It’s tough not to be totally enchanted by elegant simplicity of DIY Alcohol Backpacking Stoves!
For quite some time, backpackers and teenage troopers have been using these little devices — made from assorted recycled cans configured in clever ways (like the iconic Pepsi Can Stove) — as lightweight and clean-burning cooking gear, that despite their size, can cook up a meal as well as any full-size kitchen range. But outside of “ultralight” backpacking circles, it seems a lot of campers don’t know about these amazing little stoves that you can easily make yourself.
While I love taking them on backpacking excursions, by far the bulk of my own interest in compact cooking isn’t for out on the trail, but to completely replace the kitchen in my “tiny house”, i.e. my homemade DIY truck camper.
Unlike a full-size RV, I’m limited to the space in the bed of my truck — about 5’x6′ or 30 sq.ft.! Why take up that space with a “range” or even a relatively bulky “Coleman stove” type setup? By using my backpacking cook kit, I can condense my entire kitchen to fit in a large camp mug!
This video explores a variation on one of the simplest alcohol stove designs. Essentially, it’s nothing more than a “tin can” filled with alcohol, with an absorbent wicking material to hold it in place and regulate the burn, and a screen to hold it all in place. (The Starlyte (by Zelph Stoves) is a really nice implementation of this idea.)
This project is a quick-and-dirty implementation of the same concept.
The main variations I used in this project are:
a Sucrets tin (compare to an Altoids tin)
mineral wool (aka “rock wool”) as the wicking material (instead of fiberglass or Perlite)
a simple pot stand made from a coat hanger, cut and bent into shape
While not as ridiculously simple and elegant as the SuperCat stove design (which doesn’t even require a separate pot stand), the Sucrets Stove is about as simple as it gets. It also has the benefits of stowing its own pot stand and being easily “turned off” by shutting the lid.
You could just as easily use an Altoids tin (or any other similar candy tin), but depending on the size of your cook pot, the dimensions may change the way the integral pot stand needs to be bent in order to both support the pot and fit neatly into the tin for packing.
Watch the video to hear my commentary and see how it all fits together!