Best Rocket Stoves (& DIY Plans) For Camping & Survival

By Just In Case Jack | Last Updated: May 19, 2023

Best Rocket Stove Plans and Ones You Can Buy

Rocket Stove

Air. Water. Food. Warmth. Self Defense.

The 5 basic elements of survival.

If you provide those 5 elements, you survive.

It might not be fun and not pretty, but with them, you live.

So today, let’s talk about one survival tool that supports both cooking and warmth in a single device:

The Mighty Rocket Stove.

Today, I’ll be tapping into my Engineering, Design, Gear Testing, Mountain Rescue & Preparedness background to dive deep into the following topics:


Best Rocket Stoves For Sale

What Is A Rocket Stove Anyway

How These Unique Stoves Work

Why They “Rock” For  Survival

DIY Rocket Stove Plans

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1 Our Top Pick
EcoZoom Versa Camping Stove

The EcoZoom Versa is a well-built, heavily insulated stove.

It includes separate fuel and air inlet doors and an integrated cooktop and pot skirt.

The EcoZoom Versa doesn’t require a lot of wood or charcoal to cook an entire meal.

Making this stove a very eco-friendly outdoor cooking option!

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↓ EcoZoom Versa – Can You Cook With Just Twigs? ↓

EcoZoom Dura Rocket Stove

This is very similar to the Versa listed above with one big difference.

The Dura isn't equipped to use charcoal like the Versa.

That being said, the Dura is the one I own since I've stockpiled firewood as my backup fuel source.

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↓ The EcoZoom Dura: Best For Cooking? ↓

Hot Ash Wood Burning Stainless Steel Rocket Stove

The Hot Ash Stove makes a 2lb titanium and aluminum rocket stove that folds up for transport and storage.

It even has a fuel ramp that helps feed sticks into the combustion chamber by gravity.

It's made in the USA and it got a lifetime guarantee (both a rarity nowadays)!

The biggest downside of this rocket stove is that due to its lightweight, it struggles in the wind. It also takes a lot of sticks to keep it going compared to other designs.

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↓ Built To Last: Hot Ash Wood Burning Rocket Stove ↓

Camping Rocket Stove with Handle

The Bruntmor Camping Stove is a heavy-duty, portable stove for hunters, fishers, campers, backyard cooks, or survivalists.

Converts box to fully functional stove in minutes.

Just add dry wood and light it up.

It also includes a cooking grate that's wide enough to support large pots.

But you're not taking this stove on a bug-out or backpacking trip, it's solid but heavy.

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↓ The Compact Stove For Camping Review ↓

Marsh Kettles Camping Survivalist Prepper Flat Pack Mini Rocket Stove

The Marsh Kettles Rocket Stove's unique feature is that it packs completely flat for easy storage or transport. It uses a slot assembly system for easy set-up or break-down.

It's simple to assemble, easy to ignite and has a gravity self-feeding inlet. 

It's also Made in the U.S.A.

However, the rocket stove's metal components are unfinished. So you may run into rusting over time.

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↓ Flat Pack Mini Rocket Stove ↓

SHTFandGO Bullet Proof Stoves

This gravity-fed SHTFandGo Tent Stove is Made In The USA.

It's a super heavy-duty gravity self-feeding stove.

It includes a well-positioned carry handle for easy transportation, and this stove includes an extra-wide base for stability.

It's a perfect stove for camping, preppers, and survivalists!

And this stove can be used as a tent stove in a pinch (IF you make sure to use a chimney to aspirate to the outside).

You only need a few sticks (the size of your thumb) to operate the rocket stove.

It's also heavy-duty steel so that it won't warp over time like stamped steel stoves.

The cooking grate is wide enough to support large pots - making it perfect for survival cooking

It comes painted flat black with a high heat resistant 1200*F paint. 

Accepts standard 3-inch venting pipe.

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↓ 50 BMG Rocket Stove Emergency Heater ↓

↓ Bullet Proof Rocket Stove 50BMG Tent Heater Demonstration ↓

What Is A Rocket Stove Anyway?

It’s a special type of portable stove designed to be super-efficient.

It uses minute fuel sources like twigs, small branches, pine cones, and dry grass.

This means a fuel source is:

  1. More readily available
  2. Easy to gather and haul
  3. FREE (who doesn’t love free?)

These small fuel sources are burned in a verticle chimney combustion chamber.

The design ensures nearly complete combustion.

This means you’re getting more heat output (for warmth or cooking) than traditional firepits or wood stoves.

Meaning heating water and cooking faster with fewer combustibles.

The first ones built were based on an old lamp design that’s been around since at least the 1700s.

Since those early years, it’s undergone incremental improvements over the centuries.

