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Old 07-09-2012, 10:33 PM   #1
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camping stove

So buckets of beans and bags of rice are great to have, but you do have to cook them at some point. Okay, you could eat them dry, but bleh...

You guys who have gas ranges are in decent shape since you have two forms of energy already powering your kitchen between that and the microwave/toaster/george foreman grill etc.

But some of us are all electric, so if the power goes out for any considerable amount of time alternative methods for cooking are needed. Obviously some wood and an ignighter would work, but you do have to have wood and a place to burn it.

I was thinking it would be smart to have a camping stove for such occasions since it can quickly and safely cook a small meal and then be tucked away without a trace.

Looking around on the net there are the ubiquitous propane burners from companies like Coleman. But I also saw some that are dual liquid fuel that run on either some type of stove fuel or gasoline. Seeing how having a few jerry cans of gas around is a smart thing anyways (at the worst you get to drive today at yesterday's prices), the gas powered stoves seem like a good idea. Drawbacks are that it is probably more dangerous than propane, needs a fuel filter, takes fuel from your transportation, stinks more, and possibly needs some sort of pressurization. Drawbacks from propane are that it requires storing a dedicated type of fuel and propane is not as readily available as gasoline, it is easy to get, but gas is everywhere.


What do you guys think?
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Old 07-10-2012, 03:22 AM   #2
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bottled propane or butane gas keeps a lot better than petrol ( wot we call it )
A big bottle ( 47kg ) will cook for a family for at least 6 months.
It burns clean and hot.

You will need your petrol for your chainsaw / vehicle / trade.
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Old 07-10-2012, 06:41 AM   #3
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I actually save all my lint from the dryer in a bucket. It's awesome for starting fires with fire starter.

I also have grease on the lid of the bucket that I smear on the lint so it holds the flame longer. I can start a fire in one strike every time.
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:44 AM   #4
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In the event that SHTF and you need to cook, you will want to use as little fuel as possible to do the cooking. Less flame, less fuel use, less smoke as a marker (if you are in a Town)...

If you are in the country, build an outdoor fireplace that suits you. Or, buy an old wood oven.

I have small one of these for camping and it works great. Get the bigger one where you can put a small pan on top.

http://ghilliekettleusa.com/

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Old 07-10-2012, 08:59 AM   #5
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...if you are DIY type, google "rocket stove", you can build them from scrap for next to nothing, it burns wood (sticks) very efficiently, no smoke, little fuel used, burns hot (it creates "chimney effect")

...very simple yet quite effective in camping scenarios, google "swedish candle", "norwegian candle"

if you want to pay for it, here's one of the coolest wood burning stoves I've seen, compact, camping, and additionally, it generates electricity, enough to charge USB gizmos:
http://biolitestove.com/campstove/ca...view/features/

Don't be fooled, with forced air flow, you can get wood burning as hot, if not hotter, and as clean, as gas. As an added bonus, you are 100% carbon neutral, and most importantly, independent from fossil fuels/ANY technology

Originally Posted by mike :
I actually save all my lint from the dryer in a bucket. It's awesome for starting fires with fire starter.
good idea, never thought of that . Personally, I use cotton buds/pads, are also fabulous for starting fire using firestarters, one stroke every time, even when windy (have to keep them dry though, of course. Then the peeling birch bark (burns even when slightly moist), then twigs, and you are good
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Last edited by bushi; 07-10-2012 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 07-10-2012, 10:24 AM   #6
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solar oven(s)
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Old 07-10-2012, 10:49 AM   #7
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A 20 lb tank of propane cooks here for around 9 months, using a stove-top as used in RV's, dirt cheap (but no baking). The Coleman stoves I tried, not such great stoves, and run a little tank down quick if you're boiling rice/beans. I had a couple, and an adapter that let me refill the little tanks from a big one, but hey - the answer is a grill tank (I have 5-6 around the place at all times) or larger (I have them too) and a fixed installation. I keep them all full, at yesterday's prices. About enough to fill up a pickup truck bed. I didn't go for the big installed tank, as that's another "rent" type thing, has building permit/tax implications, and just makes you dependent on a single vendor.

I hate gasoline stoves. Try one and you should find out why fairly quick. The big advantage for campers is that you don't need a high pressure tank for the fuel, which adds weight to what you're carrying. A dual-fuel stove would seem to have the disadvantages of both. Most of these little stoves are only meant to heat as fast as possible, so they suck for beans/rice and you need to adapt (space the pan high off the burner) for that and waste a lot of fuel.

