Siege Stoves, by Pat Cascio

Have you ever been out camping, hunting, or hiking, and you had a desire for a nice fresh-brewed cup of coffee, but you didn’t want to make a campfire to brew it? How about a nice warm meal, and I don’t mean taking an MRE and putting it in the heater pouch to heat it up. Yeah, me too. And, most of the time, there isn’t a need for a campfire if you want to cook something or make some fresh coffee. Consider getting a Siege Stove. Those are what I’m reviewing today.

I was never a Boy Scout, but I was an assistant Cub Scout Leader at one point. And, when working full-time for the Illinois National Guard, back in the very early 1970s, our Battalion Commander, thought it was a great idea to host a Boy Scout Troop at our armory – of course, myself and two other full-timers were tasked with organizing the entire thing and running it on a weekly basis. Our military training came in handy when it came time to setting-up tents and all the other fun things that go along with running a Boy Scout troop, and that included teaching the boys how to make a campfire. This is no small task for some inner city youth.

Many people mistakenly believe that  you always have to make a big campfire for cooking, and that’s simply wrong thinking. A smaller fire is more efficient, and if you need a fire to stay warm, several smaller campfires are better at this job. Still, I see it all the time, huge bonfires and many times, they get out of control and spread – not a good thing at all.

History of Hobo Stoves

When I was a kid growing up in Chicago, we used to make “hobo” stoves. They consisted of a large #10 can, that had some holes punched in the top and sides, and a portion of one side was cut open to form a “door” to feed burning material into. I’ve seen it done many times, by the many “hobos” in our neighborhood – today they are called homeless or displaced. My saintly grandmother never turned a “hobo” away from our back door when they came knocking and begging for something to eat.

Back to the hobo stoves: While they were sure a lot better than a campfire, they had their limitations. First of all, it was difficult to keep a small pan on the top to cook in, without it falling off. And, then the stove would just fall over quite a bit – it wasn’t balanced in the least. But it was still better than a campfire, that would have been frowned on in the City of Chicago. We taught our Boy Scout Troops how to make a “hobo” stove – but in practice they really didn’t work very well.

On several security jobs in the past, I was tasked with patrolling some very rural areas/buildings, and I used to take a Thermos of hot tea with me. Unfortunately, many of those glass-lined Thermos’ would hit the ground and shatter the glass liner. There had to be a better way to have a fresh cup of tea or coffee out in the boonies, without starting a campfire.

Siege Stoves – Made in USA

Enter James Fisher, who owns and operates Siege Stoves. He has a small company, and the products he makes are made in the USA. He also offers some carrying cases for his fold-up stoves, and this part of his operation is done by a military veteran who makes these pouches – once again, all made in the good ol’ USA! To be sure, I’ve seen the Siege Stoves ad on – but I had never once looked at their web site – not very smart of me, I’ll admit it. Our editor, Jim Rawles, put James Fisher, in contact with me, to see if I wanted to review his products. Make no mistake, I do not work for – I’m an independent writer and I’m under no obligation to test anyone’s products – ever! What I saw on the Siege Stoves web site caught my attention right away, and I requested some samples from James Fisher, with no promise that I’d even test his products and/or write an article for possible publication on

Unusual Generosity

In short order, I received a large package from Siege Stoves, and found a treasure of ways to cook food out in the wild – or for that matter, covertly in the big city. What Fisher has done is, reinvented the “hobo” cook stove, and it is a vast improvement over the original. First of all, Fisher manufactures and sells several different versions of his Siege Stoves – available in stainless steel and Titanium. But at his web site he also shows you how to make your own hobo style stove, using different sizes of tin cans – up to, and including the #10 size tin can. What other company will show you how to make an unrefined equivalent their own product, thus cutting into its own sales and profit? Not many, that’s for sure.

Fisher shows you how to punch holes in various tin cans so they will allow the air to flow through them, creating a VERY hot “stove” to cook on. He makes what he calls “crossmembers” and they are really needed…they fit on the top and bottom of these stoves, so they won’t easily tip over. The top crossmember, allows you to put a small pan or pot on it for easy cooking – and you don’ have to hold on to it all the time – no real worries about the pan or pot falling off.

Titanium Siege Stove

Also included in my package of goodies was Fisher’s flat-collapsable stove – he sent me the Titanium version instead of the stainless steel. I highly recommend the Ti version over stainless. It is lighter and it’ll last a liftetime. This little stove will fold flat enough to fit into the smallest backpack, even the old military butt pack. It only takes a minute or two to assemble these parts into the Siege Stove and add the crossmembers, and you are good to go – and it doesn’t take much fuel to get this thing hot enough to cook on. I recommend some wadded up paper in the bottom, then add some other fuel, like small twigs. But even small twigs by themselves are easy enough to get the fire going. There are vent holes all around the Siege Stove, so there is plenty of air circulating to get a good fire going.

