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
To construct one, do the following:
- Clean out a #10 can or a one gallon paint
- Get a drill bit or punch that is between 1/2" to
- Near the bottom drill or punch four
adjacent holes in the side of the can.
- On the opposite side of the can, near the top, drill or
punch four adjacent holes.
- 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.
- 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
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
- Keep the handle to the pot on the opposite side of the
top holes so it will not get too hot.
- 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
- 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