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The Siege Stove TM Story

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.  — Leonardo da Vinci

When master carpenter and seasoned inventor, Ken Young began his journey to develop the Siege Stove, he was already well versed in the needs of outdoors enthusiasts. With his experience as the developer of the world's first sport sandal, Alp Sandals (sold to Teva), and his many years hiking the Sierra mountains near his home base in Sonora, California, Ken had an intimate understanding of the requirements of the outdoors. After years of testing a wide variety of stoves, he was unable to find the ideal portable camping stove. Most were flimsy, finicky, frequently heavy, and generally very unstable. They also tended to cost a lot.

Ken Young wearing his Alp Sandals in Yosemite, California

This prompted Ken to work on a better solution. One thing that struck him was how, in spite of all the commercial stoves on the market, the venerable hobo can stove remained the most popular and enduring. The reasons turned out to be quite simple: nothing beats a can cost-wise, and they are incredibly lightweight and surprisingly durable. They also make very efficient stoves. In addition, there is a satisfaction that many receive from building their own stove kit and saving a good deal of money in the process.

This led to the question: why reinvent the proverbial wheel, when one can perfect it? In spite of their advantages, cans have limitations. They are not designed to be stoves and need a significant amount of modification to serve the purpose, and the results are generally sub-par. Several years ago Ken conceived the ideal solution, and working closely with his friend and associate, James Fisher, they have now perfected it. The universal Siege Stove Cross-Members overcome all the limitations of cans with a profoundly elegant and effective approach that also provides significant additional benefits and capabilities not even found in high-cost camp stoves.

Read how the Siege Stove compares to stoves costing several times more.

The last few years we have focused our energies on perfecting the Siege Stove, while making it available in low quantities primarily to outdoor pros, and listening to feedback from them. All materials are sourced in the US and all production work happens right here in Northern California. We laser cut the components locally, and test and finish them, as well as produce al the accessories right here in our machine shop.

At present the stoves are only available for purchase direct from our web site or via mail-order. Many of our orders come through word-of-mouth. Without any marketing, the product has been received with considerable enthusiasm across the globe by campers, backpackers, bushcraft and survival experts and instructors as well as preppers and parents of boy scouts and girl scouts. These early adopters have uniformly recognized the significant benefits of the Siege Stove cross-members in allowing them to quickly and easily produce a superior high-performance wood-burning stove from almost any can. We use top quality US-produced materials such as aerospace grade titanium and high grade stainless steel wire mesh, and never compromise on durability or quality. We pride ourselves in locally producing a top-rate product, and reaching out to our customers with personalized customer service.

At Siege Stove Works our goal has been to give people the pleasure of being able to create their own custom stove kits with exceptional cost savings, while also knowing that they made no sacrifices in capabilities or quality, and in fact have a stove that is superior in every way, and will stand up to any camp stove on the market.

Based on the tremendously enthusiastic response we receive from our customers, we look forward to taking the Siege Stove to the next level with higher volume production. We will first need to reach our goal of financing the necessary hard tooling. With the tooling in place, we are confident that we can make Siege Stoves succeed. James has worked with a large number of high- and low-tech startups and inventors over many years in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has a wide range of skills that he brings to this venture. In combination with his own egineering talents and practical skills, Ken also brings his experience in building a solid, profitable small business. At its peak, when it was sold to Teva, Alp Sandals was selling 36,000 pairs per year and employing 22 people in the local community. At Siege Stove Works we plan to repeat this success!

What's next for the Siege Stove:

  1. Multiple iterations of the product produced and released. Phase complete.
  2. Product design refined and ready for mass production. Phase complete.
  3. Raise capital for hard tooling.
  4. Expand product awareness (crowdfunding, social media marketing, further engagement with online discussion forums).
  5. Develop retail channels (we have already received a number of requests.)
  6. Partner with NGOs in developing nations and emergency management agencies.
  7. Develop additional related innovations.

Advantages of the Siege Stove over other Camping and Survival Stoves

  • Versatility (scalable, multi-fuel, configurable as a single-wall or even a double-wall/gasifier stove)
  • Economy (exceptionally low cost)
  • Stability (unrivalled seven-inch spread on top and bottom supports)
  • Ease-of-use and rapid set-up (simply snap the Cross-Members onto a can)
  • Quick, easy and safe initial creation (air hole-making tool provided)
  • Efficiency (uses very little wood scraps)
  • Portability (ultra-compact & ultra-light)
  • Durability (cross-members are super tough and will never wear out; cans are surprisingly durable and can easily be replaced if necessary)
  • High Performance (considerable fuel capacity, high heat output (produced fastest boil time in magazine review of 10 stoves), ability to grill)
  • Simplicity (rapid and easy stove creation from almost any can)

