Family size meal stove

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Navigatee
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Family size meal stove

Post by Navigatee » Wed Sep 28, 2011 6:36 pm

I am trying to cover the subject of cooking in a shtf scenario. I'd like to have a workable stove that would work after the utilities are cut off or get too expensive. My main considerations are fuel source, scent, storage (do not have a lot of space), portability (not so much as hiking, but we can take it with a group), one that would be reliable and robust...and efficient.

We initially acquired a small propane stove from coleman, just because we can store some propane canisters. As things get uglier we could get a 20lb propane tank-still fits in a vehicle. We had also looked at multi-fuel coleman stoves-but are leaning away from it just because I think it is pricey for now, the size is a hindrance and overlap of benefits with the propane fuel is not that much for the price for us.

We also made a bunch of soda can stoves and have a small stock of denature alcohol and regular alcohol for fuel. This would be great as we also have the alcohol for our medical supplies and the stove itself we can hand out to loved ones...but it would not last very long or cook much. Too fragile, but is a good thing to have since you can make it from almost nothing.

Another idea is to get a wood gas stove, since wood would be abundant in some homes and construction sites. It burns efficiently , much more efficiently than regular open fire stoves. The best part is we can make it from salvaged parts-thus we can keep fixing it or making new ones as the need arises. Any gear that you can build or repair would be a very valuable item in a shtf scenario. I'm already looking to gather the parts for this since any other multi-fuel stove is out of budget right now.

Just sharing some ideas and looking to get educated on the topic. We live in an urban setting and space is always an issue, so we find that these work for our needs.
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Re: Family size meal stove

Post by duodecima » Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:39 pm

Arrgg... I have a similar issue. I researched, read, thought, spent a couple months working up to a purchase, all before I found ZS.

I got a "rocket stove" and bought one (envirofit g-3300) since I'm not that crafty, and it was light (12lb) and fairly small (about 12x12 inches). It boils water about like my electric stove once lit, uses very little wood. They offer some neat/useful looking accessories I could add. I'm overall pleased.

But those look EVEN BETTER! :gonk:

Is there a particular set of plans you were going to use? (I can haz linky?)
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Re: Family size meal stove

Post by TacAir » Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:22 am

I would note that propane stoves can get cranky and not work if the fuel is too cold.

I use a two stove system, one for summer and one for winter. The winter stove is an MSR XGK. I run white gas for the most part. It will certainly melt snow in a hurry, not so good for cooking chile or beans.
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Re: Family size meal stove

Post by Navigatee » Thu Sep 29, 2011 6:12 pm

TacAir wrote:I would note that propane stoves can get cranky and not work if the fuel is too cold.

I use a two stove system, one for summer and one for winter. The winter stove is an MSR XGK. I run white gas for the most part. It will certainly melt snow in a hurry, not so good for cooking chile or beans.
That is a great point, especially since we are in the North East. Our fuel would be prone to getting problems if we are in an uninsulated environment (say a car-if we take it out with us). I have always liked the MSRs, but had to back out because of the price of the stove and their fuel.

Another stove I think is pretty great is the volcano stove, kinda heavy for the use I am planning for, but looks solid and multi-use.
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Re: Family size meal stove

Post by TacAir » Thu Sep 29, 2011 6:46 pm

Navigatee wrote:
TacAir wrote:I would note that propane stoves can get cranky and not work if the fuel is too cold.

I use a two stove system, one for summer and one for winter. The winter stove is an MSR XGK. I run white gas for the most part. It will certainly melt snow in a hurry, not so good for cooking chile or beans.
That is a great point, especially since we are in the North East. Our fuel would be prone to getting problems if we are in an uninsulated environment (say a car-if we take it out with us). I have always liked the MSRs, but had to back out because of the price of the stove and their fuel.

Another stove I think is pretty great is the volcano stove, kinda heavy for the use I am planning for, but looks solid and multi-use.
Ya, I bought my MSR back when they were 'cheap' - have you considered just making a hobo stove or two - I personally dislike wood stoves (it rains a lot in AK) and I have issues with putting up a smoke column pointing to my location...

You can find older 2 burner Colemen stoves and a low cost adapter will allow the use of propane or you may use white gas. I see them in GROJ sales for under 20 USD all the time, some look unused. We snag those when we find them, for friends with stove envy....

