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

By Just In Case Jack | Last Updated: June 29, 2022

Rocket StoveToday I’m Going To Share Some Rocket Stove Plans and Best Rocket Stoves You Can Buy

Air. Water. Food. Warmth. Self Defense.

The 5 fundamental requirements 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.

Specifically, we’ll deep dive into the following rocket stove topics:

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 5 Best Rocket Stoves On The Market Today

1 Our Top Pick
EcoZoom Versa Camping Stove

The EcoZoom Versa Rocket Stove 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 rocket stove a very eco-friendly outdoor cooking option!

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2
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 rocket stove that I own since I've stockpiled firewood as my backup fuel source.

If you want to see me using my EcoZoom Dura Rocket Stove, skip ahead to the 7:40 mark in this video on how to get prepared.

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3
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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4
Camping Rocket Stove with Handle

The Bruntmor Camping Rocket 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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5
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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6
SHTFandGO Bullet Proof Rocket Stoves

This gravity-fed SHTFandGo Tent Stove is Made In The USA. It's a super heavy-duty gravity self-feeding rocket/tent 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 rocket 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 made out of heavy-duty steel so 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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WHAT IS A ROCKET STOVE ANYWAY?

A rocket stove is a super-efficient small combustion stove. Its intelligent design makes use of small fuel sources, such as 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 even wood stoves.

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 of the rocket stove captured 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 Rocket Stoves Work – It’s Called Science

The true beauty of a rocket stove can be appreciated until you understand how they work. Why? Because the rocket stove design is so simple.

Unlike a traditional wood stove, a rocket stove has no moving parts. This means no flue damper and no air inlet grate!

rocket stove designThe basic rocket stove has only 4 components:

  1. The “Elbow” – is 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.
  2. The Stove Body – an insulated surround for the elbow, capable of withstanding the high heat from the elbow. 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.
  3. A Fuel Grate – ideally, the fuel needs to sit up off the bottom of the fuel chamber. Normally a metal grate provides airflow under and around the fuel. This allows any ash to fall through and be removed.
  4. A Pot Skirt allows you to place a cooking pot on top of 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 the rocket stove and loaded it with fuel, it’s easy to see why it’s such an efficient design!

First, the fuel blocks most of the air inlet, providing a limited amount of 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.

Second, 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.

Third, with the pot positioned 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 needed 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 rocket 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.

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Why Rocket Stoves “ROCK” For Camping And Survival

Rocket 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!

I mean, what device can make your camping trips better AND save your life in an epic widespread disaster? Not many – that’s why the rocket stove is 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 a rocket stove today.

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

A rocket stove can be an extremely portable stove for cooking OR a massive “rocket mass heater” for heating a small cabin or hut.

So the design of the rocket stove is extremely versatile. Ideally, if you want to be extremely resilient to the uncertainties of life you should invest in a small portable rocket stove and a large rocket mass heater as well!

2. They are insanely efficient – maximizing your fuel.

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

You can even run many rocket stoves on leaves, grass, and brush! The bottom line is that small portable rocket stoves can use the “free” combustibles found nearly 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 lasts much longer. How much longer? In the video below, they only used 0.6 cords of wood for an entire Montana winter!

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 a rocket stove 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 a rocket 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 and resilient, then you should look at a rocket stove as a better solution. You’ll need to scale up to a rocket mass heater with a chimney to safely heat a home.

While small portable rocket 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. DON’T DO THAT!

5. They are a better option than campfires/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 a rocket stove a wise investment.

DIY Rocket Stove

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Best Rocket Stove Plans – DIY Rocket Stove Builds

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, the rocket stove is an excellent candidate for a DIY project!

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

  • If you’re not looking for portability, you can build a rocket stove 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 rocket stove.

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

Stacked Brick Rocket Stove Plans

You’ll need a small pile of bricks for this super simple rocket stove. Just arrange them to create the rocket stove chambers, and there you go!

Concrete Block Rocket Stove Plans

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.

5 Gallon Bucket & Concrete Rocket Stove Plans

For this version of a rocket stove, you’ll need a 5-gallon bucket, some concrete, and some cardboard tubes.

Metal Rocket Stove Plans

There are plenty of simple designs for rocket stoves. But there are also designs that feature welded pipes for durability. These are best if your skills include metalworking since they’re damn near indestructible!

And you can even build one that has a gravity-fed fuel chamber (watch the next video)!

Material Free Rocket Stove – The Dakota Fire Hole

Drawing Of Dakota Fire Pit

Drawing Of Dakota Fire Pit

Now that you’ve taken a look at the 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 as the elbow of a rocket stove.

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

Action Plan

Rocket Stove Wrap-Up & Action Plan

With the combo of low cost, fuel efficiency, and ease of use, a rocket stove is an invaluable survival tool. Whether you build your own or buy a commercial version, you should invest in one.

At the end of the day –

It’s a 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 a rocket stove ASAP – Build or buy? – You get to decide.

Jason K.

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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