This is an older review that i did, but as I am still using and still own the bushbuddy I thought I could update it a little.
So a few months ago I purchased the Bushbuddy ultra from that little shop in Canada. http://www.bushbuddy.ca/ – It was relatively speaking with import charges and taxes fairly expensive. But as with most other products in the Cottage industry I would rather pay a little more for an original product design and manufacturer than for a cheap copy. (i.e solo stove). Don’t get me wrong I’m not against products being made in China or any other cheap industrial age nation, for me it’s about copying another companies product and not even approving upon that product. It’s one thing to take a product – make it better and reproduce it. It’s another to just copy and sell cheaper. Anyway, I will save you the details of my philosophies in life and get on with the review 🙂
The Bushbuddy is a wood burning ultralight backpacking stove originally designed for Ryan Jordan back in the day. The details you can read about all over the place. Anyway, it has become somewhat of a cult classic in the backpacking community and for good reason. The shear thought of being about to backpack for weeks without the need for fuel is every backpackers dream. So after extensive use and lots of pictures I will give my own opinion on whether or not the bushbuddy lives up to the hype.
There is no doubt that the Bushbuddy ultra is a beautiful piece of stoving excellence! In any case, it is built by somebody who knows what they are doing. I could go on for a few pages about how beautiful it is – but I really don’t need to. Here are some pictures for your enjoyment instead:
I know in these pictures the bushbuddy looks massive – but in reality it is quite small and light. Again, I could take the time to measure out everything but whose going to control my numbers or even take out a tape measure to see. so I will include a picture next to an ordinary lighter and pen as well as a picture of the bushbuddy fitting comfortably in a Snowpeak 900ml mug:
For me this is where the bushbuddy really shines! It weighs in on my scale at a total 153g/5.4 ounces. It sounds heavy for a true ultralight hiker – but remember you don’t need any fuel to bring along with you. In theory you could be out for months and never have to worry about fuel as long as you have something to burn.
So there can be no doubt that the bushbuddy has carved it’s way into the hearts of many backpackers, and for very good reason. I thoroughly enjoy using the bushbuddy and on anything but longer thru hikes and mountain trekking I gladly bring it along as my main stove. It’s light, compact and extremely enjoyable to use. With a little practice the Bushbuddy is easily lit and kept burning. Usually when I am hiking I simply gather dried out branches, sticks, leaves and bark along the way – this way I don’t have to think about fuel when I am dead tired and just arriving at camp.
So what are the negatives? Have you ever woken up at 6 a.m ready for a long thru hike and just want your morning cup of joe? that is when a Jetboil is a godsend! Who wants to sit and prepare a fire early in the morning or after a hard day hiking? it’s one thing to walk a few miles and sit at camp all day – then it is a very enjoyable experience.
Also, when I bring the bushbuddy, I have to always bring a sponge as well, I can’t stand the black soot getting everywhere. While I don’t feel that my pots always have to be shiny and new, I just don’t like the black soot getting all over me and my clothes. So I bring a sponge, wipe it down then put it away. Believe me, I like and enjoy the simple life when out backpacking, but sometimes I find this to be an annoying chore after a long days hike.
My last gripe, no windshield. I prefer a self contained unit, I don’t want to have to bring extra bits and pieces in order for something to properly work. I feel the bushbuddy on most days does need a windshield otherwise the fire ends up everywhere but warming up my food. I usually use my umbrella or tree or backpack as a windshield, but sometimes it would be nice without.
For me woodgas stoves have become more of something I bring along when I want to just do an overnight camp or just play around and have a few extra comforts with me.
There is no doubt the Bushbuddy ultra is an excellent piece of backpacking gear. It’s beautiful, well made and extremely effective at what it does. I do have my share of gripes with it, especially the thought of using it on a long thru-hike, but in the end I can’t help but always come back to it when I choose a stove. Perhaps thats what makes a great stove? Being so good that you are willing to look past the downsides.