DIY Camping Stoves

DIY Camping StovesCamping stoves need not be sophisticated, store-bought contraptions. A backpacker can have a lightweight stove made out of ordinary household parts and using common tools that still works well. These stoves might not be quite as energy efficient as their factory-made counterparts, but they are usually lighter and cheaper.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • 3 oz. can of cat food
  • 5 oz. can of cat food
  • Swiss army knife
  • Wire cutters
  • Strip of fiberglass insulation
  • Section of heavy wire fencing
  • Disposable tin baking pan
  • 1 or 2 paper clips
  • Camp stove alcohol
  • Matches
Step 1
Empty both cans of cat food and clean them out.
Step 2
Cut out six triangular tabs roughly equidistant around the sides of the smaller can of cat food, which will henceforth be referred to as the burner. This can be done either with the can opener on a Swiss Army knife, or with a knife and a pair of wire cutters.
Step 3
Check the thickness of your insulation. It should be about 1/5 of an inch thick, and if it is thicker it needs to be thinned by pulling material off of it. Then cut the strip of insulation so that it will fit around the inside of the burner, reaching no higher than the tab holes.
Step 4
Cut a polygonal or round hole in the bottom of the bigger can, once again using either the can opener or the knife and wire cutter combo. Cut tab holes matching those of the burner into the top of the can. This is now called the air jacket.
Step 5
Push the burner into the top of the air jacket, and fit the burner's tabs into the the tab holes cut in Step 4.
Step 6
Fashion a windscreen. Take a disposable tin baking or roasting pan with a flat bottom. Cut a section sized so that you can roll it into a cylinder that will fit around the base of your camp cooking pot. The best way to do this is to simply take the pot and use it as a mold, and then roll the foil into place. Use the pocketknife to hollow out a series of ventilation holes along the bottom of the foil. Finally, pin the windscreen together with one or two paper clips.
Step 7
Make a stove stand. Take a section of wire fencing and trim it so that it has two horizontal leads of wire. Trim the vertical wire so it is neat and flush against one of the two horizontal wires, but extends past the other. Bend the section together into a circle, once again using your camp cooking pot as a mold. The diameter of the stand should match the diameter of the bottom of your pot, so if it doesn't you need to trim off the excess wire, or go get a bigger section of fencing. Then take the excess vertical wires and bend them inwards, completing the stand. Ideally, this should hold the pot about an inch above the stove, so its height should be that of the two cans combined plus one inch.


Step 1
Place the stove on level ground, with the air jacket half of it on the top. Put 2 or 3 tablespoons of camp stove alcohol into the stove.
Step 2
Place the stand over the stove, and then the windscreen over the stand.
Step 3
Light with a match.
Step 4
The stove is turned off by allowing the fuel to burn out.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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