Thousands of Campers Are Replacing Their Gas Grills with This Rugged Rocket Stove

Updated: Dec. 04, 2023

Bye-bye, gas camping stoves—the EcoZoom Versa is a lightweight rocket stove that uses wood and charcoal as fuel sources. Campsite cooking is easier (and more portable) than ever.

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I grew up camping every summer. In that time I’ve learned a thing or two about roughing it, including the importance of a good camping stove. Sure, food cooked over an open flame tastes amazing, but there are few things less reliable than an open flame in the fickle Midwest weather. While gas grills are good for cooking, hauling around a propane tank limits cookouts to the campsite. That’s why I’m securing the EcoZoom rocket stove for easy meals on the trail.

What is the EcoZoom Versa rocket stove?

The EcoZoom rocket stove is a lightweight, portable camp stove that uses several different readily-available fuel sources, including twigs, branches, charcoal and wood. Thanks to the well-insulated vertical fuel chamber, it takes less fuel and time to cook a meal than other camp stoves that are twice the size. Like the Family Handyman-approved Solo Stove Bonfire, the EcoZoom Versa produces less smoke than other outdoor cookers, making it an eco-friendly alternative to gas grills.

BioLite produces some of the best camping stoves, including the editor-reviewed BioLite FirePit+ and CampStove. The EcoZoom rocket stove is similar to its other products, with a few key differences. Unlike the FirePit+, the rocket stove weighs in at only 14.25 pounds. It’s the perfect choice for cooking on the trail. Stainless steel handles with silicone grips on each side make it easy to move the stove around, even while it’s running. The stove itself is heavily insulated, so it stays cool to the touch even while running.

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How do you use the EcoZoom rocket stove?

It’s easy to use the EcoZoom rocket stove once it’s set up. The L-shaped stove has two doors in the front: one is for feeding in sticks, charcoal and wood, and the other stays open to allow oxygen to flow through the stove. A wire feeder sits in front of the combustion chamber door, so feeding in long sticks and pieces of wood isn’t a difficult task.

Add a handful of biomass to the combustion chamber—scavenged sticks or twigs work fine—and ignite them. Don’t add too much fuel, or the oxygen flow may suffocate and make it difficult to light a flame. In no time a healthy, roaring fire will peek out of the top of the stove. At this point, it’s time to load up a skillet with spam and eggs, balance it on top of the three-pronged cast iron top and start cooking!

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight
  • Multiple fuel sources
  • Handles for easy relocation
  • Durable cast iron materials
  • Burns much longer than other camping stoves using less fuel

Cons

  • Can generate a lot of soot
  • A little bulky

What Reviewers are Saying

Reviewers laud the stove as a cool camping gadget, noting the ease of use and effectiveness at cooking meals fast. One verified Amazon reviewer writes, “From the reviews I knew this little stove would be easy to use, but I had to try it for myself to find out that it is EXTREMELY EASY TO USE!”

“My daughter and I spent a minute or two gathering little sticks from the ground under our wild mesquite trees,” they go on to say. “We put a small bundle of lint from the dryer and a few sticks and lit it with a barbecue lighter, and the stove raged very intensely almost immediately. We put a pot of ramen noodles on top, which came to a boil in about 30 seconds. This is perhaps the best purchase I’ve ever made on Amazon. Highly recommended.”

FAQs

What is a rocket stove?

Rocket stoves are fantastic off-the-grid appliances that are used to cook camping food. These stoves are typically lightweight and extremely portable, so they’re ideal for hikers and trailblazers. Unlike electric or gas grills, rocket stoves boast ample insulation thanks to the cylindrical design, making them more efficient. They also create less smoke and run off combustible materials like coal, wood and twigs.

Can a rocket stove be used indoors?

Like Solo Stove fire pits, campers should never use rocket stoves like the EcoZoom Versa indoors. While they’re more efficient and generate less smoke than other camping stoves, they do still produce some carbon monoxide that can be toxic if generated in enclosed spaces.

Where to Buy the EcoZoom Rocket Stove

Ecozoom Rocket Stove Ecomm Via Amazonvia merchant

The EcoZoom Versa rocket stove is available on Amazon and BioLite’s website for around $150. Splurge on a solar-powered cooler and consider all your cooking gear secured for this year’s off-the-grid camping trips.

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