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Best Rocket Stove + DYI Rocket Stove Plans

In this article we review the best rocket stoves, explain the rocket stove principles, the features of the best rocket stoves and show DIY rocket stove plans.

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They say two is better than one. Well, during a camping escapade or survival situation, that could mean enjoying or braving the situation with family or in a group.

But that also entails acquiring and stocking more survival resources than if you were alone, which includes procuring a stove fit for the cooking and heating needs of all the members bugging out with you.

A survival rocket stove could just be the right choice.

A rocket stove is a biomass stove that uses wood branches, twigs, leaves, pines, or other biomass material as fuel.

The best rocket stove is more fuel-efficient when compared to other wood-burning stoves.

It is also cost-efficient, considering that you incur zero to minimal expenses for the fuel and you can make your DIY rocket stove with cheap or recycled materials.

In an article on the best portable survival stove we discussed a wide range of liquid and solid-fuel stoves and helped you make the best choice for your hiking, camping, and survival cooking and heating.

Similarly, with rocket stoves, you have a wide range of options to choose from when considering stove-design, size, and other features, as we shall be telling you in this article.

In the subsequent sections, we will explain the rocket stove principles, how it works, and the “must-have” features of the best survival rocket stove.

We will also review for you some of the best rocket stoves in the market and describe a DIY rocket stove option. Read on for the details.

In a hurry? If you just want to get to our conclusions, here are our top picks and recommendations!

Last update on 2021-09-23 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

7 Best Rocket Stoves for Preppers

You will find plenty of rocket stoves for sale. But not all rocket stoves are equal.

Here are 7 of the best emergency rocket stoves for preppers to include in your bug out bag or bug out location.

Our top rocket stove: Lixada Camping Stainless Steel Rocket Stove

This sturdy and durable stainless steel rocket stove is our top pick because of its many efficiency features.

First, the stove is collapsible, which means you can easily pack it into a box and inside your bug out bag. The entire stove only measures 22.7cm x 7.5cm x 8.3cm when folded.

The size of the Lixada Stainless Steel Rocket Stove is suitable for backpacking, hiking, camping, and as an emergency bug out stove. Your folded pieces will be assembled into a cooking stove in 5 minutes.

The combustible chamber and internal chimney are wide enough to allow air passage and efficient heat transfer to the cooking vessel.

The stove is supported by strong stands at the bottom, which lift it from the ground while keeping it firm.

The cross-shape stands at the top create a sturdy support for your cooking pot, plus you can place a BBQ wire rack over the supports for a tasty roast.

Last update on 2021-09-23 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros​

  • Easily collapsible for easy carrying
  • Easy and fast to assemble
  • Made of durable material​

Cons

  • Pot could tip over the right angle pots-support joints
.

Best easy to pack backpacking rocket stove: Marsh Kettles Flat Pack Mini Rocket Stove

The Marsh Kettles Flat Pack is the best backpacking rocket stove when it comes to packaging. You can pack it flat inside your survival backpack or bug out bag.

The stove measures 8ʺ x 8ʺ x 1ʺ when flat and 8ʺ x 8ʺ x 3.5ʺ once assembled.

It is also light and weighs only 6lbs, so backpackers, survivalists, and hikers can all bring along this light stove for their outdoor escapades.

To put your Marsh Kettles Survivalist Mini Rocket Stove together, you simply slot the pieces into each other, and to get the stove going, you simply feed it with dry twigs or branches and ignite it.

The fuel is self-feeding by gravity so you don’t have to keep pushing the wood.

The cross-shape pot-supports are steady for any average size pot, and the inbuilt supports at the bottom keep your stove steady and elevated from the ground.

Last update on 2021-09-23 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • Packs flat and thus, easy to carry
  • Lightweight
  • Self-feeding fuel tray

Cons

  • Pot could tip over the right angle pots-support joints
  • Edges have a rough finish according to customer reviews

Best lightweight backpacking rocket stove: Hot Ash Stainless Steel Rocket Stove

If you are a lightweight backpacker and opt for a rocket stove for your outdoor escapades, this is your go-for option.

The Hot Ash Rocket Stove weighs only 2lbs, which means you can carry it in your backpack without feeling its weight.

The extremely strong stove is made of strong stainless steel metal and is a lifetime guarantee for your backpacking cooking needs.

The Hot Ash Stainless Steel Rocket Stove heats up fast. With a few sticks, you can make your hot cup of coffee. The cross-shape pot-supports are fixed at the same level as the stove corners, making the pot perfectly stable.

