Saturday, October 16, 2010

DIY camping and hiking equipment

I have talked about this before but hikers and sailors have space and weight limitation for their equipment. Hiker sites have some very nice homemade camping equipment. Sailboat owners who use a lot of the same systems as those found in RVs. A blue water sailor is just another form of vagabond who travels around the world. As a vagabond, I have learned a lot of both these groups. One of the best things I have learned from the hiking sites is how to build an inexpensive alcohol stove. Yellow Heet is a good source of fuel. You will need a small pot to use with these stoves. Hikers use a small aluminum pot which can also be used in your solar cooker. 

Why have an alcohol stove?
There are several reasons that I have alcohol stove. It is certainly inexpensive and I can keep a yellow bottle of Heet to power it. If I run out of propane, I can still cook a hot meal or if I want to stop at a picnic area when I am traveling between boondocking sites. I also enjoy hiking and camping away from my boondocking site for the night. The last reason is I love to build stuff and empty cans are readily available as materials.

What materials do I need?
1. some type of aluminum can( soda, cat food, tuna, beer, etc)
2. Something to punch holes( hole punch, drill, bottle opener)
3. sand paper
4. Razor blade or box cutter blade

The Tuna Can Stove 
Start with a tuna can, cat food can, or other small can, and make holes around the outside. The holes should be spaced about 2 inches about and be 1/4 inch in diameter using a hole punch. This type of stove will simmer and heat up a can of stew or small pot of food. If you want to boil water for pasta, make a second set of holes under that one. Here is the pattern and directions. Fill the stove with 1 ounce of alcohol and light.

The Soda Can Stove
You will need 3 soda cans to build this stove.  The soda can stove is a pressure stove that is more fuel efficient than the lower pressure ones like the tuna can stove.You will need a pot stand and a wind screen to use this type of stove.See the detailed instructions for how to create the stove.

These stoves are fun to build when you are just sitting around the campsite and if anything happens to one, you can easily build another. I use mine for quick boiling water in the morning for coffee, cooking while stopped at a picnic sites, and on my overnight camping trips. It is a low cost way to have a nice portable stove for hot meals anywhere.

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