by Kevin Card, a great friend and extraordinary prepper
I have cooked outdoors with various methods for 50+ years. Each method has its positives and negatives. But I had found no solution that met all the criteria that are important when long-term off-grid cooking. I love rocket stoves for cooking. They use little wood and burn cleanly. I built my own and like it better that most commercial versions. But a rocket stove alone, doesn’t provide an important cooking method that is essential for others and me with stored wheat. One of the best ways to eat wheat is to bake it. I needed an efficient, clean way to bake.
On a sunny day, a sun oven is a great method for baking. But on a cloudy day, a sun oven is not an option. That is why my solution is so valuable. It works whether it is sunny, cloudy, windy, snowy, rainy or calm. It works in any weather. This is important because I can’t control the weather, but I can control how I prepare for living off-grid in any kind of weather.
I had a chimney oven that was purchased with my Cylinder Stoves tent stove. It works well with the tent stove, but that is used inside my tent in cold weather for heating and cooking. And the tent stove uses a lot of wood and I would never want to use that large stove to cook in warm weather. I wouldn’t be able to be in my tent it would be so hot. I needed a better solution.
The inspiration came to me in the wee hours of the morning on how to connect my rocket stove and the chimney oven. It was a cold, snowy, February afternoon when I cooked my first loaf of bread. It worked! The Rocket Stoven was born. I have made a number of modifications since that first successful test, and now have a solution that can be successfully used by everyone to cook efficiently in any kind of weather.
Here are the important factors I considered when designing the Rocket Stoven:
- What do I do with all of my stored wheat?
- Use in any kind of weather
- Dual usage
- Long lasting
- Saves money
- Cooks cleanly
- Able to regulate temperature
- Can be used outside or inside a tent
What do I do with all of my stored wheat? - If you are like me, you have a lot of stored wheat. I have a wheat grinder and can make flour for bread, cakes, and pastries. But how would I bake it? My sun oven will work when there is sun. A Dutch oven will work until the briquettes run out. I have cooked bread in a Dutch oven with wood coals but it takes a lot of wood and time to get the coals just right. If I want to bake bread efficiently, consistently and timely, I need an oven.
Fuel-efficient - The Rocket Stoven uses only 4 or 5 sticks of wood to bake anything you would bake in your oven or cook on your stove or do both at the same time. If you want to continue to bake/cook just add a few more sticks. The Rocket Stoven conserves wood, briquettes, coal, or anything that burns. Once the fire starts it creates a natural draw for air to the burn chamber to keep the fire going.
Use in any kind of weather - I have used a Dutch oven enough to know that wind and rain are the enemy. The nice thing about the Rocket Stoven is it can be used in the wind by placing the burn chamber opening in the opposite direction of the wind. I have used it in a snowstorm and under a canopy in the rain.
Portable - The Rocket Stoven can be set up almost anywhere. The stove only weighs 23 lbs and the oven weighs 25 lbs. The stove has a convenient handle so you can easily carry it to put on a table, a forest service barbeque grill, or on the ground. The oven is attached with the collar clamp that provides a secure, stable connection.
Dual usage - The Rocket Stoven can be used as a stand-alone stove or you can attach the oven on top, providing two cooking areas. An oven to bake and a cooking surface on top where you can use a pot or pan. That way you can cook your sweet rolls and bacon and eggs at the same time for your breakfast. I cooked sweet rolls and 2 batches of cookies in the oven and sausage on top of the stove at the same time. The nice thing is I only used a handful of sticks. The oven comes with a cake pan and a cookie sheet.
Insulated - The burn chamber in the stove is insulated with pearlite to channel as much of the heat from the fire to the oven or upper cooking surface. Unlike a campfire where most of the heat is lost the Rocket Stoven directs the heat to your cooking surface or oven. The burn chamber generates temperatures well over 1000 degrees. (My heat gun only goes up that high) It gets so hot that the burn chamber glows red. With the oven on top of the stove, heat from the Rocket Stoven circulates completely around the oven chamber, providing an even heat for baking. Smoke does not come in contact with the food.
Long lasting - The simple design will last for years. The burn chamber is made of 1/8 inch steel unlike many of the commercial ones that use sheet metal. The potholder, angle iron stand, and 4 wide metal plate are designed to withstand the high temperatures generated in the burn chamber.
Saves money - There are many types and styles of rocket stoves. Some homemade versions are made of a #10 can or cinder blocks. There are commercial versions that cost over $300. When designing the Rocket Stoven I wanted to provide exceptional functionality, value and durability.
Cooks cleanly - The burn in the Rocket Stoven is much cleaner than an open fire. Once the fire is going there is very little smoke. Because of the high temperatures in the burn chamber most of the wood is consumed and all that is left is ash.
Able to regulate temperature - Oven temperatures, up to 500°, can be regulated by controlling the amount of fuel in the Rocket Stoven and by opening the oven door a small amount. The oven includes a thermometer that measures the temperature inside the oven. I have found that the actual inside temperature is hotter than what the thermometer says. I will share more information on cooking temperatures in a subsequent blog. The door latch, with a wire-ring handle is easy to use, even when hot.
Can be used outside or inside a tent - If you already have a Cylinder Stoves Chimney Oven, you can simply remove the oven during warm weather and attach it on the Rocket Stoven outside. For use inside the tent, the Rocket Stoven provides the fuel efficiency of a rocket stove. If you already have a tent stove you can simply take the stove flue off the tent stove and move your Rocket Stoven Combo under the flue attaching the flue to the top of the oven. Now you can use the Rocket Stoven Combo to do all your baking inside a tent, using far less fuel than the tent stove.
Unique - This design is the only of its kind. It provides a stovetop and an oven that is portable, clean, efficient, versatile and safe. The Rocket Stoven Combo is the best solution for those who want to bake and cook at the same time.