Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Quickie Project: The Penny Stove

For years now, I've seen folks talking about lightweight alcohol stoves as an alternative to traditional backpacking stoves. While you can buy them, traditionally you can craft one yourself from various cans and items you can find lying around your house.

As projects go, it's a tempting one. But inevitably there's the need to seek out some random shaped can (like a can of cat food, or something like that) or some other item that I don't have lying around.

Which is why I really like this particular video that describes the process. The result may not be as sexy as a fancy version, but requires absolutely nothing special to build. Just two coke cans, a scissors and a thumb tack. Oh, and a Penny.

The fact that the video creator is figuring this out as he's doing it adds to the maybe-I-can-really-do-this factor.

Next time I get stumped on a problem, maybe I'll take 15 minutes and see if I can build this sucker. I just won't forget rule #1: keep the fire extinguisher nearby.

Incidentally, I'm not thinking of using a stove like this for backpacking. Nope, the Pocket Rocket stove we use works just fine and is super lightweight. First and foremost, I look at this as a fun hack to try. Next, I think it could be handy in a power outage when you shouldn't technically be using the gas stove. Finally, it might make sense to chuck this tiny stove, a bit of fuel, a pot and some hot coco and oatmeal into the back of the car. It's hard to believe, but even in the DC area, just miles from civilization folks can get stranded in their cars in blizzards for 8+ hours.

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