Dura Rocket Stove Review

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EarthEasy recently offered us a review model of the Dura Rocket Stove by EcoZoom; I’m a sucker for new stoves, so I wanted to give it a try.

The Dura is a typical rocket stove design, and according to EcoZoom (who has delivered their stoves to 34+ emerging market countries) it can reduce smoke emissions by up to 70% while reducing fuel usage by up to 60%. Over the lifetime of a stove, families can save between $300 and $1000, depending on what fuel they use. Less toxic smoke is inhaled by cooks, fewer natural resources are depleted and less family income is spent on fuel. Over the lifetime of one stove, EcoZoom says it can save 30 to 40 trees and 12 to 15 tons of carbon dioxide.

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What Is A Rocket Stove?

It’s a highly efficient wood-burning cooking stove, designed to burn small pieces of wood. There are many different designs, but they all have similar components:

  • Fuel magazine: A horizontal shelf that small pieces of wood (fuel) are fed into.
  • Combustion chamber: The area at the end of the fuel magazine, where just the tips of the wood burn.
  • Chimney: A vertical chimney above the combustion chamber directs the heat upwards.

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Air is drawn through the fuel magazine, into the combustion chamber, and up the chimney (since hot air rises…), which makes the rocket stove operate almost twice as efficiently as an open fire. The majority of the heat is directed straight up to whatever is being cooked, as opposed to being radiated out in all directions like an open fire would.

The stove itself weighs a bit over 10 pounds, and measures about 10.25″ tall by 9.5″ wide. It basically looks like a big metal paint bucket, but there’s more to it than that.

The stove has an interior combustion chamber that is about 3.5″ wide, with heavy insulation between the chamber and the outer wall. There is a three-pronged cast iron top, and steel handles with silicone grips that allow you to move the stove even when it’s in use (more on that in a minute). Finally, there’s a detachable shelf that acts as the fuel magazine.

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Just a handful of tinder is all that’s needed to start a fire – I used a paper towel and a dozen or so tiny twigs. They caught on fire quickly, and I began feeding larger sticks in from the side. There was a small amount of smoke at first, then virtually none that I could see. In an efficient rocket stove, the smoke itself actually burns in the flames. The stove was ready to cook in just four to five minutes.

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As the tips of the sticks burn down, you simply push them deeper into the combustion chamber, adding more wood as needed. The ash collects in the bottom of the chamber, but because this type of stove burns more efficiently, less ash is produced than you would have in a regular campfire. You should easily be able to cook an entire meal, heat some coffee, and heat your water for cleanup before having to empty out the ash.

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The heavy cast iron top will hold a heavy cast iron skillet or dutch oven nicely.

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The combustion chamber is surrounded by 3” of insulation, which does a great job of lowering the temperature on the outside surface of the stove.

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Using an infrared thermometer, I took a reading of 146F° on the outside surface of the stove…

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And over 700F on the inside. The outside reading was probably a bit inaccurate, on the high side – it’s measuring a shiny surface in bright sunlight, so that will always read a bit high. I could comfortably grab the silicone handles even with flames reaching the top of the stove (although for safety reasons I wouldn’t recommend moving it unless absolutely necessary).

Dura Stove Accessories

The Dura can be fitted with an optional pot skirt (which we did not test) that fits around the bottom of your pot or pan. It concentrates the heat from the fire to the bottom of your pot as well as to the sides, allowing less heat to escape while maximizing efficiency by up to 25%.

You can also get a padded carrying bag to transport the stove and keep it from getting scratched.

Conclusions

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At 10 pounds, this is definitely not a backpacking stove. But with the ability to burn just about anything from twigs to wood scraps to dry yard waste (with very little residue and almost no smoke) it’s great for car camping–you can still cook over a campfire, without having to deal with the mess and possible danger of a fire pit.

I test out the Dura Rocket Stove by EcoZoom - a lightweight rocket stove that will burn almost any biomass with very little smoke.
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