Camping Know How: How To Make a Pocket Stove from a Soda Can

First off, if you’re going camping, check our stuff out. We camp. We want to show off our camping stuff to you. – Tony

Now… How To Make a Pocket Stove from a Soda Can

So, I’m sure that all of you have seen some of the articles out there about making camping/hiking stoves out of a soda can. I look at them all the time, but they have one big flaw. Most of them don’t have enough pictures, don’t explain how the stove works, and have very vague directions. I am going to try to write an article that contains all of these things, and is easy to understand. The stove that I am going to show you to make can be used for camping, hiking, sitting around, making light, or just watching stuff burn.


  1. Get two cans. Make sure that they are empty and dry on the inside.
  2. Cut the bottom off of one of the cans. Make a smooth cut (I used a razor blade). The cut should be a little further up the can than an inch.
  3. Do the same with the other can.
  4. On one of the cans, you should crimp the top. Do this by gripping the can with a pair of pliers every half inch and twisting.
  5. Put the two bottoms of the cans together. The crimped can goes on top and inside of the uncrimped can. Press tightly to make sure that there is a good seal.
  6. Use a thumbtack to place a small hole in the lip of the upper can. The metal is fairly thick at this point, so it might take a little bit of force.
  7. Repeat this every 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch all the way around the can.
  8. Place a small group of holes (I used seven) in the center of the can that you just poked the holes around.
  9. Done

How it works:

  • The small group of holes that we cut on the top will be used for filling the stove. You have a few choices of fluid, but you can use any alcohol over 70%, or 140 proof. You can use denatured alcohol, HEET, or even vodka. Whatever works is fine, just don’t use anything explosive like gasoline. I am going to use plain rubbing alcohol.
  • Once the can is filled, we are going to cover the group of holes with a penny and fill the “well” that the can makes with our fluid. The penny is used to make sure that the fluid stays in the “well” and does not go into the stove.
  • Carefully light the fluid that is filling the “well”.
  • The burning fluid on top of the stove causes the metal that the stove is made of to heat up, which boils the fluid inside. When the fluid starts to boil, it turns into a flammable gas that starts to escape from the group of holes that we punched around the top. The flaming fluid on the top ignites this gas.
  • Once the fluid on top is used up, you end up with just the gas being burned that is coming out of the row of holes. This will continue to burn until the fluid inside runs out, or you cover with something and deprive it of oxygen.
  • Here are some pictures of the stove working: (sorry for the bad picture quality)

Source: How to do Stuff

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