Vic from ThePracticalPrepper.com came over to the house a few weeks ago to hang out. It was a good opportunity for me to pull out my StoveTec rocket stove for the first time so that we could mess around with it and get a feel for how easy (or difficult) it would be to use in a disaster situation.
If you’re not familiar with the Stovetec, it’s a wood burning (or “biomass” burning) stove that is popular amongst preppers as well as 4th worlders in sub-sahara Africa. It’s got a door on the front that you feed with twigs and sticks, as well as an optional heat shield you can use to focus the heat up toward your cooking pot.
Pro’s and Con’s of the Stovetec Rocket Stove
As for my impressions of the stove: Both Vic and I agreed: The Stovetec would be far superior than cooking over an open fire, in an emergency scenario. However– this type of stove would be our last choice, reserved for when we’ve run out of either propane or denatured alcohol (for use with other types of stoves).
It was too hard to get lit, and once we got it lit we had to really “babysit” the stove by continuing to feed it twigs and sticks every five minutes. Nature of the beast, I guess.
We had to resort to the ‘ol “cotton balls dipped in vasoline” trick to finally get the fire going. This was surprising, since the wood was pretty dry– especially living in the high desert whe
re fire hazards are a constant threat. Just goes to show that Murphy’s Law is pretty much always in effect: When you need wood to burn easily, it won’t. And when you don’t want it to burn… well… knock on wood we haven’t had to experience that, yet!
So– should you buy one of these?
Yes. After a huge earthquake or some other type of disaster, you may either run out of propane or alcohol fuel, but you’ll most likely have an abundance of wood or biomass to burn in this stove.
Will I keep this Stovetec as my only emergency stove? Yes, I will keep it. No, not as my only stove. But yes… I will keep it. It’s smokey and let’s face it: It’s far easier to start up a Coleman propane camp stove (that you can use inside, if properly ventilated) than it is to use something like this, that burns wood.
But as with all things: You should have backups to your backups. The Stovetec is my backup to my backup (my alcohol backpacker stove); Which itself is my backup to my Coleman propane stove.
[I’ll do a review on my alcohol stove, soon!]