Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Homemade Alcohol Stove

Mark Jurey's Penny Stove. Photo by Forbes Conrad.

The lightest, cheapest, most reliable, easy-to-find-fuel-for, stove may be a homemade low-pressure alcohol stove.

Like a lot of backpackers, I’ve owned an assortment of stoves over my lifetime: Coleman (white gas), MSR (multi-fuel), Camping Gaz Bluet (canister), Esbit (solid fuel), Snowpeak Giga (Canister). My biggest problem is taking the stove on international flights, and finding fuel for it at my destination. I’ve never had an alcohol stove, but it seems to solve both these problems.

The low-pressure Penny Stove, designed by Mark Jurey, may be the best of the homemade alcohol stoves. Instructions on how to make your own can be found here. If you are unable to find a suitable Heineken can, you can make a similar stove out of soda cans, like this:


There are some precautions to be taken when using an alcohol stove. Tipping over a lit alcohol stove and having that spilled fuel ignite in a tent can be disastrous. Another drawback of this stove is that the flame can be almost invisible and trying to top up a stove that is still lit can be… er… very bad.

One good thing about making your own homemade alcohol stove (other than saving money) is that you will be recycling aluminum cans, and keep another gas canister out of the landfill.

Update Nov 13:
Well, I've built my first Soda Can Stove. It took me about an hour and some. The design is pretty forgiving. I didn't didn't use any high temperature tape or adhesive, and I used the smallest drill bit I had (1.5mm) and made just 8 holes. It works well. Here's a template to help you out, courtesy of zenstoves.net. Incidentally, here in Singapore, our Heineken cans are shaped just like regular beverage cans, so I couldn't make Mark Jurey's Penny Stove.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very helpful! About to head off on a three week trek in New Guinea highlands. You saved me!

Ken said...

Bring more fuel than you think you need. The stove is just so quick and easy to set up that you'll want to brew up more than you think you will!

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katty said...

I love the big stove specially because i like to cook all kind of recipe, how ever i prefer to have a reasonable place. Actually i saw a beautiful stove in a house that was published in costa rica homes for sale it was big and beautiful, i think i will go there because it catched my attention.

Ms. Perry-Gore said...

Great video. Thanks for taking the time!

Ken said...

You're welcome :o)

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What an awesome concept! Very innovative.

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Very resourceful. Love new bright ideas.

marcus said...

hi i just want to know: where do you buy your fuel for your soda can stove in Singapore and what type do you use? thanks

Ken said...

Hi Marcus, you can buy it at hardware or DIY shops like 'HomeFixit' as methylated spirits.