Introduction: Camping Rocket Stove

Picture of Camping Rocket Stove

I some kind of love camping. Also I love cooking. But I don't like to burn non reversible fuels.
So what for alternatives do you have. Yes of course, you can light a fire every time but, it isn't allowed everywhere and you also burn a lot of wood only to heat up your pan of beans.

So my goal was to create a portable thing which can be fired with wood.

I found the concept of rocket stoves some months ago, so the first step was done.

Step 1: Find a Helium Bottle and Cut It Open

Picture of Find a Helium Bottle and Cut It Open

The main part of the portable rocket stove is an old helium bottle. I've got two from a friend of mine after their wedding.

Empty the Bottle completely Helium doesn't burn but to open a 300bar pressured container may is not the best idea.

Cut open the tip and open the tube also from the side. The dimensions of the hole depend on your lateral opening on your stove.

Step 2: Prepare the Square Tube

Picture of Prepare the Square Tube

The supply shaft need to be formed in a way, that the fire can easily access to the top of the main tube. Also add a hollow to the tube, this way the stove will fit easily together.

We also need a way to separate the wood in a way that the air can flow into the main tube, therefore I've recycled an old receiver.

Step 3: Structural Support

Picture of Structural Support

For structural support create two legs for the supply shaft.

I've screwed it all together. The legs, the grid for the airflow and the supply shaft with a self-locking nut.

The nylon ring in the nut will not be exposed to the heat, it is located far enough.

Step 4: The Spike

Picture of The Spike

To even more increase the structure of the stove add a Spike to the bottom of the tube. Therefore I welded a nut to the tube.

For the transport I've also drilled a hole in the bottom of the tube, this way it is possible to store the spike in the inside of the tube.

Step 5: Pan Grid

Picture of Pan Grid

To put on a pan, you need a grid. My is made out of an old griddle.

It is easy to separate and stable enough, to support even my heavy pan.

Step 6: The First Assembly

Picture of The First Assembly

This is how the complete stove look like. I've painted it with special paint, which is rated up to 800°C (also a big number in Fahrenheit ;-) ).

Step 7: The First Disassembly

Picture of The First Disassembly

For the transport it is possible to separate all the parts from the main pipe. The components are manufactured to fit into the pipe without making to much rattling noises while transport (except the pan grid)...

Step 8: Use the Space

Picture of Use the Space

The noises from the pan grid were annoying so I've started to put firewood into the pipe, together with all the other components. This way I've figured out that it is quite useful to have some dry wood with you to start a fire.

Step 9: Enjoy Outdoor Cooking With Wood

Picture of Enjoy Outdoor Cooking With Wood

I've tried bacon stripes and egg. Even a pan of beans is possible.

Due to the pipe you will only need some little logs for a complete meal. And thanks to the rocket stove concept, you'll get a clan combustion (nearly no smoke).

Step 10: Increase the Structure of the Stove (main Tupe)

Picture of Increase the Structure of the Stove (main Tupe)

As I've promised, the update.

The stove was good but the structure was a little unsteady. To increase the structure I've used a breaking cable from a bike and added a Hole in the main pipe.

Step 11: Increase the Structure of the Stove (feeding Slot)

Picture of Increase the Structure of the Stove (feeding Slot)

Then I've added a notch in the feeding slot and I crimped a tail to the braking cable.

Step 12: Increase the Structure of the Stove

Picture of Increase the Structure of the Stove

Now it is possible to hock in the main pipe to the feeding slot.

The structure is much better and the transport properties are nearly the same.

Step 13: Video Collection of a Bean Stew on the Stove

I've cooked a nice bean stew on the stove. Tẃo hours of reduction and a really good flavor;-)


Mick Bevan (author)2016-11-18

How much does it weigh?

gantsa (author)2016-10-12

hello instructablers!

i am about to start building a rocket stove. I am loking for information on how long does it take for the wood to get burned, but i cannot find anything. I know that it depends on the kind of wood i will use, on the dimentions of the opening that the air is sucked from,on how big is the stove., etc

I need to know aproximately how often your oven need to be refilled with an average hard wood. I would like to heat a space with that system but i would like to do other things at the same time and not have in mind of the stove to be refilled too often.. Does anyone have an idea aproximately about those times?

Layer 8 (author)gantsa2016-10-16


with my camping rocket stove I've to refill it very often... The opening is not wide enough to throw in big logs, I fill up the thing with a lot of small branches.

I'm currently building a bigger one as a BBQ stove there I've build a much wider opening and the feeding angle is quite steep. This way It should be possible to feed in 50cm logs which slip into the stove automatically. I'll attach a image later...

May I ask you where are you from? (answer as PM) May we can meet each other... (I live in the south of Germany and I know that at least your bee hive is based on a German drawing (Bauplan-Zander-Einfachbeute.pdf ) )


BG_instructs (author)2016-03-30

Not sure if that woudl be a good idea for a real rocket stove.

