By Tara Dodrill
Survival cooking can involve something as simple as a campfire, a homemade and portable system, or its commercial equivalent. A fire source is needed when camping or during a disaster not just to heat food, but to purify water and provide heat to prevent hypothermia and frostbite as well.
Want to give survival cooking a try? Try these methods:
1. The Crisis Cooker allows users to make hot meals when living off the grid or during a disaster. The lightweight cooking system is designed to function with charcoal, wood or propane as fuel to grill, bake, boil or fry food – hence all the complimentary versatility reviews. Some folks have even cooked an entire Thanksgiving dinner with just 12 charcoal briquettes. It is not uncommon for a typical meal to be cooked with about six briquettes on the Crisis Cooker. Once the charcoal (or basically any other type of fuel uses) is lit, the cooking system is ready to heat your meal in about 10 minutes. A chicken dinner will go from the Crisis Cooker to you plate in just under an hour. The cooking system weighs about 25 pounds and is capable of making two meals per day for about three weeks from a 25 pound bag of charcoal.
2. The Hot Water Rocket is another popular and dependable survival cooking system, producing extremely hot water in a short amount of time. The water can be used for coffee and tea, to boil dinner ingredients, to sterilize baby bottles and medical equipment, as well as purification system for drinking water. The Hot Water Rocket weighs only about two pounds and is less than two-feet tall – adding to its portability. The system can turn a pint of ice cold water into boiling liquid ready for pasta in about an hour. The Hot Water Rocket’s interior vacuum tube is filled with water inside the rocket. Two parabolic reflectors unfold in order to capture the rays of the sun and point them directly toward the tube.
3. Rocket stoves are also popular for their quick-heating attributes. There are many varieties of the stoves, all similar in function, many of them homemade. The typical cost of such a portable stove is about $100. The stoves utilize small twigs, dry leaves, and other types of small tinder to quickly start a sustainable fire. Just five common twigs can create enough fuel to boil a pot of water rather quickly. A very simple and inexpensive homemade rocket stove utilizes nothing more than common bricks to create a fully-functioning rocket stove — although not a portable one.
4. A rocket mass heater is similar to a rocket stove but a whole lot larger. The wood-burning stove is also a masonry heater and can also be used as a heating system. Typical homemade rocket mass stoves feed wood into a “J” shaped combustion chamber where the gases are then pushed via the heat to a thoroughly insulated brick or metal secondary combustion chamber. Exhaust from the rocket mass heater passes through the horizontal metal duct work embedded with a large cob thermal store large enough to retain heat for quite a few hours. This type of survival stove and heating system is commonly used in permaculture designs and in “natural” buildings constructed specifically to address off-the-grid living needs. The stoves would also be beneficial for cabins and bug-out retreats where warmth and cooking needs must be addressed economically.
5. Barrel stoves are yet another non-portable survival cooking option that serve as a way to warm food and purify water while providing heat for the dwelling. Barrel stoves are doable for those with a DIY mindset. One 55-gallon steel drum, some standard tools, screws, hinges, L-brackets, and carriage bolts are all that is needed to make this survival stove and heating system. Simply drill a hole along the top edge of the drum and use a jigsaw with a metal cutting blade to remove the lid. The lid will ultimately be used as the firebox floor. Use the saw to cut two openings on the side of the barrel, directly across from one another on opposite sides. A stovepipe about five inches in diameter is placed on top of the surface area of uncut end of the drum near the back edge. Specific directions on how to craft a barrel stove shared by Backwoods Home should guide an individual familiar with the tools required to complete the stove and heating unit in just a single afternoon.
6. A portable single log stove is yet another simple DIY cooking source which is also quite portable. Use a corded high-torque drill to make a 6-inch deep hole in the center of the log. Drill another hole which intersects the first at its bottom. Before using twigs, leaves, or straw to get a fire going in the hole, place about four flat rocks on the hole at the end of the log to use as a tripod for the cook pot.
7. Hobo stoves are also easy to make, and very lightweight. The stoves will not allow you to use a Dutch oven to cook a Thanksgiving dinner like the Crisis Oven, but will work just fined to heat long-term storage food packet meals, heat water, or warm a can of soup. Cut off the bottom of a coffee can or #10 can. Then cut a 4-inch square door along the lower side of the can. Place the detached can bottom to rest on the inside of the top of the can. While you still have the can upside down for the detached bottom placement, punch a few smoke ventilation holes near the rim with a manual can opener. The metal which is turned inside the can during this process will serve as supports for the detached bottom which is now on the top of the can. Punch or drill two tiny holes on each side of the 4-inch square door piece from the hole cut near the bottom of the can. Insert a bolt, washer, and nut and secure the door just loosely in place over the opening.
This article first appeared at Off The Grid News: The 7 Greatest Off-Grid Stoves For Survival Cooking