Introduction: The Pocket Grill

Picture of The Pocket Grill

Imagine Bear Grylls eating the most disgusting maggot, ok, now imagine Bear Grylls eating the most disgusting maggot grill fried, isn't that better? Well I guess not, but anyways, behold: the pocket grill. Ideal for single or two person camping, backpacking or hiking.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials

Tools you will need:

  • 1. Hacksaw (or at least the blade)
  • 2. Cutting pliers
  • 3. Drill and bit
  • 4. Utility knife
  • 5. File (or sandpaper)
  • 6. Ruler

Of course these are not mandatory, you are welcomed to improvise, but please wear safety gear and respect work security guidelines (or suffer the consequences of your foolish actions, I don't care).


Basically you need 2 pieces of pipe, one must fit in the other, I used 18mm (3/4 Inch) and 15mm (5/8 Inch) copper tube; any metal should do, but I used copper because: its relatively lightweight, doesn't bend much when exposed to fire, it has thin walls and most importantly I had them lying around the house (leftovers from the heating system) so they were free.

2 copper tube caps that fit the larger diameter pipe (also lying around and also free).

Handful of approx. 2mm diameter bicycle spokes (1/16 inch), I can't give you an exact number, you'll see why in a bit. Make sure that you use stainless steel spokes, you're going to eat off of them.

Pro Tip: If you have a bicycle repair shop nearby, you should ask them for broken spokes, you may get them for free (I hacked my old bike tire to death for this).


This is pretty simple since you'll need to cut everything to the same size (you will get a rectangular grill).

Pro Tip: The bigger you make your grill the more spokes you'll need, make sure that the number of spokes you intend to use all fit inside the smaller diameter tube.

I made mine 20 cm wide (7.87401575 inches, just make it 8) since I found that about 25 2.2mm spokes fit inside the 15mm diameter tube.

Step 2: Cut Tubes to Length

Picture of Cut Tubes to Length

Cut the two tubes to equal length and file the rough edges, as I previously mentioned I made them 20cm (approx. 8 inches).

Step 3: Measure, Mark and Drill Holes

Picture of Measure, Mark and Drill Holes

Now that you've got your tubes cut to length, you need to mark and drill the holes for the spokes.

Step 4: Cut Spokes to Length

Picture of Cut Spokes to Length

By now you have the exact number of spokes you'll need, just count the holes. The spokes need too be the same length (or smaller) as the tubes, since they need to fit inside.

Pro Tip: You will need 2 spokes with intact threads on one end and 90° bend on the other so cut them about 5 - 10mm (1/16 - 3/8 inch) longer than the rest, please keep this in mind.

Step 5: Assemble the Grill

Picture of Assemble the Grill

I'm not going to lie to you, this is painstaking to do until you do it a few times and get used to it.

Step 6: Disassemble and Pack the Grill

Picture of Disassemble and Pack the Grill

This is a "piece of cake", just unscrew the nipples and it falls apart. Packing it up is also pretty easy.

Step 7: Final Thoughts

Picture of Final Thoughts

So, that's about it, have fun making an using it.

UPDATE: Some of you expressed concern that copper emits harmful gasses when heated, I can't scientifically refute this, but I couldn't find any source on the internet proving it, so: future "copper emits toxic fumes when heated" comments will be ignored unless they contain a link to a credible source.

UPDATE 2: or any source

UPDATE 3: The"Centers for Disease Control and Prevention" website, in the "NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards" section states about copper fumes that: "Exposure may occur in copper & brass plants and during the welding of copper alloys." Meaning that you'd have to melt copper or copper alloys to release the toxic fumes, we won't be doing that over the campfire, not even close.

This is my first instructable and English is not my native language (it's 3rd actually) so there may be some spelling errors, or parts that are not clearly enough explained, please feel free to notify/criticize me using the comment form, so I can update the text or upload more pictures.

Thank you for reading this, have a nice one!

You may copy this instructable as long as you link back to my blog ( or original article (


digitlacid made it! (author)2017-01-11

I saw this Instructable today while shopping for backpacking grills (which are around $100USD for good ones) and knew I had stumbled upon a gem. Within 30 minutes I had sourced my spokes from a local bicycle repair shop and was on my way. Took about 30 minutes to make, and as you can see, it does quite well - it even holds a gallon of milk. I did make a couple of changes from the original poster though - I didn't cut the spokes. Instead, I made the holes slightly larger and then used their extra girth once in and rotated to help hold them in place. I also positioned the end caps such that once pressed down onto the grill while in use, it not only stored the end caps, but also ensures the end tines cannot come loose (end cap on one side, retaining screw on the other). Thank you SO MUCH for the original poster, your idea was inspired and inspiring!

