For all you campers and backpackers - Alcohol Stove

This is a discussion on For all you campers and backpackers - Alcohol Stove within the Reference & "How To" Forum forums, part of the Related Topics category; Hey Bumper... We've been using toilet paper rolls with alcohol for years in the duck blind. When its really cold out there and you are ...

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Thread: For all you campers and backpackers - Alcohol Stove

  1. #16
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    Hey Bumper...
    We've been using toilet paper rolls with alcohol for years in the duck blind. When its really cold out there and you are in a boat, those cans can make keep the coffee or cappuccino hot, and are great for thawing out your hands. They are simple and very convenient.

    I've made the coke can burners on more than one occasion. I won a steak dinner from a hunting buddy of mine when I told him that you could make a workable stove out of any can. He doubted it, and I showed him how, after I made the bet of course. He was amazed that it could get as hot as it did.
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  3. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by crankshop1000 View Post
    why not just buy a butane single burner stove for about $29 and have something that actually works good? Harbor Freight has them. Boaters use them instead of the alcohol stoves.
    I am assuming you have never used one of these stoves by your comments. I have used nothing but these stoves backpacking for the last 3 years (I am a scoutmaster and backpack a lot), and I love them. They are easy to make, have no moving parts, use any type of alcohol based fuel (which is very cheap), weigh less than an ounce, work at any temperature or altitude, and can bring 2 cups of water to a boil in about 3 1/2 min. What more do you want. If you don't want to go through the hassle of making one (takes about 15 - 20 min), you can buy one already made by Trangia for about $12 (it's what the swiss military uses).
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  4. #18
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    Its made from a can and it works.Whats not to like ?
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  5. #19
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    can a soda can stove using the denaturated alchol be used inside a tent without any harmful effects ?

  6. #20
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    No. The fire still puts off carbon monoxide. Of course, there is always the one moment you're not looking and it tips over, spilling flaming alcohol all over the inside of your tent. Vent the tent and use at your own risk, though. I'd rather use my MSR for tent duty with a vent. I -LOVE- waking up at dawn when its freezing outside and making coffee on my whisperlite from the comfort of my own sleepingbag while hearing the birds start their day, too. That is TRUELY one of the best things in life.
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  8. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by crankshop1000 View Post
    why not just buy a butane single burner stove for about $29 and have something that actually works good? Harbor Freight has them. Boaters use them instead of the alcohol stoves.
    Heavy, bulky, and unreliable.

    I've used MSR for 10 years or so, but I'll give the Trangia a go.

  9. #23
    Distinguished Member Array SixBravo's Avatar
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    Just a side-note tip to all of us outdoors guys. Vic reminded me.

    If you use hi-temp engine or brake caliper paint and paint the outside/bottom of your cooking cup black, the cup will heat faster. It sounds dumb but it works. The difference isn't much, maybe 15-20 seconds, but it helps.
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  10. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by SixBravo View Post
    Just a side-note tip to all of us outdoors guys. Vic reminded me.

    If you use hi-temp engine or brake caliper paint and paint the outside/bottom of your cooking cup black, the cup will heat faster. It sounds dumb but it works. The difference isn't much, maybe 15-20 seconds, but it helps.
    That makes sense. Good Idea.
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  11. #25
    Distinguished Member Array Chooie's Avatar
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    Here's one that I read up on a while back.

    Penny Ultralight Alcohol Backpacking & hiking Stove

  12. #26
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    I'm going to have to try this. I've seen it before but never bothered. Now I've got the bug. My question though is can you use the gelled stuff that comes in a can in it effectively? I'd rather not use loose liquid as a fuel(nor carry it for that matter). It's much easier to deal with in Gelled form (IMHO). Anyone tried it with the gelled stuff?

    GREAT thread BTW!
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  13. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by packinnova View Post
    I'm going to have to try this. I've seen it before but never bothered. Now I've got the bug. My question though is can you use the gelled stuff that comes in a can in it effectively? I'd rather not use loose liquid as a fuel(nor carry it for that matter). It's much easier to deal with in Gelled form (IMHO). Anyone tried it with the gelled stuff?

    GREAT thread BTW!
    I don't see the gel stuff working here Packinnova.

    The stove actually works by vaporizing the alcohol that is in the walls of the unit. No fuel in the walls and no ignition.

    You fill with alcohol, light it and wait for the stove to warm up. Once it does the fuel in the walls will vaporize and the jets will begin to ignite. When you set your cup on the top it causes the unit to pressurize and then the jets really get a going.

    The alcohol is easy and cheap to buy and use. I would think that the gel (sterno) would actually be harder. You can't pour it.
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  14. #28
    VIP Member Array packinnova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BIG E View Post
    I don't see the gel stuff working here Packinnova.

    The stove actually works by vaporizing the alcohol that is in the walls of the unit. No fuel in the walls and no ignition.

    You fill with alcohol, light it and wait for the stove to warm up. Once it does the fuel in the walls will vaporize and the jets will begin to ignite. When you set your cup on the top it causes the unit to pressurize and then the jets really get a going.

