When it comes to planning your skoolie wood stove, there are numerous things to think about including the different wood stove options, placement of the wood stove, and the wood stove area design.
In this article, we will go through:
- Tiny House Wood Stove options
- Strategic Wood Stove Placement in a Skoolie
- Skoolie Wood Stove Area Design Ideas
Best Skoolie Wood Stove
There are a few wood stove brands that are perfect for skoolie conversions.
From cubic mini wood stoves to tiny wood stoves to solid fuel stoves to dwarf 4kw, there are quite a few different options. Let’s talk more in detail about them.
Due to the nature of skoolies not being as insulated as a standard tiny house, having a metal exterior, and leaky draft spots from the cab area to the radiating cold windows, these numbers can be a bit off. With that in mind, we outlined in the bullet points for each wood stove option the size of skoolie they would be ideal.
Cubic Mini Wood Stove
The Cubic Mini Wood Stove is a very popular option in skoolie builds. Cubic mini offers two sizes, the Cub and the Grizzly.
Cubic Mini Cub
- 11” (Wide) x 12” (High) x 10.5” (Depth)
- Great Option for Wall Hanging
- Perfect for Short & Mid-Size Skoolies
Cubic Mini Grizzly
- 13” wide x 15” high x 12” depth
- Ideal for Mid-Size & Full-Size Skoolies
This is the tiny house wood stove we went with, which you can read our complete review including a 2 year follow up here: Cubic Mini Wood Stove Review
Tiny Wood Stove
Tiny wood stoves is another popular brand for people to go with. They offer 4 different wood stoves, the dwarf 3kw, the dwarf 4kw, the dwarf 5kw, and the dwarf 5kw with a cookstove combo.
- Ideal: Short Bus with Standard Bus or RV Windows
- OK: Mid-Size Bus with RV Windows
- 10.25″ wide x 17″ high x 8.5″ depth
- 75 lbs (stove only)
Save 20 lbs: If you are worried about your total conversion weight approaching the GVWR, check out the 3kw Dwarf Lite version to save 20 lbs. See Lite Version Here
- Ideal: Mid-Size Bus with Standard Bus Windows
- OK: Full-Size Bus with RV Windows
- 12″ wide x 19.5″ high x 9″ depth
- 100 lbs (stove only)
- Ideal: Full-Size Bus with Standard Bus or RV Windows
- 14″ wide x 22″ high x 11″ depth
- 150 lbs (stove only)
Dwarf 5kw with Cookstove Combo
This is definitely the most unique wood stove with the ability to not only heat your skoolie, but to cook food using that same heat in an oven. We have seen people who have cooked pizza and bake bread in these!
- Ideal: Full-Size Bus with Standard Bus or RV Windows
- 14″ wide x 38″ high x 11″ depth
- 150 lbs stove + 75 lbs oven = 225 lbs total
Solid Fuel Stove
Dickinson Marine Newport Solid Fuel Heater
- Ideal: Short Buses / Occasional Use
- 7.88″ wide x 14.7″ high x 10″ depth
- 15 lbs (stove only)
- Bonus: Can also burn coal for longer fires, not just wood, with proper venting
The placement of your skoolie wood stove is a very important decision. Firstly, you need to think about the temperatures you will be living/traveling in and how dependent you will be on the wood stove to keep you warm. Second, you need to think about if you will have any other heating sources. Thirdly, you need to think about your skoolie floor plan and where you are able to fit in a wood stove. Of course, keep in mind the size of your skoolie to be sure all areas will be thoroughly heated!
With all of these decisions in mind, you should now be able to start to think about if the front of the skoolie, middle, or back is best to place your wood stove. Let’s dive deeper into this.
Front of the Bus
Placing your skoolie wood stove near the front can be great for people living in short buses, people who aren’t planning on traveling to really cold climates, or if a wood stove isn’t going to be your only heating source.
The front of the bus is almost always the coldest and draftiest part of the entire bus no matter how well you insulate. The door lets a lot of cold air in as well as the engine bay. Placing the wood stove in the front of the bus will help it to not be as cold in the front, but the heat could escape to the drafts in front and not make it to the back of the bus.
