Bushbox XL titanium stove review: Worth it or not?

by | Mar 19, 2022 | Gear

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When Elise and I started camping, we decided to get a fuel canister stove since it seemed like the most practical option. It wasn’t until we noticed someone in a YouTube video using what they called a “twig stove” that led to do a little bit more research into stove options.

We ultimately ended up purchasing the Bushbox XL titanium stove back in January of 2021, and we’ve been using it ever since.

What is the Bushbox XL titanium stove?

Bushbox XL Titanium Stove

The Bushbox XL titanium stove is a portable and collapsable metal stove that you can easily pack with your gear and bring with you on your camping or hiking trips to cook in the outdoors. It’s made most from titanium and some stainless steel, and is compatible with a number of fuel types, including:

  • Organic matter (wood, wood pellets, twigs, branches, leaves, pine cones, etc.)
  • Alcohol
  • Charcoal
  • Hexamine

We decided to get this stove because we didn’t want to have to purchase multiple fuel canisters anymore and preferred not to have to carry them with us on longer camping trips. A twig stove also seemed more environmentally friendly, while also offering us the option to use fuel if wood or twigs were not accessible.

Assembling and disassembling the Bushbox XL titanium stove is a little tricky when you’re new to using it, but you get the hang of it after you do it a few times. It basically expands like a cube, with two square pieces inside that you fold down in place to keep it from collapsing again.

The main features of the Bushbox XL titanium stove include:

  • Tent peg holes along the top (which basically gives you the option to use your tent pegs to simulate a grill for cooking)
  • Slots for the grill plate that comes with this stove
  • Non-stick integrated hinges so you never have to struggle with assembly or disassembly
  • Side position trivet slots for the trivets that hold your alcohol burner
  • Slots to optionally add the universal grate
  • An opening at the front for feeding organic matter into the fire
  • An integrated grate and ash plate at the bottom

The Bushbox XL titanium stove is 19 centimetres tall, with a 12.5 by 12.5-centimetre square length and width. When collapsed and packed away in its heavy duty nylon bag, it flattens to about one centimetre, making it extremely compact.

The overall weight of this stove is an impressive 490 grams, or 590 grams when it’s in its case. That’s almost half the weight saved from it’s bigger, heavier counterpart—the Bushbox XL, which is made entirely from stainless steel.

Our experience using the Bushbox XL titanium stove

Boiling a pot of water with the Bushbox XL titanium stove.

The Bushbox XL titanium stove has quickly become one of our most used pieces of gear on our camping trips. (We even use it on day trips.)

We use two main fuel methods—wood (or twigs), and alcohol. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but we’ve used the stove enough times now that we know what to expect when we use it.

Assembling the stove

Ross assembling the Busbhox XL titanium stove.

The main stove takes about five seconds to set up. Just unfold the walls and pull it open to expand it, then push the integrated grate and ash plate down inside the stove and pop their corners into place so they sit horizontally within the stove and keep it from collapsing on itself.

The trivets can be slid into the slots on the sides if you’re using them, and the grate can be popped into the slots at the top so it doesn’t move around on top of the stove while you’re cooking. If you plan on using wood or other organic matter to fuel your stove, I recommend setting up the stove in a safe area that’s clear of any flammable materials before doing so.

Starting and maintaining a fire with wood

The stove is going and ready to cook on!

The nice thing about the Bushbox XL titanium stove is that it gives you the same feeling of having an actual campfire, even though it’s much smaller and encapsulated by metal. In comparison to other twig stoves that are on the market, this is one of the biggest ones you can get. You can get it started just like any regular campfire, using a flame or spark source to light your kindling.

Then you build on your fire by gradually adding bigger and bigger twigs and pieces of wood. Unlike other smaller twig stoves, you can eventually start putting bigger, thicker branches and pieces of wood into the center of the stove. If the grill is on top, you can easily feed the fire through the opening in the front. I recommend using gloves when you’re doing this.

The metal structure traps the heat really well, so it gets really hot in there. As long as you keep feeding the fire, which you’ll certainly be required to do far more often than a bigger fire due to the size of the pieces of wood you’ll be using and the size of the stove itself, it will keep burning hot.

Using the stove with an alcohol burner

Boiling water on the Bushbox XL titanium stove.

We use a Trangia burner with clean-burning bioethanol when we know that dry wood is going to be difficult or impossible to gather, such as on rainy days or in the middle of winter. We basically fill the burner up and then take a leak-proof container of extra fuel in case we need it.

When using an alcohol burner, you have to set it up inside the stove using the trivets to hold it in place, which can be a bit tricky. We also recommend using a match to light the burner since doing it with a lighter is a bit more awkward.

Once you start to feel some heat, you know the burner is on. How long your fuel will last before you need to refuel really depends on a number of things, but we find that we still have a bit of fuel left after bringing at least a litre of water to a boil.

Cooking on the stove

Cooking grilled cheese sandwiches on the Bushbox XL titanium stove.

A canister stove can be a bit finicky with certain pots and pans, and is often used primarily for boiling water. But with the Bushbox XL titanium stove, you can cook almost anything—especially if you upgrade from the universal grill plate to the Bushbox XL grill plate, which is simply just a bigger version of the universal one.

We’ve cooked burgers, sausages, cornbread, pasta, grilled cheese sandwiches, eggs, bacon, french toast and all sorts of other amazing dishes on our stove. We’ve even done s’mores.

Since the stove burns extremely hot, it doesn’t take much time at all for water start boiling. However, just like any other campfire, you do have to be careful not to burn or char your food if you leave it on the grill for too long.