They Also Make a Grill

You can also purchase a folding grill for the large or compact Siege Stove, and on top of it all, you can purchase some side attachments that will act as toasters – huh? What?  Yeah, if you have some bread in your backpack, you can make toast – very nifty, indeed! Fisher also included some various sizes of tin cans, that he personally punched holes in, to show how they worked and how easy it is to make your own stoves from tin cans. His crossmembers are designed to help you punch the holes in the cans, but he suggests you use a power drill to make them – much faster and easier. But out in the boonies, and you need to make a stove, you can always find old tin cans laying around – every place – and you can make them into a Siege Stove. Of course, they aren’t going to last very long, but they’ll sure help you do some serious cooking.

On top of it all, James Fisher, also included a canister from IKEA, that already has holes made in it – it is made out of stainless steel, and only costs a couple of bucks. Once again, what company is willing to clue you in on how to make your own products – similar to their own – at no charge to you? Are we talking a very Siege Stove Grillpatriotic American here, or what? I still highly recommend that your purchase the various sizes of crossmembers from Fisher, so your stove will be stable on the base and on the top where you place your stove or pot for cooking in.

My wife did most of the testing on these various Siege Stoves, but I was nearby to “supervise” as always. It took a little practice to get a good fire going, but once it started it was easy enough to add some more twigs or whatever burning material you have on-hand to keep the firing going. The side toasters, gotta tell ya, they worked as well, if not better than many electric toasters we’ve used over the years.

Simplicity, Improved

I like simple – no, I take that back, I love anything that is simple – so much less to go wrong with simple products, compared to complicated things, with a lot of parts. James Fisher has done the old “hobo” stove better – a lot better – and at affordable prices. For a limited time, Fisher is offering readers a discount on his products. It’s not a huge discount, then again, his profit margin isn’t huge, either – and of course, he has overhead expenses to contend with, too. I’d also recommend getting a carrying pouch if you purchase his folding stoves or just his his crossmembers. That makes for packing everything up neat and clean.

If you go out hunting for days at a time, or hiking, or are serious about wilderness survival, then take a real close look at what James Fisher, and Siege Stoves have to offer you – I highly recommend his products, and like I stated at the onset, his is an American-owned company, and he is doing a great service by offering these products for survival purposes – they can save your bacon and make wilderness survival a heck of a lot easier on you. Check out their web site, and take advantage of the discount he is offering our readers.


  1. The URL is not working. 404 error. Even the kickstarter campaign says go to it, but no luck. Any one have a valid link?

    Hmm. We’re having trouble finding that site.

    We can’t connect to the server at

    1. Hi Mike,
      Sorry about the inconvenience. It just so happened that our web host’s servers went down Sunday night and were only back online Monday morning. It’s a relatively rare occurrence, but the timing wasn’t great given that Pat’s review was posted today. Please check again — it should be working fine.
      Thank you,
      James Fisher
      Siege Stoves

    1. Hi Knowbuddy,
      I apologize for the inconvenience. It just so happened that our web host’s servers went down Sunday night and were only back online Monday morning. Please check again — it should be working fine.
      Thank you,
      James Fisher
      Siege Stoves

  2. These go way back. When I was doing 18th century living history events I had a blacksmith knock together the 18th century version of one of these. They were called “braziers” when I was using them and I believe that’s what they were called way back as well. Very handy. All you need was a couple handfuls of twigs and sticks to brew your coffee or cook your diner. Mine had a handle riveted on one side like a frying pan so you could pick the whole thing up and move it if you needed to even when you were cooking with it. There’s really nothing new under the sun is there!
    I traded mine away years ago, I think I may go out and find another one….

  3. Links work fine for me. I ordered one for a grandson about six months ago to get him interested in some sort of preparedness thinking if he had fun it would be a start. It worked as planned. He loves it.

    I ordered the Seige cross-members only so he could have fun using any size can he wanted gaining the experience of doing it himself.

    I’m going to order the Flat-packed Stove next for myself shortly. It’ll fold up to nothing so you can pack anywhere. I have redundancy in water purification and this will provide the same in cooking. Can’t get more basic. Quality is good and I love the fact that it doesn’t come from China

  4. I have the Siege Stove setup that is pictured. Using my IKEA canister, I have cooked a couple of meals with no problems. One thing I did do is with the canister, I used a Dremel tool and cut our a door (3inX3in) in the bottom side to load sticks into the firebox of the canister. That helps and that way you do not have to take the pot/pan off the top to load the wood.

  5. We used a tin can hobo stove on a 8 day trek across Isle Royal the second week in May. Flew in on float plane, and due to fog and rain our 7 day adventure turned into 8 days. We used the hobo stove to boil water for warm drinks, rehydrate mixed veggies and for mountain house dinners. We didn’t use matches or lighter, only a fire starter and our kindling to get each fire going. There was still snow on the ground in a lot of places, and we nearly had the entire island to ourselves. We also had few flies and mosquitos. Used another hobo stove backpacking in porcupine mountains the second week in May. There was about 8-12 inches of snow on the ground that trip. The best backpacking stove available IMHO.

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