No Gas or Electricity Needed! Great for Emergency Preparedness or Camping, this is currently one of the Best Rocket Stoves on the market!
What is a Rocket Stove? Why should everyone own one? Check out my full review below, first time cooking on the Versa Portable Wood Burning Stove by EcoZoom.
What is a Rocket Stove?
A rocket stove is a stove that uses an open fuel slot and insulated vertical chimney to concentrate heat and produce a strong upward draft. This intense heat and upward draft is what causes the “rocket” effect.
Not your typical wood stove
In a traditional wood fire stove, wood is piled on-top of each other and set ablaze. Creating fire this way works…but it is terribly inefficient. Not only does this mean you will consume much more fuel but these fires tend to produce large amounts of smoke and soot.
Ok for a friendly campfire, not so great for cooking.
How does a rocket stove differ from a typical wood stove?
In a rockstove, wood is slowly fed into the open fuel slot instead of being piled up. Burning only the tips of the wood combined with the upward draft allows for a more complete burn.
Less fuel and less smoke
The result of all of this you ask? Simply put, a more efficient fire.
Between the insulated vertical chimney & upward draft the wood is completely incinerated. This results in more heat and less waste in the form of smoke/ash.
Getting started with the EcoZoom Versa
First fire in the new stove!
To get things started I collected a good supply of tinder consisting of dry pine needles and small sticks.
Collect about double the amount of what you think you will need.
Having this extra supply on hand will allow you to continue feeding the fire as it grows. The last thing you want to do is run out just before the fire gets going and have to hunt down more twigs…ask me how I know.
DIY Firestarter: Cotton balls dipped in Vaseline make a great fire starter that will burn for a long time.
With the main feed door open you can now load the stove from the front or drop small twigs directly down the chimney. Just like with any campfire, you want to build your fire with small dry material before moving up to the larger sticks.
Larger Sticks…Dry Pine works great!
In addition to the small pine and twigs, you will also need to have a supply of larger sticks ready to go. Dry pine, around a foot long roughly the diameter of a broom handle (or slightly larger) is what worked best for me.
Using the feed tray you can setup about 3-4 of these larger sticks and slowly push them into the stove as the ends burn off. Between the efficiency of the rocket stove and the larger sticks, it takes minimal effort to keep the fire blazing hot while cooking. Also, it looks pretty cool too.
Cooking on a wood burning Rocket Stove
Now that we have a good fire burning its time to put this thing to use and cook some breakfast!
The menu? Eggs, Bacon strips and Breakfast potatoes.
This is where things got a little challenging. With only a single pan and a single burner to work with, each part of this meal had to be cooked one at a time.
TIP: With a single burner stove, things are going to take a while when preparing multiple items. A pre-made breakfast skillet bag containing all ingredients will save a considerable amount of time.
In my example I started with the bacon to get some grease on the pan, then the eggs and finally the potatoes. Looking back, the eggs probably should have been made last as the potatoes took the longest time to cook.
Once all the individual parts were complete it was time to assemble the skillet and let it sit on the stove for another minute or two to get everything nice and hot.
Overall Impressions Pros/Cons?
After looking into dozens of different kinds of rocket stoves I am very happy with the decision to go with the Versa by EcoZoom. Now these are not cheap (click here to see current pricing on Amazon) but for the quality and how it performed it was well worth the money.
• Unlimited Fuel. No Gas or Electricity needed. Great for Emergency Preparedness in the case of a “grid-down”, natural disaster, zombie apocalypse scenario.
• Highly Efficient. Unlike cooking on a traditional campfire, the Versa rocket stove requires very little wood.
• Low smoke. Since the wood is burned more completely there is less smoke and soot while cooking.
• Quality Construction. This thing is built solid. A heavy duty top cooking platform with notches to accommodate different sized pans, carry handles and hinged feed/air doors.
• Hard to start in the wind. Like starting any type of fire, wind will make this task harder.
• Dirty Pans. While this type of stove produces much less smoke and soot vs cooking on an open camp fire, it still will leave your pans dirty with black soot.
• Single Burner. This really isn’t so much of a con as it is the nature of the beast with this type of stove. However, vs a typical two burner propane stove, it will take longer to prepare meals that require cooking multiple items.
Overall I love the stove for what it is and think it is a “must have” for any prepper or off-grid survival situation. This would also be great for a long camping trip where you did not have access to electricity or a large supply of propane.
**If electric stoves are your thing, then you have to check out My Review of the Kodiak Portable Solar Generator, here***
Now, if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of starting a fire or dirty pans. Something like a traditional two-burner propane stove might make more sense.
For the money you cannot beat this Coleman two burner propane stove. It starts easy, has two burners to work with and keeps your pans clean.
**BONUS** Rocket Stove Extras and Accessories
Stove Carrier Bag
The first must-have accessory is the EcoZoom Stove Carrier Bag made specifically for the Versa. This bag is perfect for transporting the stove and will keep it protected during storage.
Watertight for use in any kind of weather. The bag fits the stove and feed ramp perfectly with just enough extra room for a few accessories like a Ferro Rod kit.
EcoZoom Pot Skirt
The pot skirt is designed to transfer more heat to your cookware, further increasing the efficiency of the Versa by up to 25%.
Currently I do not own this power ring so i have not tested these claims but all of the reviews I read so far have been pretty positive.
Where is the Best Place to Buy the EcoZoom Versa Rocket Stove?
Like the majority of products now the quickest and easiest place to pickup one of these stoves would be on Amazon.
Here is a direct link to Buy the EcoZoom Versa Rocket Stove on Amazon
Well that’s about it for my initial review of this stove but I’m sure I will be getting more use out of soon.
So what do you think? Where can you see yourself using this type of stove? Let me know in the comment section below.