How to Make an Ultra-Light Backpack Stove

How to Make an Ultra-Light Backpack Stove
To make delicious meals in the backcountry you need a durable, reliable, lightweight stove. There's no need to buy an expensive one. All you need is a tin of cat food. With a cat food tin and a few simple tools you can make your own cheap, reliable, lightweight cookstove that will last you hundreds of miles on the trail.


Difficulty: Easy

Making the Stove

Things You’ll Need:
  • 3 oz. tin can of cat food
  • Pair of scissors
  • Permanent marker
  • Hole-punch
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Aluminum foil
Step 1
Open the can and wash it out. Remove the label and dry the can.
Step 2
Removing the lid may leave a sharp edge on the top of the can. Flatten the edge with the dull side of a pair of scissors.
Step 3
Use your permanent marker to make 16 evenly-spaced marks around the top edge of the can. To create relatively even marks, first make two marks across from each other on either side of the top edge of the can. Then draw two more marks, each halfway in between the marks you've already drawn. Continue adding new marks halfway in between each old mark until you have 16 total.
Step 4
Use the marks as a guide to punch 16 holes around the can, just underneath the top edge.
Step 5
Punch a second row of holes below the first row.

Lighting and Using Your Stove

Step 1
Pour denatured alcohol into the bottom of your newly-made stove. Fill it up to just below the lower row of holes you punched.
Step 2
Light the alcohol with a match or a lighter. Light it from the side of the can, through the holes rather than from the top.
Step 3
Put a pot on your now-flaming stove and cook your food!

Tips & Warnings

If you need to add more fuel, let the fuel in the bottom of the stove burn all of the way down before adding more. This is a one-person stove and is designed for a small pot. If you want to use a larger pot and cook for more people, follow these same instructions but use a larger can (5.5 oz).
You also can make a windscreen for your stove, using aluminum foil. Cut the foil long enough to wrap it around the pot you will be using. Fold the sheet of foil in half lengthwise. You may need to do some additional folding to accommodate the size of your pot and to increase the durability of your windscreen.

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