Build a Simple Dual Can Emergency Stove

Build a Simple Dual Can Emergency Stove


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You can take two cans, one larger than the other, and create a portable, easy to use and very efficient stove that can burn for hours. This fantastically simple trick can come in handy when you can’t or don’t want to build a fire. It can be configured to work in the home, or you can use it in the wilderness as well. Look at the simple steps below, and learn how this simple resource can translate into more efficient cooking opportunities down the road.


The Basic Design

The basic design for this stove is simple. Place a large food can inside a larger paint can. Create holes around the larger can, near the top. Then, attach two metal wires about three inches apart across from one side of the can to the other. The wires will act as a support for the pot or pan that you are cooking with, and the smaller can will serve as your fuel source. The holes around the top will allow air to pass through and feed the fire. The space between the two cans will help to circulate hot air, making the unit efficient.


Choosing the Right Fuel

However, the important thing to consider when building this heater is what you will be using for fuel. If you are outside and want to use brush, twigs and small sticks, then you will have to build a traditional fire before you can start cooking. You will also need to maintain the fire until the meal is prepared as well. However, this is a good and practical option if no other fuel sources are available, even if it requires a little more work to maintain.


Another option is to pack a better fuel source inside of the can. There are lots of items that can be used for fuel, from lard to butter and candle wax. You want to pick a substance that is greasy and oily in order to provide ample heat and flame without burning out too quickly. Some people may suggest stuffing the can with toilet paper or tissue and then filling the can with rubbing alcohol. While alcohol is flammable, it also burns at a fast rate, and the paper will not slow down the process that much.


So, unless you only plan on using the can for a few minutes, consider adding another type of fuel instead. Some suggestions include candle or beeswax, kerosene or even petroleum jelly. All of these items are flammable, but they also burn more slowly. One great way to extend the life of the heater is to fill the can with some strips of cotton fabric and then pour in hot and melted wax or petroleum jelly. The cotton will absorb the liquid and provide a significant amount of extra fuel while reducing burn time.


Another benefit to avoiding alcohol is that the other items are not as volatile and flammable, and you don’t have to worry about fumes. You can also consider using charcoal or char cloth, as long as you have some fuel you can use to get the briquettes lit when needed. Build one for yourself, and test different options to decide what works best. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to cook small meals, and you can get by with little more than some kindling if necessary.

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