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Build a Hay Box Cooker

How to build a hay box cooker... using readily available materials.

Simplistic by design, economical by necessity…

…A box or canister, with some insulation and a cover, and you're ready to cook up a storm.

Building A hay box cooker is easily accomplished with just a few common household materials available to almost anyone, most anywhere.

* Share your own experiences with haybox cookers below

Ideally though, the box should have thick, sturdy walls; preferably something stronger than cardboard.

These can be already finished items such as…

A wooden crate, an old Coleman cooler or even a small to medium sizedsteel barrel etc., these are things that would make a strong outer enclosure, or frame, for a basic hay box cooker.

If none of these are available you can build your own box or container, and do it to more exact specifications.Materials and supplies for building a wooden hay box are pretty easy to come by at your local home improvement or hardware store.

Even better, scrounge up the materials from a building site or landfill site for construction debris.

You may also want to choose your ideal cooking vessel (pot) before hand, and then build your hay box to the vessel dimensions, permitting a more exact and snug fit for better heat retention.


Hay was the original "insulation" used in earlier years, and is still considered an excellent insulator when used properly.

Nowadays you can choose from a variety of materials to use as insulation for your hay box cooker.Cotton, wool, and a number of modern synthetic fibers provide the necessary insulating qualities for an efficient hay box.

The key to an effective hay box is in how you insulate it.
If your insulation will allow tiny air pockets, such as when using hay, then you will have a higher insulating factor.

Read a short explanation about: air as an "excellent" insulator, on this site.

Of course the air has to be stabilized in order to not flow or move, because if allowed to do so it will loose the majority of its insulating ability.You stabilize the air by sealing it into a pocket of sorts; an enclosed space.

Hay, fitted snugly into a box (having used a previously chosen cooking pot to give it form) will create a very nice "pattern" of micro-air pockets that will in turn create an effective insulator, again in turn, retaining your cooking heat more effectively.

You can achieve the same effect using other classes and types of insulating materials, of course the builder of the box will use those materials which are most economical and readily available to the person.

Want more information on Emergency, Survival and Disaster Preparedness?

See our site: Cantinawest Survival

Tell us how you built your own Haybox Cooker?

What makes a great Haybox cooker (thermal box)?

We would like to hear your experiences with making and using Haybox cookers, especially when using them in conjunction with solar cookers.

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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My Thermal cooker (haybox) 
I use a recycled Omaha Steaks styrofoam cooler. I insulate with reflective insulation and surround the pot with a recycled cheap blanket used by moving …

things sitting in the garage (for a haybox cooker) 
I decided to build a hay box cooker with just the things on hand, purchasing nothing. I had an extra large plastic flower pot in the garage along with …

Hay box Hybrid Not rated yet
1. Take a Stainless Steel stock pot and lid that will fit in your box. Better to find the box to fit the pot, or better yet, make one out of the thickest …

Igloo Playmate Haybox Cooker Not rated yet
I use an Igloo "Playmate Plus" beverage cooler as a haybox cooker. I simply stuff a bunch of towels into it, add my hot food container (usually a pot …

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Return from How to build a Hay box cooker back to Hay box 

Go to: 
Materials and supplies for Homemade Solar cookers and Hay boxes 

Building a solar cooker 

Build a Pizza Box Solar Oven 

Build a Simple Solar Panel Cooker for less than $5.00 

Tips on Using a Solar Oven More Effectively

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