Thinking about getting a woodburner for your campervan? Our woodburner gets a lot of love and a whole lot of questions so we thought we'd answer the ones we get asked the most and settle some of the misinformation out there regarding what can be quite a controversial subject.
What stove do we have?
We have the Cub Stove from Cubic Mini Wood Stoves. When we found this stove online we fell in love with its cute size, brass features and big windows. Then we saw one in action at Camp Quirky and we knew we had to have one. The Cub is the smaller of the woodburners that Cubic Mini Wood Stoves offer and is suitable for very small spaces up to 200 square feet. They also have the Grizzly Stove which is better suited for larger spaces but for us in our Citroen Relay L3H2, the Cub was just right. The stoves come from Canada so if you’re like us and not lucky enough to be based there then be prepared for shipping and customs fees. We've just order two more of these Cubs for future builds so you can tell we love them!
Is it safe to have a woodburner in a campervan?
Ah, the million dollar question. Having a fire inside a vehicle is a completely crazy idea right? Well, actually it isn’t, as long as you do it right. Safety is of course paramount when working with anything combustible and the key things you need to think about when installing your woodburner is your size of space, ventilation, the distance between the stove and combustibles and your heat shield. Air movement is important for a stove to work efficiently and safely so a well ventilated space is essential. Check with the manufacture what size space the stove is suitable for and the distance that is needed between the stove and combustibles. This will determine whether you can safely install a woodburner or not. A heat shield is a great way to reduce those distances but please research this fully. For our heat shield we have used an A1 non-combustible fire board and level 4 ceramic tiles. We’ve checked the temperatures all around the stove and shield when it's burning at its hottest and know without question it’s doing the job it needs to do. Plus we can't count how many hours we've had this baby blazing over the years and we've never had a single moment where it felt dangerous. And of course we have have all the absolute van safety essentials which everyone should have - fire extinguisher, smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm.
Can we still get insurance?
There are a lot of folk out there that like to tell you that your insurance will be void if you get a woodburner. This is just not true. Of course all insurance companies will have a different stance on this subject but we have had multiple polices now which have covered us completely. Yes, fire related claims too! Insurers that cover woodburners in the UK that we know of are A Plan, Adrian Flux & Just Kampers. Adrian Flux upped the excess for fire related claims on our first policy and Just Kampers have given us a blanket excess fee. There was no effect on our premium.
Was it complicated to install?
Surprisingly the installation process was really simple. Our stove came with full instructions which we were able to follow without any issues. Check out our YouTube installation video to see how we did it. But remember, if in doubt, hire a professional for the install.
Is it soon to be illegal?
In short, no, but when choosing your wood burner, think green. To combat air pollution, the British Government has announced plans to outlaw all but the cleanest stoves by 2022 as part of its wider Clean Air Strategy. We can relax knowing that our Cubic Mini Stove is eco-friendly and only releases very little smoke thanks to it’s clever secondary combustion system! The government is also cracking down on the sale of wet wood so make sure you are burning dry, seasoned wood to minimise emissions and maximise heat. Wood should be left to dry for 2 years before its ready for the stove. Burning damp wood is not only contributes to pollution, but also to the danger of having a chimney fire.
Can a little woodburner really keep you warm?
We've spent many winter nights in the van with our woodburner going and let me tell you, these stoves may be small but they are mighty! I hate being cold and since installing one of these I've never had to endure being cold in the van again. It takes very little time for them to get going and once they do they deliver a dry and consistent heat. Perfect for vanning in damp British winters.
How often do we have to refill?
We’ve seen a lot of jokers on forums commenting about how pointless a little woodburner is as you have to refill it every 5 minutes. Firstly, this isn’t true. Once the fire is burning at its optimum, a good chunk or hard wood will easily maintain the temperature for 45 minutes before adding more. Secondly, for us the wood burner is the heart of the van and so much of the joy of having one is the process of tending to it. The wood burner takes us back to a simple way of living. No mod cons, no tv just the simple enjoyment of sitting around a fire with one another.
Is this our only heat source?
We had a secondary heat source, the Whale Heat Air which is a fantastic gas heater. It gets used so little but when we are always very grateful to have it. We use it for the short periods of time when only quick blast of warmth is needed plus it's great if you're staying in fire risk or populated areas. We also use it in the mornings when we know we need to hit the road quickly, not that there are too many of those!
All in all, is a woodburner worth it?
To us, 100%. There is no better feeling than sitting around a campfire and now we get to bring that feeling inside the van. It does a fantastic job of keeping the van warm with a dry consistent heat. Plus it creates an unbeatable ambience.
Check out our Cubic Mini Wood Stove installation and review videos on our YouTube.