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Here’s a quick post of a little project I did tonight.  I’ve been thinking about how to lighten my pack and this is one way to take a bit of weight out.  I have a Snow Peak Giga Power and MSR Reactor Stove that I dearly love, but wanted to explore how to simplify my cooking system without relying on a canister or white gas stove.

Weighing .3oz, and costing around $3 counting a full bottle of fuel.  This was definitely worth trying.   I first heard about this stove from a couple of ultralight friends a couple of years ago and thought it sounded a little crazy.

PSA:  Please don’t try this as a Scout project, or bring on a scout trip.  These types of homemade stoves are prohibited by the BSA.    And, obviously, use this stove at your own risk and don’t leave it unattended!

All that being said,  here are the instructions and a couple of photos.  It only took a few minutes and was pretty straight forward.  The hardest part is punching out the holes through the aluminum can, but once I got the hang of it, it went pretty easy.

Step 1:  Feed the Dog the cat Food

Step 2:  Wash the can and remove sharp edges

Step 3:  Watch Andrew Skurka’s video



Step 4:  Light cautiously OUTSIDE with fireplace matches while being supervised by a responsible adult!

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Step 5:  Forget that you were supposed to make a windscreen and do that part next time.

The verdict:  Success, requiring a little more testing

It burned a little unevenly but worked.  I realized after the fact, that I forgot to use a windscreen, so that might help it burn more efficiently next time.  Might also want an aluminum disc underneath to protect the ground or picnic table.  Overall, I’ll fire it up again and think about whether it comes with me on the SHT.

So there you have it!  A DIY ultralight stove.  Have you ever used a stove like this?  Other versions?  I’d love to hear what works for you, post in the comments box below.

Happy Trails!



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10 thoughts on “DIY Fancy Feast Stove

  1. Good job! Yellow Heet or denatured alcohol burn better than the Red Heet and yes, the windscreen helps a lot.

      1. I’ll admit, on a long distance hike … it’s nice to be able to boil water fast. I’ve even found that in some really cold mornings (sub-30s) … the alcohol won’t light! I am carrying the cat food stove and a small canister stove right now on the AT. I use the canister one primarily in the mornings, and the alcohol one at night.

      2. MY sister and I are talking about bringing one each. We’ll see where the weight shakes out, the convenience is nice. I messed up and used the red bottle on my test at home and overnight trip and didnt love how it burned. Apparently the yellow is better?

      3. Yes! Yellow heet or Denatured Alcohol from any hardware store. Red heet creates a less consistent yellow flame instead of the desired blue. Also creates soot on your pot 🙁

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