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 SurvivalBlog.com – 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 SurvivalBlog.com – 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 SurvivalBlog.com.
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.
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 patriotic 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.
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 SurvivalBlog.com 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.