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Building a Penny Soda Can Stove

You will need:
  • Three soda cans
  • A small bit of fiberglass insulation
  • Scissors
  • A thumbtack
  • Sandpaper

(1) Empty the contents of two of the soda cans.

(2) Measure up 1 from the bottom of the can, mark with permanent marker.

HINT: When marking can, hold pen in a stationary position on a stable surface (perhaps a board) 1" above the bottom of the can and spin the can.
Cut around can on line with scissors.
(3) Smooth edges with sandpaper.
(4) Turn one cut can over onto the bottom of the full soda and twist lightly to slightly stretch and smooth the inside upper edge of the cut can.
(5) Place a small amount of fiberglass in the smoothed cut can. This is now the bottom of your stove.
(6) Use thumbtack to puncture several holes in the center bottom of the second cut can. These are the holes that you will use to fill your stove and is the top.
(7) Turn this cut can over and carefully fit inside the bottom of your stove. Use care, this needs to be a smooth fit.
(8) Firmly press these two halves snugly together.
(9) Use thumbtack to pierce evenly spaced holes around the rim of the top of your stove.  Experiment with the size of the holes, smaller seems to give a better burn.
The fuel in this stove must be heated in order to begin the vaporization process before lighting the flame. Place your lighter under your stove and heat the fuel for a minute or so.  Another way to heat the fuel os to place the stove in a shallow container, pour a small amount of alcohol in the tin then light it.  It should burn out within 2 minutes.
Light the vapor on top if it is not already lit.  Place a penny on the center hole to allow more pressure to build up within the stove and force the flames out farther from the outer holes. Place your pot stand over your stove (you can make one of these by bending a wire coat hanger) and cook your dinner.




Never use this stove for cooking inside your tent. And obviously, the stove will be HOT after use. Be sure to let cool before touching it. You assume all risks associated with the construction and use of your own stove.

If you are looking for an economical, lightweight stove to cook simple meals, or even to use as an emergency back-up stove, you have found it. An alcohol burning stove just might be YOUR best stove.

Return from Alcohol Stove to Backpacking Stove

Return from Alcohol Stove to Ultimate Ultralight Backpacking

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