Why reinvent the proverbial wheel, when one can perfect it? YouTube has legions of videos demonstrating how to convert a can into a "hobo stove", and they generally all require a lot of work with cutting tools, and result in hacked-up cans that have many jagged protruding edges. The process is also risky, and one can easily slip and slice one's hand open, which is not worth risking out in the backcountry or in a survival situation. The stoves also tend to be unstable, most with narrow set feet cut from the can, which can also collapse when heated up. Some are also heavy, with bolted on legs, and none of them provide a stable pot support, limiting the user to a very small pot or billy can placed on the narrow can rim or on tent pegs inside the can. With no way to add fuel during cooking and no escape for smoke, the user has to cut gaping holes in the sides of the can for feeding and as a flue. When all is said and done, the can is structurally compromised and open to wind and to large amounts of burning embers falling out. The Siege Stove Cross-Members solve all these challenges, retaining the can's full potential and adding valuable enhancements. Using a tool provided on the Cross-Members one can easily and safely make air holes in a can, then simply snap the upper Cross-Members onto the top of a can, tap the lower Cross-Members into the bottom of the can and the stove is complete! You can also take virtually any common size can on a trip, all the way up to Jumbo #10 cans and even gallon paint cans, making the Siege Stove the only portable camp stove that can adapt to to suit a wide range of group sizes.

Then there's the cost benefit. For as little as $22, using a discarded can, one can create a powerful stove that outperforms stoves costing well over $100.

Using two interlocking cans one can even create a double-walled wood-gas stove, for the same super-low price and with features not even found in other high-priced wood-gas / gasifier stoves. For example, wood-gas stoves are typically slow to start because of limited ventilation, but one can rapidly fire the Siege Stove up in a well-ventilated single-can configuration, and then drop the second can around it, instantly converting it to a gasifier stove.

It is also far more stable than competing products. The Siege Stove Cross-Members have a seven-inch spread not only on the bottom but also at the top. This is unrivalled in its class, with most other stoves employing close-in feet and limited to a very small ring or narrowly-set points on top, suitable for only balancing a mug of water. The Siege Stove will hold a large pot or heavy iron skillet with no problem, but don't try that with most other compact camp stoves! Unlike the other stoves, Siege Stove users are not limited to using a tiny pan or mug to boil water for use with freeze-fried food — with the Siege Stoves you can barbecue! We provide handy compact and large Folding Grills that are perfect for the purpose, and even hanging toasters that can be used on the side of the stove while cooking on top. These accessories can be added, resulting in a stove with capablilities not found in other stoves that cost significantly more.

Because the stoves are highly efficient, they require only a very small amount of wood scraps to cook a meal. With the wood from a single kitchen chair, Ken cooked 36 meals for himself! He is even able to cook a meal using just a limited quantity of cardboard strips. This is a significant benefit, and can make a big difference in people's lives in developing nations, where many have to walk long distances to gather wood, and deforestation is a threat to their environment and the viability of their communities. If they can cook for a family with a tiny amount of free wood scraps.

Other stoves periodically hailed as being for poor villagers tend to be completely unsuitable for a host of reasons, including high cost (many costing over $100, an unattainable fortune for most), weight and bulk (many are heavy, large and non-portable), impracticality (solar stoves are unable to function during times of low-light when most people cook), and also the lack of durability (most are nowhere near to being tough enough, with some even including electronics and fans, which will most definitely break down with daily use).

The compact Siege Cross-Members can fit in a pocket and will work with almost any can one can find. One can even venture out with just a set of cross-members, a can of food and a vessel to cook in. Open the can and empty the contents into the pot, and with the cross-members the can then becomes the stove. No extra stove to carry!

The cost savings don't just stop with the initial purchase. The cross-members save customers on shipping (since they are ultra-compact and practically indestructible, they require no packaging or padding, and will mail flat in a standard letter envelope, minimizing mailing costs and further reducing the environmental footprint). Customers can use discarded cans that might otherwise end up littering the outdoors, or in a landfill, thus adding a valuable reuse benefit. There are no expensive and bulky gas canisters to be carried in and out on a backpacking trip, no alcohol or other fuels to purchase and carry, and no integrated fans or electronics to add weight or break down at the most inopportune time. Fuel no longer needs to be carried — simply collect a small quantity of wood scraps wherever you plan to cook. The Siege Stove is flexible enough to work with other fuels and provide a great pot support and wind break for them, but in most cases wood scraps are readily available, and free, saving one money on every trip.

