An Easy Guide on How to Build a Homemade Camp Stove

Updated September 20, 2021
homemade camp stove

Homemade camping stoves are great backpacking alternatives because the majority of these stoves are very portable and convenient, making them the perfect choice for your camping needs. Knowing how to make one yourself means you'll never be out on the trail and unable to cook or keep yourself warm.

Reasons for Using a Camping Stove

When people think of camping, they often envision simmering pots over an open fire. This is certainly one way to cook your food, and many campsites offer fire pits with grates for which all you have to do is furnish the wood. What alternatives are available for backpacking campers, however? Not everyone prefers to camp in a designated campsite. Backpackers often look for sites that are off the beaten path, and of course this means there will not be any fire pits or grills available.

In addition, there are also some campsites where open campfires are not allowed, either because of dry weather conditions or simply because of a standard policy. For these campers, homemade camping stoves are a perfect solution because the cooking flame is contained, reducing the risk of a fire hazard.

There are a variety of homemade camp stoves that offer a simple alternative for cooking food quickly and conveniently. Directions are available on the internet for making a paint can stove, soda can stove, rocket stove, and tuna can stove, among others. In addition, you may also want to make fuel dispensers, pot stands, simmer cans, and even windscreens. For detailed instructions on how to make these items, as well as others, check out this do-it-yourself camping stove website.

Homemade Camping Stove Directions

The directions below will help you create a homemade stove in just a few minutes using soda cans. This type of stove is often referred to as a "hobo stove," because it's an inexpensive, portable stove you can put together on the fly with very few supplies.

Keep in mind that many homemade camping stoves are quite small and will only hold a minimal amount of fuel, as is the case with this one. If you have several items you want to cook, consider making two or three of these camping stoves.

Homemade Camping Stoves Directions

Supplies Needed

The following supplies will build one homemade camp stove, and most can be found around the house or at your local home and garden store.

  • Two aluminum soda cans
  • Wire coat-hanger
  • Perlite (1/4 cup, which can typically be found in the gardening section of a home improvement store)
  • Denatured alcohol (typically found in the paint section of a home improvement store)
  • Wire cutters
  • Scissors
  • Drill (use a 1/16-inch drill bit)

How to Build a Camping Stove

The following directions will help you create a homemade stove, perfect for backpacking and camping anywhere.

  1. Create the top of the stove by cutting one can 1 inch from the bottom.
  2. Create the base of the stove by cutting the other can 1 ½ inches from the bottom.
  3. Using the 1/16 drill bit, drill holes around the perimeter of the stove top. Holes should be spaced about ¼ to ½ inch apart and encircle the entire circumference of the top.
  4. Drill four or five small holes in the center of the top in a cluster formation.
  5. Pour Perlite into the stove base, filling the base a little over half full.
  6. Using scissors, cut six to eight vertical slits along the rim of the top from the bottom edge to the beginning of the rounded top.
  7. Fit the stove's top into the stove's bottom so that the bottom's outer rim is showing, but the top's outer rim is not.
  8. It's now time to fill the stove approximately halfway up with alcohol.
  9. The stove can be lighted by moving a match or lighter slowly over the edge of the burner.

Points to Remember

In some cases, the stove may be difficult to light. If this is the case, you may need to tilt the burner a bit so fuel saturates the rim more thoroughly. Once you do this, attempt to relight the stove. Now that you have successfully created your homemade camp stove, you'll need a pot stand to place over the stove for cooking. You can make a simple pot stand out of a coat hanger.

  • Straighten the hanger, cutting away any twisted or bent pieces.
  • Remove any paint or rubber coating using sandpaper.
  • Create two "legs" by taking each end of the coat hanger and bending 2 or 3 inches in a 90-degree angle.
  • Create perpendicular ledges with the length of each section of the rest of the hanger.
  • Bend the joined end of the hanger to create two more "legs," creating the rest of your stand.
  • Your stand will be similar to parallel bars, and you can raise or lower the stand according to your needs.

Finally, although this is a relatively simple camp stove to build, as with any flammable materials, you should always use caution and keep it away from children.

A Camp Stove You Can Use Anywhere

Whether you're in a well-traveled campground or well off the beaten path, knowing how to make one of these DIY camp stoves is a great skill to have as a camper or backpacker. Just remember to keep safety in mind, both while building your camp stove and while it's in use.

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An Easy Guide on How to Build a Homemade Camp Stove