How to Use the Amazing Solo Stove

Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 24, 2020
How to Use the Amazing Solo Stove

When it comes to having alternative methods of cooking food when the power is out, most preppers have it covered.  For some, an outdoor gas grill will do the job while for others, camp stoves, fire pits, and rocket stoves of various types will ensure that at the very least, there will be a viable method for heating both food and water.

My favorite are rocket stoves, mostly because they are fueled by wood and biomass.  To that end, since the start of my own prepping journey I have been enamored by the amazing Solo Stove.  I started with the Solo Stove Lite and have now moved up the line with various sizes so that I now own a total of four, including the fantastic Solo Stove Campfire.  That is how much I love my Solo Stoves.

How to Use the Amazing Solo Stove | Backdoor Survival

A couple of months ago I was contacted by Solo Stove and asked if I would like to do and all-new review of the Solo Stove.  Of course I said yes, and of course I arranged for a giveaway; this time for both the Solo Stove Lite and the perfectly sized Solo Pot 900.

More about the giveaway in a moment.  First let me tell you about the Solo Stove.

The Amazing Solo Stove

The Solo Stove is very compact and lightweight and is easily, at 9 ounces, carried in a backpack.  It comes with it’s own little pouch which is easy to stash and which keeps the stove protected from other gear that may be rattling around in your bag or your kit.

The Solo Stove is fueled by bio-mass, such as twigs, small branches, and leaves.  Initially I thought this would be a problem at my Arizona location because after all, my home state of Washington is the Evergreen State and there is an abundance of biomass everywhere.  Here there is desert brush and cactus.

Much to my surprise, one walk along a desert trail wielded a huge bucket of biomass.  The moral of the story?  If you have discounted an emergency stove fueled by biomass you are missing out on an opportunity to use free fuel found in nature and not something you purchase at the local Home Depot.

Collecting Biomass | Backdoor Survival

Getting back on topic, the Solo Stove uses bio-mass broken into pieces that are the size of your finger so that they will fit in the combustion chamber.  It burns quick and hot so I suggest that you gather up your bio-mass in advance because it will get burned up fairly rapidly.  You will want to tend to the stove and keep the hot flame alive by adding additional biomass to the combustion chamber as it is consumed.

How to Use the Amazing Solo Stove | Backdoor Survival

There are two methods for starting the fire and I tried both.

1.  With the grate in place, fill the combustion chamber to the top with bio-mass then start the fire by lighting it from the top.  In my test I used dryer lint as a fire starter and lit the fuel with a match.  Once you have a fire going, keep feeding the fire until the stove is drawing.  You will know this is happening when you see that the fire has spread across the top of the stove and secondary combustion will be seen near the air vents.

2.  With this second method, put in enough bio-mass to cover only the bottom of the combustion chamber.  (The biomass sits on a grate.)  Add your fire starter (again, I used dryer lint) and start your fire.  After the fire is going, keep adding bio-mass.  Soon your stove will be drawing, forcing the heat up through the chamber. I actually prefer this method although both methods work just fine.

Once the fire is going, place the removable cooking ring on top of the fire.  This top piece holds your pan on the stove and also contains an opening for adding additional fuel.

Solo Stove With a Nice Fire Going | Backdoor Survival

You are now ready to start cooking.

For this test I boiled some water in the Solo Pot 900 so I could prepare a Mountain House meal.  It took less than 10 minutes to boil a full pot of water.

The 30 ounce pot is made of premium stainless steel and includes side handles and a lid.  The lid has its own handle that is rubberized and does not get hot (or at least it didn’t for me).  The Solo Pot 900 has been specifically designed for the Solo Stove with the added benefit that the two nest together for easy storage.

How to Use the Amazing Solo Stove | Backdoor Survival

I have also used this same small Solo Stove to prepare a large pot of rice.  Starting with four cups of very cold water in an old Revere Ware pot, it brought the rice and water to boil in about ten minutes.  Once it came to a full boil, I let the covered pot simmer for bout 20 minutes until the rice was done.

I was concerned about the stability of the stove with a large pot sitting on top but there was no problem.   Regardless, I would never leave a Solo Stove (or any rocket stove) unattended.

The official instructions for using the Solo Stove can be found here: The Solo Stove User Guide.

Some Important Tips for Using a Rocket Stove, Including the Solo Stove

If you plan to use your Solo Stove, or any rocket stove device that uses bio-mass, for cooking when the power goes out, take the time now to gather up some biomass in advance (like now) so that it will be nice and dry when the time comes.  I now have two large boxes ready to go when and if the time comes.

