Hobo Backpacking Stove Packs a Whole Lot of Power
Being a backpacker I am always looking for ways to lighten my pack. I thought I would look for a lightweight, easy to use stove that I could use wood as the fuel That way I would not have to carry fuel and that would lighten my pack. I immediately thought about hobo stoves. Hobo Stoves are traditionally made from old coffee cans and use wood as the fuel source. Of course a coffee can would be too big for my pack. Maybe I could make a smaller one.
I measured my backpacking pot that my kitchen fits in. I needed a can that would be slightly larger than my pot. That way my pot would slip in the stove for storage taking up less room in the pack. Off to the grocery store I went with my measuring tape. I started looking at cans and I started measuring. I am sure I looked a little silly in the isles measuring cans.
I stopped in the Juice isle. The large juice cans looked like they might be what I was looking for. I measured and they were just the right size. My pot would fit nicely inside the juice can. I settled on the V-8 can. Not because I like V-8 but because it seemed to be the strongest can. I needed a can that would take a beating.
I got home and I started designing my stove. I think my design came out pretty well.
Here is our video explaining how we made the stove.
My son an I have taken this stove out on the trail several times. It performs well. Collecting a few sticks, using some tinder and a fire starter you are on your way to a hot meal. I have been able to boil water in around 8 minutes after lighting the tinder.
Here is our video using the stove and boiling water.
The pot will get black from soot with regular use. You can wash some of it off but everything fits into a sack so there is no dirt or soot in the pack.I did learn to use hardwoods when cooking. Pine tends to burn hot and leaves a resin on the pot.
My whole kitchen fits in the stove and then in a stuff sack. Takes up little room and weighs around 14 oz. The best part is that I don't have to carry fuel. I don't even have to carry tinder if I don't want too. I can find tinder on the trail. But a few cotton balls weigh almost nothing and are easy to light.
You can pack this stove and your alcohol stove. This stove makes a nice windbreak for the alcohol burner.
The Good – it’s very easy to make and there is plenty of fuel for it here in the Maine woods. A few handfuls of twigs and you’ll be able to boil a couple of cups of water in no time.
I like the way the stove focused the heat, which meant no wasted energy.
It’s lightweight and if you were so inclined carrying it around wouldn’t be a big deal.
I used hardwood twigs (oak) and there were very few sparks from this fire meaning that I’d feel comfortable using this stove in an area where there was a high fire hazard. By being extremely careful or through sheer dumb luck I’ve never lost control of a fire yet!
The Bad – it needs a lot of attention once you light it to keep it going. The wood used is fairly small and you need to feed it every five minutes or so or else the fire will go out.
If it’s raining starting this stove and keeping it going will be a bear. I haven’t tried it in the rain yet, but past experience with wood stoves tells me this will be tough to keep going unless you have a dry supply of wood on hand.
I’m going to replace the coat hanger with a couple of aluminum stakes the next time I use it.