In addition, the Hot Ash is collapsible and fits perfectly in its delivery box when folded. The stove is 3" x 3.25" x 8.9" when folded and 3" x 7.25" x 8.9" when assembled for use.

Last update on 2021-09-23 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • Extremely light (2lbs)
  • Easy to collapse and back
  • Sturdy pot support

Cons

  • Size may only be good for single hikers

Best environmentally-friendly rocket stove: Envirofit M-5000 Rocket Stove

While all rocket stoves are environmentally friendly, some like the Environfit M-5000 Rocket Stove excels in this feature.

This stove is produced with high-quality material and performance standards to ensure high fuel efficiency and reduced CO emissions.

The size of the Envirofit M-5000 Rocket Stove is good for use by a group at a camping site or bug out location. It has a patented metal alloy combustion chamber that sends all the heat that is generated to the cooking vessel.

The flat pot support with raising metal bars allows air to pass so the flame can hit the pot with maximum heat. The pot-support also ensures that your pot is firmly seated on the stove with no risk of tripping.

You have wood insulated metal handles to help you move the stove while in use or carry it easily while on the go. The four legs at the bottom ensure your stove’s stability.

You can also separately buy a GoGrill accessory for your BBQ evenings.

Last update on 2021-09-23 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Durable
  • Sturdy pot support

Cons

  • Cumbersome

Best family or group rocket stove: EcoZoom Versa Camping Stove

The EcoZoom Versa is the ultimate rocket stove for family and group camping and emergency preparedness.

You will need to have it set at a camping site or bug out location since it is quite large for an emergency bug out bag.

Made of extremely durable material, the EcoZoom Versa Camping Stove is also high in energy efficiency; you can use a handful of sticks to cook a big meal.

It has a fully insulated combustion chamber, making it efficient in fuel combustion and low CO emission.

The flat and wide pot support allows you to use a big pot to cook for large groups or the entire family. Besides, its round study body keeps it firm while you stir your family meal.

Last update on 2021-09-23 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • Perfect for family and group camping
  • Durable and sturdy
  • High fuel-efficiency

Cons

  • Cumbersome

Best heavy-duty rocket stove: Bruntmor Camping Rocket Stove

This heavy-duty rocket stove is optimal for outdoor cooking during your camping or hiking trips and can be used to heat your tent with good ventilation. The stove is 12" x 10" x 4.5".

The Bruntmor Survival Rocket Stove has an L-shape self-feeding fuel tube that sends strong flames through the chamber to the cooking vessel.

You have two pot-support bars that are easily fixed at the top of the stove and two stove-support pieces to keep your stove firm and elevated from the ground.

The stove has a wide cooking grade which can support larger pots for group meals.

All these pieces can be stored inside the chamber when carrying the stove or for safekeeping. The handle allows you to move the stove easily.

Last update on 2021-09-23 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • Allows large pot cooking
  • Self-feeding fuel pipe
  • High fuel-efficiency

Cons

  • Cooking vessel could tip over the right angle pots-support joints.
  • The main stove body is not collapsible and could be cumbersome

Best clean-burning rocket stove: SilverFire Survivor Rocket Stove

The SilverFire is a sturdy rocket stove built with stainless steel metal. It has two plastic insulated stainless metal handles for easy carrying and a stainless steel fuel shelf that supports the wood while it burns in the combustion chamber.

The unique feature of this SilverFire Survivor Rocket Stove is its two-stage fuel combustion.

The stove has inbuilt secondary re-burning ports that are placed in the combustion chamber above the flame from the primary combustion area. This makes it an extremely clean-burning and fuel-efficient stove.

The thick round cast Iron top has 5 iron bars, making it weight-resistant for any amount of cooking you want to do.

The stove also has a stainless steel door that serves to protect the flames from strong wind and to contain the fire, giving it an extra safety-element for stove use in the wild.

Last update on 2021-09-23 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • Clean-burning, fuel-efficient features
  • Safety handles and door
  • Durable

Cons

  • Cumbersome for backpacking

Even though you have these 7 best rocket stoves to choose from, you could still opt to make your homemade rocket stove, or better, your DIY rocket stove option.

Commercial rocket stoves tend to cost a lot, and making your own could cut on the cost.

If you're looking for more options to cook a quick meal in a bug out survival scenario, check out our guide on the best portable survival stove.