Something else you should do now is gather your fire-starting equipment and tinder.  Matches, fire steels, BBQ wands, lighters – they are all going to work.  You can amass a lot of dryer lint over time and it is 100% free.  I keep empty TP tubes next to my clothes dryer and stuff them with lint as I go.

You can also soak cotton balls in petroleum jelly which is a great use for the stuff if you no longer want to use in on your skin.  (For that, consider making some Simple Salve, a petroleum jelly alternative that is petrochemical free.)

Learn how to start a fire!  It is a simple skill that will take you just an hour or two to master.  Apartment and condo dwellers, this also includes you!  When I was a city girl, I knew nothing about fire building and the first couple of times I tried, I pretty much smoked out the neighborhood.  So take heed, start practicing now, and you will be an expert in no time.

And finally, rocket stoves, including the Solo Stove, are designed for outdoor use only.

The Giveaway

Solo Stove is providing a Solo Stove Lite and a Solo Pot 900 for this giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific next Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article.  Please note that the winner must claim their prize within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.

Note:  Due to Customs requirements, this giveaway is only open to residents of the United States.

The Final Word

Have you even thought about how you would cook if you had to leave the comfort of your home? That is where the Solo Stove shines. It is lightweight and portable plus, because it burns biomass, you can find fuel almost everywhere.  Add a lighter or some matches to your survival kit along with dryer lint or fire cord, and you are all set.

I do want to extend a special thank you to the nice folks at Solo Stove.  From the very beginning, Solo Stove has been a sponsor of Backdoor Survival and for that, they deserve a round of applause.  It is sponsors such as Solo Stove that allow me to keep Backdoor Survival 100% free for everyone.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to email updates.  When you do, you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-Book, The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

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Below you will find the Solo Stove and other items related to today’s article.

Solo Stove & Pot 900 Combo: Ultralight Wood Burning Stove: This combination is perfect for your bug-out kit and especially for heating water for use with freeze dried meal pouches.  The stove nests inside the stove.  Lightweight and it burns biomass, no other fuel is needed.  Recommended!

Other Solo Stoves & Accessories:  I personally own four solo stoves including the large Solo Stove Campfire.  They are compact yet well-built and perfect for cooking off-grid with just a bit of biomass.  They come in varying sizes so you can choose the one that is right for you.

Zippo Street Chrome Pocket Lighter:  Zippo has been creating virtually indestructible, windproof refillable lighters for more than 75 years. The Zippo Street Chrome pocket lighter is no exception. This lighter features a classic textured chrome finish and carries the same lifetime guarantee–to either work or be fixed by Zippo free of charge–for life.  All wearable parts including flints and wicks are replaceable.  Every prepper should own at least one Zippo!  Learn more about Zippos in the article What You Need to Know About Zippos and Lighter Fuel.

Diamond GreenLight Kitchen Matches – 3 Pack (Strike anywhere):  Our local supermarket in Friday Harbor told us that they do not stock the strike-anywhere matches because they self-combust.  Urban legend or CYA?  Who knows.

100 BIC-style Lighters Disposable Classic Lighter:  Running about 16 cents each and free shipping, these are great to have on hand for both survival and barter use. Want fewer than 100.  You can also get a pack of 50.

Cast Iron Skillet with Hot Handle Holder: I feel that everyone should own a basic, 12” cast iron skillet.  In spite of the myth, they are easy to care for and over time, will become a family heirloom.  On grid or off grid, cooking with cast iron is the way to go.

The Ringer Cast Iron Cleaner – Stainless Steel Chainmail:  I purchased one of these in October 2015 and it is friggin’ fantastic.  You will never ever have to scrub cast iron again.  I can’t say enough good things about this gizmo.  You want one (and I definitely need to do a review).

Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel:  This “Scout” is the one I own. Using this basic pocket fire-starter, you can get a nice fire going under almost any conditions. This is a small, compact version and is my personal favorite.


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131 Responses to “How to Use the Amazing Solo Stove”

  1. If I had $200 to spend on things ? First would a water filter , water container , Food & Fire starter, and Shelter . The basics and I would upgrade somethings ..

  2. We have a few outages in the winter and this would be a better stove for me to use. I think I am always prepared then something new and better comes along. It’s a good thing.

  3. If given $200 I would start with water filters and long term storable food. There are 3 of us in my household, so this money MIGHT be enough to help buy some basic supplies I have been trying to save up for. I figure about $60 for filters and the rest in a basic freeze dried bucket. If I lucky, maybe two.

