As we saw in our article on the best wood burning backpacking stoves, wood-based cooking provides a cost-effective mechanism for preparing your food with almost no fuel cost as dry wood chips, pine cones, leaves, twigs etc can be used as fuel. In the article, we primarily focused on personal wood-burning stoves suitable for one or two people.
But what if you are looking for a stove for a larger group at the base camp? Or a wood stove that can provide more efficient cooking and can also be used in survival and emergency situations? What you need is to get a wood-burning rocket stove. Rocket stoves are simple but highly efficient biomass stoves that provide near-complete combustion with minimal smoke and residue.
So, which are the best rocket stoves in the market for camping and survival?
In this article, we will focus on answering exactly the same question and list some of the best rocket stoves for camping, survival and emergency preparedness. We will also summarize how these stoves are different from other types of camping stoves and the factors you should keep in mind before picking the best rocket stove for your next outdoor adventure.
For a compiled view of the different types of camping and backpacking stoves, check out our article on the best stoves for camping and backpacking, which discusses different types of backpacking stoves and the situations in which they are useful.
Best rocket stoves list
Some of the best rocket stoves for camping, survival and emergency preparedness are listed below:
|Picture||Product||Size & Weight|
|EcoZoom Versa Rocket Survival Stove||Open: 13.5” x 12.8” x 12.2”
Packed: 11.2” x 11.2” x 10.5”
|Hot Ash Titanium Mini Rocket Stove||Open: 5.9” x 5.9” x 7.4”
Packed: 7” x 2.3” x 1.5”
|StoveTec Big Foot Rocket Survival Stove||Open: 11” x 11” x 12.5”
Packed: 11” x 11” x 12.5”
|Kelly Kettle Base Camp Aluminum Rocket Stove||Open: 7.3” x 7.3” x 15”
Packed: 7.3” x 7.3” x 13”
|Envirofit M-5000 Rocket Stove||Open: 10.4” x 10.4” x 11”
Packed: 10.4” x 10.4” x 11”
|Bruntmor Camping Rocket Stove||Open: 10” x 4.5” x 12”/13.5”
Packed: 10” x 4” x 11”
|Rocket King Camping Rocket Stove||Open: 6” x 6” x 9”
Packed: 6” x 9” x 1”
|EcoZoom Dura Rocket Survival Stove||Open: 13.2” x 13” x 12.5”
Packed: 10.2” x 10.2” x 9.5”
|SilverFire 2nd Gen Survivor Rocket Stove||Open: 9.5” x 9.5” x 12.5”
Packed: 9.0” x 9.0” x 12.5”
|Affirm Global Wood-burning EZY Stove||Open: 11” x 11” x 10”
Packed: 10” x 10” x 9”
|Marsh Kettles Mini Rocket Stove||Open: 8” x 8” x 3.5”
Packed: 8” x 8” x 1”
|BioLite CampStove 2 Bundle||Open: 5” x 5” x 14”
Packed: 5” x 5” x 7.9”
2.06 lbs. stove
4.96 lbs. bundle
What are rocket stoves?
A rocket stove is an efficient, wood-burning stove that can produce clean, high-temperature combustion while using dry wood twigs, branches, pine cones, leaves and other biomass as fuel. (Some camping and survival rocket stoves are also advertised to work with charcoal, but that is not the primary fuel for such stoves).
Rocket stoves are considerably more efficient than other wood-burning stoves and cheaper to use than large propane or liquid-fuel stoves because of almost negligible fuel costs. Rocket stoves are available in different designs and sizes ranging from small 4-5 person stoves to large 8-10 people stoves.
The simplest rocket stoves used for camping and survival, have a simple J-tube (or right-angle, L-tube) design, as shown below. Once the fuel is lit, the fire burns sideways because of the air draft. This air hits the back of the stove, creating turbulence and providing secondary combustion for the fuel. Because of this bottom chamber, the pre-heated air combines with the secondary combustion to create a clean, super-hot fire.
