4 handy hiking stoves that let you cook with nothing but nature
There are times when less is definitely more, and loading up a backpack for a trek into the wilderness is certainly one of those times. If such an undertaking is unpalatable without the promise of a hot meal when you stumble into camp, then some types of cooking apparatus are going to be a non-negotiable inclusion. Here's a handful of camp stoves that aren't just compact and highly portable, but can get you cooking with materials that can be sourced on your arrival.
The Ember Stove
Back in 2018, we caught wind of a stylish and compact camp cooker with a few neat tricks up its sleeve. The Ember Stove is a stainless steel two-piece cooking solution that easily fits into a pocket when packed up, and features a three-pronged cooking platform with the upper compartment is attached to the base.
Sticks and other flammables can be placed inside and set alight, with carefully placed vents drawing air in through the base and directing some of it through chambers inside the walls. This is then pushed out over the flames to create what the designers call a "fire vortex" that limits the smoke. The original was priced at US$89 through Kickstarter, but the company is currently working on a new and improved design, with more information available via its website.
Cooking at 45 degrees
Like the Ember, the Kombuis stove by Dutch designer Arnaud Desseyn only accepts biofuel, but does so via a cleverly designed chute that allows for a more hands-off approach. This tube slots into a hole in the stainless steel stove at a 45-degree angle, and is separated into two sections by a plate running through its center.
Twigs are fed into the upper section with the ends resting on a raised grill in the base, freeing space for air to flow into the stove through the lower section and feed the fire burning inside. The angle of the tube works as a self-feeding mechanism, slowly adding more fuel as the fire burns. The Kombuis is priced at $119.
Turn a can into a cooker
This handy little contraption can't actually be classed as a stove, but that could be a good thing if saving on space is your aim. Weighing just two ounces (57 g), the Survival Stove Head tool is around the size of a pocket knife and, like a pocket knife, has arms that swivel out, with one of those featuring a sharp edge to cut up kindling or open a can.
The edges of the three arms all feature indentations designed to rest on the rim of an open can, in which you build your fire from twigs, leaves and whatever else you can pull together. The tool even features a carabiner hook so it can easily be clipped onto a backpack or belt loop. After a successful Kickstarter campaign last year, the Survival Stove Head is now available on Amazon for $10.
A roll-up fire pit
The Firekorf is another creation from designer Arnaud Desseyn, and taps into the portable and collapsible fire pit trend that encourages outdoor adventurers to contain their blazes. Only this one can be rolled up into a neat pack with a handle for easy carry, thanks to folding legs and a pliable mesh fire basket.
While the Firekorf can simply be used as a portable fire pit, an accompanying grill can be clipped to the edges to turn it into a convenient and sizable campsite cooker. Because the grill comprises a set of steel rods connected by a mesh wire, it too can be rolled up into a cylinder shape.
Alternatively, a spit attachment is also available for cooking whole chickens and the like. All up, the Firekorf weighs 6 lb (2.7 kg), so while it mightn't be well suited to a five-day trek through the wilderness, grilling enthusiasts might fancy strapping it to their packs for an overnight stay in the forest. Pricing for the Firekorf varies between $129 and $249, depending on attachments.