A rocket stove works only perfect if you keep in mind a few basic principles;

1 the length of the burning tube has to be like 4 times the size of the input hole, the burning tube is also the chimney. If the tube is not long enough, than the heat will not force a rising airflow. The longer the tube, the faster the air will flow, the hotter the stove gets, the less fumes, the less ashes.

2 This chimney must be insulated as good as possible so no heat gets lost via the sides. To get good combustion, like 100%, the wood burns, and due to the heat, the ashes that fly up, insinerate completely , so no ashes, no fumes.

This is a good start, from traditional rockets the flue is insulated and this aids wood gas consumption and efficency. Major problem from what I see is lack of airflow, the grate the wood sits on needs to be 50% of the intake high to allow sufficient air past combustion and into secondary combustion (for woodgas) in the flue, also from the photos the stove is over stuffed with fuel, try two sticks of 1" need air flow.... My major problem with rockets is maintanence, to need to keep them on the boil you need to feed them, dont choke it or you just get smoke. This is ok for cooking but if you look at my bottle rocket (penny stove ible) you see that I want a slow burn heater and water heater from the same concept...

Try a wood gas stove, the one with flow through the base, Its a double skinned top burner and I made one from a rice cooker...

I had a 2m piece of heavy steel pipe 200mm diameter sitting on a rise, no grate just stoked up, when it got hot it made a goooood heater.. toasty legs in the out of doors...

re "I've a separate airflow intake in the supply pipe, this allows to stuff the pipe full with wood. Thanks also for the wood gas stove example, it is my next goal to build such a thing in a suitable size."

My bottle rocket has seperate airflow into the flue also, The fire is drawn fed with a fan on the end ot the exhaust. Even with the fan the volume of secondary air needs to be restricted, This works but for a true rocket it is not a good idea, you need the draw from exhaust gas to bring fresh air past the burning wood and the secondary air bleed counteracts this..

Do you have the possibility to add a image?

It could be helpful for me

Back of an envelope pics below.. fan is centrfugal type of metal construction,
salvaged from somewhere, 240v (ZN Ac) squirrel cage motor. I tried
cutting some blades off it to let the fire breathe and free run once hot but this has wrecked it..
My ehaust is less than 2" diameter of long alloy tube and is too
restrictive to allow free running.

I worked at a place that made pellet
fires so this is of a similar design to them. It is drawn air rather
than force fed. I also used to play with ceramic kilns hence the down draft...

I will finish this with having the fan at the very end
of the exhaust so no smoke will vent into the van where it is installed.

First photo with sloping rocket tube is the next build as it will help ash to fall out, currently ash can build up in the bottle itself.

Credit for design inspiration is here, down draft bottle rockets>

and another>

I've a separate airflow intake in the supply pipe, this allows to stuff the pipe full with wood.

Thanks also for the wood gas stove example, it is my next goal to build such a thing in a suitable size.

Try running ot on brush and twigs, fast burn lost of heat, good airflow. Stick are ok once its hot but dont choke it, you shouldnt get any smoke.....

Yes you are right, I'm using the dry wood to fire up the stove, then slowly ad fresher and larger sticks. no problems with smoke at all.

Layer 8 (author)BG_instructs2016-04-01

I wasn't familiar with the concept of a rocket stove but I was lucky with the dimensions of mine. No ashes at the end and no smoke while using it.

In my opinion it isn't necessary to isolate the chimney for such a camping stove. For a fix mounted stove somewhere I would also prefer some kind of isolation.

BrianM172 (author)2016-03-29

Very creative... So I guess in the feeding compartment, the wood slides down the tube as it burns? Haha... But I fear that the fire might actually spread outwards to the outer parts of the wood....

Layer 8 (author)BrianM1722016-04-01

Yes, I thought that the wood can slide down the tube, but the friction in the tube is slightly to high so I have to slightly stuff the wood down the tube.

Till now I hadn't the problem with outspreading fire, due to the airflow in the tunnel.

13blue (author)2016-03-31

Very nice. I like the compactness and the portability!

Layer 8 (author)13blue2016-04-01

Thanks, it was one of my main goals to keep the stove transportable.

cammers (author)2016-03-31

Nice work. I think I will make one of these.

Thanks for sharing.

Layer 8 (author)cammers2016-04-01

Send me a pic, if you have build one. Or even better, share it with the rest of the world.

hdaniel-1 (author)2016-04-01

Nice work! I made something similar once, but I found that the effort wasn't really worth it. You can obtain similar results outdoors just by building a Dakota fire pit.

Layer 8 (author)hdaniel-12016-04-01

Yes, it is much easier (and much lighter) to simply build a fireplace somewhere I need it...

But here in Germany it isn't allowed everywhere(normaly only in designated areas).

