Ten Methods of Cooking Off Grid

Camp ovens and stoves for preppers
Cooking in crisis: ten methods for cooking off the grid

How will you cook in crisis? Whether cooking indoors or outdoors, preppers must
consider available fuel sources. Preppers always have a contingency plan! This article
focuses on how to cook in an off-grid world.

There are several prepper methods for cooking off the grid. Discover cooking with no
power using a dutch oven, solar oven, rocket stove, or propane and gas stoves. Here
are the various cooking methods and kitchen ovens for preppers

Ten Methods of Cooking in an Off-grid World:

Method #1: Wood/Biomass ovens and rocket stoves
Rocket stoves today are amazing. With a few twigs you can fuel your cellphone, heat
your meal, purify water or warm up! With a rocket stove, you'll use wood, biomass and
charcoal, and there's no gas or propane necessary.

  • Fire pit with a dutch oven. At the most basic level, preppers can dig a shallow
    trench for a fire to shelter the flames from wind. This is the pioneer method with
    which to cook foods. Fuel sources in a fire pit can be charcoal, wood or even
    dung!
  • Dutch Oven: Essential for this method of off-grid cooking is a dutch oven
    (a cast iron pot with a lid pictured left) to place on the fire pit. Use a dutch
    oven to cook pie, bread, cobblers, casseroles, baked beans, stew, cakes
    and more. Learn more about cast iron cookware by Lodge.

  • Reflector Oven: With a campfire reflector oven, you can bake using an
    open fire. It bakes by capturing radiant heat from an open fire and then
    reflects the heat towards your food. Pictured in green at the bottom of the
    page, pioneers baked breads in this way.

  • BioLite Wood Burning Campstove. The Amazing BioLite wood burning camp
    stove, pictured immediate left, powers most USB-chargeable devices including
    smartphones About 20 minutes of charging with a strong fire gives you about 60
    minuites of talk time on most smartphones. During a full burn, the CampStove
    can boil 1 liter of water in as little as 4 miutes. 30 seconds This CampStove
    weighs about 2 lbs. and is about the same size as a 1-liter Nalgene water
    bottle.  Best of all, an internal starter battery helps kick-start the fire before the
    stove begins generating its own power. It's that easy!

  • EcoZoom Versa Rocket Stove. Pictured left, EcoZoom's Versa rocket stove
    offers the flexibility to cook with wood, charcoal, or solid biomass fuel in a
    rugged and durable design. A super-high efficiency portable cook stove, it has a
    fully insulated vertical combustion chamber forces gases to mix with flames when
    in use, decreasing harmful emissions while boasting tremendous fuel efficiency.
    The EcoZoom Versa is highly rated.

  • Enviro Rocket stove. The environmentally friendly cooking stove, pictured in
    orange right, uses renewable energy. It reduces smoke and harmful gases by as
    much as 80% of other similar rocket stoves.  Further it reduces biomass fuel use
    by up to 60% and simultaneously reduces cooking time by up to 50%.

  • Grover Heavy Duty Rocket Stove. The ultimate prepper rocket stove is the
    Grover heavy duty rocket stove.  It solves the problem of cooking when your
    propane runs out, and you don't have large quantities of wood to devote to
    cooking. Of course you need some alternate source of combustible material.
    Wood works great but in conventional wood burning stoves you will waste a
    great deal of wood in heat energy that didn't go towards cooking the food. This
    Heavy Duty Grover Rocket Stove eliminated that problem entirely by allowing you
    to use small twigs, leaves, and pretty much any dry plant matter will do, such as
    weeds, dry sage brush, etc.

  • Kelly Kettle. If you are camping and want a convenient quick way to heat up
    your water for hydrating food, a cup of coffee or for personal use, the large Kelly
    Kettle (Base Camp) is an ideal solution. It will deliver about 7 cups of ho water in
    just a few minutes.  Backpackers and hikers love the Kelly Kettle for its light
    weight and natural fuel burning ability. Never worry about carrying heavy fuel in
    your backpack again. An essential element of any emergency preparedness plan
    is being able to obtain pure water, which the Kelly Kettle does brilliantly and
    effectively! Without access to other types of fuel such as gas or propane, it may
    be difficult to get pure water. Since the Kelly Kettle uses only natural fuels, in a
    disaster you most likely will still have access to ample natural fuel in order to boil
    and purify water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene.

