Friday, September 17, 2010

Alternative Gear-Cooking

I made this hobo stove for fun and well, for frugality. It takes just a few pine cones, some twigs, tiny pieces of wood to actually cook on.

But, the practical side of me just had to know what it would be like under real circumstances.

How easy would it be to pack? Would it be messy, cumbersome, unreliable?

I posted a video on YouTube showing the results.

I found it was really nice to boil water without worrying about fuel. I really liked the campfire aspect in the evening. A regular fire takes a lot of firewood, but this one was cute and sweet with out placing high demands on fuel gathering.

Dead branches in trees, twigs and dry bark are all easy to find and break into pieces without heavy equipment like saws, hatchets and bowie knives.

By concentrating the fuel into this small area a person can cook in a relatively short period of time, make coffee and relax.

I also used this same stove on a three day trial run on the Foothills Trail. It rained, but I was able to cook in the light drizzle. It is unpredictable enough to not cook too near the tent.

An easy way to pack this stove is wait for it to completely cool. Then, shake out all the ashes. Now, using a large plastic bag (like a walmart bag) place your hand on the bottom of the outside of the bag. Reach up and into the bag and grab the stove pulling it into the bag without actually touching it with your bare hand. This way, all the soot stays on the inside of the bag.

Notice how I use my shoe as a cup holder while relaxing near the stove. It insulates the simple plastic cup and keeps it from falling over, too. Just a simple ultralight trick I use while minimizing the pack load.


  1. Great blog, full of useful stuff. I'm also a big fan of the hobo stove. But I'm concerned about this video. Leaving an open flame unattended in what looks and sounds like very dry leaf litter... you're asking for a forest fire.

  2. Hi Brandon, yes, thanks for pointing out the value of a hobo stove over a campfire. The stove has a bottom to it so that you are not cooking directly on the ground.The metal bottom catches the coals.

    Also, by confining the fire to a small cooking stove, the fire is more easily doused with water, a precaution all backwoods people should take.

    I've hiked through country burned over by an unattendant camper. A very pitiful sight and experience. Any stove can set a woods on fire, if it is not used properly.

    Good point, any time you have a fire going, no matter how small, watch it. Prepare your area first by scraping away all tinder before setting the stove on the ground.

    Sorry if this video seemed to suggest otherwise.

  3. I actually enjoyed reading through this posting.Many thanks.

    Cooking Equipment

  4. thanks, Bala, I love trying new things, keeping stuff simple and affordable. The Hobo stove is a safe alternative to gas stoves.