  4. Thanks, I would love $200 for prepping, even if pretend. That is actually a great number because I could save for it in a few months.

    One or two more twin size WOOL blankets. They range from $25 to $250. I have not tested the cheaper ones, so lets go with $50 each. That leaves $100. With that I would get 2 large dry bags with straps for $35 each. Now I have $35 left. More food. I have not yet prepped honey and coconut oil. Let’s say $7 each for small jars around 12oz. 2 raw honey and 3 coconut oil. By the way I’m not talking about Tropical Traditions here. They are way too expensive. I shop Vitacost dot com or Amazon for this type of food items.

    I already have most of my bugout stuff but I’m working on redundant caching, so that’s what the above is for. Love the question. Everyone will have a different answer, depending on location, purpose and where they are at with prepping. I look forward to reading everyone’s answer.

  5. I think the Solo Stove works great and would love to have the companion 900 Pot. This solo combination is a must have for everyone’s bug out bag.

  6. We have a rocket stove but have never tried it out. Now I will go this weekend and give it a try. I want to be ready if we need it but I keep putting some things off. I do have a bucket full of biomass, and dryer lint seems to always be available at our house so you have made me want to get going again on prepping and learning, thank

  7. I would get a water filtration system for the family. We have access to water but the filtration system is on my wish list for now ( ie. Berkey, etc). I have alternative means of “cleaning water, bleach, boiling and some bottled water.

  8. If someone handed me $200.00, I would get two more 55 gallon water barrels. You just can’t store too much water.

  9. If I had $200 to spend on preparedness items, I would buy a Mountain House bucket, a 5-gal jug for water, cooking kit (Solo Stove, fire-starter, etc.)as a backup or for an impromptu camping trip/picnic.

  10. Looks like you could store other items inside – storm-proof matches, small packs of seasonings, etc. Good deal!

  11. Always thinking of one more thing. We are surrounded by brackish water. It might be best to spend $200 on a water desalinator or distiller. Or make one.

  12. Honestly, I would buy a Solo Stove! We sold our RV & accidentally left both camp stoves in it, so my only backup cooker is my Sun Oven. One is none…

  13. With $200, it would depend on what day. If there was a sale of dried food, I may hit that. Or, an ammo sale at a local dealer. I would like most of my money, I would stretch it as far as it would go.

  14. I’d use half to buy a stove since I don’t have one, and the other half for water purification and communication devices, where I’m currently lacking.

  15. Probably Mountain House food. While I have a good supply of food stocked, very little of it is easily portable if I have to leave my home in a hurry.

  16. I would spend the extra $200 on fire extinguishers. I only have 2, and it’s a necessary item, but unfortunately I’ve not crossed that off the prep list yet!

    Bought one solo stove last fall, I’m really looking forward to using it. My daughter needs one…for camping. I know she will love it for all its wonderful features…lightweight, nesting items in convenient carrying bag, versatility using small bits of biomass, and how superfast it gets hot…and boils water!

  17. I’d purchase a Solo Stove, some additional water purification items, and the tools to be able to wash clothes in a grid down situation.

  18. 200 bucks, well I still need a better heating source, but mainly more water storage capability. I currently can only store about 200gal this will not last long. And part of that current storage is a waterbob.

  19. I have a lot of random supplies, so my first task would be to inventory and organize everything so I know what I have and what I need 🙂 Then I would go in order of priority:
    1) you can’t go more than about 3 minutes without air, so I’d make sure I have sufficient strategically placed N95 masks and maybe look for another type of mask that is more rugged and/or has better filtration. I’d get a few disposable razors to keep with the masks as well, since my hubby has a beard. If you really need a filter mask you need it to fit tight to your face.
    2) you can’t go more than a few hours or few days without shelter depending on the weather, so even though my first choice would be to bug in I’d make sure I have a dozen or two of the cheap emergency blankets (since they fit easily in a pocket) and put one in the pocket of each of my coats and anywhere else I can think of (put a few in each vehicle, for example). Depending on what I’ve got in each of my various bug out/get home, etc bags I might add a high tech light-weight bivvy sack to one or more because that would be much lighter than a tent or a tarp and lighter and more weather resistant than a sleeping bag.
    3) you can’t go more than a few days without water so I’d check on what I’ve got for water purification, filtration, and storage. One thing that I’d look for is lightweight, collapsible water bags for my packs and a water filter or purification tablets that work with them. The lifestraw concept is very portable, but it does not have capacity for collecting water to carry with you or for cooking. At home I have multiple sources of water, but an extra set of filters for the Berkey would be a good idea.
    4) you can’t go more than a few weeks without food. I’d look at any holes in my food storage and make sure I have cooking capacity. The Solo Stove is an excellent choice for cooking because it runs on easily available biofuel and is light enough for a bug out bag but also usable at home as long as you have a spot somewhere outside to run it. You need to be able to light the stove, so I’d make sure I have at least a firesteel and a magnesium chunk or rod in each pack, coat pocket, and a couple at home. The firesteel magnesium combo gives you fire starting and emergency tinder in a small, robust, waterproof, form factor.
    5) We have lots of animals at home and something I haven’t done much prepping for is bug out equipment for them, so I’d look into that.
    I think I’m way over $200 at this point 🙂