  • Solo Stove. Pictured right, the solo stove is the #1 wood-burning camping stove
    recommended by Backpacker Magazine and serious survivalists including
    Discovery Channel's Matt Graham. The Solo stove usses twigs, leaves,
    pinecones and wood as fuel, which eliminates the need to carry heavy, polluting
    and expensive canister fuels. Plus it boils water in as little as two minutes.

  • Volcano Collapsible Cook Stove. An unbelievably cool cook stove, pictured at
    the top left of the page, and immediate left, the Volcano Collapsible Cook Stove
    takes either propane, charcoal, or wood! How's that for versatility? Designed in
    the USA, it's the tri-fuel capability which sets it apart from all other outdoor
    cooking options. This portable cook stove collapses to 5” and includes a storage
    bag. This is a highly popular cookstove with preppers.

    The Volcano Collapsible Cook Stove is hands down the  most popular camping
    stove of HappyPreppers.com readers judging by sales.

  • VitalGrill Survival Stove. Pictured right, the VitalGrill Survival Stove. Eco-
    friendly: Use any Solid Biological Material Available as fuel: wood, paper,
    cardboard, twigs, straw, natural fibers, animal dung, any combustible waste,
    and also charcoal. Best of all, the VitaGrill Survival stove is designed to deliver
    life-saving heat in extreme situations.

  • Woodgas Campstove LE. The Woodgas Campstove LE, pictured below the
    VitaGrill, burns wood pellets, twigs, pine cones, wood chips. This extremely
    efficient biomass cook stove takes advantage of a unique gasification technology
    to cleanly burn with very little smoke. It consumes as little as one tenth the
    amount of fuel compared to open pit fires for cooking.

Method #2:  Folding Stove / Hobo stove (with mixed fuel options -
charcoal, biomass, sterno, paraffin wax, Esbit fuel).
Some stoves offer a variety of fuel options. Below are stoves that accept charcoal, a
sterno or biomass as fuel sources:

  • Bushbox Outdoor Pocket stove. Pictured immediate left, the bushbox Outdoor
    Pocket Stove, fits into any pocket multi-fuel, can be used with wood, organic
    matter, Trangia and Esbit.

  • Esbit folding stove. Esbit fuel tabs burn about 12 minutes each, more than
    enough to handle your cooking needs, like boiling water. The beauty of this
    system is that it's a compact stove made of durable galvanized steel that fits in
    your pocket. The stove set, pictured below with the included fuel tabs is around
    $10 and with available free shipping!

  • Tin can charcoal stove. You can configure a classic charcoal tin can stove from a
    #10 can in your preps. Also, called a hobo stove or a buddy burner, you'll need
    two sturdy wire screens, a roll-type can opener, a punch type can opener and
    wire for a handle, in addition to a #10 can. When you're done, you'll need just 3
    or 4 charcoal briquettes to operate. Here's how to make a tin can charcoal stove.
  1. Remove the top and bottom of the can.
  2. Create circulation air holes with the punch type can opener.
  3. Make two holes on the top at either end, then tie a wire handle.
  4. Push one of the sturdy wire screens down the can to make a grate to
    keep charcoal near the top for cooking
  5. Place the other at the top to support pots.

    Many preppers have modified the tin can stove method:



  • Buddy Burner (noun). Also called a "Vagabond Burner," a buddy burner is a
    home made fuel source for cooking. A popular buddy burner is made with
    Paraffin wax that's melted and poured into a tuna can that's filled with rolled
    cardboard. The device is then placed underneath a ventilated coffee can, which
    serves as a stove to the buddy burner.


Method # 3 Sterno Stoves (see also alcohol stoves).
Sterno is a great beginning camper tool. It is best at heating things up, or boiling
water to make soup, and hot drinks like tea and coffee. Sterno is a brand name. It has
low heating power, so you'll need more Sterno to cook a meal than with other times of
fuel. Even so, Sterno is a great way to get started in prepping. Sterno is safer than
liquid fuels and you'll find they are easy to store and inexpensive,and fun! Sterno
brand cooking fuel is non-toxic, biodegradable and water soluble.

Can you use a sterno in an apartment in the event of an emergency power outage?
Yes! Sterno is a similar fuel used in chafing dishes to keep casseroles warm in buffets
and keeps the fondue pot filled with melty cheese. Sterno Smores! Pictured left, Left
you'll see how you can roast marshmallows, in the best
Smores party idea ever!

  • Sterno Cooking Kit. Sterno brand cooking fuel is non-toxic, biodegradable and
    water soluble. The Sterno Kit is a good entry level option for cooking  outdoors
    when the power is out or for taking your first outdoor camping adventure.

  • Coghlan's Folding Stove (sterno, paraffin wax). Coghlan's Folding Stove,
    pictured right, is convenient and easy to use. It burns Coghlan's Camp Heat or
    any other type of canned fuel, such as a home-made paraffin wax fuel made
    from a tuna can. Try also fuel tablets! It folds nicely and is an ideal emergency
    cooking option.

Method #4: Charcoal Stove or Box Oven.
Cooking with charcoal briquettes is the classic backyard or park cooking option.
Another cooking method for charcoal is with box oven. A box oven combined with
charcoal can help you bake cookies, cakes and pizza.

  • Basic Cardboard Box Oven:
  1. Wrap foil on inside of open box.
  2. Cut a view opening (box bottom).
  3. Place coals in the fire pit.
  4. Position four cans and a rack.
  5. Light the coals.
  6. Place your dish on the rack.
  7. Monitor cooking through window.


  • Coleman Box oven. Borrowing on the idea of the classic cardboard box oven is
    the Coleman box oven, pictured immediate left. Place the Coleman box oven, on
    top of a Coleman two- or three-burner stove, which provides all the heat you
    need to bake your favorite dishes. This oven would work also on a heat source
    such as charcoal, though it will get soot from the charcoal. The Coleman box
    oven looks like a mini safe, but it's actually a mini oven. Made of aluminized
    steel, you can bake batches of muffins, biscuits or rolls to enhance your outdoor
    cooking experience.

  • Envirofit Charcoal Stove. Envirofit makes the worlds most fuel efficient charcoal
    stove! Pictured right, the Envirofit Charcoal Stove has a 63% reduction in fuel
    consumption over traditional charcoal stoves. That's an important distinction for
    preppers. What's more, this stove is "carbon" friendly. It has the highest CO2
    reduction of any stove on the market.

  • Lodge Charcoal Grill: The Lodge Coal Grill, pictured right is a rugged, charcoal
    hibachi-style grill has two adjustable heights. A draft door regulates the heat.
    Ideal for anywhere you need a self contained cooking source. Coals are
    accessible behind a flip down door. It's seasoned and ready to use.

Method #5 Propane Stoves.
Propane is a dependable fuel at high altitudes and freezing temperatures; however,
propane tanks are thick walled, so they are too heavy to carry in a backpack. Leave
this kind of stove in your backyard or take it car camping.

  • Coleman Two-Burner Propane Stove (propane stove). Pictured immediate
    left in green is the Coleman Two-Burner Propane Stove. Coleman's PerfectFlow
    appliances regulate the pressure of the propane to provide a consistent cooking
    performance without flaring or flickering. The stove also provides windblock side
    panels. It runs on Coleman Liquid Fuel (propane) or even unleaded gasoline.

