4-3/4 Oz Ultra-light Backpacking Kitchen (video Demo)




This instructable will describe the steps necessary to build a 2 Cup boiling pot, and the case to carry it in. If you want to build the stove that is part of this kit, search "alcohol stove" there are a couple on instructables already, but I may put together an instruction later. If you would like to make the spice kit, or want to know what is in it, check out my other post: https://www.instructables.com/id/Ultra-Lightweight-Backpacking-Spice-Kit-only-1oz/

Update: here is my version of the stove instructions: https://www.instructables.com/id/Ultralight-Backpacking-Stove-Only-38oz-video-d/

I have seen similar things like this done before. The beer can pot is an old one, but a good one. It is usually done with a 24oz. Heinecken keg can. I made a heiny-pot a couple years ago and I have used it a lot, it is just over sized for most of what I do. Most of the meals I make take only 1 or 2 cups of boiling water. The heiny-pot is twice as large as needed. I was initially reluctant to use a fosters can because they are so much more flimsy, but I thought if I could make it a double wall construction, it might work.

As far as the container for the boiling pot, I have seen this done with the heiny-pots too. the only difference is the size. i think the first time I saw this was on an ultralight forum by a person with the handle "Skidsteer"

You can also get a very similar set up from a guy named Tinny. He runs a great site called http://www.minibulldesign.com

The pot stand in the video is just something I threw together to shoot the video, the final pot stand will be documented soon.

Step 1: Gather Materials

To make this kit all you need is:

1. 2x Fosters 24oz cans of beer
2. 1x Ziploc 2 cup twist'n-loc container
3. 1x Ziploc 1 cup standard container

from other instructables:

4. 1x Ultralight Alcohol stove
5. 1x Ultralight spice kit

Step 2: Tools You May Need

There are many ways to do most of the steps in this instruction. I believe that my methods are very accurate and worth following, but if you do not have all of these tools, I'm sure there is another way to do any of these steps.

Here are the tools I used:

To score and cut the cans:
  • Large "C" clamp
  • Razor blade
  • Various pieces of wood to be used as spacers.
To help with stretching the cans;
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Small piece of plywood
To puncture the cans
  • 1 small nail
  • hammer
To remove the lid from one can
  • Can opener
To cut out the top of the boiling pot and the Ziploc lid
  • A utility knife

Step 3: Scoring and Cutting the First Can

First Setup:

This set up is to make the score line on the lower half of the first can.

1. Clamp a razor to your workbench 1.5" above the surface of the bench.
2. With the can upright, slowly rotate the can against the razor with only slight pressure.
3. Once you have made several passes around move to the next setup. try not to puncture the can

note: do not open the can of beer, it is easier to work with the can pressurized.

Second Setup:

This setup is to make the score line on the upper half of the first can.

1. Clamp a razor to your workbench 2.5" above the surface of the bench.
2. With the can upside down slowly rotate the can against the razor with only slight pressure.
3. Make several passes to insure a good score line.
4. Use the clamped razor to carefully puncture the can along the score.

Be ready with a sink or bucket or be able to get outside quickly. (things get messy here)

5. Carefully work your thumb in to the puncture as shown in the picture, and slowly work your
way around the can. The can should separate along the score line if it was done properly.

6. Go back to the first setup and repeat steps 4 and 5 with the other score line.

Step 4: Stretch the Top & Bottom Sections

Use the remaining unopened can of beer to pre-stretch the top and bottom sections.

1. Rub a small amount of petroleum jelly on the bottom of the full can of beer.
2. Carefully insert the bottom of the full can in to the cut bottom from the first can.
3. Using a small piece of plywood or the like, apply firm and even pressure to force one can in to the other.
note: Do this step incrementally; Press the can in a little way and let the pressure build up push it back out. then repeat until you can force the can about half way in to the bottom section.

4. Repeat these steps with the top section of the fist cut can.
note: Continue using the bottom of the full can to stretch the second piece.

Once both can section have been properly stretched, puncture the bottom section as shown. Puncture the top section anywhere you like, as it will be removed later.

Puncturing the cans now will allow you to fully insert them in the following steps.

Step 5: Marking & Cutting the Second Can

The idea here is to cut the second can so that the finished boiling pot fits together tightly with out crumples. If the second can is cut too tall it will crumple where the top section narrows.

1. Stack the two cut sections and place the full can next to them.
2. Mark the full can at the height just below the taper. (in this case, just about the silver line on the stacked cans.)

3. Once the can has been marked. install the bottom section. Use the same method as when stretching, but this time, insert the can until it bottoms out.
note: Doing this step now is important because of the amount of force required to do the insertion.
note: It is also important that the can be unopened, so that the pressure inside will keep it from collapsing.

