Inside the Tipi (Titanium Box Stove)

Olympus E-P1, m.Zuiko 17mm, 5 sec f/2.8.

Inside the Tipi (see last post) is the little titanium box stove (size small Vortex from Titanium Goat is shown in the photo, 2.5 lbs with titanium stovepipe), and its chimney, roaring under a pretty good blaze with the damper at its wide open aperture.

A box full of dry pine burning hot like this warms up the Titanium Goat Vertex 6.5UL tipi to temperatures comfortable enough to hang out in long johns, from an outside temperature of zero degrees F, in about eight minutes. If I have the kettle on the stove when I start the fire, I have 800 ml of hot water for tea in another five to eight minutes.

At that time, I close down the damper and feed two or three sticks at a time into it for the rest of the evening, at a frequency of about every 10 or 15 minutes. Then, right before I go to bed, I fill the box up with wood and let it burn slow, which gives another hour or so of decent heat (I can double the burn time when using harderwoods, like Cottonwood and Aspen).

There is something about sleeping in the tipi during the winter that I really love. I was never really able to put my finger on it, until this weekend. I was alone in the tipi, so I had time to reflect on it a little.

I think it’s the sound of falling snow and the subtle crackling of burning pine, the hinting smell of a woodfire, the glow of the stove, and its warmth on my face. Maybe its the tactile feel of my hatchet (a Gerber Back Paxe) as it splits a small log, or the content look on my dog’s face when she’s curled up in a ball next to the stove). In other words, whole sensory (and emotive) stimulation – reason enough to be in the backcountry, and reason enough to choose some types of gear with your heart, instead of your head.