Rocket stoves are a perfect choice for boiling water and cooking during family camping, survival camping, boy/girl scout trips, mountaineering base camps, cabins and emergency preparedness. They also work well as tent or campsite heaters. But because of their heavier weight (most rocket stoves weigh in excess of 2.5+ lbs.) and large carry sizes, such stoves are generally not suitable for hiking or backpacking. Moreover, since most stoves do not have a long chimney or exhaust hood, rocket stoves are generally not suitable for cooking in small cramped spaces such as tents, unless you have a decent ventilation.
In the next sections, we will look at some of the best rocket stoves for camping and survival and also share the factors to consider before picking the best rocket stove for your next outdoor excursion or emergency situations.
Which are the best rocket stoves for camping and survival?
Material: Stainless-steel body with ceramic fiber insulation and cast iron pot stovetop. Reinforced metal door frames and powder-coated stainless-steel wire fuel shelf.
- Open: 13.5” x 12.8” x 12.2”
- Packed: 11.2” x 11.2” x 10.5”
Weight: 17 lbs.
Thermal Output: 23,000 BTU/h maximum.
- Premium two-door rocket stove that works with wood, biomass as well as charcoal fuels. Made in China under EcoZoom quality control measures.
- Features a stainless steel body with three-pronged cast iron stovetop, abrasion-resistant ceramic fiber insulation that is secured by a metallic liner for better durability and performance.
- Fully insulated body provides clean, efficient cooking with 30+% thermal efficiency. A damper door helps in regulating the air-flow.
- Comes with a removable fuel shelf support that makes it easy to continuously feed the solid biomass or wood into the stove while cooking.
- Supports wide pots and pans over 12-15″ in diameter with the included three-pronged, recessed cast iron cooktop. Suitable for frying, boiling as well as simmer cooking. Works with both flat and rounded pots.
- Equipped with silicone-covered stainless-steel handles for easy carry and setup. Floor/tile ring provides stability.
- Available in a single gray color and backed by a one-year warranty against manufacturing defects.
- The manufacturer also offers a bunch of accessories such as power rings and carry bags, that are compatible with Dura and other EcoZoom stoves.
EcoZoom has been at the forefront of the rocket stove technology for years and the latest EcoZoom Versa Rocket Survival Stove is one of their best-designed portable rocket stoves. So, no wonder, this rocket stove is our favorite pick for the best rocket stove.
The EcoZoom Versa Rocket Survival Stove features an all-metal, stainless-steel construction with abrasion-resistant ceramic fiber insulation in the burn chamber that is secured by a metallic liner for better durability and performance. The stove has a three-pronged cast iron drip pan that is slightly recessed to support flat as well as rounded cooking pots and pans. Like all other EcoZoom rocket stoves, the EcoZoom Versa is designed in the US and made in China under strict quality and safety control guidelines by a family-owned manufacturer.
The EcoZoom Versa Rocket Survival Stove has one of the best designs among rocket stoves. It has two doors, both of which are equipped with reinforced metal casing frames. One door acts as a fuel shelf window, while the other door can act as a damper (or charcoal shelf) to control the air-flow and flame temperature. The stove comes with a removable fuel shelf support that makes it easy to continuously feed the solid biomass or wood into the stove while cooking. This two-door design means that the EcoZoom stove can support wood, solid biomass as well as charcoal as fuel – a big plus over many other biomass stoves.
In terms of thermal efficiency, the EcoZoom Versa is one of the most efficient wood-burning stoves. It can attain a thermal output of 23,000 BTU and can boil 1-liter of water in well under 5 minutes, that too with only 2-3 twigs as fuel. The stove is designed to support pots and pans up to 12″-15″ of diameter and works well for boiling water, cooking, frying and even simmering food. Weighing at 17 lbs. and with open dimensions of 13.5″ x 12.8″ x 12.2″, it is not the lightest rocket stoves by any means, and hence can support heavy Dutch-oven cookware weighing up to 12-15 lbs.
The Versa Rocket stove is equipped with silicone-covered stainless-steel handles for easy carry and setup. It also has a silicone/plastic Floor ring to provide stability while cooking.
