EcoZoom Lightweight Rocketstove Review
If you’ve been a regular reader of my blog then you know how much I recommend EcoZoom’s rocketstoves (for you newbies to rocketstoves, check out my review of the EcoZoom Rocket Stove for more details).
From the people that have purchased it, one of the common complaints I hear about is how heavy they are. Weighing in at around 21 pounds, these bad boys will not be part of your ultralight camping gear anytime soon. But despite the weight, they are an excellent addition for long-term off-grid cooking — perfect for temporary and long-term power outages and super efficient to boot.
Recently I was contacted by EcoZoom to do a review of their new lightweight EcoZoom Versa stove. It’s essentially the same thing as the last one I did a review on but a good 6 pounds lighter.
Since I already did a fairly thorough review of their standard Zoom Versa I didn’t want to rehash the same details that I spoke of last time (not much has changed in terms of form and function). With the significant weight drop though, I did want to compare the performance of both stoves to see if the new lighter-weight one had been negatively affected in any way.
Here are my observations and tests:
Comparative review of the EcoZoom Zoom Versa and Zoom Versa Lite
Form and function
From the picture above you can see that there is no difference in outward appearance or function between the original Zoom Versa and the new lightweight one. They both have the same 6-pronged pot supports, reinforced swinging fuel and airflow doors, and metal-lined combustion chamber (see pic below).
This is obviously the main difference between the original stove and this newer one. 15 pounds compared to 21 pounds may not sound like much of a difference but it definitely feels significant when you’re hefting the two around.
To compare the performance of the two stoves I did the following:
1. Put five charcoal briquettes in each stove:
2. Fired up both stoves within 30 seconds of each other:
3. Waited until the charcoal burnt down to smoldering coals and placed the same container with 2-cups of water on each stove:
Performance results and further comparisons
At around the 15 minute mark the water was still not boiling (I never used my rocket stoves with charcoal before so I didn’t know how much I needed) so I added four more briquettes to each stove. Within 30 seconds of adding the charcoal both stoves started to produce a rolling boil:
Actually the older stove started to boil about 5 seconds before the newer one, but it’s not significant enough to say there really is a difference.
The next test I did was to remove the water containers and let the coals burn down. I wanted to see if one stove burnt off the coals faster than the other (implying that it was less efficient):
At the 60 minute mark, both stoves were still hot enough to cook a hotdog:
Finally, at the 80 minute mark I was able to hold my hand over the combustion chamber without having to remove it.
All in all I did not see any significant difference in performance between the two stoves. EcoZoom certainly did a great job at reducing the weight but at the same time maintaining the performance of the original stove.
It still may not be light enough for an ultralight backpacking trip or when bugging out on foot, but for home and camping use it’s perfect. This year I’m definitely going to be taking it on a canoing trip with me to test it out in the bush. I was on the fence with the older one due to the weight but with this newer one I have no issues taking it along.
I realize there are a lot of other smaller and lighter camping/off-grid stoves on the market, but having a stove that requires nothing but minimal wood or charcoal to cook and simmer food for over an hour is the ultimate benefit of these stoves.
If you haven’t yet bought one, I highly recommend it. You can check out (and purchase) EcoZoom’s stoves at the EcoZoom website here. Although I do make a small commission if you purchase through this link (which I’d be very grateful for!), these would be high on my recommend list even if I didn’t.
Let me know if you have any comments or questions in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you!