Thursday, January 22, 2015

DIY Ultralight Alcohol Backpacking Stove

Some married couples might take a romantic night out on the town, or have a candlelit dinner made for two. Other couples enjoy the simpler things in life, like making an inventory of their outdoor gear. It was on such a night as this that I realized, if it wasn't for my husband's gear, I would be up a creek without a guy to paddle the boat. Now, I have turned my focus on making sure I am equally equipped to enjoy an ultralight backpacking trek on my own.

That's right! I don't need a man. Girl power!  (Insert your own feminist mantra here.)  Anything he can do I can do better! 

The first piece of equipment I wanted to tackle was the ultralight alcohol cat can stove. I envied the stove my husband had made, so I cheated and stole his stove model.  Originally dubbed the Supercat by Jim Woods, this stove is one of the cheapest, simplest, and most reliable models out there.

Here are the steps I used to make my own cat can stove.

1) Purchase 3.5oz Cat Food Can.  Not gonna lie, I picked this particular cat food can based on one characteristic - it was a pretty blue!


2) Round up your supplies. Here I have the cat food can, a standard sharpie, hole punch, measuring tape, and .005 thick aluminum sheet metal. I got my aluminum sheet metal at Hobby Lobby for around $5.


3) Clean the can. Remove the cat food and label from the can. I was able to use nail polish remover to get the label glue off of the can.


4) Mark the height for your first row of holes. Turn the can upside down. With the Sharpie flat on the counter, twist the can to trace a line for your first row of holes. 


5) Now mark every half inch around the rim of the can. 


6) Use the hole punch to create a hole at every half inch mark. The top of your holes should be at the mark you made in step 4. 


7) Make a second row of holes. Each hole is placed between the two above it, with the top of the second row lined up with the bottom of the first row.


8) Make your own windscreen out of the aluminum. You can customize the windscreen to fit your stove and pot. I use a paper clip to hold it together when in use. 

And there you have it! Your very own ultralight cat can stove.  The can will hold just a bit over 1oz of alcohol fuel for each burn. I use HEET for fuel, and can quickly boil water using this system.  Below you can see the cat can stove with my titanium pot and the aluminum wind screen. 

With Titanium Pot
With Aluminum Wind Screen

I can now happily take a backpacking trip on my own or with some of my girlfriends... if any of my friends ever wanted to go backpacking. I guess that is what I will focus my attention on in the New Year - finding female friends to go backpacking!