The manufacturer also offers a bunch of accessories such as power rings and carry bags. And if you are looking for a smaller rocket stove, you can check out the best-selling and cheaper 13 lbs. EcoZoom Dura Rocket Survival Stove. And like other EcoZoom stoves, the EcoZoom Versa rocket stove is backed by a one-year warranty against manufacturing defects.
Material: 0.020” Titanium chimney and burn chamber. Aluminum support legs.
- Open: 5.9” x 5.9” x 7.4”
- Packed: 7” x 2.3” x 1.5”
Weight: 0.9 lbs.
Thermal Output: 3,500+ BTU/h approximately.
- Innovative, ultralight camping and survival rocket stove with a titanium chimney and burn chamber and aluminum support legs. Successful product out of the Kickstarter campaign and made in the USA.
- Improved design with primary and secondary combustion, burns hot and efficient to heat 1L of water in around 6-7 minutes with just twigs and biomass as fuel (no charcoal).
- Extremely lightweight, compact and portable. All the parts nest within the stove chimney for easy transportation. Requires some skill for proper assembly with a Philips screwdriver.
- Aluminum legs provide extra stability during cooking. The stove can support pots and pans up to 10″-12″ in diameter.
- Available in a single metallic finish and backed by the best-in-class, lifetime warranty. Suitable for backpacking, camping and emergency preparedness.
- A heavier and bigger, 2 lbs. Hot Ash Stainless Steel Rocket Stove is also available from the same manufacturer.
If you are looking for a lightweight rocket stove for your camping or backpacking trip or a biomass stove to add to your bug-out bag for emergencies, then look no further than the innovative Hot Ash Titanium Mini Rocket Stove. Since 2015, Hot Ash has been coming up with smartly-designed cooking stoves through multiple Kickstarter projects and the Titanium Mini stove is one of their latest innovative products.
The Hot Ash Titanium Mini Rocket Stove features an aircraft-grade, 0.020” titanium body (both chimney and burn chamber) with aluminum support legs. Its titanium body keeps the overall stove weight quite manageable – the complete stove weighs under 1 pound and hence a truly ultralight wood-burning stove option.
One of the best features of the Hot Ash Mini Stove is its improved J/L-type rocket stove design. Once you light your fuel, the fire burns sideways because of the drafted air and produces a secondary burn to create a super-hot fire.
The stove is equipped with front and rear aluminum legs that provide extra stability during cooking. The Hot Ash stove can support pots and pans up to 10″-12″ in diameter – a big plus when compared to canister stoves. The stove is pretty compact and nests to a small 7” x 2.3” size when collapsed. Assembly is a bit tricky, but with the provided instructions, you can assemble the stove fairly comfortably.
The Hot Ash Titanium Mini Rocket Stove is available in a single metallic finish and backed by the best-in-class, lifetime warranty – indeed a big testament to its construction quality and reliability. And if you are looking for a bigger option, the manufacturer also offers a 2-lbs. Hot Ash Stainless Steel Rocket Stove.
Material: Painted steel-sheet body with ceramic fiber insulation and cast iron pot stovetop. Powder-coated steel wire fuel shelf. Heat-resistant steel and thermoplastic handles.
- Open: 11” x 11” x 12.5”
- Packed: 11” x 11” x 12.5”
Weight: 22 lbs. stove; 24 lbs. shipping weight.
Thermal Output: 19,000+ BTU/h approximately.
- Popular, two-door, multi-fuel rocket survival stove with a heavy-duty steel construction, abrasion-resistant ceramic burn chamber and cast iron heat ring. Made in China for the Oregon-based manufacturer.
- Innovative two-door design (one damper door) allows for both high-power cooking (boiling and frying) and lower temperature simmering with minimal residue. The metal liner on damper and fuel doors provide more durability and better combustion.
- Features a proven, efficient design that provides a thermal efficiency of 30+% and can burn woods, biomass as well as charcoal. Can boil 1L of water in around 4 minutes.
- Supports pots and pans up to 12”-15” in diameter with its six-pronged cast iron stovetop.
- Available in a single color and backed by an industry-leading ten-year manufacturer warranty. Also available as a Combo with the stove and the StoveTec Super pot.
