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Haybox cooker from a styrofoam ice chest

by John LaTorre
(Sacramento, CA USA)

To build my cooker, I found a Styrofoam ice chest big enough to hold a cast iron gallon-sized pot with its matching lid. I made sure that there was enough space around it to tuck lots of insulation. For the insulation, I used pieces of a down-filled surplus army "mummy bag" type sleeping bag which had become too worn out to use. To protect the bottom of the ice chest from the heat of the pot, I cut out a piece of scrap plywood to fit the bottom of the ice chest.

I heat the food to be cooked in the cast iron pot, and put the lid on. Then I put the pot into the ice chest, and pack the pieces of the sleeping bag around it, putting in as many pieces as I can. Finally, I put on the Styrofoam lid that came with the ice chest. I usually have to weight it down with a stone or a brick or another pot. It works like a champ. You can buy these ice chests for a couple of dollars, and get the pot from a thrift store for about the same price. If you don't have a mummy bag, an old down jacket can be used instead. It shouldn't be hard to make a duplicate of my cooker for ten dollars or less.


Thank you John for sharing this, it sounds like a great "haybox cooker".
In fact it sounds very effective, especially using cast iron in it which is already a good heat retaining material.

If you ever have any photos of your "heat retention" setup, we would love to see it.



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