How To Light a Solo Stove

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How To Light a Solo Stove: Mastering Solo Stove Fire Starting

Well, this is one good discourse on how to light a solo stove. You see, for me, camping is a chance to immerse myself in the beauty of the world. And while camping, at some point or other, I have to kindle a fire in my trusty Solo Stove.  It’s not just a firepit tool; it’s a portal to warmth, companionship, and a crackling dance of flames. With a heart full of determination and the guidance of experience, I’m about to  start a fire – a ritual that brings me closer to nature.

So come with me as I take you through the delicate art of starting a Solo Stove fire. We’ll delve into choosing the right spot. We’ll go on to understanding the different wood types. We’ll even explore some different types of fire starters. Through my eyes, you’ll witness the simplicity and elegance of this process, designed to make every moment around the fire safe and enjoyable. And when we’re all done, I’ll even discuss putting out the fire. Until next time, that is.

Whether you’re an experienced camper or someone eager to dip their toes into the world of outdoor adventure, this guide aims to be a beacon of knowledge, helping you ignite not just flames, but also memories, in the heart of the wilderness. So let’s gather around the Solo Stove and uncover the secrets of creating a fire that warms more than just the body – it warms the soul.

Building the Perfect Fire in a Solo Stove

Creating a long-lasting and efficient fire in a Solo Stove is a satisfying experience that combines both art and science. With the right preparation, wood selection, and safety measures, you can enjoy a consistent blaze that warms your surroundings and keeps you company. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Preparation of the Area:

Clear the Ground:

Before you start setting up your Solo Stove, take the time to thoroughly clear the ground around the stove’s intended location. This involves removing any potential sources of fuel for unintended fires, such as dry leaves, twigs, and other flammable debris. Even the smallest spark can ignite these materials, leading to a dangerous situation. Creating a clear radius of 3 to 5 feet around the stove minimizes the risk of accidental fire spread. This also provides you with a safe space to move around while tending to the fire.


Proper stability is crucial when setting up a Solo Stove to prevent accidents and ensure efficient operation. Place the stove on a flat and solid surface. Uneven ground can cause the stove to wobble, potentially leading to spills or tipping. If the stove isn’t stable, the arrangement of the logs and the distribution of heat may become uneven, affecting the quality of the fire. By placing the Solo Stove on a stable surface, you ensure that it remains upright throughout the burning process, reducing the likelihood of hazards and creating a consistent fire.


A well-ventilated area is essential for effective combustion and maintaining a strong, long-lasting fire. When setting up your Solo Stove, consider the surrounding environment and airflow patterns. Adequate ventilation supplies the fire with the oxygen it needs to burn efficiently and produce a robust flame. Poor airflow can lead to incomplete combustion, excessive smoke, and difficulty in keeping the fire going. By placing the stove in a location where there is natural air movement, you maximize the oxygen supply, ensuring optimal combustion and a steady, enduring fire.

Selecting Wood Types:How To Light a Solo Stove


When learning how to light a solo stove, tinder is where we begin. Tinder acts as the initial spark that ignites your fire. It’s essential to start with highly flammable materials that catch fire quickly and sustain the flame long enough for the kindling to catch. Dry leaves, crumpled paper, and small twigs are all excellent choices for tinder. These materials have a low ignition point and can create a small, intense flame that rapidly spreads to the kindling.


Kindling serves as the bridge between the tinder and the main firewood. These small sticks and twigs play a vital role in building a strong foundation for the fire. They catch fire from the tinder and create a stable base of burning material. The kindling’s role is twofold: it provides a sustained flame that transfers heat to the larger wood logs and forms a bed of hot coals that assist in igniting the larger pieces of firewood.


Selecting the right type of firewood is crucial for maintaining a long-lasting fire with consistent heat output.

  • Hardwoods (e.g., oak, maple, hickory):  Hardwoods are the kings of firewood when it comes to endurance and heat. Due to their density and slow-burning nature, they generate a consistent and lasting heat output. This property makes them a perfect choice for building a fire that will endure as long as you wish to keep adding more wood. The slow combustion rate of hardwoods ensures that you won’t need to reload the fire as frequently, allowing you to enjoy uninterrupted warmth and the mesmerizing flames.
  • Fruitwoods (e.g., apple, cherry, pear):  Fruitwoods offer both functionality and ambiance to your fire experience. Along with their delightful aroma, these woods burn hot and slow, making them ideal for extended burn times. Their aromatic quality adds an extra dimension to the sensory pleasure of sitting around the fire, creating an environment that’s as pleasing to the nose as it is to the eyes.
  • Softwoods (e.g., pine, cedar, spruce):  Softwoods are known for their quick ignition and intense heat production. While they can create a powerful fire, it’s important to note that they burn faster than hardwoods. This means you might need to reload the fire more frequently to maintain a steady blaze. Softwoods are great for a quick burst of heat or for situations where you want a fire that doesn’t need to last for an extended period.

Selecting the appropriate combination of tinder, kindling, and firewood types ensures a well-structured and enduring fire in your Solo Stove, catering to your desired burn time and ambiance. Whether you prioritize a long, consistent heat or the aromatic essence of fruitwoods, the right wood selection enhances your fire-building experience.

