Saturday, October 1, 2011

DIY Survival Gear - The Hobo Hotplate

Many times things outlive their useful purpose but can be converted into useful items once again with a little imagination and creativity. Resources can be hard to come by in a survival situation and learning to turn broken or obsolete items into things that can still function in a different or similar capacity may be vital for your survival.  Here’s a simple and easy way to make a hobo hotplate and a great way to recycle that old hotplate.

Most everyone at some time in their lives has used a hotplate. Simply put, they are a single-burner cook stove. Most are fairly compact and lightweight and served faithfully to heat up single meals of soup or canned chili. Unfortunately, things wear out, break down or wind up stored in some dark corner. Even though they are not working, you really hate to throw out what is now mostly fond memories of the earlier days when cooking your meals on a hotplate were a daily occurrence.

Why not turn that old hotplate into a useful and practical item? There are only a few basic modifications that need to be made. First you will need to remove the plug-in for the electrical cord and all of the “guts” of the hotplate. The second thing you will need to do is add a metal plate to the inside of the hotplate that covers the bottom section to avoid “burn-out”. Most are made out of lightweight aluminum and burning wood or charcoal directly on the surface will quickly burn through it. The third thing you will need to do is to drill holes (or punch) on the inside to create air flow from the original vents on the side. You could even add a small fan to increase the air flow by utilizing the original opening for the electrical cord.

This old hotplate was 6 inches across and 3 inches high (counting the small legs on the bottom) and will hold a small pot or pan. The extra holes drilled in the top section, along with the original side vents create a good draft for the fire and the three small legs on the bottom make a pretty stable platform for my hobo hotplate. Fortunately, my junk pile had a small metal plate that worked great to cover the bottom to prevent “burn-out” but you could easily use an old can lid  to achieve the desired results. My own experience has shown that just a few charcoal briquettes create sufficient heat for a decent time period that makes this a practical and simple piece of survival gear. 

This survival gear is easy enough to build that you could do it with just an old hotplate, a can lid and a good multi-tool.

Got hobo hotplate?

Staying above the water line!



Kat said...

Simply awesome how one can make use of things we would normally toss in the trash! Love your blog and your innovative ideas!

Anonymous said...

Thats very cool. In an old book, I remember reading how some actors backstage used to rig an electric clothes iron with coat hangers to hang upside down over a trash can as a backstage cooker. Its pretty interesting turning items into different appliances.

riverwalker said...

To: Kat

I thing I picked up the habit from my folks. My old man saved every bent and rusted nail he ever came across...he said you never knew when you might need

Thanks Kat.


riverwalker said...

To: anonymous 7:46

Yep! Coat hangers...gotta love 'em!

Hundreds of uses and counting...

Now I've got an idea for the wife's old iron that stashed in my pile of junk!

Thanks anon.


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