- A smaller and cheaper, one-door StoveTec Cascadia Rocket Stove is also available from the same manufacturer.
Material: Anodized aluminum with thermoplastic kettle stopper.
- Open: 7.3” x 7.3” x 15”
- Packed: 7.3” x 7.3” x 13”
Weight: 2.45 lbs. kettle + stove; 4.96 lbs. bundle.
Thermal Output: 18,000+ BTU/h approximately.
Price: $$ to $$$ depending upon the size.
- Multi-use camping kettle and stove that has been a popular choice for campers, scouts, preppers and survivalists for over 100 years. Made in the United Kingdom or China for the Ireland-based manufacturer.
- Features a 54-oz anodized aluminum kettle with a firebase and a kettle stopper. The kettle can be used to boil water and rehydrate food, while the fire-base can also be used to cook meals using pots and pans up to 7-8” in diameter.
- Includes a carrying handle and a carry bag for easy transportation. To reduce the carrying weight, the cooking stove base can be removed or carried separately.
- Produces a clean burn and the kettle does not require frequent clean-up. To clean use an oven-cleaner spray and wipe with paper towel.
- Available in three sizes and backed by a two-year manufacturer warranty. Stainless Steel model (made in China) is also available.
- A Kelly Kettle Base Camp Cooking Bundle with cooking stove, cooking and eating utensils and a carrying case is also available from the same manufacturer.
Material: Heavy-duty steel body with a patented metal alloy combustion chamber having fiberglass insulation. Cast iron drip pan. Wood-steel carrying handles.
- Open: 10.4” x 10.4” x 11”
- Packed: 10.4” x 10.4” x 11”
Weight: 9.2 lbs.
Thermal Output: 10,000+ BTU/h approximately.
- High-quality, durable rocket survival stove with painted-steel plate body and patented metal alloy combustion chamber. Made in Kenya, Africa for the Colorado, US-based manufacturer.
- Next-generation model for the popular G-3300 wood-burning rocket stove with improved design and fuel efficiency with lighter weight (about 2 lbs. lighter)
- Designed to support 12”-13” pots and pans over a six-pronged cast iron stove top. Metal stove legs provide additional stability.
- Patented combustion system that provides 30% thermal efficiency and uses up to 60% less fuel than open fires to reduce toxic emissions by up to 80%.
- A Go-Grill Grilling accessory is sold separately. Backed by a one-year manufacturer warranty.
Material: Heavy-duty carbon steel body with a rust-resistant powder coating. Cast iron stovetop and stove legs.
- Open: 10” x 4.5” x 12”/13.5”
- Packed: 10” x 4” x 11”
Weight: 14 lbs.
Thermal Output: 10,000+ BTU/h approximately.
- Heavy-duty, portable rocket stove featuring an all-metal steel construction with cast-iron cooktop. Made in China under the US-based manufacturer’s quality control measures.
- A 10″ combustion tunnel produces ample heat to boil water or cook food. Comes with a stabilizing stand for ground clearance and better air circulation while cooking.
- Built-in, cast iron plates provide a stable cooking surface and also act as a windshield. Works with pots and pans up to 11”-12″ in diameter.
- Extremely easy to assemble/disassemble and packs to a small size within the can/tunnel for easy transportation. Provides tool-free assembly in under 5 minutes. Also comes with a carrying handle.
- Available in a single black metal color and backed by a one-year warranty against manufacturing defects.
Material: 16-gauge (0.0625”) stainless-steel body. Canvas carrying bag.
- Open: 6” x 6” x 9”
- Packed: 6” x 9” x 1”
Weight: 2.88 lbs.
Thermal Output: 3,500+ BTU/h approximately.
- Portable, flat-pack rocket stove with a durable, rust-free stainless steel construction. A successful product out of the Kickstarter campaign based in the US.
- Smart design that provides quick, clean burning of wood and biomass with minimal residue. Can boil 1-liter of water under 5 minutes.
- Easy to assemble and disassemble without tools. Features four sides that notch together with an angled fire-floor/feed ramp for fuel.
