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Thread: Homemade alcohol backpacking stoves...who's dunnit

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010

    Default Homemade alcohol backpacking stoves...who's dunnit

    My brother is through hiking the AT this summer and is rocking a homemade alcohol stove...
    Since there is always a bit of friendly gear competition between us...I would like to build one...

    He has built a beer can "open jet" type...

    Anyone here built one...good/bad?...boil times?...
    I like the simplicity of some of the open designs...


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    By the Mouse House AKA The Big D
    Love that site. I've spent way too much time there......

    I built one of the beer can stoves just for proof of concept. It was easy to do and only took about 1/2 an hour. Have yet to actually use it to cook with.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    USA, Texas
    Don't want your post to go unanswered. I built one (also open jet). Works great on about a tablespoon of alcohol. Boils a couple of cups of water in just a few minutes. Sorry, never timed it. I built a primer cup from the bottom of a large Monster can and a windscreen from a heavy foil oven liner pan. The windscreen makes a big difference in keeping the flame lit and directing all the heat to the pan. I put a little alcohol in the primer cup and light that. Before the primer burns out, the alcohol in the stove is vaporizing and lights automatically.

    I built a stand out of coat hanger but sometimes it get's too hot, loses it's strength and tips over. Need a new solution for that! I use mine mostly for heating water to brew tea. It's not our primary stove. I just use it for fun but it would perform just for the right meals.

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Boulder, Colorado, United States
    I built them and used them on trips before. it just takes some experimentation and testing to figure out the best jet size and design.

    and do not built a pot stand out of aluminum. it will melt!!
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    A coworker made one of the open jet types. At he first made one with the holes on top of the ring, but if you put them on sides a bit and have a small dent for air to get to the center, you can use the can as the stand and stove. For pots sized to your cans.
    Have a Grand Cherokee? Come to Grand Slam West!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    valley of the sunstroke, AZ
    i have built at least a dozen of different designs, one thing they have in common, they all work. penny stove styles can be there own pot stand. boil times on some styles can rival store bought stoves, but in general they are average and usable stoves with very light weights and compact size.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    If you've done one, you've done a dozen. I got a feeling I'll never get one exactly how I want it. I will say the penny stove design is a good performer and fascinating to watch, but the cat stove performs better with a super simple design. There are some good stove discussions on (AT forum).
    2014 Toyota Land Cruiser 200-Series
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    I've built a couple. The best and easiest I've built was the Super Cat stove. It's only good for boiling water though, but this guy likes it and he oughta' know.

    It's amazing the number of different designs and some of the characters that make them are just as interesting. Have you seen this guys stuff?

    After cutting the bejeezus out of my thumb, I eventually gave up and bought the PackaFeather XL because it has a simmer capability.
    I use it in conjunction with this titanium screen:
    I went to the ADZPCTKO to check out all the ultralight gear vendors and lucked into buying just the cone (windscreen) as a blem (has 1 funky hole). It rolls up and fits inside my cookset along with the stove.

    It works great with taller narrower cooksets like my Snow Peak 900. The simmering capability is good for stuff bought in towns. Stuff like mac n cheese and the Knorr Sides need to simmer awhile in the pot.

    Flagster, I've got some friends that are thru's on the AT this year...has your brother started yet? I'm also in the early stages of planning a PCT thru beginning in March next year. Tough part is making sure I'll have a job waiting for me at the end of the year when I come off the trail. Fortunately, my boss kinda' gets it....but he's intrigued now and I'm kinda' worried he's gonna'a wanna' tag along. In that case, I'm droppin' the idea.
    Last edited by xtatik; 06-29-2012 at 06:31 AM.
    Randy Welch

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    well you suckered me in . After reading the post and doing some searching I built my first one. The wife thought I was crazy but hey what else is there to do. Think I am going to play around with the designs a bit and see what happens.
    I am wondering if I can get the burn time up long enough to heat my dutch ovens and use them for cooking without having to change them all the time.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    We used the "pepsi" can stove for a while. Fun to make and play around with. I bought a sterno pot stand to use with mine. A little grate with some aluminum wind breaks. The great thing is you can get alcohol almost anywhere. I would usually got "HEET" form an auto parts store. I have a Snow Peak stove now that I love but I am not sure it boils water any faster. Its just so damn cool, well all their stuff is!

    I was living in the east at the time and had flown out west to backpack in the Grand Canyon. Used the stove for a couple weeks. Just so happens 9-11 happened and I had to fly back the first day commercial airlines were allowed to fly. I just chucked the stove, I figured it would be to hard to explain. Kinda off topic but I guess it illustrates how cheap and easy to make they are!
    My lack of articulation is apparent in my suspension as well as my diction.

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