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How to Make a Tin Can Rocket Stove

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A rocket stove is a great tool to have on hand for camping or to keep in a survival kit. You can make one for next to nothing using materials you probably have sitting around your house.

So, what exactly is a rocket stove? Wikipedia explains it best:

A rocket stove is an efficient and hot burning stove using small-diameter wood fuel. Fuel is burned in a simple combustion chamber containing an insulated vertical chimney, which ensures almost complete combustion prior to the flames reaching the cooking surface. Rocket stove designs are most often used for portable stoves for cooking but the design is also used for large fixed stoves in institutions, and to make rocket mass heaters for heating. – Wikipedia

Rocket stove for cooking

Rocket stove – Fiedels/Adobe Stock

Rocket stoves use less fuel than other stoves and result in fewer emissions. Keeping a small stove in your emergency kit will ensure you have an easy way to cook food and heat water even in the absence of traditional fuel sources.

Rocket stoves can be fueled with just about anything you have lying around that is flammable, including leaves, twigs, or even junk mail. They are weather-resistant, easy to transport, and super easy to operate.

You can even make a rocket stove out of a chunk of log if you’re camping or stranded in the wilderness and need a quick heat source for cooking food or boiling water.

Log rocket stove

Yasuhiro Iizuka/Adobe Stock

Building your own simple, portable rocket stove is easy and cheap, as demonstrated by desertsun02 on YouTube. 

For this project, you’ll need:

  • 2 tin soup or spaghetti sauce-sized cans
  • a metal paint can for the main part of the stove
  • sand, gravel, or dirt to act as insulation and keep the paint can from getting too hot while lit
  • a hacksaw and drill to cut the holes out of the cans
Tin can rocket stove

desertsun02 | YouTube

The video below demonstrates exactly how to turn these everyday items into a valuable piece of survival gear. 


desertsun02 | YouTube

Once complete, you’ll have an amazingly efficient, easily portable stove that is a cinch to light and use for cooking or heating water.

Of course, take the usual safety precautions when using your stove: use it outdoors for proper ventilation and away from flammable objects. 

tin can rocket stove

desertsun02 | YouTube

tin can rocket stove