- Extremely portable (packs flat) and lightweight at under 3 lbs. Comes with a Fabric bag with snap-button enclosure for easy transportation
- Comes with an anchoring stake for extra stability. Works well for pots and pans up to 6”-7” in diameter.
- Backed by a satisfaction guaranteed commitment by the manufacturer.
Material: Stainless-steel body with ceramic fiber insulation and cast iron pot stovetop. Powder-coated stainless-steel wire fuel shelf.
- Open: 13.2” x 13” x 12.5”
- Packed: 10.2” x 10.2” x 9.5”
Weight: 13 lbs.
Thermal Output: 19,000 BTU/h approximately.
- The best-selling, smaller and lighter alternative to the popular EcoZoom Versa rocket stove. Made in China under EcoZoom quality control measures.
- Features a stainless steel body with three-pronged cast iron stovetop, abrasion-resistant ceramic fiber insulation and silicone-covered stainless-steel handles.
- Fully insulated body provides clean, efficient cooking with 30+% thermal efficiency. Burns wood and biomass (no charcoal support).
- Supports wide pots and pans over 12-15″ in diameter with the included three-pronged cast iron cooktop.
- Comes with a removable fuel shelf support that makes it easy to continuously feed the biomass or wood into the stove while cooking.
- Available in a single blue color and backed by a one-year warranty against manufacturing defects.
- The manufacturer also offers a bunch of accessories such as power rings and carry bags, that are compatible with Dura and other EcoZoom stoves.
Material: Stainless-steel body with black heat-resistant paint and cast iron pot support. Solid stainless-steel fuel shelf.
- Open: 9.5” x 9.5” x 12.5”
- Packed: 9.0” x 9.0” x 12.5”
Weight: 12.5 lbs.
Thermal Output: 5,500+ BTU/h approximately.
- High-end, premium rocket stove with a solid stainless-steel, all-metal body, cast iron pot support and solid stainless-steel fuel shelf. Made in China.
- Improved, more compact design with better insulation, 5 pot-supports stove top, additional temperature reducing baffle plate and a fuel gauge.
- Features the best-in-class thermal efficiency of more than 35% with a thermal output of more than 5,500+ BTU/h (1.5 KW). Designed to use minimal fuel and provide near-complete combustion with fine ash as residue.
- Equipped with combustion chamber door and heat reducing baffles for more thermal efficiency and quicker cooling down.
- Backed by a two-year manufacturer warranty. Suitable for all types of outdoor uses.
- A 1.7-gallon SilverFire Dragon Pot is also available from the same manufacturer for use as rocket stove pot.
Material: All-metal, stainless-steel body with heat-resistant powder coating.
- Open: 11” x 11” x 10”
- Packed: 10” x 10” x 9”
Weight: 6.2 lbs.
Thermal Output: 6,500 BTU/h approximately.
- Unique wood-burning rocket stove with an all-metal construction. Designed in Sweden and manufactured in China.
- Improved design provides efficient, super-hot fire that uses 40% less wood and produces 70% less emissions when compared to open-fire burning.
- Comes with a stabilizing pot-holder frame to support large pots and pans up to 12″ in diameter.
- Easy snap-up, tool-free assembly and disassembly. However, not as portable as plate-type rocket stoves.
- Available in three color combinations and backed by a 60-day hassle-free money back guarantee. Competitively priced.
Material: 0.125” solid carbon-steel plate with a rust-resistant coating.
- Open: 8” x 8” x 3.5”
- Packed: 8” x 8” x 1”
Weight: 6 lbs.
Thermal Output: 5000 BTU/h approximately.
- Self-feeding, mini rocket stove made of high-quality 0.125″ carbon steel plates with a rust-resistant coating. Made in the US (Jacksonville, Florida) by a veteran-supporting manufacturer.
- An 8″ combustion tunnel produces ample heat to boil water or cook food on pots and pans up to 10”-11″ in diameter. Built-in windshield-cum-support plates provide a stable cooking surface.
- Suitable for cooking for camping, backyard, scouting, prepping and survival. Only recommended for outdoor use.
- Extremely easy to assemble/disassemble. Provides tool-free assembly within 3 minutes.