ArthurR7 (author)2016-03-29

The concept of rockets is nifty I am in the process of cutting two aluminium 5 pound fire extinguishes down, each to a 45 deg angle.. My only problem will be finding someone weld them together. They will be lighter than steel and great to transfer heat to the outsides where I plan to wrap .25" copper tubing around the vertical shaft to heat water. The concept idea is to build a copper basin that the base of the stove would sit in. As the water in the tube heats, it will rise drawing the cooler water in from the tank & out the top to circulate. I invision a tap could be put in the line supply hot water.

joen (author)ArthurR72016-03-29

Are you sure you want to use aluminum for your stove? When I made mine, I accidentally got the stove so hot that it softened the steel pot stand at the top of the stove and it sagged! Aluminum melts at a much lower temprature.

Layer 8 (author)joen2016-03-29

...jet fuel can't melt steel beams... :-)

What for steal did you use ST37 or something even less noble. I had never problems with the temperature of the stove.

OK the wall of the tube is quite big 3-5mm or so.

Furthermore I think that ALU is suitable for the outlined project, due to the fact that it is cooled by water but then there must be water all the time, when firing the stove.

joen (author)Layer 82016-03-29

I was using steel cross pieces as in step 5. Pallet wood was used. And while it didn't melt down the cross pieces they were softened enough to sag a little. If you don't believe it, I agree. I still don't believe it even though I saw it!

I'm just saying for your own safety don't dismiss the possibility

BrianM172 (author)joen2016-03-29

You just have to be careful! For aluminum, it has goods and bads. Aluminum cools down and heats up quickly. Consider it the cold-blooded metal... So if you forget, get careless, and the stove is melting, then grab some cold water or anything cold, fire extinguisher is best, and just blast it. It will cool down the metal quickly and reduce the intensity of the fire.

gsloan (author)2016-03-29

I haven't made, or seen a jet stove in action. But in my younger years too many decades ago... there were back pack stoves running on white gasoline...but you had to carry a small container of fuel to use it. It did only weigh not even a pound, but the fuel was probably about another pound... and stove was useless when you were out of fuel. Your concept is a pretty good example of usage of space! VERY good thinking to store dry sticks inside it. A never ending supply of wood to be had in the this is a stellar use for a jet stove. And it might weigh, what, about a pound and a half? Like it! I'm just too old to go on the trail with a backpack these days.

mmishko (author)2016-03-29

Great project, neat little stove. I'd suggest you look into the insulation if you want to improve performance. Even a layer of rock wool wrapped around the stove will give it a considerable boost. When not in use,it can lye flat in your trunk not taking up much space, so I'd at least try it...

wobbler (author)2016-03-29

Great grate design! Maybe for a future design you could refill it with helium so it would be lighter to carry?

BrianM172 (author)wobbler2016-03-29

Uh... to make it a little less heavy, you would want to buy a helium canister every single time you go somewhere? Or how about you find a way to create an airtight cap, so you can block off all the holes, then a tube with hollow metal tubes on each side, so you can transfer the helium back and forth... But due to air pressures, if something goes in, something goes out. So it would not work out... Then, there is equilibrium... There is more helium in one area than the other, so the helium moves to the less dense area. It then stops when everything is all the same concentration... It would be difficult doing that, but good idea!

bobthemoron (author)2016-03-29

More of a Glamping stove than a camping stove.

billbillt (author)2016-03-29

Way TOO MUCH work for my lazy butt a great design....

ChandasomaB (author)2016-03-29

I love to make one. Thanks!

SiegHolle (author)2016-03-29

excellent- practical and functional

richwar50 (author)2016-03-29

Awsome stove !

hotdiggidy (author)2016-03-29

Great job! This is fantastic!

WilliamJ21 (author)2016-03-29

What an excellent idea and piece of practical work.

susiet6 (author)2016-03-28

Looks easy nay try this over the weekend thanks great ideal

Layer 8 (author)susiet62016-03-28

Please show me the result when it's done. May I'm able to improve the stove further.

Logan302 (author)2016-03-27

that is one of the best small stoves i've seen. did it take very long to make?

Layer 8 (author)Logan3022016-03-27

I'm working on my projects only if I have time and I have only some hours a week, often I'm not in my workshop for a week. So it took me 5 months from start to finish. (I'm also working on 5-10 projects at the same time)

If you know what you want to do you'll need 4 to 5 hours. The steps are straight forward.

When you want to recreate the rocket stove, let me know how long it take for you

fraser02 (author)2016-03-27

Thats real cool, and handy.

Can it be made compact (sort of folded up to be stowed smaller?)

Layer 8 (author)fraser022016-03-27


I already have some early prototypes in my workshop but till now the supporting structure is not stiff enough. When I have an update, I'll post it here.

PS. the pipe model here is mainly used for my car and day tours (< 20Km) with my backpack.

About This Instructable




Bio: Hi, my name is John. My hobby is to solve problems from other people and creating nice and functional stuff out of trash. I'm ... More »
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