Using Fire Starters to Initially Ignite the Fire:

Fire starters play a pivotal role in initiating a fire efficiently, especially when starting a fire in a Solo Stove. They provide a reliable and controlled ignition source that can quickly ignite your tinder and kindling, setting the stage for a successful and long-lasting fire. Here are three effective types of fire starters, including the versatile option of using Vaseline as a fire starter:

1. Commercial Fire Starter Cubes:

Commercial fire starter cubes are widely available and known for their convenience and reliability. These small cubes are formulated with a mix of paraffin wax and other ignitable materials. They are designed to burn for an extended period, giving you ample time to ignite your tinder and kindling. Simply place one or more cubes under your tinder, light them with a match or lighter, and watch as the flames spread to the surrounding materials, gradually building your fire.

2. Cotton Balls Soaked in Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline): firestarter

Vaseline-soaked cotton balls are a popular homemade fire starter option that can be incredibly effective. The petroleum jelly acts as a slow-burning fuel source, extending the burn time of the cotton ball. To create these fire starters, take a cotton ball and thoroughly coat it with Vaseline. Store them in a small container or Ziploc bag to keep them handy during your outdoor adventures. When it’s time to light your fire, fluff the cotton ball slightly and use a spark or flame to ignite it. The combination of cotton and Vaseline creates a consistent flame that can quickly ignite your tinder and kindling.

3. Wax-Coated Wood Shavings or Chips:

Another DIY fire starter involves using wood shavings or chips coated in wax. These fire starters combine the flammability of wood with the sustained burn of wax. To create them, collect dry wood shavings or chips and dip them in melted wax, such as candle wax or beeswax. Allow the wax-coated shavings to cool and harden before use. When you’re ready to start a fire, place a few wax-coated shavings beneath your tinder and ignite them. The wax will melt, igniting the wood and providing a reliable flame to kickstart your fire-building process.

Incorporating fire starters like commercial cubes, Vaseline-soaked cotton balls, or wax-coated wood shavings into your fire-building routine can significantly simplify the ignition process, especially in challenging conditions. These fire starters offer consistent and controlled ignition sources, making it easier to transition from the initial spark to a robust and enduring fire in your Solo Stove.

How to Light a Solo Stove Includes Extinguishing the Fire:

Allow Natural Burnout:

When circumstances permit, allowing the firewood to burn down to embers naturally is an effective and eco-friendly way to manage the conclusion of your fire. As the logs gradually transform into glowing embers, they emit a gentle warmth that adds a cozy ambiance to your surroundings. Allowing this natural process not only reduces the amount of remaining ash but also promotes energy efficiency by extracting the last bit of heat from the remaining wood. This method sets the stage for a smoother cleanup and minimizes the waste left behind.

Spread Out the Ashes:

As the fire dwindles and most of the logs have turned into embers, it’s time to prepare for the final stages of extinguishing. To facilitate this process, use a long stick or a fire poker to carefully spread out the ashes and embers. By exposing the still-burning embers to the air, you accelerate their cooling process and encourage the remaining heat to dissipate more rapidly. This step readies the fire site for the next crucial step in the extinguishing process.

Cool with Water: Water to Put Out Fire Solo Stove Zone

The next step involves the controlled application of water to the embers and ashes. Pouring water over them should be done thoughtfully and slowly to prevent any sudden bursts of steam. This gradual cooling process ensures that all residual heat is extinguished, eliminating the risk of any remaining embers rekindling. Stirring the ashes while adding water aids in distributing moisture evenly and extinguishing any lingering pockets of heat. This step significantly reduces the chances of a rekindling ember when you think the fire is out.

Dispose of Ashes Safely:

Once the ashes have cooled down completely, transfer them to a dedicated metal container. Metal containers are used because they won’t catch fire, ensuring safe storage until you’re ready to dispose of the ashes. Store the container away from any flammable materials and in an area where it won’t pose a fire hazard. When you’re ready to dispose of the ashes, choose a designated area approved by your local authorities. Ashes should be disposed of safely to avoid any accidental fires and to contribute to environmental responsibility.

By following these steps, with some information from the Solo Stove blog itself, you can responsibly extinguish your Solo Stove fire, ensuring safety, minimal waste, and a clean fire site for your next outdoor adventure.

Final Thoughts and Further Reading:

Building a perfect fire in a Solo Stove is a rewarding endeavor that requires attention to detail and safety precautions. With the right wood selection, proper setup, and responsible fire management, you can enjoy a cozy and enduring fire experience that enhances your outdoor moments.

Another blogger has recently tackled the subject of How to Light a Solo Stove- check out their post.

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Leona D

My initial goal in developing this website was to consolidate all that I’ve learned about backyard fire pits and solo stoves into one “home” as it were. Seems there’s always another family gathering to attend, another backyard to ‘sit a spell’ and compare notes as to what new gadgets and tools are available. And as I share online what I’ve learned about fire pits offline, I hope you, the wider audience, may benefit from what I’ve learned over the years. And so I hope you enjoy your time here, come back to visit often!

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