We decided to buy a cubic mini wood stove for winter in the skoolie. Here is our Cubic Mini wood stove review where we will dive into everything from the best buying options to answering some burning questions.
Fighting Winter in a Skoolie
Winter in a skoolie can a struggle if your skoolie insulation is not up to par. If you plan on spending time in a colder winter climate like us up here in Wisconsin, you’ll want to make sure you stay warm.
I will quickly go over our overall impression of the Cubic Mini wood stoves, then follow this up by answering several common questions we get asked about Cubic Mini wood stoves.
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Why buy a Cubic Mini wood stove for a skoolie?
The Cubic Mini is the best wood stove option for heating a skoolie from the cost, availability, and size perspectives. The wood stove comes with legs to mount the wood stove down a counter. There are optional floor pedestal mount and wall mount accessory that can be purchased. They also have a matching mini fireplace tool kit for the Cubic Mini that is a must have.
When we first bought our skoolie in November 2018, we knew we were going to be working through winter to get the school bus converted into a skoolie by the time our apartment lease was up in May, 2019. We went the entire winter working with this MrHeater 60,000 BTU heater – I highly recommend one of these to use if you are converting in colder weather.
That heater worked perfectly when we were in skoolie build mode and the bus was more wide open. After we had it fully built with all of our stuff moved in, I knew having a propane tank inside our skoolie and exposing Sarah and I to constant carbon monoxide exhaust from the heater was not an option.
After researching ways to heat the skoolie, we loved the idea of having a small fireplace for both heat and ambiance.
Most other skoolie wood stove options were either really expensive and everyone seemed to be going with the Cubic Mini wood stoves in skoolies. In June 2019, we made the move and purchased the Cubic Mini Grizzly wood stove and finally got around to pouring the concrete counter top, tiling the walls, and installing it in August, about 6 weeks after the Grizzly wood stove arrived.
How well does a Cubic Mini heat a skoolie?
The Cubic Mini wood stove can get up to 600° F, so it can heat a skoolie fairly well depending on your skoolie floor plan design and how well you were able to insulate the skoolie.
We got really hot in the skoolie the first night we used our Cubic Mini wood stove. You can see around the max temperature the Cubic Mini Grizzly got up to – around 575° F.
It was 50° F out the night we installed it, but we ran it anyway. We were too excited not test it out and enjoy our first fire.
We placed our Cubic Mini wood stove in our skoolie toward the back of the bus (4 windows from the rear). This was done so that we could stoke up the fire really hot and keep our bed area toasty for most of the night.
We learned quickly that where you place the cubic mini makes all the difference in how well it heats the entire bus. Since we have a 24″ walkway aisle to our bedroom area that is sort of sectioned off from the kitchen and living room areas, our bed area can get up to 90° F on a mild winter night between 28-35° F outside with a few blocks of wood.
At the same time, the front of our bus could be 40-50° F. The way we designed our bus in the two section skoolie floor plan limits the amount of hot air that is naturally transferring to the front of the bus.
We solved this by installing some vent pipes and RV vent fans to essentially create a skoolie central heating system that transfers hot air from by the Cubic Mini and blows out from a vent on the front of our couch up front. We also installed another vent run to blow warm air in the back storage area onto our water system to keep it from freezing.
Will you need a second heat source with a Cubic Mini?
Needing an additional heat source on-top of having a Cubic Mini wood stove depends on where you will be parking and living throughout the year. If you plan on staying in areas where the temperature doesn’t reach below 40-50° F, you would most likely be completely fine with only having a Cubic Mini wood stove. If you plan on being in freezing temperatures for more than a week, you will most likely want to install an RV furnace to supplement the heat during the late hours of the night.
We tend to have to stoke the fire and add a new log every 2-3 hours. We purchase and use compressed wood blocks that we buy from Menards, which burn a little hotter than normal small hardwood logs. Before going to bed, we slide in 2 logs to get it pretty toasty and last a little bit longer.
Even with putting in 2 logs, the temperature would get down into the 40’s F by the time we woke if it was freezing temperatures outside.
After about 2 weeks of trying to wake up and stoke the fire, we ordered an RV furnace and a smart thermostat to be able to control the temperature with our phone.
Now, the RV furnace is our main source of heat and we use the Cubic Mini wood stove consistently to use less propane with the RV furnace.
We lived in Wisconsin for the entire 2019 – 2020 winter, where temperatures during winter are below freezing for 3-4 months of the year. When you are exposed to this level of cold, you will want multiple heat sources. We have electric heaters and heating blankets for backup to the Cubic Mini, as well, just in-case we run out of wood or something.
Is the Cubic Mini wood stove worth it for a skoolie?
Yes. If you are looking for a wood burning stove for some heat and ambiance, you cannot go wrong with a Cubic Mini Grizzly or Cub. The Cubic Mini wood stove is engineered perfectly for a skoolie.
You have the option of two sizes to really fit the wood stove into most skoolie floor plans. Not only is it built well, but there isn’t a good alternative wood stove on the market that compares to the high quality of the Cubic Mini wood stove anywhere near the same price range.
They are the most common option you will find in skoolies for one reason – they work extremely well and are so easy to use!
Need more insight into other small wood stove options?
Tips for wood stove placement and area design?
Read More: Tiny Wood Stove Options, Placement, & Design Ideas
Cubic Mini FAQ
The best place to find Cubic Mini wood stoves for sale is right on their website CubicMiniWoodStoves.com.
You can order a Cubic Mini from CubicMiniWoodStoves.com and it will ship from Canada.
Cubic Mini will ship Canada orders via Canada Post.
United States orders via the United States Postal Service (USPS) or DHL.
Any international orders outside of Canada and United States will ship via the United States Postal Service (USPS), which will be fulfilled by your local postal carrier after arriving in your country.
The amount of space the Cubic Mini will heat in a skoolie depends on your floor plan. If you have a very open floor plan, the Cubic Mini Cub will heat 100 – 200 sqft and the Cubic Mini Grizzly will be able to heat 200-400 sqft.
However, if your Cubic Mini will be secluded into the front or rear of the bus and the floor plan is sectioned off between the halves of the bus, the Cubic Mini wood stove may not be able to heat the entire school bus conversion and you may experience dramatic temperature differences in temperature in each half of the skoolie.
The Cubic Mini Cub is 6,000 – 14,000 BTUs, while the Cubic Mini Grizzly is 8,000 – 18,000 BTUs. The BTUs for Cubic Mini wood stoves is a range because of the different fire temperatures you can reach with the unit, which directly relies on your ability to build a fire, the type of wood used, and how well the unit is maintained.