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DIY combo alcohol/twig camping stove

I’m planning on going on a canoe trip with my buddy East Texas Red this summer, assuming we get enough people vaccinated against COVID-19 that travel and camping remain a reasonable possibility. I’m the cook on this adventure. Much of the cooking will be on an open fire. I want to have a back-up but we have quite a number of portages so I don’t want to haul my Coleman stove along. There are lots of options, but I decided to go with a home-made combination alcohol/twig camping or hobo stove. I ordered up an alcohol burner online. While waiting for it to arrive, I went ahead and constructed the stove. It’s similar to others I’ve seen on YouTube.

I made the stove from a tomato juice can and some hardware cloth (steel mesh), which I had left-over from last summer’s catio project. For tools, I used a dremel to cut into the can and the hardware cloth. By the way I braised cabbage last night using the tomato juice and it was really tasty.

The main considerations were to have an elevated floor allowing ventilation from below, an ample opening to feed twigs, additional ventilation at the top, and a mesh platform to hold an alcohol stove in the right place in the event it’s a rainy week in which dry twigs are in short supply. I did a burn test to see how easy it would be to start a twig fire and how hot it would burn. It turns out it is very easy to get a fire going. I learned it is important to gather plenty of fuel and to add new wood as it burns to keep the fire good and hot. The fire gets plenty hot enough to quickly cook dinner at a campsite.

Here’s a short video….

It took me all of 20 minutes to make the stove. I have it sitting on a metal pie plate for safety. The stove only weighs a few ounces. It doesn’t fold up for tiny storage the way some commercial twig stoves do, but we will have room in our food barrel for a stove this size, no problem.

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