- Packs flat for easy transportation. Comes with a gunny carry bag for easy transportation.
- A larger 12 lbs. Marsh Kettles Flat Pack Rocket Stove is also available from the same manufacturer.
Material: Lightweight, stainless steel body with heat-resistant thermoplastic parts and stand.
- Open: 5” x 5” x 14”
- Packed: 5” x 5” x 7.9”
Weight: 2.06 lbs. stove; 4.96 lbs. bundle
Thermal Output: 3500 – 10,000 BTU/h approximately, adjustable by fan speed.
Price: $$ – $$$ depending upon the bundle items.
- Award-winning, integrated wood-burning stove that can grill, boil, cook, and even generate electricity to charge electronic devices. Made in China under the US-based company’s quality control measures.
- Improved thermoelectric design features 50% more power (boils 1-liter of water in 4.5 min), an integrated 2600 mAh battery and an updated LED dashboard for night-time cooking.
- Equipped with an internal fan that creates virtually smokeless flames to cook faster with cleaner air. The latest version has 4 fan speed settings. Suitable for pots and pans up to 10” in diameter and 8 lbs. in weight.
- The bundle is a complete camping kitchen that includes the camp stove with stuff sack, kettle pot with cover, grill with cover and LED lighting. A fire lighter is also included for easy ignition.
- Backed by a one-year manufacturer warranty.
Additional Options for wood-burning stoves
If you are someone who loves to get their hands dirty and try out Do-It-Yourself projects, then check out the article on the best DIY Rocket Stove designs by MorningChores. This article has an excellent compilation of clean, efficient rocket stove designs that are easy to replicate.
If you are looking for even larger wood-burning mass heaters for tent or cabin cooking, then you can check out the following best-selling wood camp stoves, in addition to the models that we listed above:
- TMS Portable Military Camping Wood Stove: Best-selling wood camping tent stove and heater with an efficient design and performance.
- Camp Chef Alpine Camping Wood Stove
- Winnerwell Woodlander Tent Stove
How to pick the best rocket stoves for camping and survival?
Though rocket stoves have such a simple design, you can find a lot of options in the market – each claiming to have the best design. But not all such stoves are reliable, and you should avoid picking a cheap, low-quality rocket stove with an unproven design as your primary stove for camping, survival or emergencies. If you are ever in doubt, pick one of our top recommendations and you would not be left out unsatisfied or hungry.
Once you have decided on the broad budget that you have, you need to look at a few important factors before picking the best rocket stove for camping and other outdoor adventures. These major considerations are summarized below:
- Building material of the stove
- Design of the stove
- Thermal efficiency and performance
- Size, weight and portability
- Additional Factors and Considerations
Building material of the stove
The manufacturing material of the combustion chamber and chimney, stove top and supporting parts such as the support legs and fuel shelf is an important factor as it governs the durability and reliability of the stove. Why else do you think there is so much variation in the price of these rocket stoves?
The best rocket stoves have a high-quality, hardened stainless or carbon steel metal body with a heat-resistant paint coating. This allows the stoves to withstand the heat and normal wear and tear for a long time. The only exception are the Hot Ash Titanium Mini Rocket Stove, which has an ultralight titanium body, and the Kelly Kettle Base Camp Aluminum Rocket Stove, which is available in an aluminum body as well.
Having an abrasion resistant insulation is also extremely important, especially for large rocket stoves. Some stoves only have metal liners in the combustion chambers. However, the best stoves have either fiberglass or superior ceramic insulation to provide better thermal efficiency. So, make sure you check the manufacturing material of the combustion chamber before zeroing in on the best option.
Large rocket stoves have cast iron cooktops and drip pans – that is where most of the weight of the stoves come from. Cast iron stovetops provide durability and better heat distribution. They also help in providing a stable cooking base with multi-pronged surface (more the number of prongs, better the support to the pots and pans).
Finally, the building material of the fuel shelf is also something to look out for. You can very well carry the stove without the shelf, but if you want a long-running fire, you would definitely need a sturdy fuel shelf to feed fuel in the stove even during use. Our top pick – the EcoZoom Versa Rocket Survival Stove has one of the best fuel shelves among rockets stoves (both in terms of construction quality and design).
