7″ long 3.25″ wide and 0.6″ high – we’re talking pretty compact. And it comes in a heavy duty plastic carrying case, so when you are done with the stove, and it has cooled, you simply disassemble it, place it back in the carrying case, and store it in your backpack ready for use once again. The stove only weight 10.4 oz and that’s a big plus. The less weight I have to pack, the better I like it.
Here’s some more of the pluses for the 180 Stove. It is truly a “green” stove and does not use toxic fuels. It’s light-weight since you don’t have to carry fuel, and it is super-strong (and made in the USA). The ease of assembly is another big plus in my book. Simply put the stove together, push a little soil along the sides or use gravel (as I did) then cook, douse and store the stove for another use. I don’t care if you live in the city or out in the boonies like I do, you can find some form of fuel to cook with, which makes this stove one of the best choices for cooking in the outdoors in a camping or emergency situation. The 180 Stove comes with a 2 year manufacturer’s warranty.
Hunting season is coming up, and if I can find the time to get out this year (didn’t make it last year) the little 180 Stove will be in my backpack, or in my rig. Should I find myself stranded out on a lonely logging road, I’ll have a stove to cook on, as well as providing some life-saving heat that can make the difference between life and death. In the past, I’ve resorted to a camp fire to cook on and keep me warm. The 180 Stove will eliminate the need for a big camp fire.
I wish I could write more on the little 180 Stove, however, because it is sooooo simply, and very effective, I find I’m limited as to what I can say about this outstanding product – other than, “why didn’t someone come up with this great product sooner?” Sure, there are some other similar stoves out there, but they aren’t as well-made as this one is, and many of them also take some kind of canned fuel, which is bulky, expensive and messy to carry with you.
Full-retail on the 180 Stove is $46.95, and it may seem a little bit spendy, but when you stop and think about the quality materials that are used in the stove, and that the thing actually works as advertised, and it can and will be a lifesaver, you are making an investment in your future survival. On top of that, you will be lightening your backpack and assuring yourself of a hot meal when time comes to eat. Yes, you can eat MREs cold – but who likes doing that? If you have a fishing pole and some hooks, you can catch a nice trout and cook it up, using the 180 Stove and nothing tastes better than a hot meal when you’re hungry and cold.
I’m gonna see about getting a couple more of the 180 Stoves for my wife and daughters, I know they’d like ’em in their backpacks, just like I do. And, its always nice when you can lighten a pack, and still have all the gear you need. Sure, a camp fire is nice, but it takes a lot of wood, and it honestly isn’t all that much “fun” cooking over a large fire…the 180 Stove will take care of your cooking needs in an emergency, like nothing else can. – SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio