The DIY Beer Can Stove Is The Best Camping Stove You’ll Never Buy

Jetboil? Trangia? Primus? I laugh in your faces!

The lightest, cleverest and most practical camping stove I’ve ever seen can be made by hand from a single empty drinks can.

The beer-can stove in action

Every so often, simplicity and genius are combined in a way that leaves you wondering why on earth anyone didn’t think of this earlier, and why you’ve never come across such a thing before. This is one of them.

Works as its own pot stand

It barely tips my kitchen scales. It requires no maintenance. Your camping mattress is the windshield. It burns medical alcohol (a.k.a. surgical spirit) — available from any pharmacy — or gas-line antifreeze, or any other highly concentrated ethanol/methanol you can get your hands on. And you can make one in a few minutes with a knife, a pop-can and a bit of ingenuity.

Beer-can stove disassembled

20ml of fuel boils a large tin mug of water in under 5 minutes. Anyone for tea?

Boils a mug in under 5 minutes

Read Wikipedia’s article about beverage-can stoves and the multitudinous variations on this basic design.

(If you’re looking for something a little more robust, check out the MSR Dragonfly.)

Comments (skip to respond)

9 responses to “The DIY Beer Can Stove Is The Best Camping Stove You’ll Never Buy”

  1. Jim Ruzicka avatar
    Jim Ruzicka

    Good luck with this stove in a cold, windy, high-altitude situation. Stick with some variation of an MSR.

    1. I would not attempt to use this stove in a cold, windy, high-altitude situation.

      1. what about a cold, windy, low-altitude situation?

        1. I would not use this stove in a cold, windy, low-altitude situation either.

  2. khurrum meer avatar
    khurrum meer

    the more i explore , its driving me crazy your are simply awesome man.…Tom

  3. Nigel Francis avatar
    Nigel Francis

    That’s brilliant Tom. I have been searching for something to use as a back up to my MSR pocket rocket, if ever caught short without gas. Just the job. Thanks.

  4. unless my Cyrillic deceives me I reckon that’s a “Gin and Tonic” stove… Classy!

  5. Have you seen these Tom?

    Penny Alcohol Backpacking Stove

    Tara and I brought one as a backup and it worked excellently! It is a bit more work to build, but they are really efficient.

  6. At first, I couldn’t see how the flame was supplied with oxygen but I see that there are ridges in the ‘internal’ part of the beer can cooker. That’s simple ingenuity in action. Brilliant.

Something to add?