Is Your Expensive Backpacking Stove Worth the Weight and Price?
We love making our own gear. Sometimes DIY hiking and backpacking gear saves us money, sometimes our projects don't turn out, and then sometimes we find a project that works so well we prefer it to our store bought gear. One such project is our cat food can alcohol stove. There are countless variations and tutorials for DIY alcohol stoves, and we have experimented with many of them over the years. This cat food can stove is one of the easiest to build, most durable, and efficient versions we have tested. It works so well and weighs so little, you may ditch your expensive backpacking stove in favor of a cat food can stove on your next adventure.
Video Overview of the Cat Food Stove
Needed Tools and Materials
Small can of cat food
Flexible measuring tape
Step 1: Clean the Cat Food Can
Open the cat food. Remove the contents and paper label, then wash with soap and hot water.
Pro-tip:If you don't have a cat, ask a friend to save a couple empty cat food cans for you.
Step 2: Smooth the Sharp Edge
To ensure you don't cut your fingers while working on this project or while using your cat food can backpacking stove in the backcountry, smooth the sharp edge with a file or course sand paper.
Step 3: Mark the Rim of the Can Every 1/2"
Wrap the measuring tape around the top rim of the can and mark every 1/2" as a guide for punching the first row of holes in your cat food can backpacking stove.
Step 4: Punch the First Row of Holes
Using the marks you made in step 3 as a guide punch a row of holes just below the lip of the can. Aligning the outside edge of the hole punch with each mark will give you even distance between each hole. Don't worry if your holes aren't perfect, you can always grab another can and try again.
Step 5: Punch the Second Row of Holes
Next punch a second row of holes just below the first row. Align the second row of holes below and in between the first row of holes, as shown below.
Step 6: Make a Foil Windscreen
To make your cat food can stove more efficient you can us a simple foil windscreen. Customize the size based on your cooking pot, ideally you want your screen to wrap around your pot with some space for airflow. Double Layer the foil and fold over the edges for durability and then use the hole punch to make holes along the bottom edge to provide airflow to your cat food can stove. If you're carful this windscreen will last for many trips, and if it starts to tear you can easily make a new one and put the old one in the recycle bin.
How to Use Your Ultra Light Backpacking Cat Food Can Stove
One of the great things about the cat food can stove is it can use several easy to find fuels including denatured alcohol, Heet gas line anti-freeze, and high proof grain alcohol so you can easily resupply your fuel no matter where your hiking and backpacking adventures take you.
Warning: Use caution and common sense when lighting and using your cat food can stove to avoid burns, or starting a forest fire.
Add 1-2 ounces of fuel (depending on how much water you are boiling).
Carefully light fuel. Lighters can be tricky with a cat food can stove, so try matches.
Allow the fuel and stove to heat up for about 30 seconds (in daylight the flames will be heard to see).
Fill your cooking pot with water and carefully set it on the cat food can stove (be careful to center your pot so things don't tip over!).
Congratulations on building your own cat food can ultra light backpacking stove! You should have boiling water in about 5-10 minutes, and be ready to enjoy a delicious dehydrated backpacking meal!
If you've never gone hiking or have never planned your own hike there are a few things you should know before hitting the trail. The last thing you want is to become a news story about an unprepared hiker who got lost or needed to be rescued. Luckily, preparing for a successful first hike is not rocket science. Just follow these tips and you will be on your way to a great first hike that is safe, fun and memorable. So keep reading, and then get out there and go hiking!
In our current political climate, National Parks, Monuments, and Public Lands that were once protected are now in danger of being opened to mining, drilling, logging, and development. These videos are a powerful reminder of the reasons we preserved these places. Watch them, share them, and most of all contact your elected officials and let them know how important these wild places are.
Seeing a bear in the backcountry can be simultaneously breathtaking and terrifying. We are always hoping for a chance to see a bear from a distance while also hoping to avoid the danger of a close encounter. Over the years we've been given good and bad advice on what to do when we see a bear, like the time our Scout Master threw a rock towards a black bear and told us to drop our packs and run if it charged us (three things you should never do during a bear encounter). While bear attacks happen regularly, the number of attacks is very low in relation to the number of hikers, backpackers, and campers spending time in bear country every year. While it is impossible to completely eliminate bear danger in the backcountry, employing common sense and familiarizing yourself with these bear safety tips and resources will greatly reduce your risk.