One of the most unpleasant parts of winter camping is the after-trip cleaning of your equipment, especially the wood stove. A laborious and dirty chore that seems to be always put off to the last minute, or another season.
Having a well-maintained wood stove alleviates issues in the backcountry and helps facilitate the most efficient burn from your stove. Not only does it make the stove more efficient but it also reduces the buildup of creosote: a toxic by-product of burning wood containing tar. A buildup of creosote also reduces the airflow in the exhaust pipes. It also makes the tear down of the stove more difficult; stuck exhaust pipes not separating when breaking down camp.
Here at Boreal Outdoor Innovations, we have created an easy reference guide in response to the frequently asked questions we receive from clients and outfitters regarding how to best care and clean your hot tent stove for long term storage or seasonal storage.
After the trip
It is always best to empty out your wood stove of any ash and unburned pieces of wood from your stove in the backcountry. This step makes the initial long term clean-up of your stove much easier and cleaner.
Using a rugged vacuum cleaner, vacuum out the contents of your stove as much as possible. This may seem like an excessive process, but wood ash is very acidic and can trap moisture within the stove, causing surface stains inside the burn chamber.
Maintaining your stove’s pipe is crucial for proper airflow: a buildup of ash and tar can reduce the ability of your stove to breathe, making your fire difficult to maintain a consistent temperature. Brush the interior of your stove’s pipes with a chimney brush until all of the loose creosote flakes are gone.
Using a stiff metal brush, clean the surface of your false bottom (if you use a false bottom in your set-up), paying particular attention to the holes; remove ash from the air holes for best air flow.
Inspecting for wear, missing components, damaged areas or seized joints
Not properly inspecting for worn or damaged components to your stove before storing your stove will come back to haunt you in the next winter camping season if not addressed. Damaged or missing fasteners, exhaust pipe components left behind in the backcountry, the air vent not closing properly or pivot points beginning to seize should be addressed before they become problematic.
Lubricating critical areas
Lubricating critical areas like leg pivot points, door handle pivot, air vent pivot and the door hinge will prevent these items from becoming difficult to move and seizing; excessive friction and jammed mating parts. We recommend using a non-toxic, petroleum free lubricant such as oil for protecting axe and knife blades or even sunflower oil. Be generous when applying lubricate to these areas. Best way to apply lubrication to these areas is with a refillable spray bottle for ease of application.
Where you store your stove
Where you store your wood stove for long term storage matters. Having a cool, dry place to store your stove will prevent the burn chamber from surface imperfections or stains.
Even though our stoves are made from stainless steel, be careful of other objects or chemicals that are stored directly above your stove that could drip onto it; harsh auto chemicals, industrial cleaners, solvents and the like can stain your stove’s exterior finish.
Following the information about will lead to many years of trouble free, efficient and a reliable winter camping stove.
Take care friends, and we’ll see you on the trails!