Camping Rocket Stove




About: 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 living in Germany so excuse my not so fluent English (some technical terms are ha...

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.

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Step 1: 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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)

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

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;-)

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    42 Discussions

    Mick Bevan

    2 years ago

    How much does it weigh?


    2 years ago

    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?

    1 reply
    Layer 8gantsa

    Reply 2 years ago


    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 ) )



    3 years ago

    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.

    8 replies

    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..

    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 8BG_instructs

    Reply 3 years ago

    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.


    3 years ago

    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....

    1 reply
    Layer 8BrianM172

    Reply 3 years ago

    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.


    3 years ago

    Very nice. I like the compactness and the portability!

    1 reply
    Layer 813blue

    Reply 3 years ago

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


    3 years ago

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

    Thanks for sharing.

    1 reply
    Layer 8cammers

    Reply 3 years ago

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


    3 years ago

    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.

    1 reply
    Layer 8hdaniel-1

    Reply 3 years ago

    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).