By Colin Field.
We’ve all struggled with camp stoves over the years; they’re either too expensive, won’t light, or are too heavy for the trip you’re doing. Well, struggle no more. We obviously never spent enough time on the hobo trail to discover the amazingly light, cheap, and easy-to-use beer can stove. It’ll cost you a five cent deposit (after you shotgun the brew inside) and the price of some rubbing alcohol. This will be my go-to stove for the rest of my camping career. Here’s how to make one.
First you’ll need a can. Any one will do. Beer cans seem readily available wherever I am, but you can use a pop can if that’s more your style. You’ll need a nail, a sharp knife and some scissors.
Okay, so FYI, when you cut aluminum, it’s sharp. Be careful going through the following steps!
Step one is to cut the top off the can. It’s actually kind of tricky and way harder than the dude in the video makes it look. A sharp knife, patience and sheer will-power will make it happen. It took me a few tries. You want to cut inside the lip that surrounds the can. Be careful not to puncture the can anywhere while doing this.
Once you’ve done that, cut the can in half. You can use scissors to do this, once you have the cut started. The height of the stove is personal preference. About two inches high or so makes it a good stable height.
The top half will eventually fit inside the bottom half, so make them about the same height so they’ll fit together nicely.
Now you need some grooves in the sides of the top half. With the top side in your hand, make vertical dents with your knife about a finger-width apart all the way around the can.
Johnny One Dread in the video has a great technique for this. Don’t push too hard.
Now you need one single small hole at the top half of the can. A nail works great for getting this done. The hole should be at the top of the can, where the aluminum angles inwards towards the lip, above the dents you just made.
Now place the upper half of the can into the lower half. Pour in half an inch of rubbing alcohol. A long match is good for the first trial, so spark one up, apply it to the alcohol and presto. You’re cooking with alcohol. Cover the entire stove with a larger can, or tupperware container to shut it down. And never have trouble starting your stove again.