Vargo Titanium Converter Stove

Pair the Converter Stove from Vargo with their Hexagon Wood Stove, and you’ve got an ultralight cooking solution. On its own, the Hexagon Wood Stove (4.1 ounces) does a great job of heating water and cooking, with whatever small bits of dry wood you can find on the trail or at your campsite. Add the Converter Stove (1.6 ounces), and you now have the option of burning alcohol or solid fuel tabs. Cool? Yes.

Vargo Converter Stove
Vargo Converter Stove

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To be clear, the Converter Stove works well on its own. The burner and stand make a handy alcohol stove, with just the right height between the flame and your pot. Flip the burner over, and the fuel tab sits in a little indentation that also places it the ideal distance from your pot. Clever. Set the whole thing inside your Hexagon Wood Stove, and it’s the perfect windscreen.

Vargo Hexagon Wood Stove
Vargo Hexagon Wood Stove

Find it on Amazon!

I tried the Hexagon Wood Stove first, and found it to be very efficient when used with the seasoned walnut I get from trimming the large tree in my yard. This stove packs flat into the included pouch, and takes up so little space, it’s hard to find a reason not to take it along on every trip. It was also a bit messy, and I had to tend to the fire often, but that’s par for the course with a wood stove. When I switched to using the Converter Stove with alcohol, it was as simple as lighting it, and waiting for water to boil. Same with the fuel tabs, although more than one may be needed, depending on how much water you have to boil, the water temp when starting, and the outside temperature as well. If you are just stopping for a quick meal, or a hot drink, it’s much faster and cleaner to use the Converter Stove than find wood, get it going, boil water, and safely extinguish your fire before moving on.

Vargo Converter Stove and Hexagon Wood Stove
Vargo Converter Stove and Hexagon Wood Stove, with Esbit solid fuel tab

Each fuel source has advantages and disadvantages, and having all three means you should never run out of options. In most places, you won’t run out of biomass. Alcohol can be bought with ease at most stores, and even some gas stations, but you are not going to find any once you are on the trail. Fuel tabs are far less common, unless you have a camp supply store nearby, or shop online. Not everyone wants to carry or store alcohol, but fuel tabs are stable at all temps, last a long time, and can safely be brought just about anywhere. As mentioned above, alcohol and tabs both have a fairly fixed burn time, so you can figure out how much or how many you need in advance, and pack that for your trip. Travel light? Through-hiker? Like to be prepared for anything? This setup would cover it all.

Vargo Converter Stove and Hexagon Wood Stove, packed
Both stoves packed and ready for the next outdoor adventure

For backpacking, I find this combination to be ideal. I’m not a huge fan of storing and burning alcohol, and don’t always want to start a wood fire just to boil water. The Converter Stove makes it easy –  just bring some Esbit fuel tabs for their ease of use any time, and burn wood in the Hexagon Wood Stove when I’ve set up camp. Find them both at

– Brian

A special thanks to Vargo Outdoors for providing both stoves for this review. We appreciate the opportunity to test their gear, and share it with our readers. Just as important, it’s great to see companies that continue to come up with new and improved ways to make spending time outdoors more fun.

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