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Pot Handle Correctly Placed

A Hobo Stove is a simple device that can be used to cook with. It is made from a #10 can or a paint can. The fuel used (sticks, paper, cardboard) is usually free and readily available.

To construct one, do the following:

  • Clean out a #10 can or a one gallon paint can.
  • Get a drill bit or punch that is between 1/2" to 3/4".
  • Near the bottom drill or punch four adjacent holes in the side of the can.

Hobo Stove Holes at Bottom of Can

  • On the opposite side of the can, near the top, drill or punch four adjacent holes.

Hobo Stove Holes at Top of Can

  • Put paper, sticks, twigs, cardboard, etc inside the can. Make sure nothing sticks up above the top of the can. It works best to put a wad of paper in the bottom and then a pile of broken sticks on top to fill the can.

Hobo Stove Full of Fuel

  • Light a match and insert it in one of the bottom holes to catch the paper on fire.
  • Put a pot directly on top of the can to cook your food. Don't worry about covering the top of the can because the lower holes allow air into the can that will fuel the fire and then the air will be drawn out of the top holes. This will help the fire burn better.  

Pot Handle Correctly Placed

Your results may vary depending on the fuel used, altitude and weather conditions. However, we tried this at an altitude of 4800 feet and we brought water to a boil in 40 minutes. The fuel was free.

Here are some tips from what we learned:

  • Keep the handle to the pot on the opposite side of the top holes so it will not get too hot.

Pot Handle Incorrectly Placed Pot Handle Correctly Placed

  • Pack the can with broken twigs that will fit in the can but leave some air in the can so the fire can breathe.
  • Always use a lid to help boil water faster and to keep critters out.
  • Since the fuel is so cheap (usually free), if you have a lot of food to cook, you would do well to use several Hobo Stoves. You are limited by the number of pans that you have but for each Hobo Stove that is cooking something, you could have its replacement being made ready so when the fire in the first one dies, you can switch to the second one.



Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center, Inc.

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