Monday, April 23, 2012

The Amazing Ammo Can Stove

The Blue Ridge - $119.95
What do you get when you take a regular old military ammo can and convert it into a full functioning heating and cooking wood stove? Just say the words abracadabra and magically you get a sweet, highly practical stove that is sure to serve as a great primary or back-up heating and cooking system, sure to be appreciated by any good survivalist.

The stove comes in two sizes, the Trekker and the Blue Ridge, based on the two major sizes of readily available ammo cans. For my purposes, the smaller “trekker” just didn’t seem to fit my needs, so I decided to purchase the larger Blue Ridge model. My plans are to have the stove serve as a heat source for an ice fishing shack that is approximately 5 x 8 feet. I feel that with the shack properly insulated, the Blue Ridge model should be able to adequately heat the small abode on all but the coldest of winter days.

Trekker and Blue Ridge
The ammo cans are highly customized with reinforced with steel and heavy duty hardware, transforming them into rugged and reliable heat sources. With proper care, I can see that these stoves could provide years of practical service. As suggested by the seller, one of the stove life extenders is to line the inside bottom of the stove with a thin layer of sand. This is to protect the bottom of the firebox from the intensity of highly concentrated heat created by a kindled fire. Though a grill plate protects the metal bottom, over time the metal could become brittle with continued use and should be protected. After playing around with the sand option and some of the drawbacks, I will likely replace the sand with a few pieces of heat resistant ceramic tile.

As with any wood-burning stove, it is recommended that you only burn hardwoods. This is to cut back on the amount of creosote created, which could potentially cause stove vents and pipes to become clogged and cause a fire to occur outside of the firebox. If you plan to frequently clean your stove, it is likely that you could burn just about anything you want as long as you take the proper precautions. It is suggested that you can even burn charcoal, which I would have to agree would make for a nice even, long burning and controllable heat.

Trekker - $99.95
If you decide to burn wood, I have found that small oak, maple and birch work great. Wood should be cut in the spring of the year and allowed to dry for at least 6 months before you attempt to burn it in your stove. This “seasoning” ensures that you will be able to easily light your stove and keep it burning with a strong and consistent flame. Any whole or split pieces are great but my favorite collection technique is to just use a pair of bush cutters to hack branches (thumb size diameter) off larger felled trees that most people cut and haul off to the brush burn piles. Why let these free sources of heat pass you by, when they could be heating your ice shack all winter long!

Be sure to cut wood pieces no longer than 11 inches in length, to ensure you are not struggling to cramp them in the firebox and potentially burn your fingers. This also reminds, when operating any woods stove it is always advisable to wear heavy leather gloves to save you from possible burns. For more on the very cool ammo can stove please check:
For more information, check out an additional review on the ammo can stove by Calamity Jane at: 



  1. Nice idea- It would be a fun little project to try to make one too. Good post

  2. Peter, It is certainly a fun little stove. Wait till you see my post on Thursday promoting the Ammo Can Grill!!

  3. This is a great idea! I have dozens of these things laying around the basement and have always wondered. "What the hell am I going to do with these things?"

    1. BA, As I understand it the "Stove" requires a fair amount of knowledge in welding and riveting. It is well beyond my skill level. I tip my hat to you if this is something you can build! If I were to attempt to build one of these stoves, my ice shack would likely last less than a hour before the stove failed and caused the whole shack to burst into flames!!

      If you want to start with an easier project, I have a cool ammo can "grill" that appears simple to build that I will be putting up a blog post about on Thursday! Even I might try to construct one of these!

      TC Man! Thanks for following and commenting!

    2. Riveting and welding - check!

      Even so, I'll check out the easier one you have coming


    3. BA, Your flaunting of terms "riveting" and "welding" show that you are much more versed in the "manly" skills that I. Last year I screwed up the installation of a prefab shelf I purchased at Home Depot! Grill Post is up! TC!

  4. I was hoping that you'd comment on our field test and then tell the world how you squeaked out a few victories at the bowling alley, but I know how you roll...

    1. DDH, I was afraid you would be too embarrassed for me to openly share our romantic evening spent sitting together in front of my ammo can stove and drinking beers while watching the enchanting flames. Perhaps even more embarrassing was my getting you intoxicated and totally taking advantage of your weakened mental and physical state at the local bowling alley. How I roll, is ever so very slightly better than you . . . BUT a win is still a win!

  5. Instead of how you roll, I will amend my previous comment... how you bowl...

  6. This would absolutely make a great source of heat for the ice shack! I'll have to look into one for the next season. And, with a grill it would be just like having a camp on the lake, literally! I foresee these in my near future, and I'll never leave the lake next winter now!

    Looking forward to your review of the grill! :)

    1. If you get one I would make sure and go for the larger model. I think that the smaller trekker would be a challenge to use to effectively heat an outhouse let alone an ice house. :) Also having good quality hardwood to burn in these little stoves is somewhat of a challenge. I have already started building up my winter supply!

      Grill review tomorrow!


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