Hobo Stove

The Hobo Stove

If you are anything like most survivalists/perppers out there, odds are high you are always keen on learning new skills and ideas that can boost your survival abilities in the awake of any natural or man-made disaster. After all, urban survival is a tricky business that requires extensive knowledge on how to make the best use of even the most mundane objects in our day-to-day lives. Learning how to build your own coffee can or hobo stove is certainly one important step in that direction.

For those unfamiliar with the hobo stove, it’s a simple but highly effective improvised cooking device (often made of clean, empty, large tin can) that you can use in survival situations when access to cooking gas or electricity becomes a luxury.

There are many ways to turn a large, empty tin can into a hobo stove; however, for the sake of simplicity, we are going to keep our DIY guide confined to the most basic form of the coffee can/hobo stove.

But before we delve any further into that, let’s have a look at,

The Items You’ll Need to Make a Hobo Stove

  • Coffee can
  • Can opener
  • Tin snips
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Metal coat hanger

You can also use large vegetable/ravioli instead of a coffee can. Smaller cans such as pork of bean can be used as pots.

Metal hangers can also be replaced by other items as long as they suit our purpose (you’ll have a pretty decent idea on that by the time you finish reading this article).

How to make your own DIY Coffee Can / Hobo Stove



Step#1 Use the metal coat hanger to build rods that can hold up the cooking pot. You can use a multi-tool, wire cutters, or just bend the hanger back and forth until it breaks. If you don’t have metal coat hangers at your disposal, find anything made out of metal that can hold the pot.

Step#2 The top side of the coffee can will likely be already opened. In case you want to leave bottom part on, then we may not require the can opener for this DIY hobo stove project. However, make it a point to drill a few holes towards the bottom area so the tinder can be provided with proper ventilation. The ideal size of these holes will be around 0.5 inch in diameter.

Here’s one important piece of advice: check how strong the tin can is before you start punching the ventilation holes. To reduce costs, most companies these days use thinner cans and if the can you are using happens to be one of those, using a can piercer (triangle can opener) could damage the body.


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Drills usually make the best way to punch these ventilation holes. If you don’t have access to a drill, then use a screw driver or knife to make the holes – but make sure that the can is well supported by a piece of wood or something akin so it can provide added rigidity.

Step#3 Use the tin snips to make a small door that can be used to feed fuel to the fire. The door can be somewhere around 2 to 3 inches in height and around 3 – 4 inches in width. Feel free to use your own judgment.

Step#4 Punch four more holes towards the upper side of the can so the wires you made from the coat hanger can be used to hold up the cooking pot with stability. Make the distance between holes such that the pot easily fits on them.

maxresdefaultStep#5 Now, it’s time you started a fire using twigs and leaves. Unless you are in a hurry, allow the fire enough time to build a layer of coal. However, you can also try cooking as soon as the fire is started, although it is not recommended by many survival experts.

Step#6 Finally, place the cooking pot atop the stove (on the wires made from the metal coat hanger) and it won’t take more than a few minutes before you start seeing steam. If the fire is strong enough, it won’t take more than 6-8 minutes for the water to boil.

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Well, that’s in brief how you can make your own hobo stove using nothing else but a tin can and a few bare essential tools. There are also miniature versions of the hobo stove, tailor made for backpackers (useful during bug-out scenarios) which we will cover in the coming weeks.

Great How To Video: How to…make a Hobo stove!

If you have any question of feedback about this DIY article, please feel free to let us know using the comment box below…

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