We all love to cook on the grill when it’s nice out. But what if you had no electricity for your stove and you had to find some other way to cook? There are numerous different stove types and they have advantages and disadvantages.
Open fire – This assumes that you have dry fuel, fire starting material and that you know how to build a basic fire. Also, this is not the best method for cooking if it’s raining or freezing cold.
Grills – You likely have an extra bag of charcoal laying around. If not, consider getting one. Also, you can cook in a charcoal grill just like you would in a campfire if you have the dry fuel. If all you have is a propane grill, just make sure you’ve always got back-up fuel. Again, this is not the best method for cooking if it’s raining or freezing cold.
Camp Stoves – You probably have a couple of different types of cook stoves in your bug out gear. I do. I have an alcohol gas stove with some extra cans of gas. I have a Jetboil (which works great for heating up water quickly). I have a small biofuel stove that doesn’t require any fuel other than some dry tinder and a match. I also have a fuel tab stove. I also have I wish I had purchased the Biolite Stove, because it can charge up a phone or light through a USB port on the side while it heats up your food. That may be one of my next purchases. I also have my family’s old two-burner suitcase style Coleman propane stove. The problem with all of these except the biofuel stove is that you have to have gas or fuel of some sort or it is useless. That’s always the drawback.
Biofuel Stoves – I recommend that everyone have at least a small version of a biofuel stove. These burn nothing but pinecones, twigs and small sticks and such. As long as you have a match of some sort, there’s no need for fuel tabs or gas cans. I go around my house in the summer and gather up fuel and put it in a small container, so I know I always have dry kindling. My stove is small and can’t cook much more than a couple cups at a time, but it will work and it will provide food and keep me alive. If you really want to make an investment there are huge biofuel stoves than can hold a paella pan and even transfer the heat to heat your house! Maybe someday I’ll have something like that.
Fuel Tab Stoves – These are typically small, lightweight stoves that burn a fuel tablet. Often, the stove frames fold up. One tablet will bring up 16 ounces of water to a boil and they burn pretty hot and clean. If you have the fuel tabs but not the stove itself, other small cans or containers can be used to transmit the heat. these also need more of a heat source to get burning than what you might get from a striker rod . . . they’re just harder to catch.
Alcohol Stoves – I’ve never used an alcohol stove, but I hear they are a little harder to get going than these other types. What say you who are more experienced?
Solar Oven – While I’d love to go this route for myself, I live where the sun shines only 3 or 4 months out of the year! I’d never be able to survive if I had to rely on a solar cooker during the winter in the Pacific Northwest.
So with that outline, what do you think is the best stove type for a SHTF situation? Why?