Sierra ZzipStove Review- By: Lorin John
We here at SurvivalBased.com are always on the lookout for items that can make your life easier in an emergency situation. We have found just such an item, and I took it up a local canyon for a “test drive” this past weekend.
The Sierra Zzip stove is not a new product. It has been around, essentially unchanged, for a couple of decades. It has a devoted, if small, following among long distance backpackers who find that it frees them from having to carry fuel canisters or bottles. On an overnight trip, this is not a concern, but when you are on the trail, away from the ability to resupply for days on end, every ounce starts to count. For backpackers, they can use twigs, wood chips, natural charcoal from old fire-scarred trees, pretty much anything organic. One user even reported exceptional results from dried elk droppings!
For a “prepper”, the ability to prepare hot food can become critical. You may have gas or propane, but there are restrictions on how much fuel you can store. Wood fires are great for keeping warm, but inefficient for cooking. Emergency fuels such as Instafire or Fire Rocks are better, but their soft flame is turned into a blowtorch by the Sierra Zzip stove.
The secret of the Zzip stove is simple. You start by lighting a fire in the small burn bowl. I used some fire starter and a few dry twigs. Once I had a small fire, I flipped a switch, and a fan, operated by a single AA battery, started pushing air through the flame, just like blowing on a campfire to get it going. One alkaline battery should last six hours or more. (Sustainability alert! If you use rechargeable batteries and a solar battery recharger, you can keep the stove going practically in perpetuity with a pair of batteries).
Other reviewers have boiled a quart of water in four minutes. Full disclosure, it took me closer to five, which still compares favorably to other small stoves. I just kept feeding small pieces of wood and charcoal through the opening in the windscreen. With charcoal, I got better results by breaking up complete briquettes into smaller pieces.
Once the water was boiling, I poured some Food Supply Depot Creamy Stroganoff in, and brought it back to a boil, then set the fan switch to low while my hot meal simmered away.
A mere twelve minutes of cooking plus five of cooling later, the Creamy Stroganoff was ready to eat. Good thing, the smell was making me hungry!
The Sierra Zzip stove in made in the USA, and is featured at $54.99 on SurvivalBased.com