How to Build a Camp Stove

Camp stoves are a part of any camper's kit, because many national and state parks require their use in lieu of campfires. There are plenty of homemade stove designs using virtually every kind of can under the sun as a raw material for the stove. This alcohol-burning model uses small tin cans, making it more durable than the coke can stove with only a fractional increase in weight.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Pair of 6 oz. cans without liners and of the same diameter
  • Ruler
  • Marker
  • Metal clippers
  • Push-pin
  • Drill
  • Aluminum beverage can
Step 1
Clean the inside and outside of the empty cans. Take special care to get the labels off the exterior, since they are flammable. The lids should already be removed.
Step 2
Measure and draw a line around one can about 1.5 inches from the bottom, using a ruler and a marker. Cut away the rest of the can using metal clippers. It is best to cut down to the guideline from the top of the can, to avoid bending it and to get a clean cut. This is the stove base.
Step 3
Repeat Step 3 on the other can, but this time draw the cutting line a little shorter at 1 inch from the bottom. This can becomes the burner.
Step 4
Take a push-pin and use it to drive a circular set of 16 to 24 vent holes around the top of the bottom of the burner can.
Step 5
Use the drill to put a hole through the center of the burner. The drill bit size does not matter, but keep in mind the hole needs to be large enough so that you can get the metal clippers in and cut six slits radiating out from the hole.
Step 6
Cut four 1/8- to 1/4-inch slits along the bottom sides of the burner can.
Step 7
Cut the bottom and top away from an aluminum beverage can. Then cut down the side so that the can becomes a small sheet of aluminum. Roll this up into a tube and put it up against the burner vent holes so that you can roll the tube's diameter down so that it fits inside the circle of burner vent holes. Secure the tube into a fixed cylinder with staples once you have the right size.
Step 8
Assemble your three cans. Put the beverage can aluminum cylinder into the stove base. Press the burner down on top, using the slits that were cut around the bottom sides to adjust the fit until the two cans are snug. Make sure the cylinder in the middle stays well inside the vent holes. Finish by bending the slits radiating outwards from the hole in the center of the burner down until they are along the sides of the cylinder.

Tips & Warnings

To fuel and light the stove, put 1/4 of a cup of camp stove alcohol down the center of the stove. You can then swish it around a bit or let it sit for a few minutes. Either way, wait until the alcohol begins to vaporize. Put a lit match into the area just above the burner to ignite the rising, vaporized alcohol. To extinguish the stove, allow it to burn the fuel out on its own.
Camp stoves should only be used inside a tent under the most extreme and hostile conditions. Unless you are climbing Mount Everest or on an expedition to the South Pole, the risk of starting a fire does not justify any comfort gained.

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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