Towards the end of the summer we installed a wood stove in the bus!! This was a long-awaited moment for Zack. I cannot even tell you how excited he was. Initially when building the bus, the goal was to stay in fair weather all year round. We’ve learned that sometimes that is difficult and even 70 degree days in the Southwest can get pretty cold at night. Also, Zack and I would much rather be in colder climates than sweating to death.
We talked about having a heat source when building the bus but we just weren’t sure if we would need one. It turns out we did need a small source of heat. While on the road, we got a Mr.Buddy heater that we used when boondocking and a small electric one that we could use when the bus was plugged in.
Neither did the best job at heating the whole space. We preferred the electric one but we are not plugged in very often. The Mr.Buddy heated the space better but it created a lot of moisture, sometimes it would have a weird smell, and we had to vent the bus when using it.
We went back and forth between getting a wood burning stove or a propane one but ultimately went with a wood burning one. Wood burning stoves produce a dry heat and, since we’re in nature 100% of the time, we can find the wood to burn in it for free. Not to mention the fact that Zack loves playing with fire and grew up with wood stoves. He may be a little biased.
After much deliberation and going back and forth between the Hobbit and the Cubic Mini Grizzly, we stumbled upon tinywoodstove.com and their line of Dwarf Stoves. After reading the story behind the company, and how they were living full-time in a tiny space, looking for the perfect stove, but falling short and deciding to instead, build their own. We decided that they were probably somewhat of experts on small stoves. After speaking with Nick about the stoves, we could tell that he was passionate about this very niche topic, small stoves in small spaces. That’s when we decided we would go with one of the Dwarf Stoves. They are perfect for small spaces, have a beautiful large viewing window with air wash, secondary burning, and three different choices of size. We were sold.
We went with the Dwarf 4kw. We liked how the size fit into our space. We also liked that there was an option to vent the wood stove directly out of the top or the back of the stove. Originally we thought about venting it out of the back and out of a window. However, we decided upon a more permanent solution and vented it through the bus ceiling.
We went with the one in the middle
We ended up going to their shop where Nick helped us install it. He threw together a good video of the installation. (A great guide for installing any wood stove in a Skoolie/Bus) The only added difficulty in our bus was we had to make sure the vent went in-between the ribs of the bus AND the ribs of the roof rack.
Zack doing the first burn in the stove
We still haven’t been in cold enough weather (since installing the stove) to really crank it and test it out. Zack has done a few small burns with twigs and cardboard trash and it is surprising to see how even that can take the cold chill out of the air.
The pièce de résistance
We are so excited to have it and more to come when it cools down enough for us to really fire it up. Pun Intended.