    • Ann, this is a great comment. I admire the logical way you evaluate your preps and your needs. I also use the rules of 3 to make decisions because I can’t do it all at once. After a few years of stockpiling food, I began to seriously prep for bugging out.

      I started with shelter including boots, wool clothes, wool blankets, socks, hats, gloves, tarps, folding saw, rope and several fire making tools. This is long-term shelter in the woods, as remote as possible.

      Thank you for your idea to put the N95 masks in the bugout bag. I had not thought of that but it sure makes sense.

  20. ”We still have way to go in our Family Preparedness, so we have many alternatives were to invest those $200. Water Storage and water purification would be a Must, as well as long term food storage. I’ve been looking Foward to acquiring a Volcano Stove or a Kelly Kettle and after reading you review on the Solo Stove I think it would be a far better alternative, specially with the Pot 900. Up till now I’ve been using a small table grill when relatively large outages occurs.and we have been able to prepare complete meals with it. But it’s dependent on characol biscuits, so if a long term emergency arise and we haven’t enough characol we’ll be in troubles. Also using biomass is far more practical becaus of it’s availability and economy.

    • Hi Patrick, great choice of items. I’m a PIA butinsky so here is how I would put those items together.

      A couple Nalgene bottles to carry the water you filtered. 2 or more 5″ ferocium rod fire starters. 2 full tang high carbon non-serrated stainless knives, one with a gut hook. A folding knife of legal carry length for your state. Might be able to find a cheap but great crossbow at a pawn store or on consignment at a gun store. Lots of bolts. Make more bolts with one of the knives. A heavy duty poncho that can function as a tarp. And now of course, you’re at the point where you need a pack to carry this stuff in. Like I said, I’m a PITA. This post has me really charged up reading comments, learning from them, planning what to do next. My husband refuses to talk about it. He says all he will need is his .308s and he can get what he needs. I will probably be his first victim as I’m really well prepped and building skills. Thanks for tolerating my ramble!

  21. I would put an extra $200 toward another handgun. I’m a relative newbie to shooting, and need something more than my .22.

  22. After looking at my place and supplies, I think I will need to invest in shelves and containers so I will be better organized 🙂 or like Donna – a bigger Berkey. I should have gotten one size bigger than the one I thought would be enough.

  23. If I was given $200 for use in emergency supplies, what would I spend I it on? It’s funny when thinking about this. All kinds of things run through my mind. I think I’d first start with 2 back packs, modest cost for my daughters to use as BOB. Hopefully there would be some left over to use for components in an HAM radio go box. My goal is to put together a more powerful setup then the Baefong hand helds in s pelican case to be used as a remote station.

  24. Wow! I guess it counts as survival, but I would buy a new fuel pump for my car. Other than that, I would get one of those complete solar set-ups from Harbor Freight. On sale $139, with $$ left over for the start of a battery bank.

  25. $200? I would add another water purification method (Lifestraw perhaps), Radio (KA500 would be nice),and leave the rest as spare cash in my BOB.

  26. I would put it towards my list of system “backups” like a tool for getting water from our well when the power is out.

  27. I’d evaluate what I have, what I need and what the needed cost would be. Then sort out immediate needs.

  28. Only 9 ounces – wow – this is a winner and i wold love to own one, and try it out, and take it with me backpacking and beyond . . .!

  29. Next on my list are asparagus and rhubarb plants and moriniga seedlings…Adding to the nut trees, fruit trees, and berries already in place for renewable food supplies…

  30. I would need to put the money toward water filtration system. While I do have water stored, I have not set up any filtration easier to use than boiling & bleach. A Berkey would be lovely.

