One of the things I miss about being an active duty Marine is the ingenuity of Marines. Marines are made to adapt and overcome. We evolve as the tides change. If you ever want to see real genius in play stick a Marine somewhere and deprive him one of the things all Marines need to operate. What do Marines need to operate? Weapons…hate…and caffeine. In Afghanistan every family member sent coffee, but we didn’t have a pot to piss much less make coffee. So we improvised and over time I saw some genius mini stoves built. Like always the Army has to come in and ruin our fun with their purpose-built solution, and the ReadyMan Pocket Survival Stove 2.0 is that solution.
The Marine Way
I saw coffee stoves built from soda and rip it cans, from pieces of aluminum, and even some crazy contraption made mostly of 50 cal shells. That’s the Marine way. Since ReadyMan is staffed by two Army Green Berets, Evan Hafer and Jeff Kirkham, I knew their solution would be a little more….engineered. The ReadyMan Pocket Survival Stove 2.0 isn’t just a stove, but a system unto itself.
ReadyMan is famous for their pocket survival cards. Credit card sized survival systems that pack a ton of supplies into a single platform. The Pocket Survival Stove is actually made up of these cards. The cards interconnect to build your Pocket Survival Stove. You can build the stove from either 4 or 6 cards. This set comes with 6 cards for the largest stove possible. I built mine from 4 cards and kept the two extra as on hand tools.
Each card gives you a ton of fishing hooks, an arrowhead, survival spinners, snare locks, saws, and a stir stick. You simply punch out the tool you need. The stove will still stand fine, even after you punch out your chosen tools. The tops of each card are somewhat serrated or textured. This makes easy to rest cook sticks over, or to ensure pots don’t slip.
How the Pocket Survival Stove Works
I found the best way to use this device is to punch out at least two of the arrowheads and fishing hook portions at the very bottom of two cards facing each other. Then poke out the two at the top. This allows you to keep feeding the stove as it burns. Gather a ton of small sticks and such and keep them on hand. Start a small fire over tinder and get it nice and hot. Place your stove over the fire and begin slowly feeding it small sticks, gradually building into larger ones.
Feed the fire through the bottom ports first and supplement through the top with fast burning material like dead leaves. On top, you can place your canteen cup, pot, or whatever for cooking. The metal sides direct the heat upwards. Obviously, some heat is lost through the sides, but this allows you to warm your hands nicely.
The Pocket Survival Stove brings a cup (8 ounces) of water to boil in just a few minutes. It fits a variety of small camping pots, and is perfect for both purifying water or making coffee in far away places. The key is to keep the fire stoked. This isn’t something you can really leave behind and attend to other duties. You got to stay on top of it and keep it feed and burning hot.
The system itself is easy to carry and can fit in your front pocket. It’s considerably smaller than my cell phone and superbly functional. The Pocket Survival Stove is an excellent piece of gear for both camping and prepping. It can be used over and over again, and is multi-functional. Toss it in the get home bag and you can basically forget about it. It’s simple, robust, takes up barely any room, and weighs almost nothing. What’s not to love.