RuthQ1 (author)digitlacid2017-10-15

thats a great idea!

stvnishere (author)digitlacid2017-01-11

Good job!

boatmakertoo (author)2017-01-02

You are right. Copper is good. So is your English. I envy your linguistic skills. My second and third languages are Fortran and Lisp. I have a wonderful copper skillet that makes perfect large crepes. Every bootlegger uses a copper coil to condense his product. My house is plumbed with copper much of which I soldered myself. No one has ever raised the issue that plumbers should avoid soldering copper pipes. I have noticed that many contributors to "instructables" are week on the subject of chemistry. Perhaps there should be a DIY course....

Another "yes" vote on the safety of copper heating: I have a long history of remodeling and I have done copper pipe "sweating" on both plumbing and HVAC systems in some of the strictest code states (Maryland, Florida, California etc.) and I've never run into any special hazard rules. That said, however, it might not be a bad idea to pre-heat your grill once to burn off any coatings or oils that may be there from manufacturing or handling before getting food near it. Just to be sure.

You are correct of course. It I always a good idea to clean materials to be used in preparing food. As you are aware there are no known hazards associated with copper and food contact though, rarely, some people have an allergy to the metal. I too have installed copper plumbing in Maryland and California. The only caution is that one should not use lead based solder. Of further note my Mexican relatives use large copper cauldrons to deep fry pork over open fires or propane burners. This is a cultural tradition for holiday family dinners. These cauldrons are available in Mexico in enormous sizes. I know of no U.S. sources.

mlopez56 (author)boatmakertoo2017-05-10

True they are huge cauldrons and well made

Yep-yep on the lead solder, but I guess it doesn't apply here. Copper and brass are really clean metals (which is why copper is so popular for pipes and pans, anyway). Anyone reading these comments can rest assured.

Interesting thought on the chemistry/metallurgy vein, boatmaker. Hmmm...

jonnyosbourne (author)2017-04-28

Does all spokes have one 90º end or just the first and last ones ?

stvnishere (author)jonnyosbourne2017-05-05

Just the first and last one.

Sailor_moon (author)2017-03-23


How long do the spokes have to be before I cut them? Like what length? I see the length they have to be cut. But what should the original size be?please let me know thanks!

stvnishere (author)Sailor_moon2017-03-23

It doesn't mater, they just have to be longer than the length you want to cut them to.

GeraldR15 (author)2017-03-21

For anyone who has made this - can you post a weight for your grill?

stvnishere (author)GeraldR152017-03-21

170g / 6oz

GeraldR15 (author)stvnishere2017-03-22

Thank you!

EpicBigFinley (author)2017-01-10

How does he spell 3 languages i cant spell 1 ?!

jabh423 (author)2017-01-04

This is fantastic!

Pixelboy2017 (author)2017-01-02

In India we have been using Copper utensils to cook, serve and eat food . It is also recommended by ancient health advisers to store water overnight and drink in morning to alleviate and cure general health related ailments.

dymbo (author)2017-01-01

Perfect! I would only add some 4 holes drilled from the bottom (at 90 degree to main holes row) on the edges and add some 4 additional spokes, so they'd serve as a stands being planted in ground.

Drake88 (author)dymbo2017-01-01

If you had a tap&die set that matched the treading on the spokes, you could extend the threading on those four spokes so that either small nuts(with washers) or just the spoke nipples could be used to 'lock' the 'stand' spokes into place. It would help to prevent the spokes from coming out of the copper tube and increase the stability of the entire thing.

KryptoTSD (author)2017-01-01

How do you account for copper kettles and cookware? Those make some fantastic meals and hot drinks...

Silvester10528 (author)2017-01-01

Very clever idea, well done!!!

I'm more concerned with potential fumes from the spokes being heated than the copper, you might want to double check that, but I doubt a limited once or twice in a blue moon would be that harmful.

He mentions the importance of using stainless steel spokes. Stainless is perfectly safe for that use.