Good luck
Last edited by TacAir on Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Family size meal stove

Post by dukman » Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:25 pm

Dual-Fuel stoves are not that expensive, I have snagged some at G-Sales for $5-10 each before. For Propane, Coleman used to make a 2-burner lightweight version that was slimmer and about half the weight of a normal camp stove. My dad likes to cook using one of those Turkey Fryer burners when cooking away from home - you can cook up a big ol' pot of stew easily with one of them, but you will probably burn through the propane fast. For SHTF, we just cook on top of our woodstove at home because we are heating the house anyways might as well use it to cook food on too.
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Re: Family size meal stove

Post by gunfreak » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:20 pm

Purchased a turkey cooker stove this year. I have quite a bit of LP stored up to run it. It's capable of cooking a big meal in my 14" Cabelas cast iron skillet.
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Re: Family size meal stove

Post by williaty » Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:59 am

TacAir wrote:I would note that propane stoves can get cranky and not work if the fuel is too cold.
I think you are mistaken. I get the impression from you that you're thinking of small, canister-fed backpacking stoves.

The small, canister-fueled backpacking stoves are butane-fueled, not propane. This is why they're prone to not working as the temps drop. "Better" canisters will be filled with butane and iso-butane. The most expensive canisters will have butane, iso-butane, and propane in them. The reason for this is the boiling point of the various fuels. So long as the fuel is above its boiling point, it can be burnt. Once the fuel is below its boiling point, all you have is some sloshy dead weight.

Butane boils at 31F/0.5C
Iso-butane boils at 11F/-12C
Propane boils at -43F/-40C

If you are trying to cook at -43F or below, your fuel choice is probably the least of your worries.

Now, note that things aren't quite as simple as they seem. First complication is that it's not the air temperature that matters, it's the fuel temperature that is critical. Normally, these two will match each other. However, as soon as you start taking fuel out of the canister, the remaining liquid fuel in the canister begins to boil off into gas to keep the vapor pressure equilibrium. This boiling action sucks heat out of the fuel and the canister. So the moment you begin using fuel, the temperature of the fuel starts dropping. How much and how fast the temperature drops in the fuel (and wither or not it drops below the boiling point of the fuel) is primarily determined by the surface area of the fuel tank, the mass of the fuel+tank, and the temperature difference between the fuel and the surrounding air. A small tank (low mass and low surface area) with cold outside air will very quickly drop below the boiling point of the fuel and put out the fire. So backpacking canisters are basically perfectly designed to stop working under normal use. Second complicating detail is that the "tri-fuel" canisters with butane, iso-butane, and propane in them aren't a homogenous mix. The propane floats to the top. When you use it in a "normal" canister stove, the propane is the first thing to be burnt. On a very cold day, you can easily burn off just the propane leaving you with a canister that is 90% full but won't work anymore. There's some canister stoves that cleverly invert the canister (port down) so that the propane gas at the "top" (really the bottom) of the canister will force liquid butane out the port and into the stove. The stove then has a small tube that pre-heats the incoming liquid fuel so it'll vaporize and be ready to burn. This way, you can use nearly the entire mass of the fuel in the canister even when you're cooking in VERY low temperatures.


So, the OP is talking about propane stoves of the larger variety by Coleman. This is actually our no-electic cooking plan at the moment. We are already storing propane for the generator. Plus, propane is basically a zero-maintenance storage item and basically lasts forever. If you know the trick, you can fill a small propane bottle from a larger one. For this reason, we're getting either a 5lb or 10lb refillable propane tank and a hose adapter so that we can attach the Coleman stove (which is meant for 1lb disposable bottles) to a larger refillable bottle. This avoids the problem that sometimes happen with large propane stoves where if you've got all 3 burners going full-blast, you're actually boiling propane rapidly enough to get it below the -43F boiling point and the stove stops when trying to use a 1lb bottle. The larger refillable bottle provides more mass (slows rate of temp change) and more surface area through which to absorb heat. Plus, it allows a much longer cook time and is much cheaper per minute of cooking.

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Re: Family size meal stove

Post by francisscott22 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:51 am

My family has been using two stoves ever since. A jotul wood stove and propane. When we are camping out we always use the propane because of it's portability and long burning life.
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Re: Family size meal stove

Post by jimdawg » Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:51 pm

I made a stove out of an 8qt stainless steel stock pot. I notched the top to hold a grille that I made out of an old fridge shelf. It's pretty much a glorified hobo stove. I drilled a bunch of holes into the bottom of it and put bolts in it to elevate it and allow ashes to fall through the bottom. I took the handle off the lid so I have a flat cooking surface if needed. I had also thought about making a chimney for it. A lot of thrift store visits I have a good supply of cookware and utensils. It's big enough to cook for an entire family and packs nicely in a duffel bag.

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Re: Family size meal stove

Post by mobilesuithomer » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:24 pm

Navigatee wrote:Another idea is to get a wood gas stove, since wood would be abundant in some homes and construction sites.
But only if you own the home or construction sites, or if you get permission, right?

Because otherwise you are stealing and stealing is wrong.

