In an endless quest to get lighter and lighter in my gear selections, (and prompted by a recent post on backpacking.net) I finally turned my attention to alcohol stoves.
Read on to learn about my pepsi can stove that weighs less than half an ounce.
I'm lucky enough to have a brother who is not only generous with his time, but very mechanically inclined, last year for Christmas he built me a Pepsi Can stove. It is an amazing piece of craftsmanship and once it gets going, cranks out heat at an incredible rate. I haven't integrated the stove yet into my backpacking and shied away from it for a few reasons:
- It needed a pot-stand to prevent the flame from going out if you put a pan on top.
- It uses liquid fuel vs. propane canisters, so I assumed I would pick up more weight.
- It's very 'experimental' for me, and I worry about going hungry at night.
I dispelled the weight myth for myself as the weight gain of the fuel is compensated by the huge savings in the stove.
Next step, to build the pot stand!
My first prototype was an experimentation of bits of wire and epoxied joints. After being frustrated and trying to epoxy the joints without the wire coming apart, I noticed that I had a big roll of "wire mesh" from home depot sitting in the corner of my basement.
Out came the tin-snips and in about 30 seconds I was able to fashion a pot stand that doesn't even show up on my scale < 0.1 oz and seems fairly bomb-proof to boot.
First lets look at a picture of the stove and the pot-stand:
The "stand" is simply a bit of the mesh wire cut out. It is 6 squares high and 22 squares wide. When rolled into a circle it fits inside the center reservoir of the pepsi can stove.
Here you can see the stove lit and in use:
My titanium pan balances on the mesh fairly well. If I was in a wind-storm I might have to hold it to be safe, but for the most part it seemed fairly effective with a full pan of water (1 pint).
I wondered if the mesh would get too hot and give way, so took of the pan and let it heat up for a while:
It glowed nice and red, but the heat did not appear to affect it's structural integrity.
The one downside of having this compact stand inside the reservoir is that it appeared to affect startup-time where the stove transitions to burning out of the jets. I solve this by not dropping the stand into the reservoir until the stove is fully primed. Seems to work great in my home-tests.
The weight of the stove + stand? A whopping 0.4 oz!
Can't wait to get out on the trail and use this thing.