Check out the building material of the stove and other supporting parts before picking the best rocket survival stove for your needs. If in doubt, pick one of our top choices, as we have listed only the most well-built and durable rocket stoves in the market.
Design of the stove
The design of the stove is probably the most important criterion as it governs all other important factors – cooking efficiency, weather performance and portability.
The major design features to check out are the design of the combustion chamber, the design and length of the chimney and the design of the fuel shelf and fuel feeding window.
If you are going for a large rocket stove, ensure that you pick one which has an abrasion-resistant insulated combustion chamber with an oversized chimney to provide enough air draft for complete secondary combustion. Having a metal liner also helps in improving the thermal efficiency and durability of the stove. A two-door design with a damper door also helps, especially if you want some flame control.
Pick a stove that has a wide, integrated stovetop that can provide a stable support for cooking pots and pans. Most of the options that we listed have three or more pronged support drip pans and stovetops to provide a stable cooking base for pots and pans of different sizes.
Among small rocket stoves, the Hot Ash Titanium Mini Rocket Stove probably has the best design features and hence a superior cooking performance. Among large rocket stoves, the two-EcoZoom Versa Rocket Survival Stove and StoveTec Big Foot Rocket Survival Stove are the best options because of their versatility and support for solid biomass as well as charcoal for fuel.
Check out the aforementioned design features before picking the best rocket stove for your needs.
Thermal Efficiency and Performance
Closely related to the design features of the stove are its thermal cooking efficiency and in-the-field performance. The more efficient a stove is, the lesser fuel it would need. Just keep in mind that the bigger the combustion chamber and chimney, the more heat a stove is capable of producing.
As mentioned above, rocket stoves provide cleaner, more efficient heating with minimal residue when compared to open fires and traditional wood-burning stoves. Still, some models perform better than others in terms of the overall thermal output.
We have been especially careful in listing out only the most efficient rocket stoves. Our top picks – the EcoZoom Versa Rocket Survival Stove has probably the best-in-class thermal performance (20,000+ BTU max.; 30+% efficiency) even in inclement weather conditions, closely followed by the StoveTec Big Foot Rocket Survival Stove and Envirofit M-5000 Rocket Stove which also have a comparable thermal output. Another newly re-designed stove – the SilverFire 2nd Gen Survivor Rocket Stove has exhibited a thermal efficiency of over 35% in tests and hence is a new standard to beat among rocket stoves.
Of course, the thermal efficiency of the stoves can be further improved by getting a heat ring. The ability of the stoves to have a built-in windscreen or support an external heat ring is another reason why rocket stoves have become so popular in recent times.
Check out the thermal ratings and performance analysis of the stoves before picking the best rocket stove for your next outdoor adventure. You can generally get this information from the product specifications, feedback or comparative reviews of the stove.
Size, Weight and portability
The size, weight and portability of the stove is also something to factor in before zeroing in on the best rocket stove.
Rocket stoves are not the lightest stoves to carry by any stretch of imagination and hence not suitable for hiking and backpacking. But they have high thermal efficiency, burn clean and do not require you to carry fuel separately and hence work really well for base camp cooking, scouting trips, family camping excursions and emergency survival situations. The only exception is the ultralight Hot Ash Titanium Mini Rocket Stove which weighs less than 1 lbs. and packs small enough to be suitable for hiking and backpacking as well.
We have listed two broad categories of rocket stoves – the small ones weigh less than 6 pounds and are suitable for boiling water and cooking for a group of 4-6 people. Stoves such as the Kelly Kettle Base Camp Aluminum Rocket Stove can even work for boiling water for a larger group. Most options in this category tend to pack small as well. Stoves such as the Rocket King Camping Rocket Stove and Marsh Kettles Mini Rocket Stove even pack flat when disassembled, hence making them particularly attractive choices if you are hard-pressed for space.
The second category of stoves that we have listed weigh over 6-7 pounds and work well for larger groups of 5-10 people. Our favorite picks – the EcoZoom Versa Rocket Survival Stove and StoveTec Big Foot Rocket Survival Stove are a couple of such option that work well for cooking for 6-10 people at one time.
