Out In All Weather with an EcoZoom Versa

EcoZoom Versa rocket stoves are designed to last for 13,000 hours of cooking time – over 2 years end to end cooking!  They resist cooking heat due to their superior refractory linings, construction and insulation. Built for cooking in simple conditions an EcoZoom Versa will last a lifetime and feed many mouths. For most people here in Europe and the US we’re not planning to use our EcoZoom rocket stoves this much. They will get used a lot during warmer months out on the patio, on camping and fishing trips or beachfront picnics – endless possibilities for outside cooking with abundant fuel (and savings on gas). During other times our stoves will be set aside in preparation for the good times – and perhaps ready for use in an emergency.

We recommend that you store your stove in a dry spot such as a shed or sealed in a weather tight container. Eventually metal always loses against moisture – ask anyone with an older car! Here at EcoZoom UK we’re keen to show how resilient our stoves are if left out for an extended period.

We’ve set up a ‘naturalistic’ study using a pristine EcoZoom Versa rocket stove. We will be leaving the Versa out, with basic protection for a whole year at a London roof top location. During the year our stove will be tested through all the seasons. In praise of Mary Poppins who also liked to hang out on London roofs (with the Chimney sweeps) we’ve named our EcoZoom Versa ‘Mary’.


Mary will be out in all weather for a whole year come rain or shine.

As you can see the location is exposed and will get blasted by south west winds, sun and frost. We have placed EcoZoom Mary on the upturned stick tray to allow rain to drip away and some air flow under. We’ve placed the pot skirt around the mid riff to protect the doors (and ensure modesty). Our main rain protection is the upturned garden bucket as a hat. A hat is essential when out and about, for a whole year!

We don’t recommend that you imitate this yourself, you should always store your precious stove in dry conditions to ensure it stays good. We are confident that the cooking performance of the EcoZoom Versa will not be affected by this test and we’re looking forward to reporting back in a year when Mary will be back at ground level and cooking up a storm.


EcoZoom Versa Mary looking lonely on a rooftop in London. We’ll be checking in throughout the year to see how she holds up.

EcoZoom provides outdoor stoves for outdoor people and this test will show our stoves keep going in the best and worst of conditions.

We’ll keep you posted through the year.

The EcoZoom Versa – Thumbs Up from the Scout Association

We recently contacted Simon Carter of the Scout Association to give a verdict on an EcoZoom Versa. Simon was keen to give it a go and this is his review, hot off the press!

The EcoZoom Versa

I am a great fan of wood fuelled stoves in camp. I was first introduced to solid fuel stoves during an expedition to South Africa nearly ten years ago.I was impressed with the capacity of a storm kettle to boil hot water using nothing but a few twigs gathered from the high veldt. Using the storm kettle was a joy in the cold South African mornings. I was therefore really pleased to be asked test out the Eco zoom Versa stove.


If the design of the stove is right and the combustion chamber and damping system are well thought out then solid fuel stoves use little fuel, can burn almost anything and give great heat output. After a couple of weekend tests I can say the Eco zoom Versa stove delivers excellent fuel efficiency and high heat output. It’s a cracker. I was going to say a little cracker but it’s not actually that small or light which actually is a good thing for static camp work.

 The stove is really solid and well built. The manufacturers say it will last for years and I believe them. The stove sits on a very broad base and has a low centre of gravity so there is little chance of it falling over while in use. The unit also comes with a very useful windshield that the manufacturers call a pot skirt so that as much heat as possible can be directed onto the saucepan being heated up. I used the stove to heat water for numerous cups of tea and coffee as I remodelled the back garden.

On the three occasions I used the stove there was little smoke and no need to constantly stand over the stove to keep it working at the optimum temperature. The stove lit quickly and easily with the minimum of fuss and proceeded to burn through the small and medium sized pieces of wood I fed in from the top and side.

kids discounts

The unit comes with a clever stand that sits level with the fire box that allows you to feed in two or three sticks into the flames. This is a very thoughtful addition and allows regular feeding of the firebox with new fuel to keep up the output temperature.

Overall the eco zoom is a great tool that provides a real alternative to gas powered stoves in the camp situation. It will burn almost anything which makes it very low cost to run and is extremely robust and well built. This combination of strength, longevity and low running costs means I am sure those that come after me in the 1st Bishops Stortford and Hockerill Scout Group will be using this stove in the years to come.

