DIY: Homemade Alcohol Stove
A great cost-effective alternative that is functional, lightweight, and compact. You can also easily find the fuel source at just about any gas/service station domestically and internationally.
- Easy access to fuel
- Fuel doesn't freeze
- Weighs under 1oz
- Small pot base
- Slightly longer heating times
- Difficult to extinguish
- Difficult to return excess fuel to bottle
Ease of Use: It's really easy. You just add liquid fuel into the canister, light it, and place your pot/can on top. The flames come out of the holes in the side and heat the food from underneath within the can.
It is difficult to extinguish the flame when done cooking. I tried to give a quick blow and it caused a big flame to whoosh up to my eyebrows. I just let it burn out since there's never too much extra fuel. I tried to dilute the alcohol with water to extinguish the flame one of the times. It worked but not well.
Flame control: There really is no flame control although the flame for the first 40 sec or so is not as intense. It gains momentum as you go.
Features: Weighs just under 1oz (Vienna Sausage can). You use Yellow HEET bottle for fuel. It's better to put the fuel in a seal proof container since the HEET bottle can leak.
Wind: Oddly enough, if you blow on it it sends a flame to high heaven but if the wind blows it, it sometimes (but not often) extinguishes it.
Stability: This particular model (Vienna Sausage) is not that stable, but you can use a wider base/more squat can (tuna) and solve that problem.
Construction and durability: This depends on the type of can you use. A tuna can is more durable and will be more sturdy than a pudding, or in my case, a Vienna sausage can. If you can get a hole punch through the metal, you can make the stove.
Conditions: I have used the stove 4 times in warmer weather with light or no wind. It heated up my water and soup quicker than I thought it would have. I have yet to use it in sub-freezing temps.
Boil Time: I reviewed the stove under controlled conditions to give you an idea of its performance.
Pot: 6 in aluminum non-stick MSR pot.
Water: room temperature tap water 70* ambient, 8 oz (1 cup)
Fuel: 1Tbsp HEET (yellow bottle) denatured/methyl alcohol
The stove heated the 8oz water to boiling in 4 min 26 sec.
Fuel Efficiency: There was still a bit of the 1 Tbsp fuel left in the can and it ran out at 5 min 25 sec.
Overall, if you want to save a good amount of money, make something with your own hands (which is quite rewarding) and have a lightweight functional alternative to conventional backpacking stoves, give it a try!
Source: I made it.