    The alcohol is easy and cheap to buy and use. I would think that the gel (sterno) would actually be harder. You can't pour it.
    I was just thinking it might be easier to deal with (ie less chance of spillage etc...). Oh well.
    "My God David, We're a Civilized society."

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  15. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bumper View Post
    Alcohol stoves are pretty effective little stoves and that site had some great ideas.

    When I was hunting alot, we used to make a stove for warming us up inside a deer stand. It was really useful because it windproof, odorless, quiet and had a low "invisible" flame that wouldn't scare game.

    To make it, you just need a one pound metal coffee can, a new roll of toilet paper and a bottle of common rubbing alcohol.

    Remove the cardboard roll from the center of the toilet paper and squeeze it down, collapsing the center hole in the roll. Stuff it into the coffee can, trying not to tear it up. It should fit perfectly. Pour a bottle of rubbing alcohol (or any other type) over the toilet paper which will now serve as huge confined wick. Light it up. It gives out quite a lot of heat and can be snuffed out by simply putting the plastic lid back on the can. I used to leave it in the deer stand so it would be there when I needed it.
    I keep one of these coffee can stoves along with 2 bottles of rubbing alcohol in the trunk of my car as part of my winter vehicle survival kit for the last 20 years.

    I also keep 2 space blankets and a roll of cold weather electrical tape in the kit as well. You can use the alcohol stove on the floorboard of the car as your heat source. You cut the 2 space blankets to size and tape up over the head liner; across the windshield; over the doors and side windows; and make a curtain to separate the front from the back seat area of the car. This acts as a heat reflector taking maximum advantage of the heat produced by the stove. You Will Remain Warm Inside. Almost like a turning your car into a toaster oven.

    You should crack one of the side windows about a quarter to half inch so the water vapor (carbon dioxide) that the stove produces can escape to keep the inside of the car dry.

    Unlike carbon monoxide, the carbon dioxide water vapor is not poisonous and won't harm you, so if you forget to vent a window, it won't kill you. It may just get a little humid inside though.
    Remember you do want to keep as dry as possible in a winter survival situation.

    You should try to conserve fuel as much as possible, since in a survival situation you really never know just how long you will be there. So when your car gets warm, snuff the fire out and when the edges of the can cools, place a lid on it so the alcohol does not evaporate. Then when the car gets too cold to bear, re-light your stove until you are toasty warm again. Repeat as necessary. (also remember to roll your side window back up when you snuff out your stove to conserve as much heat as possible.)

    Alcohol stoves are great survival stoves for use in confined spaces because they do not emit carbon monoxide!

    Remember that extreme caution must be used at all times when burning an alcohol stove inside a confined space or in a survival situation. You do not want to burn yourself or start an uncontrolled fire during a survival situation. Bad JuJu!

    Stay Safe!
    -Bark'n
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  16. #30
    VIP Member Array sgtD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bark'n View Post
    I keep one of these coffee can stoves along with 2 bottles of rubbing alcohol in the trunk of my car as part of my winter vehicle survival kit for the last 20 years.

    I also keep 2 space blankets and a roll of cold weather electrical tape in the kit as well. You can use the alcohol stove on the floorboard of the car as your heat source. You cut the 2 space blankets to size and tape up over the head liner; across the windshield; over the doors and side windows; and make a curtain to separate the front from the back seat area of the car. This acts as a heat reflector taking maximum advantage of the heat produced by the stove. You Will Remain Warm Inside. Almost like a turning your car into a toaster oven.

    You should crack one of the side windows about a quarter to half inch so the water vapor (carbon dioxide) that the stove produces can escape to keep the inside of the car dry.

    Unlike carbon monoxide, the carbon dioxide water vapor is not poisonous and won't harm you, so if you forget to vent a window, it won't kill you. It may just get a little humid inside though.
    Remember you do want to keep as dry as possible in a winter survival situation.

    You should try to conserve fuel as much as possible, since in a survival situation you really never know just how long you will be there. So when your car gets warm, snuff the fire out and when the edges of the can cools, place a lid on it so the alcohol does not evaporate. Then when the car gets too cold to bear, re-light your stove until you are toasty warm again. Repeat as necessary. (also remember to roll your side window back up when you snuff out your stove to conserve as much heat as possible.)

    Alcohol stoves are great survival stoves for use in confined spaces because they do not emit carbon monoxide!

    Remember that extreme caution must be used at all times when burning an alcohol stove inside a confined space or in a survival situation. You do not want to burn yourself or start an uncontrolled fire during a survival situation. Bad JuJu!

    Stay Safe!
    I keep the same setup in my vehicles. I also keep the two cheap aluminum pie pans as suggested on the NOAA sight, for setting the can in and snuffing the flame.

    RE: Carbon dioxide - you are correct that it is not poisinous, however the flame uses oxygen and that oxygen is effectively replaced by carbon dioxide. Hence, the danger is that you could theoretically be become ill or be killed by low oxygen levels. So cracking the window is impotant to allow oxygen to enter if you have a tightly sealed vehicle.
    When you've got 'em by the balls, their hearts & minds will follow. Semper Fi.

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