Now that the bottom section is installed score the second can at the height you just marked. Use the same method as before with the "C" clamp and razor.

Step 6: Fitting the Top Section

Using the plywood board once again, apply firm and even pressure to slowly seat the top section on to the can just previously cut.

Once the cans have been fully seated, cut the center section out of the top with a utility knife. Insert the knife and slowly work your way around the can, using the groove as a guide.

Step 7: Make a Lid

Cut a Lid from the remaining top section of the second beer can.

Us a can opener to cut the lid. I have tried several ways to do this an this is definitely the cleanest way to do it. You will notice in the picture that the knife wheel is not actually doing the cutting. The friction wheel on the other side of the lid is making a fine score line that will separate after about twice around.

Step 8: Make a Case for the Kitchen Kit

To provide protection from crushing and to keep everything in one place, it is nice to have a case for the kit. The case is made from 2 Ziploc containers.

1. Using a utility knife, cut the center of the Twist'n loc lid
2. Place the the resulting ring over the standard 1 cup container
3. Screw the new lid on to the original Twist'n loc 2 Cup container.
4. Use a standard household clear silicon adhesive to glue the ring to the 1 Cup container. (I do this so I don't lose the ring.

Step 9: Pack It All Up

Now that all the pieces are made you can pack it up and head out on the trail.

I would like to mention a couple things about the use of this kit.
1. I do not eat out of the boiling pot, because it is a pain to clean.
2. I am careful not to let it boil dry. the coating on the inside of the can is strong but if there is no water in the pot the coating will start to bubble.
3. I only boil water in the pot to rehydrate meals, I do not actually cook in it, again because of cleaning.
4. the case is definitely a multitasker, The 2 cup container has 1 and 2 cup increments on the side, so you can measure water, you can use both containers as bowls, the list goes on...
5. If I want a hot drink I take off my "LiveStrong" style silicon bracelet and use it as a lip guard.



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    38 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    This is cool, but don't you think it would be a good idea to somehow attach a handle to the boiling pot to prevent burns and other injuries?


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Great 'ible for Fosters cans. I just bought the Lager and the Ale. I took a few sips and poured it down the tubes. Crappy beer! I saved the cans cause they look cool on my shelf. They cost fliping $2.39 each. Now I know what to do with the cans. Fosters offered a Belt Buckle for 3 tabs , blue I think, and $3.60 for shipping it. Since I did not like the beer I passed on ordering a buckle, besides I would have had to buy two more blue cans. Waste of money. But great idea! Thanks mate. Top of the Lory to you!

    1 reply

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Take the stove and the spice kit out of the pot and add a mini water bottle of fuel and a bic mini lighter into the pot. Than put the stove on top of the pot where the spice kit space used to take up and put your stove there. Then add your spice kit to your food supply container.

    2 replies

    that is an idea, but if there were an accidental leak, i would rather it be spices.  so i store my fuel in several small bottles in my pack.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    So what I am reading is that you are worried about your alcohol leaking inside of a container (beer can) that was designed to hold alcohol.

    I am just having fun with you.

    The instructable is great and I look forward to trying it. Thank you for sharing it.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    i was about to say "how could you still have eyesight to do this instructable after drinking that s@#t?" no-one in Australia drinks that shite. it just gets exported or used for cleaning out pi. every bloody pub in england sells it. unbelievable. I once drank it when I went to "the church" in London. that's been my sole drinking exposure to in 33 years. I'd drink my own urine before that filth. actually, that gives me an idea for an instructable - "palatable alternatives to fosters lager"

    1 reply

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea!!! if you don't wanna drink the crap beer, drink some awesome soda. i got a soda can instructable that's way different. your instructable ideas are awesome! What do you use as fuel>?<

    1 reply

    9 years ago on Step 9

    I already have a stove for my son, but we haven't had time to sit down & design a container for it. This idea fits the bill perfectly. It was very easy to make and very functional. I tested the container for leaks, and it was waterproof BEFORE I siliconed the ring.... I love the idea of having a couple containers for bowls as well. Thanks for a great idea.

    1 reply

    Mate thats Australia's worst beer, I'm hoping for your sake you never drank the rubbish, we export the crap & keep the goodness for ourself don't know why anyone would go near it don't know 1 aussie who has or will ever own up to drinking it

    2 replies

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Great Idea! I've been wanting to make one of those alcohol can stoves for awhile but couldn't figure out when I would use it.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    This is such a cool idea, but what of all the recent news/fear of Bisphenol A linings in cans? Not sure if these beer cans have it or not. Maybe a larger tin can would be sturdier, but harder to fit? Improvised like a true MacGyver!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    heck if you want a REAL stove you could use paint cans to increase the size about 300% but the Ziploc pack sure wont work

    1 reply