Beer or Soda can stoves are a great alternative to expensive high tech gear. One year, some members of our backpacking team, made a huge effort to go light, and go cheap. Several of us did DIY and built what is commonly referred to as a beer can stove. Cheap, easy, and surprisingly very usable.
They are virtually weightless if you are only talking about the stove. They burn denatured alcohol which you have to factor that weight in. Also the weight of a leak proof fuel container.
There are plans all over the internet. So we will not go into the details of construction. Build and use these stoves at your own risk. The flame from the alcohol is virtually invisible especially in bright sunlight. But they put out some incredible heat. Great for boiling water to prepare dehydrated meals.
Wind can make them a little difficult to light, and at times hard to maintain the flame. Carry some type of wind screen even if that might be folded up aluminum foil. Or stack some rocks or other natural wind screen.
Lighting is a bit tricky until you get the hang of it. There is a primer stage to get the fuel vaporizing….then things take off nicely. They light easily using survival type Fire Starter Sticks that incorporate magnesium rods and striking sticks. Sure beats being cold and hungry to find out your matches have gotten wet.
These stoves can also be used in an emergency situation in which you need to start a campfire with wet or damp wood.
Burn your unused fuel before you hike out, and you carry nearly no stove/fuel weight on your return trip.
Regardless of whether you end up using one, they are fun to make and try out.
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