The Solo Stove Mesa is a top-rated portable wood stove.
They tout the ability to quickly and easily create campfires you can cook over while camping, hiking, or backpacking.
But at $80, is it worth getting?
The short answer: Hell yes.
The longer answer? Maybe, depending on your needs and how many people you’re cooking for.
In this Solo Stove Mesa review, we weigh the quality & benefits versus the price and answer some commonly asked questions. Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
- Solo Stove Mesa Review Video
- Solo Stove: How It Works
- The Mesa Benefits
- The Drawbacks
- Frequently Asked Questions
- The Verdict: Who’s It For?
Solo Stove Mesa Review Video
Not one for reading lots of text? Here’s a great video review we found by CountryMash on YouTube:
In addition to the Solo Stove Mesa, the common accessories used:
Solo Stove 2 Pot Set
- Perfect Companion Pots for Solo Stove Campfire
- Lifetime Guarantee
- Solo Stove Campfire Nests Inside Them for Easy Storage & Portability
Solo Stove Fire Striker
- Sparks twice as hot as a regular match and lasts for up to 15,000 strikes
- Oversized scalloped handles give you a better grip when striking.
- Works when wet
The Solo Stove Mesa XL is the biggest portable wood stove Solo Stove makes. It’s meant to cook for 4+ people at a time.
If you’re the kind who prefers text to video, or you’ve still got questions before you buy, read on!
Solo Stove: How It Works
To see how to use your Solo Stove, here’s a curated playlist made by Solo Stove themselves:
Thanks to the holes in the bottom and inside of the fire pit, cold air is pulled in by the flames, then split in two directions.
Half of it goes under the fire to feed the embers, and the other half is heated through the sidewalls and comes out of the holes in the upper chamber, causing a secondary combustion of the fire.
Here’s a visual:
They also have bottom vent holes under your sticks so oxygen can be fed directly into the bottom of the embers, resulting in a hotter burn.
A hotter burn means less ash – and you can easily clean out anything that happens to be left by tilting the fire pit upside down and giving it a little shake! (There’s an ash pan underneath the nichrome wire grate where the wood is burned).
The Mesa Benefits
The Solo Stove Mesa has a modern stainless steel design, burns hotter than a regular fire, and makes fire-starting easier thanks to the walls that block the wind.
But more than that, these wood-burning camping stoves have three main benefits:
1. Hotter Fire & Less Smoke Means No Campfire Smell!
One of the worst parts of cooking outside over an open fire is the constant smell of ash and soot on your clothes and skin.
With the Solo Stove Mesa, there’s less smoke and less campfire smell.
After the fire is initially lit, the smoke dies down thanks to the double combustion and extreme heat. Note that low smoke doesn’t mean NO smoke!
You’ll still see some smoke upon the initial lighting. However, I have found that there is significantly less smoke than an open fire on the ground.
2. Lifetime Guarantee
The Solo Stove Campfire is made out of 304 stainless steel. That’s durable stuff.
But, if you do somehow break it (say by throwing your backpack off a cliff during a day hike?), you’re covered by a lifetime guarantee. From the Solo Stove Mesa reviews we’ve seen, they’re good about honoring this guarantee, as long as you don’t do something that’s obviously against their terms.
3. Portable Enough For Section Hikers, Day Hikers & Camping
These wood-burning camp stoves were made specifically to be the ultimate cooking system for hiking and camping, so they’re made with portability front and center.
The standard Mesa is only 285 grams and 5.1 inches wide by 6.8″ tall. The Mesa XL comes in at just 2.2 lbs and is 7 inches wide by 8.6 inches tall, they’re lightweight and easy to toss in a backpacking pack or tie to the bottom of your hiking pack.
4. Included stand
With the Mesa, you get more than just a fire pit. It comes with a sturdy stand, designed to boost both your experience and your fire pit from the ground. To kick off your cozy fireside evening, just position the Mesa on the stand and get the fire crackling. When it’s time to hit the road, the stand’s collapsible legs tuck neatly inside the Mesa, transforming it into a compact, travel-friendly package. Now, that’s what we call easy, elevated camping!
5. Dual Fuel
Not one to be limited, the Mesa displays versatility in its fuel sources. Thanks to its unique Signature 360° Airflow system, Mesa gives you the freedom to burn either pellets or Solo Stove Mini Oak Firewood, while still ensuring a super-heated flame. It’s this adaptability that keeps your campfire blazing, no matter your choice of fuel.
While this is one of the top-rated backpacking stoves money can buy, no product is perfect. I had a few (minor) gripes with our Mesa.
1. The Need for Tiny Firewood
While the compactness of the Solo Stove Mesa can certainly be seen as one of its key attractions, this petite profile does come with its own share of challenges. Most notable among these is the need for smaller firewood. Given its size, you can’t just toss in your average log or chunk of wood. Instead, you’ll need to find or create smaller pieces of firewood to fit into the stove’s combustion chamber. This requirement can add an extra step to your fire-building process, potentially adding more prep time to your camping or outdoor activities.
2. It’s Pricey
Despite how awesome and portable this little camp stove is, it’s still $80. While we believe it’s worth every penny, not everyone can afford to spend that much on a portable campfire.
Those are really the only cons we could come up with. This thing is awesome and it’s easy to see why they have thousands of 5-star reviews.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions we’ve personally been asked or seen others asking.
Where can I use the Mesa?
In your backyard, on the back porch, outside your RV, at a campsite, tailgating – you name it! As long as you’re outside, the world is your plaything.
Do I need to purchase anything extra to use it?
No, but if you want to cook over it, you’ll need a pot or pan. Solo Stove sells pot sets, but you can also use any stainless steel or cast iron pan you have. Just make sure it’s one you don’t mind turning black, since cooking over a wood fire will blacken your pans!
What kind of wood or fuel should I use?
Any wood will do! However, hardwoods like birch, maple, hickory and oak will burn longer than softwoods. But any twigs & sticks you can find will work just fine.
You can also use a fire starter or Solo Stove’s alcohol burner.
How do I clean the Mesa?
Since it’s all one piece, you might be wondering how to clean it. There’s very little ash left after a burn. All you have to do is tip your Mesa upside down to dump the ash out – that’s it!
Do the sidewalls get hot? How long do I have to wait to pick it up?
Yes! The sidewalls get hot. Don’t pick it up in use or try to move it!Wait until the fire is completely burnt out and the steel has had time to cool off. Usually 1-2 hours, depending on how hot it was.
Does the bottom get hot? Will it harm the grass underneath?
The bottom of the stove never gets hotter than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
We’ve done several burns on grass in multiple locations, and it’s never hurt the grass any more than leaving something cold on the grass would.
Can I use it on a wood deck or porch?
Yes! Unlike a regular fire pit, the bottom of the stove never gets hotter than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
That said, it should only be used outside. If your porch is enclosed or covered, you shouldn’t use it on the porch.
How do I go about cleaning and maintenance?
Cleaning and maintenance are easy! After a fire, just dump out the ashes – no need to wipe anything down.
Just be sure to store your wood stove in a cool, dry place when you’re done using it to avoid rust.
The Verdict: Who’s It For?
Overall, the Solo Stove Mesa is a high-quality, minimalist, portable wood stove. For us, it was worth the money.
But it’s not for everyone.
The Solo Stove Mesa is for you if…
- You don’t like smelling like a campfire every time you cook over one.
- You need a portable wood or pellet-burning cooking system that’s lightweight to take hiking or camping.
- You’re going to use it often enough to justify the price.
- You just like having a cool ass campfire in your backyard.
Enjoy your camping trips with your new wood-burning stove!