Backyard Snow Cave Camping + Solo Stove Review

One of the things I love most about my husband is that he isn’t afraid to get the kids out – in fact, he thrives on it, even doing adventures like backyard snow cave camping.

Right now I am getting out as much as I can, but it really isn’t much.

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I am counting down the weeks until I get back after it, but also know that right now I just have to do what is best for Baby. In the meantime, Mtn Papa is taking up the slack and doing a great job at it.

All winter the boys and him have been working on a snow cave in the backyard. In all honesty, we “cheated” a little this year in the hopes of having more of a chance of the cave actually working out well enough to sleep in.

They threw a tarp over the climber dome, then packed the snow around it. They also built a “igloo tunnel” for the doorway and then packed snow around that too. It’s most definitely insulated by the snow, but doesn’t take quite as much to keep it’s shape.

Backyard Snow Cave Camping + Solo Stove Review
Backyard Snow Cave Camping + Solo Stove Review

This past weekend we finally had a free evening with nothing planned the next morning, so they took advantage. To be honest, I am much too pregnant to even get IN the snow cave, so got to experience it via photos.

And that’s ok – it’s important that the boys have something to do just with their dad sometimes. They put a tarp down on the ground then piled up winter sleeping bags and backcountry quilts.

Apparently if anything they got hot. It’s fun science to see them make the connection to how much warmer the cave really is than the blustery winter weather outside of it.

Backyard Snow Cave Camping + Solo Stove Review

In the morning, they fired up the Solo Stove (review below) to boil some snow down to water (sister joined in). And made plans for a even more adventurous outing next….beyond the backyard.

Backyard Snow Cave Camping + Solo Stove Review

Solo Stove Campfire:

Over the past few months we have been testing out Solo Stove’s largest stove, the Campfire – built for 4+ people to use comfortably.

While our camping and stove-use isn’t nearly as often in the winter than the summer, it’s been fun to use it in the snow and will update this with summer use later in the year too.

The Solo Stove is built for camping, survival and backpacking. It’s light and portable and doesn’t require special fuel besides wood. While the Campfire is a little more bulky than I would like for backpacking, it works great for car camping and backyard snow cave camping.

The larger size also allows for larger pieces of wood, which is convenient too. The smaller Solo Stove or Solo Stove Titan would be better for backpacking.

Backyard Snow Cave Camping + Solo Stove Review

How it works: “Designed with a double wall, the Solo Stove Campfire is a natural convection inverted downgas gasifer stove. The air intake holes on the bottom of the stove channels air to the bottom of the fire while at the same time, channels warm air up between the walls of the stove.

This burst of preheated oxygen feeding back into the firebox through the smaller holes at the top of the stove causes a secondary combustion. This allows the fire to burn more complete which is why there is very little smoke during full burn. A more efficient burn also means you’ll use much less wood compared to an open camp fire. The Solo Stove Campfire doesn’t just burn wood. It actually cooks the smoke out of the wood and then burns the smoke not once, but twice!” 

Therefore it’s super efficient, has a small footprint and uses the natural resources that are often readily available when camping. It also has the following features:

  • Heat shield at the bottom protects the ground from scorching (or snow from melting excessively)
  • Angled cooking ring “lip” directs heat right to your pan to increase efficiency
  • AND it acts as a wind shield

We have used the Campfire in some downright blustery days and had no issues, which says a ton about the engineering of the stove.

This graphic (from Solo Stove) helps show a little better about how it works:

Backyard Snow Cave Camping + Solo Stove Review

Why use it (opposed to just an open campfire)?

  • More efficient
  • Hotter burn
  • Less of a footprint
  • More directed heat for cooking

Complete the Set:

If you want to have everything contained (opposed to using pots and pans you already have), the Solo Stove 2 Pot Set works perfectly with the Campfire. The stove nests inside and then everything fits in the carrier bags. The stainless steel pots are 3L and 1.5L sizes, so really big enough to cook for a substantial group of people.

Buy it:

All Solo Stoves are available on Amazon!

Solo Stove generously provided us this gear in order to facilitate this review.  However, as always, the opinions expressed here are completely and honestly our own. Thanks so much for clicking through our affiliate links (via Amazon) – they help us out a tiny bit and don’t cost you a dime. If you’ve found this review helpful, you always appreciate you supporting us (see the top of the right sidebar for directions on how to make a donation for our efforts)! Thank you!

© 2016, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.


  • Amelia lives with her husband and five young children outside of Jackson, WY in Grand Teton National Park. As a mom, she quickly learned that the secret to sanity was to spend more time outside where tantrums don't see quite so bad. Amelia started TMM in 2012 to help encourage all families (including her own) to get outside, no matter the weather. Due to the necessity of having to keep so many kids warm and happy, she has become an expert in kids' gear and loves being able to share it with others.

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