I do the wood thing for heat, when I'm willing to put out the effort/money to have the wood supply in good condition. (it's a tossup whether this is more work than hauling propane around for propane heat - home heating uses it up quick - wood is cheaper for certain, though) I use sawdust from a wood working neighbor like mike uses lint - press it with a little (2%) wax in my press to make logs of it you can light with one match. I've already got a use for the kitchen grease - it's a great cutting lube for my lathe and mill. Or you can just dump a bunch on an already going fire for long term heat - it burns pretty slowly due to not having air channels between the pieces. I also have about 8 tons of coal in the yard, just in case, but don't burn it much (it's a PITA and smells bad). But coal "keeps" forever, where firewood will not, even in a perfect shed for it. Insects and microorganisms.

But don't think that even in a forest, that gathering wood for the old coffee can type stove isn't a job you have to do - and keep plenty dry and stored somewhere, as you have to still be able to cook when everything outside is wet or snow-covered.
While some wood (rhododendron) will burn green and wet, it's not that satisfying, to tell the truth. Look at countries where they've totally stripped all the forests and now have to burn shit to cook. It takes a lot of wood. Doesn't seem too hard if you only do it on a lark, but the easy to get dry wood on the forest floor gets used up very quickly and you have to go out farther and farther to get it. That's why the saying that wood heats you twice - once just getting it to the homestead and prepped for use.

I now have enough PV solar to be "all electric" nearly all the time, some days I burn a gallon of gasoline so as not to have to scrimp too much when it's dark for a couple of days. But I prefer the diversity - there are at least 2 ways to get anything done here, more often 3-4. Having been through some tough times already, I appreciate that no one solution always works. Nice to be able to fix a meal first, then fix the broken other tools, for example.

So, cooking alone:
Stove top, run off 20lb propane
Woodstove (not very useful in summer, as it heats the house too) multiple fuel sources. Junk mail heats in a pinch.
Coleman propane stove.
Coffee can stove.
Microwave, etc.
Hotplates.
Crockpot.
Bread machine.
Solar oven (easily made in minutes from stuff laying around).
MRE heaters.
Hibachi and grill outdoors.

Probably a few others I'd have to think of only if all the above fail at once. Immersion heaters, hot air gun...always have a torch and a welder...any real engineer can always make fire somehow.

And - food I can eat raw if I need to!
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Old 07-10-2012, 11:11 AM   #8
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Wood availability - big yes to what you say Fusor, I was at some stage living outdoors/camping for months at a time, and collecting the firewood was a big uh-oh moment to me at some stage - bear in mind I was only using it for cooking/campfire, and not for heating! That's why I mention rocket stoves, they are really easy on the wood consumption - small, controllable, efficient burning and all. Completely unlike the "three bricks" methods in the countries, which need to use shit for cooking now (BTW, deforestation wasn't only there for using the firewood, but it surely as hell helped too).

Originally Posted by DCFusor View Post:
...any real engineer can always make fire somehow.

And - food I can eat raw if I need to!
...yeah, one of my favorite methods when messing about stuff, was to screw a wooden peg in the drill chuck, and "drill" through the plank good fun, hopefully it qualifies me as a "real engineer"

Eating stuff raw - from what I've read, one of the Homo Sapiens advantages over Neandertals, that allowed us to push them out, was cooking food - Neandertals have eaten most of their stuff raw, or roughly burned over fires. Apparently thermal treatment of food makes it easier to stomach/assimilate more of nutrients, that would otherwise went through you. So eating stuff raw, makes you eat more, to get the same nutrients/calories intake. Might be important to know in the SHTF scenarios. COOK YOUR FOOD, or you will go the way of neandertals

Last edited by bushi; 07-10-2012 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 07-10-2012, 11:44 AM   #9
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Yes, well, cooking is a mixed bag. For meat, no question it makes more nutrients available - very important for a hunter/gatherer society. For veggies, not so much true, and in fact a lot of things are lost in cooking them. But some veggies are pretty tough to eat raw at all. "It depends" is the usual unsatisfying oversimplified answer to that one. Of course, if you're doing any stored meat, chances are it was already cooked in the can...I'd have to be really hungry to try raw local wildlife, myself (and it's not that safe!).

I personally find it a lot easier to have one of those magnesium fire starters around in the stash than do the wood-drill thing, which has only worked for me in a power drill (and if I have power...don't need it - you can get a fire off a single D cell in a pinch, too). My arms wear out doing that bow or manual egg-beater drill thing. Or just use a bic lighter; I keep a bunch around anyway...

Hmm, that could be a topic of a show I'm doing on google plus (ask a real scientist type of thing) - how to make fire - no matter what.