Cutting Down Rocket Stove Costs: A DIY Rocket Stove

If you have DIY rocket stove plans, this section gives you a step-by-step guide to realizing your homemade rocket stove.

There are plenty of cheap or no-cost materials that you can use to make your rocket stove.

Here’s a quick list of the rocket stove DIY options you can opt to make with readily available material:

  • Tin can rocket stoves
  • Metal barrel rocket stoves
  • Brick or rock rocket stoves
  • Clay rocket stoves
  • Dug out rocket stove

Some of these would be difficult to realize during a camping trip or in an emergency survival situation.

So, opt for the easiest-to-make DIY rocket stove that you can easily make at home and carry with ease. We recommend the tin can rocket stove.

The tin can rocket stove

This is an easy-to-make design that anyone can realize.

Materials you’ll need for a tin can rocket stove:

  • A recycled #10 can with a detached lid.
  • 3 average-size soup cans (one for the internal combustion chimney, one for the fuel pipe and another for the fuel shelf).
  • Insulation material – could be sand, perlite, vermiculite, foam insulation, or other insulating material that is safe.
  • Tin snips or any tool that will help you cut the tin.
  • Heavy-duty gloves to protect your hands.
  • Marker to draw the areas to be cut out.
  • A piece of wire to serve as a handle.
  • High-heat spray paint (optional)

The steps for making a DIY rocket stove:

Step#1: Collect the materials

Collect all the materials you need so you do not need to keep rushing to look for any piece once you start making your rocket stove.

Step#2: Remove the lids

Remove the lids of all the cans if they are still attached and the bottom part of the fuel pipe can; the fuel pipe can should be hollow.

Step#3: Mark and cut out the connection holes and the connection straps

Mark the connection holes on the larger can, the internal chimney can, and the lid of the larger can and cut them out. All the holes should have the diameter and circumference of the soup cans.

Cut out the connection straps on the connecting sides of the cans, ready to fit everything together. Do the same on the top side of the larger can.

Make the handle holes on each side of the large can ready to put the handle when the stove is complete. The holes should be straight opposite each other.

Step#4: Fit the parts and create the insulation

Place one of the soup cans inside the #10 can so it sits in the center. Pass the hollow can through the hole of the bigger can so that it connects to the hole on the can making the internal chimney.

The straps should be straight so you can bend them to create the joint once the fuel pipe can is inserted inside the chimney can.

Step#5: Create insulation and close the top

Fix the insulation material in the space between the large can and the chimney can and place the lid with the hole in the center so that it conceals the insulation while leaving open the chimney.

Ensure that alternate straps on the main can are bent before placing the lid and bend the other straps over the lid to hold it firmly. You will need a pair of pliers or hammer to firm the joints.

Step#6: Make a fuel shelf

Make a fuel shelf with the third soup can and insert it into the fuel pipe. A T-shape is ideal so that the tail goes into the fuel tube and the head stays out to support the wood. The fuel shelf should leave a bit of space at the bottom to let in the cool air.

Step#7: Attach the wire to make the handle

Insert the wire into the holes you made earlier at the top of the main can to make the handle and make a firm grip with the pliers.

If you had brought the high-heat spray paint, it’s now time to use it for the final touch.

Your survival stove is ready for an eventual hiking or camping trip or an emergency bug out.

See this video for a visual demonstration of the steps to build a rocket stove

The “Rocket Principles” and How a Rocket Stove Works

Rocket stoves can vary in design from simple to more complex models. Larger rocket stove designs often described as institutional rocket stoves, are usually constructed with bricks, clay, or cement.

Survival rocket stove designs are usually made of steel, but other materials like ceramic tiles can be used.

Regardless of the variation in design and purpose, rocket stoves are built on the same principles, which is what gives them their uniqueness.

The “rocket stove principles”

The key efficiency features of the rocket stove are:

  • Efficient fuel combustion.
  • Efficient heat transfer.
  • Minimal smoke/CO released in the environment.

These features are ensured by the rocket principles that are used in the construction of these stoves:

  • Insulate every element of the stove that touches the fire except where the stove touches the pot.
  • Drive the hot gases directly to the cooking pot so that none is lost into the surrounding air. The pot should be as close as possible to the hot flames.
  • Ensure a good air draft into the fuel chamber so that the speed of the hot gases is also increased and the pot can be heated faster.
  • Use pots made of good conductor materials such as metal (rather than ceramics) so that heat is quickly passed to the food and it cooks faster.

To realize these principles, rocket stoves have the same basic parts and work in a similar manner.

