What is a Rocket Stove?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
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Rocket stoves are simple cooking stoves that can be assembled from a few basic components. Considered to be efficient and relatively inexpensive to operate, the rocket stove derives its name from the appearance of the piping that extends horizontally from the main portion of the unit. A rocket stove can be used as a heat or a cooking source and is often included as part of the setup in outdoor campsites. Because a rocket stove requires less fuel than an open campfire, it can be ideal for preparing all types of food while enjoying the outdoors.

There are four essential components that go into a rocket stove. The chimney is the main chamber of the stove, and may be constructed of anything from a larger tin can to piping that is set at a vertical angle. Chimneys serve as the support for the cooking area.

The second major component in a rocket stove is the fuel magazine. This is usually piping that is fitted onto the base area of the chimney and extends at a horizontal angle from the body of the stove. The fuel magazine can be simple steel piping or even ceramic pipe.


A third essential component is the fuel shelf. Fuel shelves serve as the platform for the fuel that is used with the stove and is located near the bottom of the fuel magazine. This slightly raised platform makes it possible for air to flow over and under the fuel source.

Finally, the rocket stove will include a heat exchanger. This will be some type of cylindrically shaped metal that functions as a shield to force the heated air generated in the chimney to pass over the container holding the food. In addition, the presence of the shielding helps to maintain the temperature of the air and thus help food to cook evenly.

Since the rocket stove is a wood burning cooking stove, obtaining fuel while on a camping trip is easy. Unlike a campfire, the rocket stove will function very well using small branches and limbs that tend to litter the floor of the woods. This means there is no need to chop larger sections of wood into smaller sections in order to feed the fire.


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