Actually, the latest BS from the anthropologists suggests the Neanderthals were simply absorbed and cross bred into what became the dominant species. Not that important a point anyway, somehow, humans did survive and evolve into what we now are (some say evolution's been running backwards quite awhile due to socialism - the worse off you are, the more we help you procreate).
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Old 07-10-2012, 05:39 PM   #10
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we have an asian rocket stove (my family is asian). Ten charcoal bricks burn two hours. +/-

also, because I work in produce, and can get stuff cheap, bought 300 pounds pinto beans a while back. (we don't eat pinto beans, but you know). Didn't put them up in buckets, so they are starting to get older. Found out you can grind them and add boiling water, instant refried beans instead of waiting hours for them to cook...
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Old 07-10-2012, 06:29 PM   #11
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What do you grind them in Jay? Sounds like a great time saver.
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:04 PM   #12
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Rocket stoves are the absolute shit. You can burn nearly anything and they are very conservativ e consumers of fuel. In addition, the technology scales.
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Old 07-11-2012, 02:48 AM   #13
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SurvivalBlog has a contributor that not to long ago recommended one of these rocket stoves, from Stovetec.

Link

I'm really looking to probably get one.
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Old 07-11-2012, 09:59 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by DCFusor View Post:
Hmm, that could be a topic of a show I'm doing on google plus (ask a real scientist type of thing) - how to make fire - no matter what.
That would be cool, post the links, please! I'd like to see the one you mention using D-Cell, should be handy enough, I am trying to be stocked with rechargeables , with a solar charger - it could possibly make a good replacement for Bic type lighters
Originally Posted by DCFusor View Post:
Actually, the latest BS from the anthropologists suggests the Neanderthals were simply absorbed and cross bred into (...) humans did survive and evolve into what we now are (...)
...yeah, giving it another thought... you can see them neandertal genes popping up here & there... only we call them "politicians" now!
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:06 PM   #15
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Thanks for all of the neat suggestions guys.

I'm trying to think what would be the most inconspicuous setup since I live in a densely populated area and don't want to blow the OPSEC.

Do you guys think the wood/biomass burners would produce more or less odor compared to a propane burner?

Any real experience with how much smoke the wood/biomass rigs produce? I know it depends heavily on the fuel. Ideally, I'd like a burner that could be operated on a porch or balcony to quickly boil some water. Unlike rice, which needs to simmer, couscous just needs to be brought to a boil, removed from heat, and let it sit for a few minutes under cover while the water is absorbed.
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Old 07-12-2012, 05:13 AM   #16
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In fact, few people know, but you don't need rice to boil/simmer on the fire. All you need, is bring it to boil (in the right amount of water, not too little, not too much - practice a bit), than take it off the stove, wrap the pot snugly in a quilt or few pillows (lid on, of course), and leave it for 30 mins or thereabouts. Hey presto, rice done - shitload of fuel saved, never burned/sticking to the pot, not gooey, just right. The only "tricky" part is to get the right amount of water in the pot (you might need few tries), because when left wrapped in heat, rice softens and absorbs all the water, so you need enough of it, but if you use too much, it might become a bit "watery" in taste. Not that you wouldn't eat it when it was your day's single hot meal, but... . When camping, your sleeping bag works perfectly for that - just make sure you wrap your pot in something that you can wash or discard later, if you are cooking on the fire, because you don't want all that dirt anywhere on your stuff.

I believe, that making some (less cumbersome) insulated jacket for you rice pot would work as good as quilts/pillows - but never bothered myself making one. Just put the pot on the armchair, cover it with few pillows laying around in my living room, and forget about it.
Or use solar oven, like PMBug mentioned - it should be perfect for rice, even on a cloudy day, if you use it instead of the quilts in the method above, to keep the pot warm.

Thank my great-grandma for the tip, if you like it, (may she rest in peace).

AS for the burners, gas burners obviously are less cumbersome and have (by default) better controlled combustion (=less smoke/odour) than wood ones. All wood ones would require some attention/practice, to achieve best combustion. Always the trade-offs

Last edited by bushi; 07-12-2012 at 05:31 AM.
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Old 07-12-2012, 11:02 AM   #17
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I've yet to see a smoke/smell free wood fire no matter the tricks used to make it efficient. For opsec, propane.

John Plaster reported that the smell of even a tiny cooking fire was key to locating enemy forces in 'Nam, from many hundreds of yards away.

I use that rice trick on split peas and beans myself.
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Old 07-12-2012, 11:09 AM   #18
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One really nice bonus* to using a solar oven is that you really can't burn / overcook food. I've made chilis and "paella" in my solar oven by simply throwing the ingredients in a pot and setting it in the sun for a couple of hours.

* Aside from not needing fuel or giving off oderous eminations.
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Old 07-12-2012, 11:26 AM   #19
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...yeah, they seem brilliant, these sun ovens, for some kinds of cooking, that reminds me to build meself one soon! I have plenty of recycled glass for the solar heater, will have some spare for the cooker. One thing that bothers me slightly, is that here in Ireland we have, like, 99.999% time overcast, which works out at roughly 0.01h (less than one minute) of sunshine / day . So it might not be so useful here - we will see...
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Old 07-12-2012, 03:50 PM   #20
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Has anyone had any personal experience with the Stovetec rocket stoves???
I've been looking at them for quite a while but haven't yet pulled the trigger.
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