What is a Hobo Stove and How to Build One?

What is a Hobo Stove and How to Build One?

What is a Hobo Stove and How to Build One?

A hobo stove is a type of portable cooking device that is ideal for camping and outdoor activities. It is easy to construct and requires minimal materials and tools.

Hobo stoves, or camping stoves, are typically made from a tin can or similar, fuel-safe vessel, like an old paint can. Paper, small twigs, bark, leaves, or charcoal can then be added to the hobo stove and lit to provide a long-burning flame.

Hobo stoves are not just limited to outdoors. They can also be used indoors in places like a garage, picnic table, or shed. This makes them great for people who are in need of an emergency cooking device due to natural disasters or power outages.

In addition to being a convenient and portable cooking device, hobo stoves are also relatively safe and easy to build. All that’s needed is a tin can, some newspaper, twigs, and a few basic tools. Here’s how to build a hobo stove:

1. Choose a Can:

The most popular choice for a hobo stove is an empty tin can. It’s best to choose something that is large enough and has an open top. The best cans to use are those that are food-safe, such as those that come from vegetables, tuna, or soup.

2. Cut the Can:

Once you have chosen a can, you will need to cut slits at the base and perpendicular to the length of the can. These slits will allow air to flow in, which is necessary for the fire to burn. You can use a pair of scissors or a knife to make the cuts.

3. Make one cut from the lip of the can:

This will make it easier to add fuel later on, so make sure to make the cut as close to the lip of the can as possible.

4. Add Fuel:

Once the can is cut, you can add your fuel. This can include newspaper, kindling, twigs, leaves, bark, or even charcoal.

5. Light the Hobo Stove:

Once your fuel is in place, you can light the hobo stove by using a match or lighter.

6. Start Cooking:

Once the fire is burning, you can start cooking. Place your cooking pan or pot over the flame and adjust the flame as needed.


Hobo stoves are a great solution for those who need a portable cooking device for camping, outdoors, or emergencies. They are easy to make and require minimal items and tools. By following the steps outlined above, you can easily build your own hobo stove.

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