This page is here for the do-it-yourselfers who would like to
make a very simple, and light weight alcohol stove ,cooking pot, or
wood burning stove.
ZPacks Minimalist Alcohol Stove
This is the lightest weight stove I could come up with. It works
just as well as the "fancy" alcohol stoves but without all the extra
Tools Needed: Razor blade, Paper hole punch, V-8 or Red Bull can.
1. Cut the bottom 1" off your can using a razor blade. (The
bottom of the can weighs less than the top)
2. Punch 16 holes 1/8" down from the lip of the can. Print and tape this
to the can.
3. Optionally hammer down the convex bottom a bit for extra volume.
That's it! The finished stove should weigh just .11 ounces / 3.1
Pour in some Heet or Denatured Alcohol, light it, and set your pot
right on top.
With about .5 oz of Heet, this stove will simmer 2 cups of water in
5-6 minutes, and achieve a rolling boil in 8-9 minutes (and then go
out). Tested with a covered .9L evernew pot. Beer can pots and mugs
will not heat as quickly.
This stove can even be made on trail with nothing but a pocket knife
w/ mini scissors. Just cut triangles at the top instead of using a
Aluminum Origami Pot
The pot shown is an "origami" pot I folded from an aluminum baking
sheet. It weighs only .7 ounces, and holds .75 liters of
water. They work great initially, but unfortunately will spring pin
sized holes after several trips as the metal weakens from your fire.
Try 11" x 12.5" aluminum for a 4.5" x 4.5" x 2.25" .75 liter pot.
Cooking with Wood Option 1 - Soda Can Stove
I hiked the entire PCT cooking with an improvised wood stove and an
occasional Esbit tablet as a backup on rainy days. Here is the
lightest way to do it without starting a full blown camp fire:
-Fold some aluminum foil to use as a ground cover.
-Push 3 tent stakes through the foil into the ground to prop your
-Cut a 2.5" tall wind screen from a 16 oz beer can. This will help
contain your small fire.
Finished weight- about .3 oz / 8.5 grams. Fuel weight - 0 oz!
You will need to use small twigs the width of your pinky or thinner.
Keep feeding the fire as your meal cooks. This takes some effort,
but it can be fun and you don't have to carry any fuel! Marshmallows
Cooking with Wood Option 2 - Coffee Can Stove
This option is heavier, but more convenient since you don't have
to fuss with tent stakes.
-Cut the bottom 3" off an 11 oz coffee can with tin snips.
-Measure 3 equally spaced 1" sections at the top of the can
-Cut a rectangle, and two triangles between the sections as shown
-Remove the bottom of the can with a can opener. Replace the bottom
with aluminum from a soda can or pie tin to save weight.
Finished weight- about 1.1 oz / 31.2 grams
Esbit / FireLite / RationZ Tablet Tri-Pod
Esbit is my least favorite cooking option because it is toxic
and leaves a sticky residue on your pot. It is light though! This
Tri-Pod weighs 1/3 the weight of a titanium wing-stove and is
free. You might try MPI RationZ tablets which claim to be non-toxic.
-Cut the bottom 1.25" off a V-8 or Red Bull can. The bottom
weighs less than the top.
-Measure three 1" wide tabs, and cut out the parts in between as
-Hammer down the convex bottom a bit so the esbit sits stable.
Finished weight - about .12 oz / 3.4 grams
** Strong enough to hold 2 cups of water. Tabs may bend w/ heavier loads when
Many other ideas for stoves and pots can be found at Zen
Click for larger images
ZPacks Minimalist Alcohol Stove .11 oz
ZPacks' Origami Pot - .7 oz / .75 Liters
ZPacks' Wood-Can Stove 1.1 oz
Foster's Pot - .85 oz / .75 Liters
Esbit Tri-Pod .12 oz
Heineken Pot 1.2 oz / .75L
** Note that beer can pots and mugs do not heat as fast as wide
pots due to low surface area