Several times in items I’ve sent out or in live presentations I’ve mentioned the “Rocket Stove,” a simple stove concept worked on over the last 20 years or so at the Aprovecho Research Center in Cottage Grove, Oregon (and elsewhere) by Larry Winiarski and others. The goal in refining this stove was to create a wood or charcoal – burning stove that would use the absolute minimum amount of widely available fuel to boil a given amount of water, thus minimizing fuel use and waste, and also smoke that could contribute to health issues for those tending, or in proximity to, the stove. These are all issues in third world settings where these stoves have been tested over a number of years.
Many designs have been tested over the years. What you see at sites like this is the result of a great deal of trial and error. I have received Aprovecho’s newsletters for 15 years and have watched some of this honing process.
Aprovecho has found a manufacturer in China capable of producing a stove that incorporates this very efficient design and they have just begun selling them domestically at a very affordable price.
I have had a hand in working with homemade versions and it involves a bit of work to come up with an easily portable, efficient wood-burning stove. For $40 and shipping this is a unit that can potentially help a lot of people, and not just in the third world.
Besides basic cooking applications and boiling water consider its possible use for heating during a power outage: a covered coffee/paint can, metal pail, pot, or 4 – 8 quart Dutch oven filled with golf ball-sized stones or pebbles, can become a portable “heat sink” after being warmed up on such a stove to bring a source of heat into a makeshift tent you’ve set up inside your home, or just in a small room (place the hot container on non-flammable material like bricks and keep small children away from it ). Having just small amounts of fuel available can mean having hot water and food plus a means to stay relatively warm in an emergency.
Check out the video – the main video will access more info – videos on building your own stove and/or using Rocket Stoves. You can access a number of “rocket stove” clips as well directly off YouTube.
The link above will give you considerable information on the manufactured unit. Even if you already have a camp or backpacker’s stove this kind of unit is one to consider for emergency back-up because of the ready availability of its fuel.
A very small wood-burning alternative is the “Zipstove” for about $65. I’ve worked with and sold these units going back almost 20 years and they are a proven item.
If you have enough people interested you might consider a package shipment to obtain 200+# UPS discount rates.
Even if you believe you’ll have access to unlimited amounts of wood in an emergency don’t let that consideration keep you from a very cheap piece of insurance. – Greg L.