Hobo stove

At the end of the day, hobo stove is just a can cut in a certain way…

The big idea is to cut a can in such a way that it will allow fire to run freely in it. You cut (or drill, for that matter) few holes in the bottom part of it, it allows air to flow into the can. Then, you cut a hole on the side of the can to allow throwing stuff into it. This window enables you to maintain the fire. The window should be big enough to let twigs/pine cones in. On the other hand, don't make it too big. This might hurt the stove's stability.

Here is what I like and dislike about Hobo stoves:


  • It's really easy to build.
  • Fuel is everywhere (almost). You might find it damp, though...
  • It is real fire after all, gazing at it is always fun.
  • You can build it on every scale. The size is up to you.

Don't like

  • For the rear cases that there is no wood around…
  • As any other campfire-like stove, soot and smoke are part of the deal.
  • Since it's dirty and bulky, it might be problematic to carry it around in a backpack. On the other hand, you can use the space in the stove wisely and overcome this little disadvantage.

Handling winds

In case of wind, place the feeding window away from the wind. This way, the wind won't blow out your fire. The holes near the bottom are  just enough to support the combustion

Hobo stove construction plan

Important tip before you start: you can't really go wrong with it. It doesn't matter too much how you build it, just stick to the general guide lines.
  1. Get a can, size doesn’t matter. I guess a 16Oz can is the minimum.
  1. Make holes near the bottom of the can. The holes should be around half an inch in diameter and approximately an inch apart from one another. It's not rocket science, the size and space between the holes can defer from stove to stove.
  1. Cut a window on the side of the can. It should be big enough to feed the fire. I'd say at least 4 inches wide. You can make it as big as you want, as long as it doesn’t harm the stove stability.
  1. hobo-stove12Top of the stove - Case A - in cases where the pot is bigger than the stove – make some holes close to the top of the stove. Another option is to cut the top edge of the can to allow the flame to get out. Cut it as seen in the picture.

  1. hobo-stove-small-potTop of the stove - Case B – in cases where the pot is smaller than the stove. Make small holes near the top of the stove in such a manner that you could locate two metal pieces and get a pot holder (as seen in the picture)

Now, I'm sure you don't need explanations for using it, right? ;)

And if you want to make more of your hobo stove, here is a guy that took it to the extreme... a nice clip in youtube.

Bottom line

Hobo stove is a nice option for a DIY camp stove that runs on wood.