You know those DIY projects you always see on Facebook or Pinterst? The ones that you think, “Hey, I can make that myself!!!” Then you pin it. And…you never go back to it again?
I have a bunch of those. A bunch of projects I always plan on getting to, and keep pushing them off or completely forgetting about them. Not long ago, I ran into one such project and thought, “I can do that!” So I started saving all sorts of different rocket stove ideas like this and this and this, and really was wanting something like this Solo Stove, but a DIY version.
Hi, I’m Jane, and I am a Pinterest-holic
But a year later, we’re still without a rocket stove. Partly because there are flaws in the design or I’m not comfortable with how it might come out, but mostly because I have so much going on already, I just can’t find the time to sit and do the project.
I want to build my own rocket stove. I really do. But I know my project limitations, so when the Rocket Stove from Premier Rocket Stoves became available, I grabbed the opportunity to try it out, and am LOVING it!
It is a pull out of the box project with no assembly at all. It only weighs about a pound, so it is easy to carry and transport.
We set it up on a stable surface. This is REALLY important. Don’t put it on anything that might melt or make it easy to tip over. You need a solid base to be safe. This stove gets really hot, really fast, and it would be easy to get hurt or start a larger fire.
I have the Black Rocket Stove, which has been painted with a high temperature resistant paint to help protect the metal. On your first time out, you should build a good, hot fire to help burn some of the impurities out of the canister. Once you’ve done that, you have fewer fumes and less black smoke. The inside will be a bit ashen, but that’s okay!
The inside of this stove is full of 1.5 inches of an insulating material that helps keep the heat in the core to make a more effective heat source. We were really surprised at how quickly and easily it burned and how hot it got within just a minute.
Getting Started with a Rocket Stove
Load sticks into the top compartment of the lower pipe.
Having the lower portion of that pipe open allows for a vent to draw air up into the main compartment and have a hotter fire. We just used sticks we had laying around our yard, but you could use lots of small pieces of wood. We found that having some smaller sticks right in the beginning helped to get a flame started, but putting larger sticks in created a better, stronger flame. You’ll see from the photo below that these really are just small diameter sticks. You don’t have to chop a tree down for this which is another of its great advantages.
Use Dryer Lint or other fibrous tinder to stuff into the middle chamber.
Light a Fire in the bottom chamber.
We happened to have a long lighter that we put through the bottom pipe chamber and started the fire with the lint from inside, but you could easily use a spark fire starter, or toss a match inside. Any fluffy tinder will work.
Once we had a fire started, we let it burn for just a few minutes to get established, but because of the way the stove is set up, you can go ahead and set your pot on immediately because you have a great airflow underneath that won’t suffocate the fire.
A Word of Caution
One word of advice here. You don’t want a pot that is so large and off-center in its weight that it would cause the stove to tip. Use a diameter that’s appropriate to the stove (like this stainless steel pan), that is balanced well. Cleanup of the pot was fairly easy after with a little steel wool. I don’t have a cast iron pan this small, YET, small enough for the stove, but this 8″ skillet is the size I’d recommend. You can use a 10″ skillet, just be sure to keep an eye out because it becomes top heavy.
You can’t see it in the picture very well, but in 2.5 minutes, we had lots of tiny bubbles all over the bottom of the pan – the water was hot enough to use for many things at this point. That’s faster than my electric stove top does it!
Within five minutes, we had a full rolling boil without a lid on the pot. It would’ve been faster had we put a lid on. Of course, you don’t even need water this hot to do most things you want in a camp setting. But it’s available quickly.
Of course we then popped out some ramen noodles for the boys to each lunch! It would be just as easy to pull out a Mountain House pouch meal to have ready in just a few minutes, as well!
Then we did a 2nd test of how quickly it would heat a can of soup. In 3 minutes, we had a perfectly heated can of soup ready to go.
Benefits of a Rocket Stove
- Weather Resistant – you don’t have to worry about wind and snow and rain as the fire is located in a protected space. So even in a bad weather situation when you have no power, you can easily take this outside and heat up a meal, boil water for coffee or rehydrating dried-food pouches, and not have to worry about a little rain putting out your fire.
- Portable – the rocket stove is small, lightweight, and can easily be packed in a camp gear box, or attached to the outside of a bag.
- Ease of use – it doesn’t take a master’s degree in campfire building to get a perfectly heat source to cook food quickly. Just throw a few sticks in, some tinder, light it up and you’re good to go with heat enough to cook a meal, with little tending, and it is so very quick.
- Fuel saver – instead of having to buy fuel tablets or chopping large tree limbs for firewood, you can use any small sticks, branches and wood pieces. And they don’t burn so quickly that you are going through a ton of sticks to do this. We used about 5 1/4 diameter branch pieces and it was plenty.
- Effective – the heat is concentrated in a chimney which directs the heat only to the area you need it in, making it a more effective fire for doing small jobs than a larger campfire would be. We had food ready within a few minutes. This would also work with things like hot dogs on a stick and s’mores because you have a directed chimney of heat and flame, so you would be done quickly.
- Discreet – the stove doesn’t produce a glow the way a campfire does, so you aren’t advertising your fire. While you do have some smell of burning as is the way with any fire, it is a very limited smell. Your food also heats so quickly, that you can be in and out in five minutes, so no prolonged smells to track.
Where to Purchase
You can purchase Premier Rocket Stove here. It comes in silver (untreated) and black (high heat paint). They currently ship only to the Continental US. Megan was a joy to deal with!
SPECIAL OFFER! Premium Rocket Stoves has a deal just for Mom with a PREP readers! Use coupon code: momwithaprep to receive a 15% discount for the Premium Rocket Stove (in either original silver or heat-treated black).
Build Your Own Rocket Stove
If you are a DIY’er at heart, you can build this rocket stove on your own. But I’m so glad I have it already done for me – ready to go and easy to use! Or if you’d really rather something a little more like what backpackers use, you can try this Solo Stove set up.
We cannot cook in our home if the power goes out. We have an all-electric kitchen. Our fireplace performs more as decor than real function. We do have a propane grill and a fire pit. However, this is so easy to set up and use that I don’t have a problem with my kids doing it without me. I can see it easily becoming my go-to appliance to help create meals and hot drinks in an emergency situation. Throw a small cast iron pan and we can cook up a steak. A small pot will allow us to make soups or stews. Throw it in the car and we can cook anywhere!
Your Thoughts — what do you have as alternative cooking and heating sources for emergency situations?
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Tom is a Marketing & Communications graduate interested in nature, gardening, agriculture, and traveling. For the last decade, Tom has turned his hobbies into a full-time job, creating useful resources and guides for all our readers. If he is not working on his next article, you will find Tom spending quality time with family or taking care of his own back garden.
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