Small rocket stove makes for an efficient offgrid or camping stove

EcoZoom Versa rocket stove
© EcoZoom

In some circles, using the term rocket stove will be met with raised eyebrows and a puzzled look, but in permaculture, prepper, and DIY communities, it will be followed by a lively discussion about the merits of these efficient and clean-burning stoves.

If you're not familiar with the concept of a rocket stove, in a nutshell, they burn small diameter sticks (or other biomass) in a high-temperature combustion chamber to ensure virtually complete combustion of the fuel, which not only makes for a cleaner burn, but a more efficient one, and use only about half as much fuel as an open fire.

There's a lot of interest about integrating rocket stoves with mass (or masonry) heaters in homes, in order to get the most amount of heat from the least amount of fuel, but a rocket stove on its own can be mighty useful, whether you want to use it for outdoor cooking, for a camping stove, or for an emergency preparedness kit. For those that want to build their own rocket stove, a variety of plans and instructional videos for DIY rocket stoves are all over the web, but if you just want to buy one readymade, EcoZoom offers several sizes, from small personal models to a cabin or home-sized one.

© EcoZoom
The EcoZoom Dura rocket stove measures 10 3/4" by 11 1/2", weighs about 21 pounds, and features a ceramic combustion chamber covered with a refractory metal liner (to prolong the life of the stove and increase efficiency), a cast iron stove top for cooking, a "stick support" for holding the fuel, and a removable kiln-fired bottom tile, all in a sheet metal body. The Dura retails for just $119, and while it's not quite a backpacking stove, it is small and portable enough to make a great addition to a car camping trip or for backyard cooking.

The Versa model (seen at the top), as the name suggests, is a bit more versatile of a rocket stove than the Dura, as it's designed to burn not just sticks, but also charcoal or other dry biomass. It measures 11" by 12 1/2", weighs about 27 pounds, and has similar features as the Dura, but also includes a hinged door and internal grate for burning charcoal, as well as damper door for increased air flow. The Versa retails for about $129, and could be a better option than the Dura for longevity and the use of other fuels than sticks.

EcoZoom also offers "lite" versions of both of these small rocket stoves that could lighten the load for camping trips, and they offer a large rocket stove, the Plancha, with a double burner and integrated chimney, which could be appropriate for a cabin, outdoor kitchen, or disaster relief efforts.

The company is a certified B Corporation and social enterprise that is working to make clean cookstoves accessible and affordable in developing countries, both for increased health and safety for the users, and to reduce the environmental impact of cookstoves in the developing world.

Tags: Appropriate Technology | Technology

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