Sterno
camping stove
Kitchen ovens and stoves for preppers
Ten methods for cooking off the grid

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

  • 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! Essential for this method of off-grid cooking is a dutch oven (a cast iron
    pot with a lid pictured at the top of the page) to place on the fire pit. Use a
    dutch oven to cook pies, bread, cobblers, casseroles, baked beans, stew, cakes
    and more. Learn more about cast iron cookware by Lodge.

  • 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.

  • Volcano II Collapsible Cook Stove. An unbelievably cool cook stove, pictured
    at the top left of the page, 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.

  • VitalGrill Survival Stove. Pictured immediate 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:  Hobo stove (mixed fuel options - charcoal, biomass, sterno, paraffin
wax).
Some stoves offer a variety of fuel options. Below are stoves that accept
charcoal, a sterno or biomass as fuel sources:

  • 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. Sterno is safer than liquid fuels and you'll find they are
easy to store an inexpensive. Sterno brand cooking fuel is non-toxic, biodegradable
and water soluble. 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 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. The fuel
is safe and easy to store and use.

  • 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 immediate 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. 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
    at the top of the page is a top seller and ships for around $77 and with free
    shipping. InstaStart technology means it's matchless! Coleman's PerfectFlow
    appliance regulates the pressure of the propane to provide a consistent
    cooking performance without flaring or flickering. It takes propane bottles.

  • 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!

  • Camp Chef three burner (propane stove). Pictured at the bottom of the
    page, the Camp Chef three-burner stove can run on a 5-lbs propane tank.

  • 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.

  • 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
    left, is just $22.40 with free available shipping on orders of $25 or more. It's so
    easy to add an useful prepper tools for under ten dollars to save on the
    shipping.

Method #7: Kerosene. 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 # 8: Alcohol Stove. 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 &
    Trekking Cookset, pictured right is made of extremely light, hard-anodized
    aluminum.

Method #9 Blended Fuels (Butane/Propane Mixed Fuel Stoves). Blended fuels offer
the capability of improved cooking in below-freezing conditions.

  • Ultra light Backpacking Canister Camp Stove with Piezo Ignition. Just 3.9oz,
    the Ultralight Backpacking stove, pictured immediate right has had more than
    670 4.5-star reviews! You will appreciate this totally inexpensive starter stove
    as the most important piece of hiking equipment to own. Believe it or not, you
    can have it shipped to you for under $6 and with included shipping. Works with
    Coleman butane/propane mix fuel.

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.

  • 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. Solar cooking has been around for centuries, but up to now, not
    many people have had the opportunity to try cooking with the sun. 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

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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