Simon Carter – The Scout Association

Assistant Director – Media Relations

Group Scout Leader

April 2014


Children and EcoZoom Rocket Stoves: Rediscovering Fire Safely

Children and EcoZoom Rocket Stoves: Rediscovering Fire Safely

Glastonbury is Europe’s largest outdoor music festival and fans come from all over to camp in the sun (or rain) and enjoy great outdoor acts from around the world. On my last trip I noticed  when the stages & rigs shut down for the night people would light up small illicit camp fires and try to keep the party going into the small hours.

The strangest thing was that due to the lack of proper fuel on site people would actually burn PVC drinks containers and other plastic trash items. The smoke and toxic smell from these fires was unbelievable at times and sometimes I saw teenagers watching adults burn this stuff. The fires didn’t seem to give off much heat either.

Didn’t these fire makers realize they would be poisoning themselves and making the place stink by doing this? Perhaps they would learn this time and not do it again?

This got me to thinking- who is actually teaching our children about fire, its dangers, its benefits, how to start one, what to burn or how to use it to cook? Do they do fire lessons at school?


EcoZoom stoves offer a safe and easy way to teach children about fire. The insulated combustion chamber prevents burns while also allowing for easy instruction about airflow and fuel when making a fire.

All these basic survival skills appear to be losing ground in our developed world as we rely on fossil fuels and electricity to do pretty much everything……….at least until you need some heat at a festival, campsite or riverside fishing spot. Or after a power blackout, like in recent UK storms.

I don’t recall any school activity in my children’s education so far (or mine) where they’ve been allowed fire. Too risky on health and safety grounds and this is a reasonable point. As parents and guardians we need to take that risk on ourselves and show them how fire works.

One of the benefits of the EcoZoom Versa or Dura rocket stoves is the ease with which you can burn renewable fuels. The hot fire chamber is kept secure in a robust, well insulated liner which is very stable. Starting a fire in a rocket stove is a breeze.

While alerting any adult to the need to closely supervise any fire with or without children present, I have found my EcoZoom Versa to be a great educational instrument. Kids love collecting bits and bobs of wood and biomass to burn – no plastic, guys! No seaweed either which also smokes and pongs.  A lot can be learnt by kids’ safely during an EcoZoom outdoor cooking session. Try doing this with an open fire or barbecue and you will notice a heightened stress response as you try to stop them doing daft things. That mixed with having to constantly load on fuel can give you a lot to do.

This is a further benefit of an EcoZoom stove, it doesn’t need much fuel to keep a real fire going. With the rocket jet isolated in its fire chamber, the outer side shell rarely gets too hot to touch unlike lower quality burners. Try it this year, teach your kids how to safely start a fire in an EcoZoom stove.  Keeping a fire is a basic human skill. We’ve been doing it a long time so let’s ensure we safely pass this skill on to our children.

Perhaps at some point they might be able to teach their children the same lesson.

Watch them learn and lets all rediscover fire with an Ecozoom rocket stove.


EcoZoom Rocket Stoves in the UK: Ready for Take Off

EcoZoom Rocket Stoves in the UK: Ready for Take Off  

(Posted last September)

Over the past two years UK residents have consistently asked where they can buy EcoZoom rocket stoves. For the first time, EcoZoom is happy to announce that we have a UK distributor looking to heat things up in London and beyond.

Just about every day we have someone from somewhere outside of North America writing us to ask if we sell our EcoZoom rocket stoves in (fill in the blank) _______________. It is unbelievable to see the demand for our rocket stoves from people all over the world, but more often than not we have to let people know that we don’t have a local retail outlet for them to purchase from. One region that we consistently receive more inquiries from than any other is the United Kingdom, which results in shipping a stove across the pond every so often. Those days are gone!

Roughly six months ago we received an email from a gentleman asking about being a distributor for EcoZoom in the UK. He had come across our EcoZoom Versa during a holiday trip in South Africa and found it to be a great cooking solution at home or camping, and he believed it could be a viable cooking solution for all kinds of people living in the UK. After a few emails we jumped on a Skype call to speak for the first time to get a better understanding of if this was really a good fit for both of us, sort of like what you would come to expect if there was such a thing as an online business dating website.

