Thru-Hiker: Gear and Resources for Long Distance Hikers
Fabrics And Materials Fabrics And Materials The Workshop: Make Your Own Gear Projects Articles for Lightweight and Long Distance Hikers

French Seams

Knee Articulation

Hood Pattern

Installing Wrist Elastic

Down Underquilt

Mitten Pattern

Using Continuous Zipper

Titanium Solid Fuel Tablet Stove

Lightweight Backpack

Manual Buttonhole

Basic Seams for Homemade Gear Projects

How to load thread into the bobbin

How to Check and Adjust Thread Tension

Mesh Stuff Sack

Folding Wood Burning Pack Stove

0.5 oz V8 Stove

Cat Stove

Down Quilt

Make Your Own Silnylon Stuffsacks

Henry's Tarptent & Tarptent-for-2

Nimblewill Nomad's Wood Burning Stove

Project prepared by Jeff Walters

The Design:

During the latest FTA Conference many of us had a chance to meet with Eb "Nimblewill Nomad" Eberhart. Eb had a chance to talk to us all about his amazing backpacking trip from Key West, Florida to Cape Gaspe,Canada; 4400 miles, 10 months. During this trip Eb did not carry any fuel. Instead he used a simple metal stove and burned leaves, bark, wood and other natural fuel to cook his meals. This design is based on the stove he used during his adventure.

It's basically a wood burning box style stove. The front is open and the top is open. You just get a small fire going and put your pot on top. I've successfully made one and it boiled 3 cups of water in less than 5 minutes, once I got the fire going. The stove has air slots cut into the side walls which allow for excellent air flow. Also the stove bottom sits 1 inch above the ground so you might be able to use this stove on a bench or table. It's as "no-trace" as a Sierra Zip stove is in my humble opinion.

I made one out of Galvanized Steel (Roofing Steel). You can sometimes find scraps out at construction sites or just visit any hardware store. It weighs a little under 4 oz. total and breaks down into a nice little 6" by 5" package which might fit into some cooking pots.

I know what the "Sierra Zip Stove People" are saying at this moment, "It doesn't have a fan!?". No fan, no batteries --- just make yourself a blow tube. Take a small 2-3 inch piece of copper tube and attach a 12-15" section of plastic hose. Gently blow into the hose to increase the air flow to the fire. This method also works good on camp fires and you don't lose your breath. The stove seems to radiate the heat back into the fire which helps get things burning good.

The Scans:

Here are the three traces needed to make the stove. You need to make 2 sides, a bottom and a back. Copy these 3 "GIF" files from this Web page. Place your cursor over the image, right mouse click, then choose "Save Picture As...". Then using a graphics program,print these 3 images to the width and length stated on the graphics. Editor's Note: I found it helpful to make a cardboard template from the scans.
Wood Stove Bottom
Wood Stove Side
Wood Stove Back

Tools Required:

There are couple special tools required: tin snips to cut the metal, a Dremel with a cutting wheel to cut the slots (or some other cutting tool) and a drill to cut the holes.


The only downfall to my current stove is the thickness of the steel used. After a while the stove walls might burn up. Other Disadvantages: smoke can bother allergies, smoke blackens your pots badly, you have to add fuel regularly and fuel needs to be dry.


Advantages are obvious: no fuel to carry, breaks down into a very small package, you can carry the ashes away if you like, no movable / breakable parts, smoke will rid you of mosquitoes, no batteries needed.


The directions mention the use of galvanized steel. The galvinization process coats steel with a thin layer of zinc metal as a way to reduce oxidation (rusting) of the steel. It should be noted that this zinc will be liberated from the steel surface when the stove is new due to the heat of combustion, producing a toxic vapor. Welders are familiar with this phenomenon, known as 'zinc vapors'. Among other problems, it causes a severe headache.
Thru-Hiker does not recommend galvanized metals, but if you do use it in your project or aren't sure, make sure to burn off all the zinc without inhaling the fumes before using it to cook with. Or better yet, stay away from galvanized metal altogether. You can get plain sheet metal at hardware stores (like the Home Depot) cheaply.
Before You Start
It really helps to make a template out of cardboard before you cut the metal. It's hard to get the template to be right straight from the printer.
Titanium Nimblewill Stove
Thin gauge (0.016") 6Al4V titanium sheet makes an excellent version of this stove. Try eBay.
About This Stove
Though the name of this article is "Nimblewill Nomad's Wood Burning Stove", it is based on an old design: wood burning box stoves. Nimblewill Nomad makes no claim as to have invented this type of stove, but he certainly deserves credit to popularizing it among the long distance hiking community.