Off The Grid Cooking Gear and Tips




Cooking is one of the things that gives me great pleasure because it leads to one of my other favorite pastimes; eating. I learned this skill by watching my Grandmother cook meals on my many visits to her home.

It fascinated me to see her take wild game that I would bring to her as a young hunter and turn it into a meal fit for a king. I loved helping her in the kitchen listening to many stories of her past and learning all I could from her.

Through my time with the Boy Scouts I learned to cook over open fires, then later on I purchased a Coleman stove to add to my outdoor cooking arsenal. I still do the majority of cooking at home from day to day, but I enjoy outdoor cooking the most.

Click here to see the infographic.

Food just seems to taste better when cooked and eaten outside. And aside from being enjoyable, outdoor and primitive cooking skills will serve you well in emergency and survival circumstances.

For folks that have never cooked over a fire, or other more primitive modes of heat, cooking a meal for their family can be a daunting task. Many of us do this every weekend, on vacations or hunting trips and call it fun. What is natural for some of us can be very challenging for others. Because I now live in hurricane territory and experience power outages from time to time, I keep alternate cooking sources always close at hand.


Campfire Breakfast Recipe:

I have free standing grates to place over cooking fires. At times, I would wire two of these together if I had a large group to cook for while guiding and outfitting. Cooking over a fire can be the hardest method of primitive cooking because of regulating your heat. Native Americans used what we call squaw wood to adjust cooking temperatures. Squaw wood is small branches that can be fed into the fire to increase heat, or you can pull it out of the fire to reduce heat.


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I still own and use a dual fuel two burner stove by Coleman. It runs on unleaded gas or Coleman white gas. I bought this for Y2K because it gives you more options for fuel when it comes to hard times. I also own two more propane Coleman two burners and a free-standing Camp Chef propane two burner stove that runs on large propane bottles.


I always keep several one burner stoves that run on two types of fuel, Propane and a mix of Butane and Propane. The mixed fuel tends to work better at higher altitudes and heat quicker.

Along with these stoves, I pack a coffee pot in my truck tool box. You can use a coffee maker to help prepare a meal, boil water for drinking, or even just enjoy a cup of fresh Joe! Dutch oven cooking is another great way to prepare your meals without power.

I have Dutch ovens in three sizes and can cook full meals and desserts with them. They make the best biscuits you have ever tasted. These are fueled by charcoal briquettes or coals from a fire. You shovel coals under the oven and on top so it cooks from the top and bottom evenly. You can also get these Dutch ovens in aluminum if weight is an issue.

Another type of cook stove that I plan to add to my collection is a hobo stove, or can stove. Some are produced commercially and some are homemade. For step-by-step DIY instructions for your own can stove/heater, check out these instructions from DIY Ready.


They can be fueled by different sources. You can use candles, waxed cardboard, alcohol, or small twigs and sticks. These are great little stoves because they are light, and if you have the type that uses twigs and sticks, the fuel is easy to come by.


To create your own stove, you can follow the instructions from DIY ready, or follow this video for another method.

How To Build a Hobo Stove:

Because these primitive types of cooking are limited with burner space, planning your survival meals is another thing to consider. One-pot meals would be ideal in this case. If you are not familiar with these alternate types of cooking, I would suggest adding them to your survival kit and learn to use them. Don't wait until your life may depend on them. Cook meals outdoors now and it will feel more natural for you to use them when the need arises. Bon Appetite!

Interested in camping tips? There's more where this came from! Survival Life – Camping

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  1. CaptTurbo

    March 7, 2014 at 4:02 PM

    What’s with the picture of the pepper slices with the eggs? Is the audience dumb enough to not realize that you would never cook eggs which need minutes to cook with peppers that need tens of minutes to cook?

    • Stu

      March 7, 2014 at 9:34 PM

      It’s about esthetics, I think. Yes, the pepper slices should be under the eggs, but what kind of picture would that make? However, if you like your egg “over hard”, flip everything over, and the pepper will eventually be done. Lighten up.
      Cheers! Stu.

  2. Johnny

    March 7, 2014 at 7:12 PM

    Another good cook stove reference is YouTube rocket stove there are many versions from cooking to heating a structure on minimal amounts of scrap wood twigs and small burnable stuff found in every situation. They are very easy to make and extremely efficient. I am currently heating my entire home with free wood chips from a local tree trimming service. I also take a portable one on camping trips to cook with. I can cook breakfast using twigs that I can carry in one hand.

    • Stephanie

      March 8, 2014 at 3:55 PM

      Thanks for the tips!

  3. jim

    March 8, 2014 at 5:23 AM

    At the beginning of this article they talked about a propane gas stove. Are you aware that you can purchase an adapter to fill your small green propane bottles from your b-b-que tank. You won’t have to run out & get a shopping cart filled with propane tanks. I purchased mine from Cabelas ( $10 – $14 ) 14 years ago & recently used it in the ice storm we got hit with. The only thing you have to remember is turn your b-b-que tank upside down to fill your tank. I must have filled at least 100 bottles over the last 14 years !

  4. RangerDoug

    March 8, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    Clean-up Trick for Woodfire Cooking:
    Cooking over a woodfire will result in a lot of soot and wood-tar build-up on the outside of your cooking gear. That’s not necessarily a problem, but it is particularly messy. In Boy Scouts I learned to coat the outside of my pots and pans with a **thin** layer of liquid dish soap. Use a cloth, paper towel or paper napkin to spread the dishsoap around. (Be careful to keep soap out of the inside of the pot or pan. I only had to learn that lesson once!”) When you are through cooking and ready to wash-up, the soot build up on the outside of your cooking gear will wash off quite readily with a minimal amount of scrubbing.

    . . . Note: your cast iron griddles and Dutch ovens are another matter. Once you have a well-seasoned piece of cast iron cookware, you want to avoid soap!

  5. Kukriking

    March 12, 2014 at 11:41 PM

    The Biolite CampStove is THE most efficient, practical, and brilliant piece of kit I’ve seen in camp cooking period. It has a small fan built on the side (powered by the heat of the stove) to keep the fire oxygenated AND has a UBS jack to charge your iPhone and regargable LED lights. It needs a very smallamount of twigs, wood-chips, etc to keep an intense flame roaring What more could you need in a SHTF device. (they do make a grill to fit and a nice pot to boil water[and THAT only takes 7 mins!!] ). Get one ! Get two !!

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  7. Queenie

    May 10, 2014 at 8:31 AM

    thanks!, gomowpropane

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