Outdoors

4 handy hiking stoves that let you cook with nothing but nature

4 handy hiking stoves that let...
The cleverly designed Kombuis cooking stove
The cleverly designed Kombuis cooking stove
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Ember is designed to work with solid fuel rather than gas
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Ember is designed to work with solid fuel rather than gas
Ember works by drawing air in through its slightly elevated base
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Ember works by drawing air in through its slightly elevated base
Diagram of airflow through the Kombius cooking stove
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Diagram of airflow through the Kombius cooking stove
The cleverly designed Kombuis cooking stove
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The cleverly designed Kombuis cooking stove
The Survival Stone Head tool is made from polished stainless steel and is around the same size as a regular pocket knife when packed up
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The Survival Stone Head tool is made from polished stainless steel and is around the same size as a regular pocket knife when packed up
One of the arms of the Survival Stove Head tool features a sharp edge that enables it to work like a knife, either to open a can or to cut up kindling
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One of the arms of the Survival Stove Head tool features a sharp edge that enables it to work like a knife, either to open a can or to cut up kindling
The Firekorf packs tiny but supports a sizable blaze
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The Firekorf packs tiny but supports a sizable blaze
The included roll packs everything into easy carry/store form
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The included roll packs everything into easy carry/store form
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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

Ember is designed to work with solid fuel rather than gas
Ember is designed to work with solid fuel rather than gas

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.

Ember works by drawing air in through its slightly elevated base
Ember works by drawing air in through its slightly elevated 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

There's nothing overly fancy about designer Arnaud's Desseyn's Kombuis, but with a thoughtfully designed chute for its biofuel, it might just take the most minimal effort to keep burning
There's nothing overly fancy about designer Arnaud's Desseyn's Kombuis, but with a thoughtfully designed chute for its biofuel, it might just take the most minimal effort to keep burning

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.

Diagram of airflow through the Kombius cooking stove
Diagram of airflow through the Kombius cooking stove

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

The Survival Stone Head tool is made from polished stainless steel and is around the same size as a regular pocket knife when packed up
The Survival Stone Head tool is made from polished stainless steel and is around the same size as a regular pocket knife when packed up

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.

One of the arms of the Survival Stove Head tool features a sharp edge that enables it to work like a knife, either to open a can or to cut up kindling
One of the arms of the Survival Stove Head tool features a sharp edge that enables it to work like a knife, either to open a can or to cut up kindling

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 packs tiny but supports a sizable blaze
The Firekorf packs tiny but supports a sizable blaze

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.

The included roll packs everything into easy carry/store form
The included roll packs everything into easy carry/store form

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.

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5 comments
5 comments
Bob Flint
Expensive gadgets for people that don't understand how to build a proper fire, that they shouldn't be using in the first place, due to the current restrictions in high fire risk areas. Nature provides bare earth, sand & stones, and all the fuel you need, just need to learn, & how to control, while respecting all life.
Bud
An incredibly tone deaf article! What the other commenter stated, 1000X! I'm in Oregon, 50 miles from the Bootleg fire- over 500,000 acres scorched and will burn til winter. There's fires in every direction, the sky is brown and everything is dead. We live in a constant state of pre-traumatic evac readiness. The LAST thing we need is a bunch of rookie idiots with questionable fire producing gear that they have no idea how to use!!!
Jeff7
I’ve tried a few of the wood burning portable stoves (and made my own tin can version). Problem is you don’t get much energy out of a handful of twigs. So the fire goes out before the water is boiled (unless the design of the stove allows you to put more fuel in). So when you are shopping for a stove don’t buy one where you have to remove the pot or grate to add fuel. (In the end I bought one of the small gas canister stoves with a windshield. Super fast and sort of eco friendly if you can recycle the canisters).
Maks1
@Bob Flint : Great Respect to you Mr Bob. You hit the nail right at the top of its literal head. It is the last sentence you wrote, I quote " respecting all life". It is this respect that is lacking in the world today. I dont know if most people know what respect actually means or even to live in harmony with nature and all other living creatures. I dont think that they can even care any which way because they are not brought up that way.
GG
Some odd comments about respect...I assume for nature/the environment? These designers are attempting to create systems that use a minimal amount of fuel to have a quick hot meal or drink. The alternative is creating an inefficient camp fire using a load of timber. Great for the romantic experience of the pioneering trailblazer, but not so great for the trail walker.