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To Keith Addison

Handmade Projects
Journey to Forever

The Hobo Stove

Take a gallon paint can (exact size not important -- experiment).

Cut holes in sides of can as below:

Put anything combustible in and light it up.

The air flows in the bottom hole, and the aerodynamics of the can suck the exhaust out of the top holes. This forms a vicious through draught, and the fire burns almost white hot in a strong wind! It also uses very little fuel. Fire temperature can be controlled be turning can away from the wind a bit, or by obstructing the inlet hole.

Put a pan directly on the top of the can without the can lid (unless you are very fussy about carbon deposits on your pan) for maximum heat transfer. Or to bake, put lid on can, and baking receptacle on lid. Alternatively use a large lidded tin, like a biscuit tin, directly on the can, supporting the item to be baked above the bottom of the tin, so it bakes in the distributed temperature of the tin rather than the direct heat on the base.

These things are unbelievably effective, dirt-cheap and fun to make. You can easily make one on the fly with a Swiss Army knife and a tin you pick up. You will probably find yourself making lots of different designs just for the hell of it!! They are also useful in that you can burn up your camp rubbish to cook your next meal!


"The camp stove for the smart backpacker" -- an improved Hobo Stove -- powerful, burns wood, not propane, lowest pack weight of any stove on the market (only 15.3 oz).

Full information:

Volcano kettle

"My father had something called a 'volcano kettle' back when he was prospecting in the '50s which was an incredibly efficient way of boiling water (two good mugs of coffee from one sheet of newspaper). I found it a year or two ago and use it regularly when camping. It is a simple water jacket boiler. The whole thing is a cylinder about 40 cm high with a diameter of about 15cm and is made from aluminium (this one was spun into shape but I have successfully made one out of 6inch and 2inch aluminium irrigation tube). The unit works best with direct flame rather than coals (newspaper, twigs, leaves) and there is absolutely no comparison to gas -- it holds about 2 litres of water and I can have coffee within 2-3 minutes while people using gas rings have to wait about 20 minutes for the water to boil. The secret of operation is the large area directly exposed to the flame and the fact that the flame is still burning in the chimney (it looks really spectacular at night -- just like an actual volcano)."
-- From Ian Bennett, Zimbabwe

Here's a commercial version, the
Kelly Kettle, with a "how it works" and a Shockwave animation -- "With the optional grate & pan, you can toast or cook a light meal! For boiling water it is the ultimate camping stove!"

See also Backpack stove

Scott Henderson's
Pepsi Stove

The Home Made Stove Archives

SuperShioshio lives in Yokohama in Japan, he's a mountaineer and he collects backpack camping stoves. "I seem to be attacked by stoves," he says -- he has more than 200 of them, stoves of every possible type, all on display at his website.

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