Basic rocket stove parts and how it works

A rocket stove is built with these basic parts.

A fuel shelf/fuel feed-tube: This is the part where the fuel is fed into the stove, usually a flat surface or tube that leaves the airway clear. The fuel feed-tube protects the fire from wind and preheats the cold air that goes into the airway below the feed-tube and the internal chimney.

The stove airway: is the airway that allows cool air to go into the stove and keeps the fire burning.

The combustion chamber: This is the section where the fuel is combusted. It is insulated to keep the fire hot and make the wood burn completely. The insulation material should be light, heavy insulation material will absorb more heat that could instead go to heating the pot.

The internal chimney: This is a short insulated pipe that stands vertically above the fire and causes the wood to burn strongly but cleanly. It also allows for easier lighting. In simple models, this function is served by the combustion chimney.

The external chimney: Where rocket stoves are fixed in a room, an external chimney is included to remove smoke from the interior. Nonetheless, even where no external chimney is used, a rocket stove has reduced smoke emission when compared to other traditional stoves.

Note that there may be variation in these parts from stove to stove. The main thing is that the rocket principles are realized for efficient wood combustion and cooking.

Simple camping or bug out rocket stoves have a simple J/L-tube (right angle) that is formed by the fuel feed-tube attached to the main combustion chamber. See this simple rocket stove design from APPROPEDIA.

Here’s how a rocket stove works:

  • You feed the wood into the horizontal tube, ensuring even combustion of the pieces.
  • The internal chimney creates air draft, therefore, speeding up the combustion of the fuel and the creation of hot gases.
  • The hot gases are forced through the combustion tube or the ‘skirt’ that surrounds the pot, causing the pot to heat and the food to cook.

The working of the rocket stove is considered extremely efficient when compared to other types of wood stoves or cooking methods.

Why a Rocket Stove is More Efficient

It would be easy for anyone in the woods to consider an open fire to cook their food.

But studies have shown that using a rocket stove in place of a traditional open fire or stove reduces both fuel consumption and CO emission significantly.

To help you understand why a rocket stove is more efficient than other traditional stoves and methods, we compare it to the use of an open fire or open fire stoves.

Rocket stove

  • Minimal smoke/CO is released to the air
  • Efficiency in fuel consumption; fuel costs little or nothing and is combusted almost completely with minimal residue
  • Efficient transfer of energy to the cooking pot
  • Fire is enclosed in the internal chamber, providing better safety when using the stove

Open fire (stoves)

  • Large amounts of pollutants are released to the air with the risk of causing respiratory problems to users
  • Quick consumption of lots of fuel with plenty of residue
  • Poor transfer of heat to the pot with plenty of heat lost into the air
  • The fire is open and, therefore, a risk to the user
Survival rocket stove flame burning in open space

When choosing your rocket stove, make sure it is constructed to meet these qualities.

Also, some key efficiency features should characterize your purchased or homemade rocket stove as we explain in the next section.

Rocket Stove Efficiency Features: Your Purchasing or Construction Guide

To help you choose the best rocket stove or make an efficient homemade option for bugging in, consider the following efficiency features that should characterize your camping or emergency rocket stove.

Rocket stove design

This is the most important feature as it impacts on key efficiency aspects such as fuel consumption and energy usage (without wastage).

It also determines whether your stove can fit the portable rocket stove criteria and whether it is resistant to weather elements.

Here’s your rocket stove design guide when deciding on what to buy:

  • Well enclosed combustion chamber that forces energy directly to the cooking vessel.
  • Well-insulated combustion chamber that does not let the energy be lost before getting to the pot.
  • An appropriate-size chamber, wide enough to allow air passage for complete fuel combustion.
  • A metal liner for improved thermal efficiency and stove durability.
  • A wide and strong stove top to provide stable support for your cooking vessel (e.g. One with three or more-pronged support will support different sizes of pots or pans.

Rocket stove durability

The durability of your rocket stove will especially be determined by the material used to make the combustion chamber, the fuel pipe, the chimney, and the support legs/stand.

The best rocket stove is usually made with hardened stainless steel and heat-resistant insulating material. Titanium and aluminum are also used.

These materials will not only withstand the high heat output of the rocket stove but also weather harshness and normal wear and tear.

The insulation may be made of perlite or foam insulation, both of which give high thermal efficiency. Strong material is also needed for the pot supports since that’s where most weight is sustained.

