Bushcraft – How to make a natural stove

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John Fenna

Got a pack of sausages and nowhere to cook them? ABR survival expert John Fenna has just the trick

As with so many things, having a bit of knowledge can save you a lot of heartaches, and when it comes to long trips it can also save you a lot of room in your panniers – or the cash to pay out for extra gear! In many parts of the world, you can save money and/or make expensive and precious fuel last a lot longer by cooking on an open fire. To do this well you don’t need to have heavy, bulky metal grill frames or other special gear – you just need the know-how.

Instead of buying a grill stand to balance pots and pans over a fire, you can simply use a ‘hunter’s fire’. In its simplest form, this is just two logs – preferably greenwood so that they don’t burn too quickly – with the fire in between them. One end of the logs should be set wider than the other with the wide end towards the wind. If you can, flatten and square off the inner and top surfaces of the logs.

In the wide part of the gap, you have your fast and the hot burning main part of the fire for boiling water etc. and embers can be raked to the other, narrow end for slower cooking and frying. Pots and pans are simply rested over the gap, steady and secure thanks to the flattened top surfaces and well exposed to the heat thanks to the vertical inner faces of the logs. Adjust the spread of the gap to the size of the pots and you can cook as easily as on a gas cooker. Of course, once the cooking is done, the logs can then be used as ordinary firewood.