Ultralight Backpacking Stove Only 3/8oz. (video Demo)




This stove has been made many times by many people. I have made several of them and I use it as part of my Ultralight Kitchen so I thought I would show how I do it.

Here is a link to my kitchen kit (https://www.instructables.com/id/4-34-oz-Ultra-light-Backpacking-Kitchen-video-de/)

The best fuel I have found for this stove is HEET - Gas-line Antifreeze & Water Remover. It is about $1.50 a pint and it is 99% methanol. You can get it almost anywhere, gas stations, supermarkets, parts stores. So if you are doing a long trek and you make stops in town to re-stock, you can always fuel up with no problem. As far as energy, 1 or 2 oz can usually boil 2 cups of water.

To use the stove, pour HEET in to the center section and light. Soon the methanol in the external chamber will vaporize and start to escape from the jet holes. These streams of vaporized methanol will ignite and will continue to burn until the fuel is gone. Below is a demo of this.

Step 1: Gather Materials & Tools

To build this stove you will only need 2 aluminum cans. Usually I use a Guinness can for the bottom section and a coke can for the top and ring. I have found that the Guinness cans are a little heavier and that they stretch better. In this instruction I use 2 coke cans. If you decide to make this stove I would suggest using a Guinness can for the bottom.

The tools you will need are as follows:

To score and cut the cans:
  • Utility knife
  • Large "C" clamp
  • Razor blade
  • Various pieces of wood to be used as spacers.
To help with stretching the can;
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Small piece of plywood
To puncture the jet holes
  • 1 push-pin
  • hammer

Step 2: Scoring and Cutting the First Can

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

1. Clamp a razor to your workbench 1.-1/4" 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 step
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.

Step 3: Stretch the Bottom Section

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

1. Rub a small amount of petroleum jelly on the bottom of the full can.
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.

Step 4: Score & Cut the Second Can

This set up is to make the score line on the the second can.

1. Clamp a razor to your workbench 1-1/8" above the surface of the bench.
2. Score the second can just as you did the first.
3. Use a utility knife to make a score line on the inside ring of the bottom of the can.
4. When the score line has weekend the bottom enough you will be able to push the bottom in to the can.
5. Use the clamped razor to carefully puncture the can along the score.
6. 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.

Step 5: Prep the Top Section for Assembly

It is necessary to reduce the diameter of the top section slightly, even though the bottom section was stretched.

1. Cut five or six 1/2" slits in to the side wall of the top section. Space them evenly around the circumference.
2. At the top of each slit use a hole punch to make a relief for the displaced aluminum.
note: the holes are very important. Without them a sharp point will develop and this will spit the bottom section when you try to assemble the stove.

Step 6: Cut Out the Ring Strip

1. Use a pair of scissors to carefully cut the side wall from one of the leftover cans.
2. Use a strait edge to true up one side with a utility knife.
3. Cut the strip to 1.5" wide. Take care to make the second cut parallel to the first.
4. Trim the 1.5" wide strip to 7"
5. Cut notches in to one side of the strip as shown below.
6. Cut a slit half way across each end so that they may be linked together. See picture for detail.

Step 7: Assembly of the Ring

Glue the ring together:
1. Do a dry fit to see that the ring links properly and that it fits in to the groove in the bottom section
2. Mix a small amount of JB weld epoxy adhesive and apply it to the end of the ring strip.
3. Link the ring together and tape it while you move to the next step.

Step 8: Assembly of the Stove

1. Apply JB weld to the groove on both cans and to the inside of the bottom section.
2. Place the ring, with the notches down, in to the bottom section.
3. Vary carefully insert the top section in to the bottom section.
4. Slowly and carefully squeeze the sections together until the ring is seated firmly in the upper and lower rings.

Step 9: Jetting the Stove

Use a push-pin to make 16 evenly spaced jet holes in the top of the stove.

To insure that they are evenly placed, follow the pic below.