  31. I would get a water filter, a solo stove or solar oven, some water and some masks in case of contagion. I need it all! 🙂

  32. I am still working on heating a small area. What would be feasible and safe.
    Or maybe a Bug Out water Filtration system

  33. Well, I do have some major things I have stocked and bagged up but I would use the 200$ to purchase some freeze dried food, or food to can and store. Or some products to get to make my own salves and such.

  34. Some more water preps…Lifestraws for all my family members or some other type of ways to transport water to other places, activated charcoal, a nebulizer, a compact multi tool for my every day carry and a fire escape ladder for my second story of my home

  35. I’m pretty well set on most of my preps. I just moved and have red clay soil on top of limestone. I was basically planning on using raised beds for most things anyway, but now I pretty much have to. I will be needing to buy lots and lots of compost to start my beds out. I have also been trying to pick up a few extra basic food items every week to be able to help out my new neighbors should they need it. $200 would help a lot with that.

  36. If you don’t win this stove, don’t fret. They are pretty easy to make and you can find plans on the Internet or at least you use to be able to find them on-line.

  37. If given $200 extra dollars, I would most likely buy more water containers.. You can never have too much, but you can have too little!

  38. I don’t have a portable cooking unit, so the solo would be a nice addition to my water and packaged and canned food that I have put away. I would use the balance of the money to purchase a nice medical kit that I think would be essential to survive a disaster of any kind. I’m raising 3 grandchildren, and so food preparation will be a large part of us getting through a time of living off the grid, so to speak. If there were any money left, I would probably invest in a good short-wave radio to establish communication with others in the area. Thanks for allowing us to comment, as I always learn something from your articles and others’ comments.

  39. If given $200 I would either buy a couple more 55 gallon water barrels or add more protein long storage food.

  40. With $200, I would start with MREs, batteries, basic essential oils, something to filter water, just the basics, and then build from there.

  41. Wow! Love all the Ida’s here! I would start with a water purification system. Next I would like to invest in masks, then (if any $ remains) a good bug out system.

    Thank you so much for all the work you put into your website and some awesome giveaways!

  42. I would spend it on building my food storage & water supply and a good water purification system. If any left, some type of Rocket Stove if not this one

  43. If I had $200 to spend, I would buy a solo stove or something similar. This is something I do not have yet.

  44. One of the things I do not have yet is a a type of stove such as a Solo stove. If I had $200, I would get one of the stoves and probably some of the masks.

  45. Wow, with $200 I would start with water purification filters and a really solid multi-tool (to fill a couple of holes in my BOB)With anything left, I would invest in a rocket stove. I’m pretty impressed with this one.

  46. I would purchase as much long term storable food as possible and a couple of more cartridges for my water filter.

  47. If I don’t win it, then the Solo stove with the 2 pot accessory kit thrown in while they’re on sale. Whatever’s left will go toward another lifestraw bottle.

  48. I have been adding to my store of preparedness food, water, ammo, tools, books ect. I still need better communications, a berkely water filter, a wood burning stove for house, solar system, and a whole lot more knowledge. The solo stove would be a great upgrade to my existing stove in the BOB Someday, will have one to add to my kit. But if given $200 today to purchase items, probably more long term food items

  49. If I was given $200 I would add it to my savings for a Goal Zero Yeti 400 generator to run my nebulizer if the power goes out. That’s the next major purchase for my preps.

  50. $200 sadly wont go very far this stove alone would eat up over half of that.. id probably have to look into making my own is I was really serious about it. but I’d love to get one for free 🙂

  51. I would purchased freeze-dried food and another water purification device. I’m hoping to win a Solo Stove so I don’t have to purchase one.

  52. Hi Gaye, I have always wanted a Solo Stove for my kit, but could not afford one…
    Hope I get lucky and win it! I enjoy your newsletter and the prepping information comes in handy in my quest to be prepared for any and all emergencies. Keep up the good work! Cheers! Robert

  53. This seems like a great alternative to a liquid fuel stove (or at least a backup). Thanks for the review!

  54. I would probably want to put the $200 towards two more raised garden beds, or my husband would probably want to put it towards more ammo. Maybe there would be a half and half compromise!

  55. I would think about wool blankets or buying a dog for added security. Fruit trees and seeds might be a good investment too.

  56. Just a quick comment on storing dryer lint. For those of us in non-arid environments, I always recommend storing the dryer lint in ziplock baggies. I use the freezer grade gallon size baggies to squeeze in a crazy amount of lint, and by squeezing it almost flat I get all the air out which lets me store more in a tight space (had to make room for matches, lighter fluid and steel wool.) For safety’s sake I keep the candles and lantern oil stored elsewhere. No need to have all my flammables on one shelf. 😉

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