• Tentipi Hekla 7 Firebox an updated review

    Tentipi Hekla 7 Firebox Review

    Way back in June 2007 I did a review of the Tentipi Hekla 7 Fire Box or Mni Firebox as it was called at the time.


    It is worth going back and reading the old review as I still stand by the conclusions. It is worth saying that 12 years on, the firebox still looks like a rusty death trap but still performs great and does not need replacing.

    What has changed in the intervening 12 years is the firebox is now made with steel and is constructed a little differently. I also use the box a little differently and have modified it, sort of. It seems clear that Iím never going to actually wear out my original Tentipi firebox but I was curious about the new construction. I asked Tentipi if they could send me a review sample. This they kindly did about 7 months ago with the understanding I would test it over the winter then do a review. This is that review

    The official page for the firebox is here.


    Spec wise it is very similar to the original one. The differences being the material and the hinges but we will come to that. First off a picture of the new and old side by side.

    You can see in the picture above that the old design had the hinge mechanism formed by interlocking tabs. I had concerns about this but years of use have proven it to be sound. The new construction uses proper hinges which is what I would have been happier with back then but now wonder if they will last as long. I suspect they will.

    The change to hinges does away with some of the jaggy protrusions that can slice your hands but I have to say when the new firebox arrived the metal edges were all lethal. Iím guessing these pieces are stamped out and so have a burr on them that is like a mini saw. 5 minutes with a metal file makes the edges safer and I would strongly recommend taking the time to do that so you are not cutting yourself taking the box from the bag and unfolding it.

    Yes, the firebox comes in itsís own bag now. Better sized than the one I made and much better all round.

    The putting up of the firebox is covered in detail in my original review and nothing has really changed here but for the sake of completeness Iíll show that here too.

    Take the box from the bag. NB the weld mesh strips shown do not come with the bag. Youíll need to get your own and you should but again we will get to that.

    Inside the flat packed firebox you can slide out the two struts for the bottom and the bracing strut for the top. I also have a short length of steel pipe I use as a blow poker. I used to use an aluminium arrow shaft but it go damaged by the heat over time.

    Pull the sides of the box apart, then fold the bottom sections down, turn the box over and slip the bottom bars through the holes in the lips of the bottom section to lock them in place.

    Turn the box over. Put the bracing bar in the hole at one end and then the other end.

    Stand back and look at it in all its shiny glory.

    Those weld mesh strips I showed earlier are what I use to support the pots when cooking. I hook them on and off using the steel pipe. The advantage is they allow you to be cooking at one end of the box and have the other end open to feed in fuel. When I need pots all over the firebox both strips spaced evenly will allow this.

    So if the pots are supported on the mesh do you still need the bracing bar to support the pots? No. If the bars on the bottom stop the bottom from folding up or down do you need the bracing bar to stop the firebox closing? No. Does the bracing bar get in the way when you try and feed firewood in and restrict the size and shape of wood you can burn? Yes, yes it does.

    Now youíve seen it in place take the bracing bar out and find a use for it doing something else. Let me know what that use is as Iíve still got mine unused. Why I used the the bracing bar for a year or so with the original box I do not know. I even got Russ to make a stronger one. Madness I tell you.

    With the bracing bar removed the firebox is not quite as rigid but this is really only an issue when you are lifting the firebox when empty. Once the box is in use you donít notice a difference. The wood in the box holds it open anyway and the bar being removed allows so much easier use and allows wood of all sizes to be used. If you do not have pots on the fire it lets you have wood higher than the top of the box. Which is handy when you want to use the firebox for a social fire.

    When you want to cook you can use either one or both mesh strips to support the pots.

    I know some people think the Tentipi box is a bit too flimsy. I disagree as there is always going to be a balance between sturdiness and weight. Over the last 12 years Iíve found the firebox has survived well with rough use. I am not gentle on my gear but donít deliberately try to push it past the limits. Iíve had the box glowing red hot hundreds of times and any distortion straightens out when you fold up the box when cooled.

    There are things I would like improved with the box but I know why they have not been ďfixedĒ and on balance I agree with the trade offs. As above Iíd be happy with a sturdier box but it is not something Iíd carry more weight for as it is clearly solid enough. Iíd also like the bars on the bottom to be longer as this would allow you to span the box over a wider distance which would mean if you used branches the heat would not reach these as much. The reason this is not done is it would make the bars longer than the folded firebox and they wouldnít store inside it any more.

    It also feels a bit strange that the centre rib on the bottom is lower than the edges at the side. In practice this does not effect things as the bars are what support the box but if you have it sitting on rocks you may need to move things about a bit to make it not wobble. Youíd probably need to do this regardless to make sure any firebox is stable.

    Things I really would change are ditching the bracing bar. Providing mesh pot supports as standard and maybe a blow poker too. These things are easy enough to arrange yourself but if the Tentipi box was to be perfect straight out the bag they are the only real changes I would make. Well except for removing the lethal burs on the edges before sale

    The change to steel is a definite improvement. The firebox looks used and is no longer shiny but does not quite look like the rusty tetanus farm that the previous versions took on. Whether this will translate into a longer life in use it is hard to tell. The previous constriction lasted long enough anyway but the steel version does seem to be wearing better.

    In conclusion, as before, it is a strong recommendation from me. The firebox packs small and is as light as is realistically possible. It allows me to make efficient use of firewood and burns it down to neatly nothing in the morning. It is a testament to the firebox that in the last 12 years I have always taken a stove with me when camping but have almost never needed to use it.

    I have tried a couple of other fire boxes but never found one that suited me so well. Many are very small so need the wood split very small which is a lot more more work and often they are heavier.

    Of course the firebox wonít suit everyone. For one thing it does not protect the grass below it. You can carry a foil base to place below it to protect grass or cut back turf. I generally tend to have the fire on rocks or gravel beaches so it is not generally an issue for me.

    If someone remembers can you bump this thread in 12 years time and Iíll give you an update on the long term results
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Tentipi Hekla 7 Firebox an updated review started by MagiKelly View original post