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Cardboard box oven Print E-mail

Many commercially available camping stoves can be used over fires or over a camp stove. However if you need a stove and do not want to spend the money it is possible to make a reflector oven with a cardboard box, aluminum foil, and a few skewers or metal rods. When done correctly a cardboard box oven will allow you to bake almost anything you decide to make while camping.

Warning, if you do not ensure every part of the oven is covered by foil, there is a high likelihood the oven will catch fire. Only use the oven Cardboard Box Ovenoutside and away from combustible materials.

To start you need to find a cardboard box. The boxes I like the best are the filling boxes with a lid, however these types of boxes are not cheap. The ideal boxes are thicker boxes with a lid and be big enough you can fit a small cookie sheet inside. The aluminum foil should be either commercial or heavy duty because it is thicker and will provide better protection of the box, last longer and be less likely to tear when making the oven.

To start making the oven, the first step is to create the base that will hold the hot coals. The lid of the box will become the bottom of the oven and will hold the coals (When done the box will be upside down). Take the aluminum foil and wrap it around the box lid so no cardboard is showing. Since the box lid will be holding the coals and therefore be in direct contact with the heat source I like to cover the lid with several layers. Usually the bottom of the oven is the first thing to fall apart after a few uses of the oven. If you have an old baking sheet it can be used to hold the coals since a cookie sheet will withstand the direct heat better. If you use a cookie sheet you will need to put something under it so whatever you place the oven on will not char or burn.

Next, you will need to cut a door flap into the box which you will use to pull your bake goods in and out of the oven. Make sure the door is wide enough to fit a bake pan or what ever you will use to bake.

After you have a door, you will need to cover the rest of the oven with the foil. Make sure the shiny side is facing out. This is important because the shiny side will reflect the heat and make it possible to bake in the box. As with the box lid, it is important to cover every square millimeter with foil so no cardboard shows.

Once you have the box covered in foil and a door cut you are ready to use it as an oven. Charcoal works best for baking because it will allow you control the temperature easier but you can also use hot coals from a campfire. When using charcoal you only need between five and eight pieces depending on size of oven and ambient temperature around the oven. You can always add more coal if needed but if you add too much your baked goods burn very quickly beyond recognition and worse case is the oven will catch fire. If you oven is not getting hot enough for baking ensure the door flap is completely closed and not letting out heat before you ad more coals.

A variant of the cardboard box oven described above is one that can be modified to use on a camp stove. I dislike these kinds of cardboard box ovens because they usually get too hot becoming a furnace rather than oven. Most of the time it is not possible to turn camp stove burner down low enough to get a low enough temperature that you can bake.