How to Make an Alcohol Burning Camp Stove

How to Make an Alcohol Burning Camp StoveBackpackers are always looking for ever lighter equipment, and many are imbued with a do-it-yourself spirit to boot. The result is that there are many designs for making stoves out of tuna cans, soda cans and cat food cans. This design is a bit sturdier, but still lightweight, and calls for the use of two common tin cans of the type used for vegetables or tomato sauce.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Two 6 oz. tin cans of the same size
  • Magic marker
  • Ruler
  • Metal clippers
  • Push pin, thumb tack or small nail
  • Drill
  • Soda can
Step 1
Wash and remove the labels and hardened glue from your empty cans. This will probably involve soaking them for a couple hours before scrubbing.
Step 2
Use a ruler and a magic marker to mark three or four spots an inch and a half from the bottom of the can. This will help you draw a straight guideline all around the circumference of the can. Draw that line and then cut around it using metal clippers. This is now the bottom of the stove.
Step 3
Repeat the process with the other can, but make that one only one inch high. This is now the stove's burner.
Step 4
Use a push-pin, thumb tack or small nail to poke a series of holes around the inside of the top of the burner. Twenty-four to 32 will do, depending on the size of the holes.
Step 5
Drill a hole in the center of the burner top. The cut six to eight slits out from that hole with the metal clippers. Also cut three or four 1/8 of an inch slits around the sides of the bottom of the burner.
Step 6
Take an aluminum soda can, and use the metal clippers to cut the top and bottom off. Then roll it so that it is an aluminum cylinder that will fit inside the perimeter of the circle of burner holes that were poked in Step 4. Use the burner itself as a guide, and then fasten the aluminum cylinder together with two or three staples.
Step 7
Set the aluminum cylinder in the bottom of the stove. Install the burner into the stove, using the slits cut in Step 5 around the bottom to bend the burner inside the stove bottom. Take care to make sure the aluminum cylinder remains inside the circle of burner holes. Firmly but gently press the burner and stove together until they fit together snugly.
Step 8
Press the tabs cut in the center of the burner in Step 5 down until they are flush with the sides of the aluminum cylinder in the center of the stove.

Tips & Warnings

To operate the stove, pour a quarter cup of camp stove alcohol fuel (fuel methanol) into the center. Let that sit for a few minutes so the alcohol vaporizes up the sides and starts coming out through the burner holes. Then light a match and hold it above the burner holes to light the flow of vapor.

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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