For those who enjoy backpacking, perhaps one of the essential things that a backpacker must have is a functional stove. It is important to carry one because having a freshly cooked meal after a tiring trek can make a huge difference.
However, even the most portable variants are usually too heavy to carry around and will undoubtedly impede if not completely hamper the experience of braving nature and its elements. Fortunately, there are ways to get around the issue of weight with the most prominent DIY backpacking stove.
Why a DIY Backpacking Stove?
There are readily available commercial backpacking stoves but not all of them fit the needs of backpackers, so they choose to go the DIY route. There are plenty of reasons why they prefer to do it themselves. It is much cheaper which is an advantage if they want to save money. Some do it because it is fun and they can customize it to their needs. It also brings out the creative juice in them and it can make the outdoor experience enjoyable as well.
A couple of minutes of research over the Internet is all that it takes in order to find detailed instructions on the multitude of designs and variations for a do-it-yourself backpacking stove. Not only will this help tremendously in yielding the desired lightweight results, but it’s also cost-effective and requires little more than a few common household tools and items. They are relatively simple to build too even for a layman.
However, like everything else, there are a few things that need to be considered when selecting and building the do-it-yourself backpacking stove of your choice. Here are some top tips to keep in mind and remember to avoid potential issues that may arise in the process.
Choose a Design or Variant that Is Ideal for the Plan
It can be just a little overwhelming when trying to select the perfect design for the trip you have planned, mainly because of the sheer number of variants available. While they may all be do-it-yourself backpacking stoves, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re all the same.
Some may be more sturdy and easier to build but can consume much more fuel at a rapid pace. Others may have the exact opposite results. A common mistake that backpackers can make is going for design based on aesthetic look alone.
A top tip here is to be sure not to overlook the details pertaining to how each variant functions before making your choice on what to opt for. This will make it much more efficient for the camping or hiking trip that you have planned for ahead. As simple as it may seem, it’s nonetheless a crucial factor to consider.
Find the Best Materials that Fit Your Needs
It is important to consider what materials you have available or what kind of fuel to use. Simple items can be used in building one, such as aluminum foil, hangers, and even soda cans. Most use fuel pellets to light up the stove. It is much easier to carry around, can work well with different cooking devices and they do not weigh much.
Denatured alcohol can also be used but it has to be stored in fuel canisters. The good thing about it is it burns hotter. It is usually used in more complex stoves. There are also stoves designed to burn wood, but it’s not recommended to backpackers with a limited pack space.
Keep in mind that there are fuels that best work on certain stove designs. The best way to know is to build different designs for each fuel type and test them to see the best one that suits your needs.
Always Err on the Side of Caution
With almost any DIY project, it’s easy to get excited and forget about fundamental safety precautions. This becomes even more important since the creation of a backpacking stove not only makes use of potentially dangerous tools but substances as well such as alcohol and fuel. The flammable materials should be stored properly.
It goes without saying that it’s best to always minimize the risks of injury whenever possible and a small investment on some safety goggles and gloves can go a long way in doing so. Bringing a first aid kit can be helpful as well. It is best if the stove made is tested first at home before taking it on a trip.
Go for Trusted Recommendations
Because of the sheer popularity that backpackers use, you will undoubtedly come across a large number of good designs. Even so, there will be a few that stand head-and-shoulders over the rest, and it’s almost always advisable to go for trusted recommendations especially for people who may not have too much experience with DIY stoves. It may be a little tedious to be thorough while doing your research, but this can make all the difference in the end result.
Always Use the Bare Minimum During the Test Phase
Proper testing is always a necessity with projects like these, but one common mistake that is made is the unnecessary use of materials and substances. This makes what is essentially supposed to be an inexpensive do-it-yourself backpacking stove a little more costly than it should be. In this case, it’s always a good common practice to use the bare minimum required for the testing phase. You don’t necessarily need to use an incredible amount of fuel, for example, to make sure that it works.
Creating a DIY backpacking stove is a task that isn’t necessarily difficult to do, and yields cost-effective benefits as well as the lightweight advantages that make them easier to handle. However, as easy as it might be, doing it correctly and making it well-suited for the intended purpose still entail a required amount of work and thought. It’s a project that shouldn’t be taken lightly. With these top tips in mind, you’ll be practicing good common habits that will avoid issues and get the best results.