Create the ultimate camping and survival stove with the Universal Siege Stove Cross-Members

View our new YouTube channel in which the many advantages of the stove are discussed (more to come)

SIEGE STOVES: lightweight, compact, versatile, highly efficient and super-strong

View or print the Siege Stove Flyer (PDF)

Siege Stoves are multi-fuel capable and make very effective fire containers and cooking platforms for a wide variety of fuel types.
Wood fuel has the following advantages over other fuel sources:

  • Availability: Wood scraps are the easiest fuel to obtain. Petroleum fuels can't be easily obtained out in the woods or in survival situations.
  • Low cost: Wood scraps can be collected for free but petroleum-based fuel for an extended camping trip or survival situation is expensive.
  • Lightweight and Compact: Wood scraps don't have to be carried since they can be collected as needed, but carrying sufficient petroleum fuels for many days on a backpacking trip or in an extended survival situation is heavy, bulky and impractical.
  • Of course, the Siege Stove is a multi-fuel capable stove, so it provides a great lightweight system for holding a solid, liquid or gas fuel source, shielding it from wind, and supporting a pot above. You can use your non-wood fuel source if you are above the tree-line or in a desert area where wood scraps may be limited, and switch to wood fuel on other days to save your petroleum-based / alcohol / solid fuel supply for when you might really need it or to extend its availability.

Create your own coffee can / tin can / hobo stove and turn it into a highly functional stove with the Siege cross-members:

Reasons why you don't want to create your own DIY Hobo Stove without the Siege cross-members: There are plenty of videos on Youtube and Instructibles showing how you can make your own hobo stove from a can. This is a great survival skill, but there are several reasons why you should keep a set of Siege cross-members with you to use as supports for the can and for a pot or pan:

  1. DIY hobo cans without supports are very precarious: They need to be elevated to provide air flow underneath. Without our cross-members one would have to slice "legs" out of the floor of the can and bend them down. The spread of these legs is narrow and weak, resulting in an unstable stove (don't try supporting a heavy pot of food!). Having your fire and precious food tip over is definitely not a pleasant experience. Also, because there is no elevated platform on top of the can, pots have to rest on the narrow rim of the can, further adding to instability.
  2. Without cross-members, their design is not ideal: Cutting legs out of the floor of the can removes proper support and containment for the fuel. Ashes, embers and smaller pieces of wood will fall out. Also, a large window or holes need to be cut out of the side of the stove to provide ventilation at the top since there is no way to safely elevate the pot above the can rim. This loses heat and efficiency and adds one more place for burning wood and embers to fall out.
  3. Cutting legs out of cans is risky: The process of making all of the necessary cuts and folds in the can metal is potentially dangerous and difficult, and results in a stove with exposed jagged edges. Even with the appropriate tool such as tin snips, one is at risk of slicing one's hand open. In a backpacking or survival situation where medical assistance may be unreachable, any attempt to create such a can is particularly unwise. In addition, the resulting can stove with its various jagged protrusions and leg flaps is not suitable for transport in one's gear because it is likely to damage fabrics and items around it or cut the user. With the Siege Stove cross-members all you need to do is punch ventilation holes and then snap on the cross-members. No more cutting and bending sharp tabs of metal out of the can.

In short, we encourage you to make your own coffee can stove / tin can stove. Just make sure you have a set of Siege cross-members to turn it into a much safer, more practical and more stable stove. If you are in a survival situation, with the cross-members you will be able to make the stove much more easily and rapidly out of any coffee can or large food can.

The Siege Stove cross-members will even work with IKEA canisters!

  • Learn more about using an IKEA kitchen cutlery caddy or IKEA utensil rack to make a hobo stove.

Wood Gas / Gasifier Stove Enthusiasts (NEW!):

  • Using our Universal Cross-Members, you can now create a superior, low-cost wood gas / gasifier stove
    with several advantages over other wood-gas stoves
    . Find out more here.

We were invited to exhibit at the Bay Area Maker Faire this past May. Many thanks to those of you who stopped by our booth!

Buy Tickets to Maker Faire Today!


The ultimate mobile stove for survival and camping, the Siege Stove can turn virtually any large food can or coffee can into a highly efficient and dependable stove that is far more stable and functional than regular hobo can stoves. Put just a set of small lightweight cross-members into your pocket or a grab-and-go bag (bug out bag) and you will have a powerful means of cooking meals in a disaster. And we are not just talking about having one of those tiny personal stoves that is good for boiling a mug of water. You can barbeque with this stove! Grill a complete meal for your family or group with it. The Siege Stove is a true multi-fuel stove. Designed primarily for use with gathered wood scraps, it also provides a fantastic system for holding and supporting other fuel sources such as alcohol or soda can stoves, solid fuels such as hexamine and Esbit TM tablets, and other liquid or gas stoves such as the classic TrangiaTM. Slide a pair of tent pegs into the can holes at the desired height and they will provide a stable platform for the fuel source, while protecting it from wind and providing a means to securely support a pot or pan just above the flame.

Seige Stoves and their unique accessories are finally available! Order yours here

Universal Siege Stove Cross-Members