Cook off the grid with this portable stove


Going camping is one of my families most adored activities. Leaving the busy city behind and retreating to the peacefulness of the great outdoors is so relaxing and refreshing that we are addicted to the felling. Who said all addictions are bad?

Once in a while we have some less than pleasant experiences while going camping and one of them is heavy rain falling overnight and making everything soaking wet. You know how much of a hassle is to start a fire when all the wood is wet. This makes cooking virtually impossible.

Same problem arises when some sort of disaster hits. The power and gas are cut and you end up eating cold food from a can, if you wore wise enough to have some on hand. And while in this scenario a grill may come in handy to some degree, if you’re like me and enjoy a good cup of Joe every morning, a grill won’t do the trick. And yes, having a ultra light backpacker stove is great to have, if it’s just you. If you have a family to take care of in these times, that will be of little help.

While I was pondering how to better prepare for these unforeseen situations, and make sure that I can provide my family with warm food, luck found me in the form of my next door neighbor. He came over and asked me if I could go with him to the scrap yard. He intended to dump his old RV and wondered if I mind giving him a ride back. That’s when I remembered that he had a preaty good and quite small oven in that RV. So I asked him if he would consider selling it to me, to which of course he said OK.

After we came back I started working on designs on how to turn this stove in something that could be used in any given situation. I ended up with the one you’re going to learn about here.

For those of you that will follow the same course and get your stove from an RV, I will tell you the steps I took to remove it. Otherwise you can check up Craig’s List for people that are selling RV stoves.

Removing the stove

Lift the stove top just above the knobs, remove and set to the side. Loosen the gas line, but don’t beat it up , we will need to keep a long piece of it. Remove the 4 screws that secure it to the cabinet. Pick up the stove and remove it from the cabinet avoiding banging up the copper gas line. Cut the gas line as far away from the back of the stove as you can. We will reuse this line.

Besides the stove you’re going to need:    

Copper/Brass flare Union – Link –
Double male flare union – Link –
2 Handles – Link –
Stain or sealer
Propane line with low pressure regulator valve – Link –
Couch feet – Link –


Circular saw



Flaring Tool – Link –

The plywood measurements will depend of the stove. Mine was 20 wide x 18 deep x 21 tall, but depending on what you get you may need more or less plywood than I did. You will need 3 pieces on each side and one for the bottom part.

Cutting the plywood

3 sides of the stove have a slight lip so it can sit in the cabinet box. The stove in the camper had a storage bin under it – and looking under the stove you find some sort of vents. So to be safe I wanted to put a storage cubby under it.
My board was already 26 inches deep so I only had to cut it to length. Using a large straight edge and a circular saw, I cut three mostly straight pieces. The left, right and rear. I did a quick test fit and amazingly it fit snug.

With the oven still sitting in the box marked the bottom panel with a pencil. Removed the stove from the box, set the box aside and cut the bottom board. Attach the bottom board to the cabinet. I used 1.5 inch screws I had laying around.

cook1          cook2

cook3          cook4

Adding some feet

I wanted the base board to be off the ground, so I looked around the shed and found some old couch feet I could use. Using 2×4 scrap pieces as a guide I screwed the feet to the bottom. This allows me later on to build elevating blocks out of 2×4’s, 2×6’s, 2×8’s or 2×12’s – and the stove will be secured in place by the feet.

cook6           cook5

Securing the cabinet

Once the feet are finished flip the cabinet over and put the stove back in. Secure the stove to the cabinet with screws – one in each corner.


Handles for easy transportation

I added handles to the right and left side of the stove in order to make it easier to move it around. All you need to do is to screw them in place. Just make sure the screws you’re using aren’t longer than the thickness of the plywood you’re using.


Adding the fuel line

Drill an access hole for the gas line. Put the salvaged line back through the access hole and attach to the burner fuel rail. Measure cut and flare the copper line so that it sticks out the back of your cabinet.

cook9           cook10

cook11          cook12

Propane setup

You will need a low pressure regulator and a piece of flexible propane line. These are easily salved off of a gas grill that is being thrown away. I like the long line because it gets the gas away from the open flame. It also allows me to utilize the 100 gallons of propane I have stored on site that is attached to my home gas logs.

cook13           cook14

And with that you’re done. Now you can take your stove anywhere you desire and have the ability to cook food for the whole family without any worries. Depending on where you’re going you can pack a smaller propane tank, but always have one big one around the house in case of emergency.

What other methods would you use to cook for your family in emergency situations? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.



This article has 1 Comment

  1. In addition to the various other cooking methods (3-burner B-B-Q grill (propane), multiple Coleman stoves (Coleman fuel), rocket stove made from concrete blocks (wood or charcoal), fire pit (wood or charcoal), I have a round (24″ diam) metal patio ‘fire pit’ that I can fuel with wood or charcoal.

    If there comes a time when that needs to be pressed into service for preparing family meals, I have a large round grate that can be laid across the top for cooking, with multiple smaller grates of various sizes and spacings that can be added for a multitude of different foods. I will partially fill the bottom with some of the sand that we have in abundance here in Florida (to hold the heat and protect the metal bottom), I will then put some of the ‘fire stones'(made for B-B-Q grills) on top of the sand to hold heat and even out the cooking .

    These will allow the use of multiple fuels (some easy to store, others easy to acquire and replace) for flexibility and ease of obtaining (We have a 20-acre woodlot right behind our house) should a long-term need arise.

    These will not be as easy to use or as easy to control the cooking as a propane-fueled ‘portable stove’ but, it is what we have available right now. I may be keeping an eye out for a stove to be discarded.

    Thanks for the suggestion.


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