Check out the overall size (both open and packed), weight and packability of the stove before picking the best rocket stove for your needs.
Additional factors and miscellaneous considerations
In addition to the major factors discussed above, there are some other miscellaneous considerations that can make a particular rocket stove a preferable option over other models
One such consideration is the accessories that come with the stove (or are available for purchase in the market). Most of the options that we listed do not include a lot of accessories, but manufacturers such as EcoZoom, StoveTec, Kelly Kettles and BioLite have a bunch of accessories such as carry bags, heat rings, cooking pots and grills available for purchase separately. These established manufacturers also offer replacement parts such as fuel shelves and stove cooktops in case the one with the stove gets damaged.
Finally, one of the most important additional consideration is the warranty offered on the stove by the manufacturer. The general rule of thumb is that longer the warranty period, the more reliable and durable the stove would be. Most of the options that we listed are backed by some excellent one or more year warranties, so you can use such stoves for a long time without worrying about their durability. The Hot Ash Titanium Mini Rocket Stove scores big in this category as this made in the US stove is backed by a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.
You can look at all these features to determine if they make a specific rocket stove a better choice over others.
Rocket Stove Cookware and Accessories
A commonly sought out accessory for the rocket stoves is the cookware – cooking pot and pan set. While rocket stoves can support larger size pots and pans (greater than 10” diameter), it is advisable to use only recommended cookware for cooking on such a stove. Many of the rocket stoves that we listed above come offer bundles which include the cookware along with the stove.
If you are looking for some generic cookware, you can consider the following cook sets:
- Stanley 4-person Base Camp Cook Set
- Winterial Camping Cookware and Pot Set
- GSI Outdoors – Pinnacle 4-person Cook Set
- One Earth Designs Camping Cookware Set
Since rocket stoves tend to get hot, you should always use heat-resistant gloves while operating such stoves. Some of the popular options to consider are:
Most rocket stoves have built-in windscreens, so you do not need to purchase one separately.
Safety Considerations while using wood-burning rocket stoves
Like campfire and backpacking wood-burning stoves, you should follow some basic safety considerations while using a rocket stove. Some of these considerations are listed below:
- Never use the rocket stove in an enclosed area such as a tent, unless you have an exhaust chimney or ample ventilation to prevent Carbon Monoxide and other residual gases build-up.
- Always follow the local regulations while using rocket stoves. Many counties ban the use of all types of wood-burning stoves (in addition to campfires) during specific seasons. The best idea is to check such restrictions beforehand.
- Always ensure that you place the stove on concrete or rock or a cleaned up, stable ground surface. This will ensure that the stove is properly balanced while cooking.
- Always use recommended pots and pans of the correct size with the stoves. Overloading the stove can often lead to collapsing of the stove.
- Do not touch the stove while it is in operation. Even though the outer surface is coated with insulations, it will get reasonably hot. Use heat-resistant gloves while operating the stoves.
- Always ensure that you dispose of the ashes/residue after the cookout responsibly and safely. Any smoldering wood can cause fires.
Final thoughts on the best rocket stoves for camping and survival
Rocket stoves offer a convenient mechanism for cooking the meal or boiling water in a jiffy just by using dry wood chips, pine cones, leaves, twigs, and other solid biomass materials (some even work with charcoal). These rocket survival stoves provide a more efficient and cleaner combustion than a simple campfire with minimal residue and smoke and are reasonably portable for a camping trip.
In this article, we looked at some of the best rocket available in the market for camping, survival and other outdoor adventures. We also discussed the major pros and cons of rocket stoves and factors to keep in mind before purchasing such stoves and shared our top picks.
Though there may be cheaper models available in the market, the options that we listed in our article offer great quality, reliability, performance, and durability and hence are great items to add to your base camp or emergency preparedness gear.
We hope that you found this article useful and it would help you in picking the best rocket stove for your next outdoor adventure or emergency prepping and survival kit. Do let us know your feedback by commenting below. Until next time, happy outdoor exploration!