Rocket stove thermal cooking efficiency

Thermal cooking efficiency is your stove’s capacity to produce plenty of heat with little fuel. This will depend a lot on your stove’s combustion chamber and chimney (a bigger chamber and chimney produces more heat).

Thermal efficiency in rocket stoves is also about minimal residue, which means combusting most of the fuel.

A good survival rocket stove should have a minimum of 20,000 BTU and over 30% efficiency rating. Such a stove is strong enough for cooking tasks that need plenty of heat like deep frying.

When purchasing your rocket stove, check its thermal rating and performance to ensure it will serve the purpose for which you are buying it for.

Rocket stove portability (size and weight)

Before deciding that you have your best survival rocket stove, you need to factor how easy it will be to bring along the stove for camping or a bug out.

Of course, most rocket stoves are not your lightest option and are best stored in a camping cabin or a bug out location way before you require using them. As such, they might not be always viable for hiking or backpacking.

Nonetheless, the fact that you don’t have to bring along any fuel could make up for the weight issue.

That said, you will also find relatively small rocket stove designs that could fit well in a survival backpack or bug out bag. A good example is the 2-pound Hot Ash Rocket Stove which we reviewed earlier.

The weight and size of your emergency rocket stove will also determine how much cooking you can do with it.

For example, one that weighs 6lbs will meet cooking needs for 4-6 people while one weighing above 7lb can cater for up to 10 people. 

Consider your best rocket stove’s portability and packing possibility before making your order.

With your key rocket stove features discussed, you can go back to our reviews of the 7 best rocket stoves for your camping and bug out situations and choose one that fits your needs.

Rocket Stove Safety Tips

Like all other survival stoves, rocket stoves should be handled with care to ensure safety for you and the environment.

Here are some survival rocket stove safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Be informed about country/state rules on wood-burning stoves. Some have strict regulations on their use and you could land into legal trouble if you are not informed.
  2. Always use a rocket stove in the open or ensure that you have good ventilation when using it in an enclosed space such as a tent.
  3. Clear out the ground where you place your rocket stove of debris or any flammable material before igniting it. This will preempt unwanted wildfires, especially during the dry summer seasons.
  4. Always ensure that the surface where you place your rocket stove is level to prevent it or the cooking pot from tipping over.
  5. Be informed about how much weight your rocket stove can take. Overloading the stove could make it collapse and cause accidents.
  6. Avoid touching your stove while combustion is on. Even with the best of insulation, your stove is bound to get hot quite a bit. If you have to, hold your stove by the insulated handle or use heat-resistant gloves.
  7. Dispose of any residue from the fuel safely. Ashes may still contain some tiny embers that could easily start a fire.

Best Rocket Stove Frequently Asked Questions

To complete your knowledge on best rocket stoves, we highlight 3 FAQs.

Are rocket stoves the same as wood stoves?

Yes and no. Like wood stoves, rocket stoves use wood or other biomass fuels to produce heat. But unlike ordinary wood stoves, rocket stoves burn wood in a chamber from which all the energy is directed to heat a cooking vessel.

Ordinary wood stoves have the flames scattered and a lot of heat lost into the air. Besides, rocket stoves combust fuel completely and with little CO emissions.

What makes rocket stoves more efficient?

The enclosed design of rocket stoves makes them more heat conserving; all the heat is directed to the cooking vessels and little lost into the air.

Besides, the design makes the wood to be completely consumed so that you use less fuel while producing high-energy flames for your cooking.

Are rocket stoves safe?

Rocket stoves are generally safe when used in the outdoors. But like other open-fire stoves, they can pose the danger of burns or wildfires.

To preempt these dangers, ensure your rocket stove is used far from any flammable debris. Also, do not touch the stove with your bare hands.

If you use a rocket stove indoors or in an enclosed space such as a tent, be sure there is good ventilation, otherwise, DON’T USE IT!

Best Rocket Stove Conclusions

This wraps up our rocket stove guide and gear review.

We hope that you have a better understanding of how rocket stoves work, why you need a rocket stove for survival situations and how to build your own rocket stove.

Alternatively, if you just want to buy one, we review 7 best rocket stoves on the market today, so you can make the right choice for your bug out bag or bug out location.

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Hi, I'm Russ!

I've been prepping for a long time, but 2020 convinced me that I need to take it to the next level.

This website started as a way to keep me going forward on the path to being better prepared.

Now, I’m turning it into a complete blueprint for anyone else looking to do the same!
Russell M. Morgan
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