- Can help make it warmer near the front where a lot of drafts are
- Might be cold in back of the bus due to the heat escaping to the drafts and not making it to the back of the bus
Middle of the Bus
Putting the wood stove in the middle of the bus is the most popular option as it can move air to the front of the bus and the back of the bus so when the stove is running, there is heat throughout. One of the things to think about is where you place your walls and your stove. If you have walls on both sides, it can be hard to move air through the aisle space. But if your layout is really open, it will be a lot easier to move the hot air around the bus.
- Optimal placement for short, mid, and full size buses
- Full size buses and/or mid size buses might need second heat source depending on climate and the way the floor plan is layed out
Back of the Bus
The last option of where to place your skoolie wood stove is near the back of the bus. Usually, this is where people put their bedroom so having the wood stove in the back makes it so you are warm at night, you can easily stoke the fire at night, and gives off a great ambiance for movie nights.
Once again, whether the air will move up front enough to keep it warm is dependent on the way the walls are and how open your wood stove area is. The potential downside to having the wood stove in the back of the bus is that it can be really cold in the front of the bus due to the front of the bus being really cold as it is with all of the drafts and the hot air potentially not being able to be pushed to the front. Again, this is also dependent on the climates you will be living/traveling to. If you plan on traveling to really cold climates, you may want to pick another placement or look at a second heating option.
- Easy to stoke at night
- Great ambiance
- Front of the bus can be extra cold with draftiness and potentially not being able to move warm air up front
- If traveling/living in colder climates, a secondary heating option may be needed
Skoolie Insurance with a Wood Stove
A wood stove in a skoolie can make getting insurance more difficult. A tiny house wood stove in a skoolie is seen as an increased risk which many insurance companies do not want to deal with. As such, keep in mind that installing a wood stove into your skoolie may make skoolie insurance harder to get.
Skoolie Wood Stove Area Ideas
Now, let’s dive into some skoolie wood stove design ideas!
Tiled Wood Stove Area In Kitchen
If you are converting a short bus and you want a wood stove in your skoolie, making room for it on the kitchen countertop can be a great idea. There are quite a few designs out there that feature the wood stove in their kitchen and it works very well.
Skoolie kitchens are usually placed in the middle of the bus so choosing to put the wood stove there makes it a perfect spot for optimal heating of the front of the bus and the back of the bus.
Corner Tiled Stove Area with Wood Storage
If you choose to have a wood stove in your skoolie, having a spot to place wood inside is imperative. I like how they were able to open the space underneath their stove to have easy access to their wood to make a fire.
If you go look at their entire skoolie layout by clicking the link above, you will see that this half wall encasement for their wood stove works well as this is placed right behind the drivers seat in the front of their bus. If you do a half wall or wall encasement in the middle of your bus, the heat will naturally flow to the opening and it can be hard to move the hot air around to the other side.
Skoolie Wood Stove Area with Wood Storage
I like how this skoolie wood stove is open, as in there are no walls on either side of the fireplace. Only a wall on the back (as needed due to regulations). Not having any walls around the stove will help to make it so the hot air will travel to the front of the bus and the back of the bus and keep you warm throughout the skoolie. Again, the wood storage is very necessary when deciding on where to place your wood stove!
Open Wood Stove with Tile
The openness of this skoolie wood stove will help to keep the hot air moving around in the bus. Like the wood stove above, there are no walls confining where the hot air can travel to. So no matter where the placement of your skoolie wood stove, having open walls surrounding the stove can be very beneficial in keeping your skoolie warm.
Skoolie Wood Stove Near the Front Of the Bus
Another cubic mini wood stove in a skoolie! The placement for this wood stove up front is perfect as this is in a short bus. I like how they built a full wall here, this helps to distribute the heat into the bus and helps to keep the draftiness from the door from coming into the bus.
Wood Stove in Kitchen
Here is another skoolie wood stove that is placed in the kitchen. They used a Dickinson fuel heater. This particular stove works great inside the kitchen as it mounts to the wall and doesn’t take up any counter space. I like how they used tile on the ceiling to go around the chimney instead of continuing on with wood planking.
Skoolie Wood Stove Design with Subway Tile
This skoolie wood stove is placed in the middle of their bus. Since the wood stove is very open, this wood stove design will distribute the heat very well inside of this bus. I like how they used white subway tile on the walls and as the counter. Be sure to remember to have a space to store your wood!