I missed that when I skimmed thru.

alebumat (author)2017-01-01

I absolutely love this.
Very well done ?!!!!

tina.gallagher.125 (author)2017-01-01

First, you write better than most natives and some college professors. Your instructions are clear and the project is one I'll be doing this summer. I can't wait. I'll also be making these as gifts for my camping and prepper friends. This is ingenious. Thank you so much for your instructable.

GRUBDUDE (author)2017-01-01

Dang. Talk about minimalist! Plus, if you can srounge for edible mushrooms outdoors, you're really are all set :D

PaulH196 (author)2016-12-08

That's thinking way out side the box!!!!! Great Idea for beach barbeee

Thanks Mate

Chapagrecco (author)2016-11-14

Muy buena lo voy a hacer☺☺

MartinL196 (author)2016-10-27

There are lots of Kitchen stuff made of copper......

Korzer (author)2016-10-03

I love your idea, it will find its pace in my Emergency and Camping Bag :)

Demo dude (author)2016-06-30

Your English is better than some native Englishmen and women.

I will have to build this for my survival kit

stvnishere (author)Demo dude2016-07-01

Thanks for your comment, dude!

Moscow_Wolf (author)2016-05-25

I really enjoyed this Instructable, well done. However, each to their own personal preferences about ''legs'' and other things. For myself weighing 100Kgs, I'd be unlucky enough to fall on my ass and bend the tubes and then not being able to extract the inner from outer pipe. Therefore, I would make mine longer for a backpack fit, why, because I would want to try and find/make threaded caps, less chance of losing them in transit and a watertight seal. Extra length would allow me to insert a fire stick and some wire wool that can also be used to clean the spokes and pipes before packing it away. I don't think it would add much to the weight and I guess most of you outdoor types are going to carry a fire-starter kit anyway so why not have it all in one tube, but let us not distract from a great faultless English language project. Salute.

owatson (author)Moscow_Wolf2016-06-08

it won't be water tight because of all the holes

stvnishere (author)Moscow_Wolf2016-05-26

I also carry mine in a backpack, the back pocket picture was made just to grab attention :p

Thank you for your comment!

Mamdamin (author)2016-05-26

How much does it weight in the end?

stvnishere (author)Mamdamin2016-05-26

170g or 6oz

Lateknightz (author)2016-05-06

Great instructable, thank you for sharing it! I have some 1/16 inch X 12 inch stainless steel all thread rods left over from another project that I will use for the end pieces. That should make the assembly process a lot faster and easier. Hopefully the spoke caps are the same thread as the all thread. If not I will just use some nuts to keep everything together.

I wish I could speak my second language as well as you speak your third.

prankiehardy (author)2016-05-02

Beautifully simple, doable and usable project!

stvnishere (author)prankiehardy2016-05-05

Thank you!

timeman2 (author)2016-04-30

Great job! I'm hiking a section of the App Trail late summer and this will be perfect! Thanks for the 'ible.

stvnishere (author)timeman22016-05-01

Thanks for your comment.

dharker1 (author)2016-04-29

This is a very inventive, and interesting idea! Kudos for coming up with it, and the layout of pictures makes everything clear. Nice job!

stvnishere (author)dharker12016-04-29

Thank you!

darksquire (author)2016-03-16

I'm teaching four classes this weekend on building survival shelters. Just finished making one of these. Nice addition to my shelter class. I'll be giving the one I made away since I have the materials to make about six more. Great idea, thanks for sharing.

FredRoyal (author)darksquire2016-04-29


Hurricane season coming soon to Atlantic Coast. Hurricane Awareness Expos happening at Home Depot Stores throughout Southeastern United States. I am a Volunteer with CEMA (Chatham Emergency Management Agency) and also a member of my local CERT (Citizen Emergency Response Team) we present Emergency Survival classes during this time and refresh ourselves on these subjects. This grill i just in time for me to present at the survival food stand. I just ordered 12" lengths of cooper pipe and 36 10" spokes due here 4 May, just in time for me to build the grill to have for the first Expo, 21 May.

stvnishere (author)darksquire2016-03-16

Thanks, I'm glad you liked it.

Aaaecm (author)2016-04-28

You are a genius! Thanks for this instructable. My grand daughter and I will be making one of these this weekend. Oh, and your English is great. Again, thanks!

stvnishere (author)Aaaecm2016-04-28

Thank you for your kind words!

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