To our surprise, we had a lot in common between our professional and personal lives which led to subsequent Skype calls and the beginning of what is now EcoZoom UK. After a few months of ironing out details and lining up production for our first shipment of inventory, EcoZoom rocket stoves landed in the UK ready for purchase this week. While there still isn’t a website live for purchase in the UK, you can email our UK Distributor, Stewart Maclachlan, at ecozoom.uk@btinternet.com for order and shipping information or purchase from Amazon UK here.


Stewart getting his EcoZoom Versa started

Now here is a little bit more about Stewart Maclachlan, our UK Distributor:

Where do you currently live?
I’m in London at present where our EcoZoom UK office is based. I regularly get out of town to Wales and Scotland for the mountains, and down to the coast to balance out the big city. This means I can enjoy wild cooking in many locations across the UK

So far we’ve had interest in our rocket stoves from rural places out in Scotland, to people deep in the big cities.

Where did you first hear about EcoZoom?
Having watched the EcoZoom stoves develop over the last few years I could see they were a well-designed, well-engineered and robust product. But I just couldn’t get my hands on one for a reasonable price due to shipping. When I got a Versa I was seriously impressed by its performance which exceeded my expectations.

I’ve spent much of the last summer cooking most days on my Versa which has saved me a packet on gas bottles!

What do you like best about cooking on an EcoZoom Versa?
I love food preparation and cooking, and I love being outside so the Versa really tunes into these pursuits. But if I’m being truly honest I think I just love a real fire with the smells & sound of the burn.

 The EcoZoom Versa makes it easy to cook on a fire and gives a safe contained cooking fire which you can closely control. Anybody who has burnt food on a barbecue will appreciate this!

Why did you want to become the UK distributor for EcoZoom?
The EcoZoom cookstoves are fantastic product and I know that there is demand here amongst campers, patio cooks and alfresco chefs wherever they may be.

I’m from an energy efficiency background and the real joy for me is being involved with a product that wins for efficiency, wins for convenience and wins for clean air.

Simply put, I love the practical efficiency and design of the stoves and I think they are a real winner. We are going to see more and more of these stoves around the UK, especially as they have such a long life (13,000 hours cooking time) they will still be cooking when your gas stove has long ago fallen to bits

To this I must add that EcoZoom innovation is helping low income people in developing nations reduce the environmental and health impacts that come from cooking over an open fire or less-efficient stove. This is a big draw for me to be involved and a win for those people in the long term.

Where have you recently taken your EcoZoom Versa?
I just got back from a family sea swimming trip in south Brittany, France. We camped for a fortnight and I used the Versa every night. I sometimes took it to the beach for a cook out. Sea breezes can help fire the rocket and it burns hot and fast.

Mostly I take it out to the park and get the kids to feed sticks to it. They love it and I don’t need to supervise them like I would a barbecue. It’s very difficult to burn yourself with the stove as the fire chamber is so well isolated and the body so stable. It’s a great way for children to learn about fire.

What are your favourite things to cook on your EcoZoom Versa?
I could go on all night! Personally I like fried food (I’m from the North!), especially after exercise and I’ve been making onion bhajis, falafels and even chips (yes chips). The beauty of cooking outside is that the frying smells disperse readily.

Sausages cook up a dream, but sea food and fish really benefit from a real wood fire under them. Get a Versa, gets some flapping fresh mackerel and sizzle the skin right off them. Lemon and hot pepper sauce to season and you’re on the way to wild food heaven.


A little fried appetizer courtesy of Stewart and EcoZoom

If you could add an attachment or accessory to the EcoZoom product line, what would it be?
I think the EcoZoom rocket stoves are a fantastic host for all kinds of ancillary accessories. I’m thinking though the possibilities of adding a pizza oven function. If anybody can think this one through with me we could get something started, imagine it …stick wood fired bush pizza!

I’d also like to add a basic power generating function like a low watt USB type charger. This would be so useful it would hurt.

There are so many possibilities for EcoZoom rocket stoves in the UK and I’m really looking forward to sharing the possibilities with people throughout the land.


Griddle It (Just a Little Bit!)

Living in London, cooking on a barbecue often means using a disposable barbecue that lacks any decent power or ease of use. The EcoZoom rocket stove can easily cook all your favorite recipes using a simple griddle pan.

