Cool Stuff: Vargo Fire Box Grill
Manua's 2005 Super Cyclone Olaf still haunts me. It was the triple crown of destruction for Faleasao Village, on the coast near the wharf, as they were impacted by huge winds, huge waves, and a landslide from above.
After hitching a ride on a Coast Guard C130 to Tutuila, then jumping on the first small plane to Tau, I saw flattened houses, most houses with no roof, and lost fruit bats coming in close for a potential slaughter. http://www.sportsshooter.com/northshore/cyclone/ This impacted my psyche deeply... leading directly to the creation of our column "Cool Stuff" and my passion for all things Vargo.
When I fly into devastation for CNN, the Samoa News, or the Honolulu Star Advertiser, I must be prepared at the very minimum to not burden others by taking care of my own needs. I will help victims when I can, while documenting the drama, and I will leave what I can on departure to help those in need better take care of themselves. Fortunately Samoans have the self-sufficiency DNA at birth. Ya'll really need plentee lots of nothing... because you have always been taught how to fire up a meal out at the maomaga, select natural edible fruits, and maybe grab a fe'e or two.
For your Mainland deprived Samoan cousins and us silly nerdy DNA deficient palagis, Vargo has made our life so much easier for fun —or the tragedies I am assigned to cover.
My latest Vargo acquisition is the Titanium Fire Box Grill ($89.95). At 4.1 ounces of super strength Titanium, it’s all hinged so you never lose anything, comes in a case, folds flat, and fires up fast with whatever is available.
“Whatever is available" is the key to the magic of Vargo's wood stoves. When I fly in, I CANNOT carry/check in propane canisters, white gas, or denatured alcohol. TSA and the airlines will generally determine that even empty tanks are a no-no due to vapors and naughty people who have an agenda against the USA.
So Vargo to the rescue, because at the scene of my coverage, there is always bits and pieces of destruction, coconut shells, vegetation, etc. So the Palagi Yuppies refer to this genre of stoves as "bio mass" stoves, as they burn anything solid (do not, however, burn plastics as they emit noxious fumes).
With Vargo's integrated grill, you just team up with others to gather fish, talo, fruits and fresh water, and you will brighten your day and those who have been impacted with an efficient, hot, healthy meal. At only 8" x 8" you will be able to control your burn without scorching the ground.
In my tests, I found my Hawaiian Keawe wood became coal super fast, and allowed me to toss my Vargo Titanium Ti-Lite Mug 750 ($54.95) on top to boil 2 cups of water (key for water purification and our daily favorite, Koko Samoa). As Vargo stoves are so light and so flat, I now carry the Titanium Fire Box Grill and my classic Vargo Hexagon Wood Stove (pictured above on the right for only $59.95) in order to easily cook food without a pan on the grill, and to boil water, make hot soup with Hexagon Stove.
Yes, I really only need one... but I love to spoil myself, and give more options for others to get involved for a mini feast. Vargo's Titanium Tent stakes, (which replace all my supplied aluminum tent stakes on new tents) make perfect skewers for Samoan Kabobs (meat, onion, garlic, peppers, etc).