  • Coleman PerfectFlow InstaStart Grill Stove (propane stove), pictured in red
    left, is a top seller and ships for around $77 and with free shipping. InstaStart
    technology means it's matchless - This stove packs 10,000 BTUs of cooking
    power!Coleman's PerfectFlow appliance regulates the pressure of the propane
    to provide a consistent cooking performance without flaring or flickering. It takes
    propane bottles. This steel grill offers two cooking surfaces to get that meal in
    those hungry stomachs in no time

  • Camp Chef Outdoor Camp Oven (propane stove and oven). Pictured
    immediate left, the Camp Chef Outdoor Camp Oven cooks for up to 5 hours on
    high heat with one 1-pound can of propane. Imagine baking fresh bread and
    cookies, pizza, lasagna and so much more. Certainly, this will be a morale
    booster in uncertain times, and you can enjoy it today camping!

  • Solaire Portable Infrared Propane Gas Grill (propane grill). The Solaire
    portable Infrared Propane Gas Grill, pictured immediate left, uses 1 pound
    propane cylinders (larger tank with optional adapter). This is luxury grill for your
    bugout location or backyard. The shipping weight is 27 pounds and it includes a
    carrying case, so technically it is a portable grill.

NOTE: Proper storage of propane cylinders is important. Don't store a cylinder in a
closed storage compartment.
Learn how to handle and store propane correctly.

Method #6: Butane Stoves.
Butane does not do well in below freezing temperatures.  Like propane, butane stoves
also come in pressurized tanks, but butane cartridges generally can't be refilled. And
when the tank is low, it looses it's efficiency. Unfortunately, butane canisters are not
always easy to find.

  • Ultralight butane stove. Pictured immediate left, this ultralight outdoor camping
    stove is gas-powered (Butane Burner) and has an unbelievable price at around
    $8! It's an unbeatable price, and best of all it gets 1,328 4.5-Star customer
    reviews! It has a PIEZO ignition. (Does not include the gas base.)

  • GasOne GS-3000 Portable Gas Stove. Unlike gas stoves from other
    manufacturers, GS-3000 is CSA approved for safety and uses quality materials to
    meet higher standards. This stove uses standard 8oz butane canisters and
    features a piezo type electric starter with safety shut off system, so it does not
    require matches or lighters! Best of all, the GasOne stove, pictured immediate
    right, is around $28 with free available shipping.

  • Etekcity Collapsible Butane Stove: Designed with travel in mind, the Portable
    Windproof Butane Outdoor Stove by Etekcity, pictured left in red, is constructed
    of water-resistant materials and intended to be used outdoors on camping trips
    or other outdoor activities. It was built to take a beating and to travel
    everywhere you do. Safe and easy to connect to a butane canister, the outdoor
    stove has a built-in electric spark ignition system and includes flame control.
    Flame control allows operators to change between a powerful flame and a lower
    intensity flame for ultimate control.

Method #7: Blended Fuels (Butane/Propane Mixed Fuel Stoves).
Blended fuels offer the capability of improved cooking in below-freezing conditions.
Butane/Propane mix canisters, like the Coleman, pictured immediate right, are
lightweight, resealable, and easily connect to stoves and lanterns. Most canister
appliances are lightweight and simple to use, so if you are a backpacker who counts
ounces and appreciates convenience this fuel is for you. Downsides are that canisters
can't be recycled, and in subfreezing temperatures, the fuel does not perform well. Or
at all. Cold temperatures affect the pressure in the canister, so performance is best in
mild to moderate conditions, Main advantages: convenience and light weight.

Method #8: Kerosene stoves.
On the positive side, fuel for a kerosene stove costs just a few cents an hour to burn
and this fuel does not evaporate quickly. The bad part is that it smells, and because it
doesn't evaporate quickly, you'll have a residue if you spill.

  • Kerosene Cook and Canning Stove. Pictured in red, immediate left, the
    Kerosene Cook and Canning Stove holds more than 5 quarts of fuel, and burns
    up to 11 hours per tank. With adjustable heat output, this cook stove is great
    for cooking large meals and will even hold large canners.

Method # 9: Alcohol Stove (liquid).
With an alcohol stove, unlike the petroleum fuel options, you can easily put out a fire
with water! Alcohol stoves also have the benefit of being lightweight. Unfortunately,
fuels aren't as easy to find as other fuels.