I live in the UK and regularly use EcoZoom rocket stoves for outside cooking. A question I often get asked by friends is ‘can you barbecue with it?’ Now, a barbecue is wonderful thing but it isn’t always practical. Here in the UK people often use disposable barbecues, which are expensive, hard to light and have terrible heat output – under-cooking food is never a good idea. Not to mention, one-and-done cooking options aren’t as sustainable as an EcoZoom Versa, which is built to last for up to 13,000 hours of cooking using small amounts of fuel to generate as much heat as you will likely need (up to 23,000 BTUs).

While the EcoZoom product line doesn’t currently include a barbeque grill attachment, you can grill meat and vegetables just as well – this is how I do it with a griddle pan.


Fire up your EcoZoom Versa rocket stove with wood or charcoal and oil up the griddle pan. When the stove is putting out a nice amount of steady heat place the griddle on the cast iron top. The trick is to move the griddle around on the hob a bit, don’t just leave it in one spot, this spreads the heat more evenly around it. If you are cooking with a pot or pan that fits the included pot skirt that comes with each stove, you can place it around the bottom of your pot or pan to ensure that heat is transferred evenly across the bottom and lower sides of the pot/pan.

When you can smell the heated oil in the griddle it is time to start cooking! Vegetables (eg peppers) need more oil, but meats bring their own. Lift the food up from time to time to ensure your food doesn’t stick too much to the griddle. While cooking, if too much oil comes from the meat just pour it off gently.  Now you do the rest, cook it just how you like it! Your Ecozoom Versa will do the heavy lifting by providing ample of amounts of heat to cook with until all the food is ready to your liking. As with all things, take care and use a glove to hold the griddle handle, it will get very hot.

EcoZoom rocket stoves are capable of taking on just about any cooking task. Whether it is a temperature sensitive recipe, or multi-hour simmer, EcoZoom stoves are up to the task. Here in the UK, it is a great barbeque alternative and helps avoid using disposable barbeques that leave much to be desired in terms of an outdoor cooking option.


About the Author: Stewart MacLachlan lives in London and is an avid EcoZoom’er. He loves to cook on his EcoZoom Versa and is well versed in a variety of different recipes.

Maximum Rocket Stove Efficiency: Use a Pot Skirt

Maximum Rocket Stove Efficiency: Use a Pot Skirt

 Do you want to maximize efficiency of your EcoZoom rocket stove? Use a pot skirt.

EcoZoom rocket stoves supply a pot skirt for use with our stoves.

Pot skirt?

Yes, a pot skirt.

We hear a lot of different names for the circular metal ring that wrap around the outside of cookware: Windscreen, windshield, stove booster, cooking ring, awesomely weird shiny metal circle with knobs…OK, that last one was made up, but you get the point. Everyone has a different name for the pot skirt, but not everyone knows how to properly use it or what it is designed to do.


The almighty pot skirt fastened around a pot prior to using on an EcoZoom stove

Just looking at it, it seems to makes sense. EcoZoom stoves are round and the pot skirt is round. Pots and pans are also most often round…hmmmm…something is cooking here.

Most stove users are used to the windscreen concept of using some sort of material to break the wind from extinguishing the flame source of a stove. This concept makes a lot of sense, except for when you look closer to the design of the rocket stove. The source of heat or fire within a rocket stove is within the lower portion of the combustion chamber of the stove. Placing the pot skirt on top of the cast iron top of the stove doesn’t do much as a windscreen because it isn’t protecting the source of the stove fire.

So how do you use a pot skirt and what does it do?

The pot skirt is meant to be fastened around the base of any pot or pan that it can be secured to prior to placing the cookware on the stove. It should be tightened to fit around the bottom of a pot or pan by squeezing the ring until it is tight and the secured by twisting the screws on the side of the pot skirt. You will know that the pot skirt has been place properly when you can hold a pot or pan in the air and have the pot skirt attached to your cookware without sliding off.

Once you start your EcoZoom stove, simply place the pot or pan on the stove with the pot skirt and cook away. By securely fastening the pot skirt to your cookware it will increase the cooking efficiency of your stove by 20% by forcing heat and gases to not just heat the bottom of the stove but distribute heat up the sides of the pot or pan.

Sometimes the pot skirt won’t fit a pan with handle or excessively large or small pot, but it should fit around most cookware. So go give it a try, wrap that pot skirt on tightly to your cookware and benefit from the increased efficiency you will enjoy from an already super-efficient EcoZoom rocket stove.

For data check this blog from low tech magazine


About the Author:

 likes to cook outdoors with his EcoZoom stove on camping trips or sunny days.