Disassembling the stove

Once the fire burns out, you have to wait until the stove cools down before you can put it away, which can be a minor inconvenience when time is of the essence. However, it doesn’t take long for it to cool down. We find that it’s typically cool anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes later depending on whether we’re using it in summer or winter.

The stove is going to very dirty the more you use it, so I highly recommend using gloves when you’re handling it—otherwise your hands will turn black from it. Keep in mind that the stove should also be dry before put away to avoid rusting.

Remember to empty the ash out before popping the plates out at the bottom so they fold back upward. Once those are out of place, you can fold the stove on itself and slide it back into its bag.

What we love (and don’t love) about the Bushbox XL titanium stove

Ross enjoying breakfast beside the Bushbox XL titanium stove.

The main thing that we really love about the Bushbox XL titanium stove is that we don’t necessarily need to put in all the work required to build a traditional campfire. This is especially true in cases where we’re not camping in an area with a fire pit.

Even if there’s a fire pit at our camp, sometimes we just don’t have the time or energy to find enough big pieces of dead and dry wood, process them, and wait for the fire to build up. Oftentimes, we just want to set up camp, eat, and go to bed.

The Bushbox XL titanium stove gives us that campfire feel without the work. At least in the summer season, there are almost always tons of twigs and branches lying all over the place that we can easily pick up and break into smaller pieces. It hardly takes much time or effort to do this.

One thing we’re not crazy about, however, is how necessary it is to require someone to be tending to the fire all the time—in comparison to a traditional campfire. Since the stove relies on smaller pieces of wood, and it burns so hot, it needs to be fed every few minutes or so. This can be a challenge when you’re trying to get a meal ready at the same time.

We’ve also had some close calls with some pieces of burning wood falling out of the opening of the stove onto the ground and causing some dry pine needles catch fires around it. We really need to be watching it at all times.

What we love about this stove

  • Can be used with different types of fuel
  • Burns very hot, very fast
  • Environmentally friendly when using organic matter
  • Excellent option when there’s no fire pit and has a lower impact on the land
  • Offers a real “campfire” feeling with less than half the work
  • Easy and fast to assemble and disassemble
  • Compact and relatively lightweight for a metal structure
  • Versatile enough to cook a variety of foods

What we don’t love about this stove

  • Needs to be constantly fed when using organic matter like twigs and branches
  • Can be tricky to light with a lighter given how small the opening of the stove is
  • On the heavier side for trips that require ultra lightweight gear
  • Not big enough to cook multiple pots/pans at once
  • Needs up to 20 minutes to cool down before it can be packed away
  • Becomes very sooty, turns your hands black when handled without gloves
  • Can be dangerous if not placed on level ground or if flammable materials are too close to the base of it

How much does the Bushbox XL titanium stove cost?

Boiling a pot of water by the lake with the Bushbox XL titanium stove.

We bought our Bushbox XL titanium stove for $287 CAD, and we’ve seen it sold for around $200 USD from a variety of retailers (one of which is Amazon). It’s certainly not a cheap piece of gear, but when it comes to exceptional quality, that’s exactly what you should expect.

When looking at, say, some of MSR’s high-end canister stoves, the price of the Bushbox XL titanium stove is quite comparable—even cheaper in some cases. The nearly twice as heavy Bushbox XL made from stainless steel retails for about $130 CAD or $110 USD, so really, with the titanium version, you’re paying more for the that lighter metal.

When it comes to deciding whether or not the Bushbox XL titanium stove, you need to consider exactly what you want to get out of the stove you’re using, and how often you plan to use it. In our case, we wanted the versatility of being able to use wood and alcohol. We also knew we’d be using the stove anywhere from 10 to 50 times per year, making it a no brainer to purchase this particular stove.

If you’re a more casual camper or outdoors person, however, you might just be fine with a traditional canister burner. You can get them for less than $100, making it a more budget-friendly version as well. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to continue purchasing fuel canisters as they run out, which can really add up in cost over time.

This is partly why we think the Bushbox XL titanium stove is so worth it. Organic matter is free, and even if you do decide to use alcohol every so often, like we do, it’s just $35 CAD (or $27 USD) for a massive 3.785-litre jug of bioethanol, which we’ve barely even put in a dent in yet.

Our verdict on the Bushbox XL titanium stove

Cooking with the Bushbox XL titanium stove in our canoe.

Overall, the Bushbox XL titanium stove has been a game changer for our camping trips. We’ve even used it in our canoe (using our alcohol burner, of course) when we were trapped in a swamp and too far away from dry land.

We give it a generous 8.5 out of 10 rating in terms of design, features/functionality, performance, quality, price, and value.

  • Design: 8.5/10
  • Features and functionality: 9/10
  • Performance: 9.5/10
  • Quality: 9.5/10
  • Price: 7.5/10
  • Value: 8.5/10

It’s unlikely that we’ll ever go back to a canister stove due to the versatility of the Bushbox XL titanium stove. The benefits far outweigh the disadvantages of this piece of gear, and we would highly recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a convenient and effective way to cook in the outdoors.

Get your own Bushbox XL titanium stove today, along with a Trangia burner and a Bushbox XL grill plate—both of which we own and use all the time.

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About Us

Elise & Ross

We’re Elise and Ross, avid backcountry campers and outdoor adventurers! We started Gone Camping Again as a way to share our knowledge and experience about wilderness living and travel. Our hope is that we inspire you to get outside and enjoy all that nature has to offer!

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