Once the jets have been added and the epoxy allowed to cure over night, the stove is finished and ready to be used. If you like you can use a piece of 200 grit sand paper to buff the paint off and leave a cool brushed finish.

I have found that 16 jets is a fairly good number, more than that and the efficiency of the stove goes down. In the video below is a comparison between a stove with 24 jets (left) and one with 16 jets (right). As you can see the stove with 16 jets is burning in with a more focused pattern and the flame is an even blue for the most part.

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      113 Discussions


      3 years ago

      You can cut the can easier if you fill it about 2/3 of water, then let it freeze solid. gives a good amount of support for that razor blade.


      4 years ago on Introduction

      Question - once the jets get going, can you just put the Fosters pot right on top of the stove, or do you need a stand?

      1 reply

      Reply 3 years ago

      A stand is just really helpful to keep things balanced. this stove though efficient, is also VERY lightweight. you either need a flat level surface, or just make a stand for it. hardware cloth works well.


      5 years ago on Introduction

      It was the fuel. got some heet an it works gr8!! puts out a lot of heat for its small size!! thanks for the gr8 instructable!!!


      5 years ago on Introduction

      hey i luv this stove! but i had 1 Q.... i am using prestone gas-line antifreeze and its 1st ingredient is methanol..... but wen i light it the flame is mostly yellow, different from your video.... and once the flames start coming out of the jets they all kindv half way join with the middle flame..... any idea what the deal is?

      2 replies

      Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

      not sure, it could be the fuel. Or it could be the size of jets/number of jets, or it could be that the seal between the inner ring and the rest of the stove is not holding pressure.


      8 years ago on Step 9

      Instead of a JB weld and tape, I used a paper clip. Just thought that that would be a good cheap and simple alternative.


      Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

      I can't say for sure, but the risks should be minimal. HEET is simply methanol and people cook on alcohol stoves all over the world. Many boats have alcohol stoves as well. AAMOF, look at a bottle of denatured or solvent alcohol in the paint section of your local hardware store or home improvement center. They often say for use in marine and/or camp stoves on the label.


      If you used it for firebreathing, I can't imagine you swallowed much of it (it probably tasted foul anyway).

      Most firebreathers I knew drank milk before they started, to line their stomaches.


      Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

      OTAY seems clear tryin it Flea Mkts seem have overstock on the HEET see if I can find larger can to try. Anyone ever try cooking w different fuels on the ole fashion campstove by coleman ? You know the kind you pump the canister w a plunger then lite?

      Coleman 2 Burner.jpg

      Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

      HEET is nearly pure Methanol. If you just burn it, it is OK. But Methanol IS A VERY POWERFULL POISON. IF INGESTED OR ABSORBED BY THE SKIN, LITLE AMOUNTS CAN CAUSE BLINDNESS AND MANY TYPES OF NEUROLOGICAL DAMAGES. An ingestion of just 10ml (10 cubic centimeters) will cause irreversible blindness in 50% of the population if not treated fast. In my oppinion, it is not a smart idea to mix methanol and anything used to prepare food (mainly if there are kids arround). The risk of contamination and/or incidental ingestion is just too big. I don't know if it will work in this case, but ethanol is almost harmless and generates nearly the same amount of heat.


      Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

      the risk of contaminating your food with the fuel you cook with is very low unless you are quite sloppy, so this warning for me is quite a bit over kill. If anyone is truly concerned i suggest you review the MSDS (material safety data sheet) for the product. it is readily available on line and will answer all of your questions and concerns. I my humble opinion, methanol is no more dangerous than Coleman liquid fuel and it has been widely used for about 90 years. (see its MSDS) As far as skin absorption it will not happen unless you put your hand in a bucket of the stuff. methanol evaporates much much faster than it would ever be absorbed by the skin. I have spilled it on my hands many times with absolutely no ill affect.

      If the issue is methanol, one could simply replace it with ethanol. Everclear (or another potable GNS) is available for sale everywhere in the US except Pennsylvania, Washington, Oregon, and California, and would work as well as Heet.