  • The Esbit Alcohol Stove & Trekking Cookset. The Esbit Alcohol Stove and
    Trekking Cookset, pictured right is made of extremely light, hard-anodized
    aluminum. While aluminum has its dangers, the lightweight and compact nature
    of this set makes it hard to pass. It will be a great addition to a bugout bag. You
    can't beat the deal. The set of cookware and stove is just $40!

Method #10: Solar ovens.
A solar oven (also sometimes called solar cooker) is made with aluminum reflectors to
bake foods using the sun's energy. Used to either heat food or sterilize water, this
outdoor cooking method concentrates sunlight thereby converting light to heat, and
trapping heat. Solar cooking has been around for centuries, but up to now, not many
people have had the opportunity to try cooking with the sun.

  • Global Sun Oven solar cooker. The Global Sun Oven cooker, pictured immediate
    left, is according to the manufacturer the world's most widely used solar oven.
    Using the most advanced materials, the Sun Oven takes all the hassles out of
    solar cooking to create the ultimate solar appliance. The sun oven can be used
    in the winter as well as summer. It has been used very successfully at below
    zero conditions at a base camp on Mt. Everest. Measures 19" x 19" with an
    average depth of 11". The total weight is only 21 pounds. You can bake bread,
    make cookies, pizza, muffins, or anything you could prepare using a conventional
    oven.

    Cook for free! Bakes, boils or steams any kind of food with the power of the sun.
    Absolutely no fuel needed, and there's no learning curve. Create your favorite
    recipes as you feast upon natural sun baked treats! Just like your home oven
    reaches temperatures of 360° to 400° F! A sun oven is totally safe. There's
    absolutely no danger of fire, and you'll never burn dinner again!

    Versatile, Easy-to-use, Portable as a Small Suitcase! Cooking in a SUN OVEN® is
    easy, fun, natural, and nutritious, while helping the environment.  Ideal for
    everyday use in your back yard, at picnics, while camping, or in the event of a
    power failure.

    Even though it is called an oven, food can be baked, boiled, and steamed at
    cooking temperatures of 360° F to 400° F. There is no movement of air in a SUN
    OVEN®, allowing food to stay moist and tender and flavorful. Sun-baked roasts
    are tastier and more succulent, and sun-baked bread has unparalleled taste and
    texture. The aroma of food sunning itself in a SUN OVEN® is sure to please your
    senses. Temperatures in a SUN OVEN® rise slowly and evenly, allowing complex
    carbohydrates time to break down into simple sugars, emanating subtle natural
    flavors. The even temperature of the SUN OVEN® prevents burning, so you do
    not need to stir your food while it is cooking.

    There are two ways to cook in a SUN OVEN®. If you refocus the oven to follow
    the sun every 25 to 30 minutes, cooking times and methods will be very similar
    to cooking with a conventional stove or oven. Or a SUN OVEN® can be used for
    slow cooking, much like a crock-pot. You can prepare your dinner, put it in the
    SUN OVEN®, point the oven where the sun will be approximately halfway
    through the time you will be gone. Leave, and come home to a tasty, slow-
    cooked dinner. If you run late, there is no need to worry; the SUN OVEN® will
    keep your food warm, moist, and fresh for hours.

Cooking off Grid Prepper style!
You don't need an off-grid homestead, to cook off grid. Preppers have several options
for how to cook their food off grid whether it be a fire pit,a  
solar oven; a wood /
biomass stove (such as a rocket stove or volcano oven); a hybrid wood biomass stove
a propane or gas stove; a
wood fired cast iron cookstove, or a pot cooker fueled by a
generator. Your cookstove may also provide heat for your abode! The Camp Chef
Alpine Heavy Duty Cylinder Stove, pictured in the bottom right hand corner of the page
runs on wood and will provide the comfort of heat.

What cool tools are in your Prepper's kitchen? How do you plan to cook off the grid? We're
happy to hear your prepping ideas and survival food suggestions. We may even link to your
site. Please drop us a note on Twitter at HappyPreppers.

Remember, our family survival system is free! Learn how to store food, water, fuel, and survival
medicines. Plus, get tips on sanitation, self defense and more at happypreppers.com
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