If you love camping or backpacking, then a rocket stove will surely be an important part of your every trip as it is the best solution for keeping you warm and for cooking at the campground. We bet you already know this fact so, in this post, we will focus our discussion on how to make a rocket stove for camping.
What Is a Rocket Stove?
A rocket stove is a hot-burning and efficient stove which uses a small-diameter wood fuel and is considered an off-grid option for cooking, producing heat, or boiling water. It has a small horizontal cylinder which is attached to a larger vertical cylinder. The horizontal cylinder serves as the fuel magazine while the vertical one acts as the chimney.
Rocket stoves can be made from coffee cans, scrap metal, soup cans, or other materials that could work the same. Aside from the low cost, it is also simple to build, performs well in the field, and requires no maintenance.
What Is the Difference Between Campfire and Rocket Stove?
Cooking is a lot easier using a rocket stove compared to a campfire which uses a lot of wood. With a campfire, you are converting potential energy from the wood into heat through combustion, and then the heat is applied to the item that will be cooked. However, there is a lot of smoke due to the burning of woods, and it does not efficiently warm the food that you are cooking. Hence, it takes a while to cook your food.
With a rocket stove, the heat tends to be funneled into one area rather than going everywhere, and so the food that you are cooking gets most of the heat cutting the cooking process short. The warmth is consistent, and the burning of the fuel is also better. A rocket stove can also burn branches twice as efficiently as a campfire or open fire, and there is also less smoke due to the efficient combustion.
How Does a Rocket Stove Work?
A shelf is inserted into the magazine to hold the fuel off of the bottom and let the air flow underneath. Small branches or twigs are lit and then inserted into the fuel magazine with the burning ends placed inside the chimney. While the fire burns, most of the heat from the air goes to the cooking apparatus since the top of the chimney has a narrow opening.
How to Make a Rocket Stove for Camping 101
As there are a variety of materials that a rocket stove can effectively burn such as wood, cardboard, paper, manure, moss, cloth, and charcoal, there are also a lot of materials that can be used to build one.
Tin Can Rocket Stove
This stove is simple to make and is lightweight. You will need different sizes of cans, although the thin metals will degrade due to repeated exposure to heat.
Items and Tools that You Will Need
- #10 Can – Those that are used by restaurants for their ingredients. You can either buy one or collect used and empty cans from restaurants instead of throwing them out.
- Soup Cans
- Insulation Material – This is anything that will not burn like sand, dirt, or insulating foam.
- A good knife or tin snips
- Nail and hammer
- Gloves to protect your hands
- Pliers, so you can bend metal
Simple Steps to Follow
- Step 1: Prepare the cans
Remove all the labels as well as the bottoms and lids except the #10 and one of the small cans.
- Step 2: Cut a hole in a #10 can
Mark the bottom of #10 can for the fuel magazine with a hole. Poke starter holes in the circle using the hammer and nails then cut out the circle using tin snips.
- Step 3: Cut a hole in a soup can
Use a lid to trace a hole above the bottom of the can then cut it out then place the small can inside the #10 can.
- Step 4: Prepare the fuel magazine
Get one can with no lid and bottom, and cut the tabs to one side using tin snips. Make a narrower opening by folding them together and then stick it into the #10 can hole and to the hole of the small can. Get the tabs and fold them but leave the bottom tabs flat.
- Step 5: Cut some more stuff
Cut eight tabs on the top of the #10 can down the height of the small can.
- Step 6: Insulate
Stick the foam, ash, dirt, or whatever material you have inside the #10 can so that the gap between the large and small can is filled then fold the four tabs on top of the insulation.
- Step 7: Cover it up
Place the lid on the insulation and fold the four tabs to the lid to hold it in place. You will put the pan or pot on the parts of the rim that are sticking up.
- Step 8: Add a shelf
Take a flat piece of metal to the edge of the small can which is inside the #10 can to make a T-shape, so leave two wider tabs at the end. Insert the T-shape metal to the fuel magazine then bend the tabs to hold everything in place.
After discussing the steps on how to make a rocket stove for camping, you may still think that it is easier to start a campfire rather than create a rocket stove. Arguably, this can be true. However, it may take you longer cooking time as the heat is not concentrated on your food. Cooking using a rocket stove is more effective and efficient since, as we have mentioned, the heat produced will go directly to the pot or pan. The warmth and combustion with rocket stoves are more consistent and better, too.
Moreover, rocket stoves make it possible for you to utilize advanced technology in few simple and easy to do steps. Plus, it is very cheap, so you do not have to worry about costs. Every material that you will need is readily available and is easy to find. This also allows you to bring other more important items for your camping trips such as an extra blanket or more food items. What have you got to lose? Try building one on your next camping trip!