If you are looking for an inexpensive version to the other backpacking style wood burning stoves that I have reviewed, then the Foldable Pocket Cooker Stove might do the trick. It was the lowest priced backpacking style wood stove that I have found.
Setup and Design Features
The Pocket Cooker expands out from its 1” thick collapsed pancake size into a 6.4″ x 3.7″ x 1″ wood burning stove. It has a side door to feed the fire that allows for larger sticks to be used. The design forces heat up and out through the top of the stove to heat your food.
It weighs 1.5 lbs which puts it up with the heavier stoves in this class. Unlike many of the other stoves in this class, the Pocket Cooker is not made of a super lightweight aluminum or titanium. Instead it is made of regular metal which is the reason for the 1.5 lb total weight.
This stove would work well for emergency preparedness or in situations where ultra light weight is not a critical factor. If you want to review a wood burning stove at a much lower weight take a look at the Vargo here or the emberlit here. Both of these stoves are much lighter but are more expensive.
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The Pocket Cooker burns small sticks, pine cones and other woody debris found in the forest to produce a good flame. It’s not as light or as efficient as the other wood burning stoves in the wood burning class, but costs considerably less. Because weight is a factor you need to determine if this stove is suitable for backpacking. Here is the link to the manufacturers site if you have additional questions about this product.
It will boil a liter of water in under 10 minutes in most conditions but depends on your individual fire building skills. There will be some maintenance required for this stove over time due to the hinged design and painted metal that tends to burn off over time. It will be important to watch for rusting after the paint has burned off and to check the hinges for weak points. Over time there is the potential that the hinges could weaken and break.
Again, this depends on how much maintenance you perform in the way of cleaning the stove and how much annual use the stove receives. Take a look at this video link to see how this stove is setup and used in the field.
The stove has good wind protection and creates and effective fire that will do the job in cooking your meals. If you find that the factory paint is burning off you may want to try some high temperature paint to upgrade and protect the overall unit. The cost of the paint when added to the low cost of the Pocket Cooker will still keep you at a lower cost that many of the higher priced wood burning stoves. If you want to avoid some of these complications, take a look at this Solo Stove link for a lightweight bomber model.
After everything is factored together, a stove that does the task at hand well and costs under $20 is pretty hard to beat. Because weight may be a factor you have to determine what will be the specific use for the stove. Although it is a bit heavy, the positives are pretty solid including the very low cost and compactness. It comes with a nice nylon bag and does not include a parts kit. The stove cost between $10 and $20.
- Boils water at a similar rate to more expensive stoves
- Very compact design allow for easy storage
- Comes with a carrying bag
- Heavier than other stoves in class
- Overall Longevity questionable
- Soot buildup requires cleaning
- Rust prone if left in elements
Always remember to test out your stove before you head out in the woods to make sure you are familiar with the product. There were some minor tweaks that were needed over time including the need to bend the pan supports in place. This was easily tweaked with a leatherman.
A good reminder to always carry some type of multi tool that might serve you well on your next trip. An alcohol stove will fit inside the Pocket Cooker if you are looking for a windbreak and backup stove concept.
Foldable Pocket Cooker Summary
If you are looking for a compact stove, at a super low price and are not critically concerned with weight then the Folding Pocket Cooker will do the trick. It is going to need a little TLC but if maintained you will get some good use out of the Pocket Cooker. Get it as a present for your kid and let him learn how to build a fire in the backyard.
The price and compact design are the key features on this model. There are other comparable stoves out there that will be more effective over all but not at this price.
It is worth $20 or less to pick up a Foldable Pocket Cooker Stove? You will save considerably over some of the other wood burning stoves and will essentially get a stove that does the same thing, burns wood. Give it a shot for yourself and leave a comment for the community to help them decide if its right for their situation.
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