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Re: Family size meal stove

Post by NamelessStain » Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:59 am

Be careful not to burn pressure treated lumber: http://www.origen.net/ccawood.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Yea, it can kill you and if you were using it for cooking it would be twice the risk from inhalation and digestion.
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Re: Family size meal stove

Post by Bonecrusher Doc » Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:34 am

Today I tried out my new purchase:

http://www.amazon.com/Trangia-TR23-Spir ... 747&sr=8-3" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Image

First I had to figure out how to open the tin of denatured alcohol I bought from the hardware store, labeled for use with marine stoves. After cursing a bit, I ended up finding the answer by Googling "how to open paint thinner" (pierce the metal seal with a screwdriver, then pry it off). Then I tried to pour fuel out of the tin into the stove which was a big mess - note to self, find a cheap plastic bottle for pouring the denatured alcohol.

A lot of the reviews on Amazon criticize this white stand as being too heavy and bulky for camping, or at least for backpacking. But as an emergency stove at home this thing was great! So elegantly simple, much less potential for something to go wrong than a stove with a pressurized canister and a fuel line.

What made this stove perfection was that I just happened to have a pot that was just barely wider in diameter than the white stand. This is great for storage (everything stores inside the pot) but also it means no wasted heat from the flames.

I quickly boiled water for four cups of tea in just a few minutes using a volume of fuel about 1/4 of the capacity of the brass burner. This was done indoors, on top of my electric range, and there was no perceptible odor except from when I spilled the fuel trying to pour it into the burner. When I turned on the overhead fan on the range, the flames waved around more under the pot, so the stove is probably less efficient in the wind. But as a backup in a winter power outage for a renter with no wood stove, it sure beats going outside to use a dirty nasty grill! Definitely one of my best investments for family prep, as I can easily cook a pot to feed four people.

Another moral of the story for me - this reinforced the importance of practicing with your preps, not just buying stuff!

ETA: there were no instructions with the stove. Fortunately I found this YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aNv0BH15WY" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Family size meal stove

Post by mariposa » Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:19 pm

I bought a dual-fuel Coleman stove a couple years ago, for my preps. It cost around $80 at the time. I learned during Hurricane Ike that a charcoal grill isn't enough.
Last edited by mariposa on Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Family size meal stove

Post by NoAm » Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:02 pm

Great thread! We have been researching and have purchased several different styles of cooking devices. The Global Solar Oven joined our cooking collection this week.
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If everyone could please add links to their ideas/reviews it would be great. :wink:
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Re: Family size meal stove

Post by crypto » Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:42 am

I'd consider a Trangia 25 cookset, it's made for 4 people

http://www.trangia.se/english/5612.25_series_ul.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Family size meal stove

Post by mangal » Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:33 pm

Hi, look at this mangal grill.
You can cook for 15 people for one time.
And it's portable.
You'll enjoy it... :wink:

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Re: Family size meal stove

Post by williaty » Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:47 pm

Interesting that the poster above me has just joined and has the same name as the product he's hocking.

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Re: Family size meal stove

Post by crypto » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:22 pm

yeah, but its entirely appropriate for this thread.
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Re: Family size meal stove

Post by nes999 » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:23 pm

No way could that be true

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Re: Family size meal stove

Post by williaty » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:46 am

crypto wrote:yeah, but its entirely appropriate for this thread.
Which is why I pointed out the paid-shill-ness rather than reporting it. Some dude wants to spend the time to show us a charcoal grill, more power to him, but he ought to wear a flashing name tag.

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Re: Family size meal stove

Post by Dawgboy » Sat Mar 10, 2012 3:25 am

Love my Trangia. It's a foolproof little stove. You can see my setup in my sig. I also have an old MSR XGK that wont die, 2 propane coleman stoves. a white gas coleman stove and a cadac propane grill.

The Cadac is kind of cool: http://www.amazon.com/Cadac-6541HP-Safa ... 825&sr=8-2

I also have a charcoal grill and 50 lbs of mesquite...
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Re: Family size meal stove

Post by Prepared American » Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:15 pm

Look into "Rocket Stoves". You can build your own or purchase some really nice ones available commercially. They are generally wood fired. There are several decent videos on you tube about them.
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Re: Family size meal stove

Post by Tank Woman » Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:09 pm

I'm adding my yes to the rocket stove. We made one right outside the front door next to the porch. Its made with 2 heat tolerant cinder blocks and we use either our large steel wok or large cast iron frying pan on it. It is low/no smoke, uses very little (in both size and quantity) fuel, and cooks anything requiring a hot flame. We use this often just because its so efficient!
I'll try to get a pic.

edited to add: by fuel I mean small dry sticks of wood
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