Friday, February 6, 2015

DIY Hobo Stove

DIY Hobo Stove
This past week I tested a variety of Hobo stove which is one of the most cost effective heat sources you can build. This stove only cost $3.18 to build and was quite effective at boiling a full Pathfinder Bush Pot. I designed this stove as an alternative to building a fire during hunting season when I want to minimize my impact on the hunting grounds and found this setup worked perfectly not only for heating but also for cooking due to the stable platform it afforded for the bush pot. First let me say I don't recommend that you use these style stoves inside due to the potential for CO (if the toilet paper burns too much) but I did test the stove with a four gas monitor and PID to ensure that it could be used inside without creating a deadly situation. I got no toxic gas readings (you will hear two beeps in the video and those are battery warnings). So things to think about if you are planning on using this thing inside a) ventilate well if you can, b) ensure there is no chemical residue (aside from alcohol) on any of the areas exposed to fire, c) use an alternative method when possible (a simple alcohol stove is safer). So without further delay lets get into how to build this thing! The video shows the building process and boil test while the picture tutorial below provides a few more details to the process.

Hobo Stove Tutorial:
1) This stove is SIMPLE to build and costs less than $4.00 to cook several meals or to heat a room for over three hours. You simply need to acquire the following items: a) standard roll of toilet paper, b) large soup/tomato juice can,  c) rubbing alcohol, d) metal can the size of a paint can (this stove can be made without this step but it helps greatly when using it with the pathfinder bushpot).
2) Remove the cardboard from the roll of toilet paper by squeezing the roll while pulling on the card board. You may have to wiggle it a little but it should come out quite easily.
 3) Stuff that roll of toilet paper into the can keeping it as close to whole as possible
4) Saturate the toilet paper with alcohol and ensure that there is at least 1" of alcohol above the toilet paper but leave at least two inches from the top of the can if possible. I have found that one bottle will boil the bush pot 3-4 times if you don't mind burning the toilet paper, but if you are going to use this stove inside DON'T allow you toilet paper to char and please try to keep good ventilation just in case you do have charring which would create smoke and possibly CO. So if possible use outside, if not possible try making a straight alcohol stove like the one I built a few months ago (Find more information here-LINK), if still not possible use this stove but ensure there is no charring of the toilet paper and alcohol stays above the level of the toilet paper. 
5) Place the soup can into the center of the paint can. If you are going to make this stove mobile or would like a little more heat from your stove pack the area around the internal can with sand to ensure that the internal can is not able to shift. Only pack sand up to 1/2-1" below the top of the internal can.
6) Strike your ferro rod into the can which will ignite the fumes. In place of a ferro rod you can also use a lighter to light the fumes but do so on the very edge of the outer can to save yourself from a burn, thus why I perfer using a ferro rod. 
7) The flame should extend at least one foot from the top of the outer can if the stove is performing correctly. If you are not getting this level of flame you most likely need to add more alcohol or a higher percentage of alcohol. 
8) When ready to cook utilizing this setup simply place the Pathfinder Bush Pot stove stand into the groves of the paint can which should give you an extremely secure cooking platform.
9) Place your bushpot onto the stove and get to cooking!
10) Boil times take awhile when using cold water in a full bushpot but not so long as the render this method ineffective.
11)  To regulate the flame you may utilize the inner or outer can lid to simply close off some of the surface area through which flame may be exposed. The less flame you allow the longer the burn time you will get from the stove.
12) To put the stove out merely close the lid of the inner or outer container and it will remove the oxygen thus eliminating one section of the fire tetrahedron and snuffing out the flame.

Don’t Want To Build Your Own Hobo Stove? Try some of these alternatives:

I love this little portable stove. It is great for taking into an area where there are fire restrictions and it is perfect to use with the pathfinder bush pot stove stand as a platform and I can't say enough about how stable this whole setup is when working together. While I prefer to use a traditional campfire I came up with this design out of necessity during hunting season to help minimize my foot print and one full container lasted the entire deer season. I look forward to hearing your comments about other DIY stoves you have made and other ideas you have to possibly improve this particular stove. 

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1 comment:

  1. I can't find a distributor in the US either. However if you go on Craiglist or Ebay you will find used ones at good prices. These things are darn near indestructible. :-) The trick is to find a used one near you so that you don't have to pay too much for shipping. Give it a shot and if you find a good source, come back and share it.