The modern-day rocket stove was officially designed in the 1980s.

They were originally built to support an improved cooking system for impoverished nations.

Since the simple design has captivated the world.

Because they are relatively easy and inexpensive to build.

Even with scrap materials from the recycling bin or a small amount of concrete!

That’s why they’ve become so popular among those of us who are preparing for future emergencies…

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How They Work – It’s Called Science

You can’t fully appreciate these unique stoves until you understand how they work.

Why? Because its design is so simple.

Unlike traditional wood-burning stoves, these stoves have no moving parts.

This means no flue damper and no air inlet grate!

rocket stove designIt only has only 4 components:

The “Elbow”

It’s a fire-proof L-shaped pipe with a 90deg bend in the middle.

The horizontal portion of the elbow is the fuel chamber and air inlet.

The vertical portion is the combustion chamber and chimney.

The Stove Body

The insulated surround for the elbow is capable of withstanding high heat.

Large metal food cans (or metal trash cans) work great, as does sheet metal bent to fit the elbow.

A hole in the top allows the chimney to exit upwards.

And a hole on one side allows access to the fuel chamber and air inlet.

A Fuel Grate

Ideally, the fuel must sit up off the bottom of the chamber.

Normally a metal grate provides airflow under and around the fuel.

This allows any ash to fall through and be removed.

A Pot Skirt

The skirt allows you to place a cooking pot on the chimney.

It maintains an air gap to allow hot-rising gases to escape the elbow.

The pot skirt also blocks the wind from the bottom of the pot.

This helps provide a better heat transfer for faster cooking.

Once you’ve assembled one and loaded it with fuel, it’s easy to see why it’s such an efficient design!

1. The fuel blocks most of the air inlet, providing limited air for the fire.

This forces the air in a smooth stream under and around the fuel.

As this current passes around the tip of the fuel, it provides a constant stream of fresh air to the fire.

2. The fire is only burning at the tip of the fuel.

As you slide more fuel into the chamber, it advances the burning material into the air stream from the inlet.

This makes it easier to control the burn rater and keep an even temperature.

3. With the pot above the chimney, you focus as much heat as possible into your cooking pot (or hands for warmth).

This means little waste and less fuel to get dinner on the table!

What you can’t as easily see is the insulated design of the stove body improves cooking efficiency.

It keeps the stove from wasting much heat out into space and away from your cook pot.

It also means the fuel chamber preheats the fresh air before reaching the fuel.

↓ Rocket Stove Side View ↓

Why These Stoves “ROCK” For Survival

These stoves are a modern-day survivalist (or camping hobbyist) dream device.

No, they won’t win a “cool survival gadget” contest (like a solar charger), but I believe they’re even more important!

What device can improve your camping trips and save your life in a widespread disaster?

Not many – that’s why it’s a device resilient people should invest in.

I believe it’s such a critical device for basic prepping that it’s on our top 10 list of basic preparedness steps.

So here are the top 5 reasons to invest in one today:

1. The design works at different scales – small or large!

They’re extremely portable for cooking, OR they can be massive “rocket mass heaters” for heating a small cabin or hut.

So the design is extremely scalable and versatile.

2. They are insanely efficient – maximizing your fuel.

They run efficiently on very little wood fuel. You can use firewood, twigs, or pinecones to generate heat efficiently.

You can even run these stoves on leaves, grass, and brush!

The bottom line is:

A small portable rocket stove can use the “free” combustibles found everywhere on the ground.

But what about heating a home?

With a well-designed rocket mass heater – you can make your large pile of firewood last much longer.

How much longer?

In the video below, they only used 0.6 cords of wood for an entire Montana winter!

↓Heat A 3-Bedroom Home In Montana With 0.6 Cords Of Firewood ↓

3. They produce very little smoke.

If you hate smoke as much as I do, then it’s about time you did something about it.

You could get a smokeless fire pit for your backyard, but you should also get one for your survival cooking needs.

Why don’t they produce much smoke?

It’s due to the efficiency of the burn.

The more efficient the combustion process, the less smoke – it’s as simple as that! 

And if you’ve been paying attention – efficient burning is these stove’s “Modus Operandi.”

4. They are a Plan B backup heat source in a long-term grid-down crisis.

What’s your long-term power outage heat plan?

Even if you have a backup generator, it will eventually run out of fuel. So, what’s your plan after that?

For some people, a candle heater is worth a try, but it won’t work for large spaces.

So for others, it’s to invest in a kerosene or propane heater – but now you’re storing large amounts of liquid fuels

Instead, if you’re serious about being prepared, this stove design is a better solution.

You’ll need to scale up to a rocket mass heater with a chimney to heat a home safely.

