Where does the name Hobo come from

What is a hobo stove? [Structure, function, advantages and disadvantages]

There are many ways to easily take your fireplace with you. The hobo oven is one of those options. He is a mobile campfire, your own fireplace for your pocket.

The hobo stove, as the hobo oven is also called, works according to the so-called Chimney effect. But more on that in a moment.

You don't have to carry around extra weight from gas or other fuels for a hobo.

You simply take the fuel that the hobo mainly needs directly from nature. Practical, isn't it?

He is small, brings hardly any weight on the scales and fits through his compact size in every backpack.

I will go into the exact advantages and disadvantages later.

Meaning and origin of the word

The hobo had its heyday during the Great Depression, the Great Depression, the particularly severe economic crisis in America. It began with Black Thursday in 1929 and ended over the 1930s.

The hobo was mainly used by North American migrant workers at the time. These were also known as hobos. His name is derived from them.

The hobo served the workers primarily as heating, but also as a stove.

What is a hobo stove?

A hobo stove is a metal vessel that serves as a combustion chamber. You place a saucepan or mug on the hobo and heat it up. The lower part of the vessel is provided with holes through which air is sucked in. The principle of the chimney effect is used here.

Layout and function

The hobo is more effective if the fuel used rests on a kind of grate.

In this way, the air is sucked in from below, not just from the sides. Exhaust gases and any smoke that may arise leave the hobo through the exhaust openings. These are located at the top of the vessel.

Here you can see professional models:

The fire in the hobo is concentrated by the metal walls.

The heat does not radiate outwards, but remains in the vessel.

The chimney effect makes it special high supply of oxygen. This means that even small amounts of wood burn completely. The hobo reaches high temperatures.

In terms of performance, a small hobo is usually far above the values ​​of a portable spirit stove. Gas or petrol stoves, on the other hand, still offer a little more.

You have to be careful in a windy environment. As is the case with all open cooking systems, wind reduces the performance your hobo strong.

Typical fuel for the hobo is, among other things, wood that was found on the ground. Cones, sticks and other combustible waste are also good items for the hobo.

Due to the high temperatures that arise, you have the option of burning wet or rotten wood.

Use liquid fuel

With a hobo with a closed bottom, you also have the alternative of running it with liquid fuel.

With highly volatile fuels, including gasoline or alcohol, you should bind them with a layer of sand. This way you avoid the danger of deflagrations and flashes.

There are more developed hobos that are based on the principle of Wood gasification based. This leads to a complete combustion through the double wall. In addition, it comes to no smoke formation.

Advantages and disadvantages

Like everything in life, the hobo oven has some advantages and disadvantages.


  • Hobo stoves do not require fuel that you have to take with you, like gas cartridges. Use what you find in nature.
  • As a result, hobos also cause less rubbish.
  • Hobo stoves are more efficient than campfires because they burn at a higher temperature and less heat is lost. This also means you need less fuel.
  • A hobo is small, compact, and light. This makes it ideal for your trekking, bushcraft or survival tour.
  • Running a hobo in nature is sometimes viewed less strictly than lighting a campfire.
  • Also burns wet wood effectively.


  • Not suitable for use inside tents or closed spaces. There is a risk of suffocation and the accumulation of combustion products.
  • It is difficult to take care of the whole family with your hobo. A cup of coffee or lunch are no problem. The romantic menu for two with the hobo may also work.
  • Due to its compact, small size, the hobo requires some preparation. The firewood must be very small.
  • Cannot be used at great heights. This is related to the air pressure.
  • Particularly stubborn, heavy contamination of equipment and cookware. This is caused by the formation of soot and smoke.
  • The hobo can only be used to a limited extent. Open fires are prohibited in many forests. Fire protection regulations and nature conservation laws also apply in other areas.
  • (Everything about "Is a fire allowed in the forest?")

Difference to the rocket furnace

You probably think that sounds like the good, well-known rocket furnace. Basically correct. The hobo is, if you will, a further development of the Rocket Stove.

The biggest difference is the reinforced, thicker metal walls. Due to the stronger insulation, your hobo reaches a much higher temperature, from which less is radiated to the environment.

This also saves you up to 70% of your firewood.

Build your own hobo oven

Have I convinced you and do you want to have your own hobo oven now?

Well, in addition to simply buying one, you also have the option of purchasing one Build your own hobo oven.

Thereby on the one hand you save your money, on the other hand, you have the opportunity to use the system once to test out.

This is how you can tell if you even go with a hobo before you spend around $ 100 on a pro system.

What you need

All you need is an empty, washed-out one Food can and the necessary Tool. First you have to decide whether you want to turn the can over and use the actual floor as a heating or cooking surface.

It's easier if you have the Leaves the bottom as the bottom. Use a suitable drill bit to drill several holes in the ground.

Besides, you need several holes in the bottom area on the side along, at a height of about one to two centimeters.

That was all the effort. Now you have the basic version of your own hobo stove in your hands.

You can develop this further as you wish.

For example, you have the option of using a fan grille from an old PC or something similar to tinker a grate. You put this on the can. This will also warm up a small vessel that would otherwise have fallen into your hobo.

Or you can give the hobo a few Feet, so even more air comes in from below.

If you want it to be even more comfortable, cut one Opening in the middle of the side wall. Then you simply add the firewood without removing the rust.

Another way of improving the basic hobo system is to expand it to the even more effective wood gasifier principle.

Buy recommendations

Not everyone wants to make a hobo oven themselves.

There are inexpensive models for beginners that are quite small.

Bushbox outdoor cooker

  • The BushBox is a small, handy and inexpensive plug-in hobo. Made of stainless steel (1.4301) and yet only 260 grams (including bag), fits in every pocket with a size of 9x11.5 cm and delivers a huge performance on a small budget.
  • With integrated ash pan as floor protection. Can be used for every cup size or as a grill thanks to the supplied pot supports (the pot supports can be used in two positions, see detailed images).
  • Multi-Fuel: Can be operated with wood, organic material, Trangia, Esbit etc.
  • Alternatively, it can also be used with Trangia, fuel paste, Esbit etc. or as a wind protection for burners. The stove is completely made in Germany.

Or the high-priced professional models, which are a good size and partly made of titanium.

Bushbox XL professional set

  • The complete equipment set in the best-selling combination: Bushbox XL, universal grate (can be used as a grill, Trangia platform, insert for charcoal) and durable outdoor bag - cheaper as a set!

Bushbox XL Titanium

  • Our Bushbox XL in the extra light titanium version!
  • Weighs only 490g (540g with bag).
  • Pack size (folded in the bag): 21 x 17 x 1 cm (without bag 19 x 12.5 x 1 cm).
  • The thermally particularly stressed parts (base plate, pot supports) are made of stainless steel.

Cooking in the wild

A whole community has formed around cooking in the wilderness.

More and more nature lovers enjoy cooking outdoors. The original cooking with few materials, without rubbish and ready-made soups.

I recommend you a great book and my recipes.

Oh yes, do you actually know my book "The Fire Primer"? In it I introduce other stoves.

You are also welcome to report whether you have already had experience with the hobo. Are you a big friend of this system or is it not for you? Why?

Or did you hear about the hobo stove for the first time today? If so, I hereby invite you to comment on what you think of it. Are you going to buy a hobo or even build it yourself?

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