Tuesday, February 07, 2012

A simple tin can stove project

I remember fussing over my backpacking stove when I was younger. On the Svea Model 123 stove, you were supposed to cup your (hopefully) warm hands around the fuel tank. As the fuel warmed, the small increase in pressure pushed white gasoline up through the burner. Gasoline pooled in a small cup at the base of the vaporizer.

A match lit the gasoline, which warmed the fuel and built pressure in the fuel tank. Just before the gasoline burned out, you opened the valve, pressurized gasoline shot out and caught fire. After a short warm-up period, the burner roared away.

The design worked well. I could light the stove in short order at home, which was less than 500 feet elevation. It proved temperamental on cold mornings over 10,000 feet. The stove would eventually light and burn hot. It just took longer to get it going. I eventually purchased a pump that pressurized the fuel tank in less than a dozen strokes.

Thinking back, the tin can stove would've worked as efficiently as the Svea. My friends and I backpacked in areas with plenty of dead wood on the forest floor. Instead of lugging the stove and a couple fuel bottles on long treks, the home-made stove could've made a suitable replacement.

This stove only functions in areas where you're able to build fires. Some wilderness areas, like the nearby Desolation in Eldorado National Forest, prohibit campfires. You need to carry a stove with extra fuel in these areas.

Where a campfire is permitted, give the stove a try. The narrator in the video says it will boil one or two cups of water within minutes. That's enough for a cup of tea or coffee or water for hot cereal or soup.

If the stove works as promised, it will make a cost-effective alternative to the modern backpacking stoves.

YouTube video description: "A DIY (project) for a portable high efficiency wood gasifier backpacking stove. It is small light and only needs a handful of twigs to boil a few cups of water.

"A great alternative for longer hikes where you don't want to carry lots of fuel."

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