While these stoves produce much less smoke, it’s not “smokeless.”

So if you burn inside a home or space without a chimney – you could die from carbon monoxide poisoning.


5. They’re a better option than open fire & wood stoves

I’ve always loved cooking over a wood fire.

But it’s not always the most convenient means of preparing food and keeping warm.

Finding enough wood to keep a fire hot enough to cook can be hard.

Dry wood can be even more difficult to locate, especially in the rain and snow.

Even if you collect plenty of usable wood, you must constantly feed logs onto the fire to keep up a bed of coals.

Every time you add more logs, you must move the cooking pot out of the way.

Thus disturbing the cooking process often, leaving you hungry longer!

A wood stove is an improvement.

They help manage your fuel’s heat and burn rate and provide a more stable cooking surface.

While wood stoves improve efficiency, they still require copious amounts of large firewood.

Splitting logs and sawing branches takes both time and effort.

And traditional wood stoves are not exactly portable!

So, what can you do when there’s very little downed wood for fuel?

What if you don’t have time to search for dry wood in the rain?

Try a Rocket Stove!

The bottom line is:

My favorite survival gear is the equipment I can use and enjoy today, but it is also an ideal backup if things go south.

All these reasons, in combination, make it a wise investment.

↓ Top 5 Reasons You Should Get One Of These Stoves ↓

DIY Rocket Stove

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DIY Rocket Stove Plans

It’s time to learn how to build a rocket stove.

And if you’re a regular visitor to Skilled Survival – you know we’re big fans of building our own DIY survival gear.

Well, would you know it, these stoves make an excellent candidate for a DIY project!

It can be simple or complex, depending on the type you want to build.

  • If you’re not looking for portability, you can build one from concrete blocks!
  • Or, if portability is a requirement, you can build one out of a metal coffee can and a regular-sized food can.
  • If you want indestructible durability – build a gravity-fed carbon steel one.

So let’s get started – we’re going to cover a wide range of plans:

Stacked Brick Rocket Stove

You’ll need a small pile of bricks for this super simple design.

Just arrange them to create the main chamber, and there you go!

↓ How To Build A Better Brick Stove For $10 ↓

Cinder Blocks

This version provides a stable place for a cooking pot and can be assembled in minutes.

You’ll need to source a few concrete blocks and properly arrange them.

Simple, yet effective.

↓ The 4 Block DIY Stove ↓

5 Gallon Bucket & Concrete Plans

You’ll need a 5-gallon bucket, concrete, and cardboard tubes for this version:

↓ A DIY Concrete And Perlite Stove ↓

Metal Plans

There are plenty of simple designs out there.

But some designs feature welded pipes for durability.

These are best if your skills include metalworking since they’re damn near indestructible!

↓ Making A Metal Stove ↓

And you can even build one with a gravity-fed fuel chamber (watch the next video):

↓ Simple Camping “Rocket” Stove Build DIY ↓

Tin Can Rocket Stove

And lastly, you can even make one of these stoves with a tin can.

↓ Homemade Tin Can Stove ↓

The Dakota Fire Hole

Drawing Of Dakota Fire Pit

Drawing Of Dakota Fire Pit

Now that you’ve checked out some DIY rocket stoves, imagine doing the same thing with a hole in the ground!

The Dakota Fire Hole has been a longtime solution for efficient cooking without concrete, bricks, buckets, or metal.

It consists of two intersecting holes or tunnels.

It has the same fundamental configuration.

Since it’s similar in design, a Dakota fire hole has many of the same benefits.

It’s a very low-cost, efficient, high-heat, clean-burning.

But it adds an element of discretion (the flames are hidden below ground) and wind resistance.

↓ The Dakota Fire Hole – Stealth Fire ↓

Action Plan

Final  Thoughts

A rocket stove is an invaluable survival tool with low cost, efficiency, and ease of use.

Whether you build your own or buy a commercial version, you should invest in one.

At the end of the day:

It’s pure satisfaction to cook dinner with the power of twigs and pinecones alone.

So if you’re still reading this article, your action plan is simple:

Get your hands on one ASAP – Build or buy?

You get to decide.

Jason K.

  • Born & Raised In The Remote Woods Of Michigan
  • Engineering Degree From A Major University
  • Long Standing Member Of Mountain Search & Rescue
  • Offical Gear Tester For Several Outdoor Companies
  • Avid Outdoorsman: Backpacking, Camping, Fishing
  • Years Researching & Writing About Surival & Gear
  • P.s. Are you ready for the tough times ahead?

    Find out now by taking my short Readiness Score Quiz - it’s absolutely free. Once complete, you’ll know exactly where you stand on the “fragile” vs.” resilient” spectrum.

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