A common item amongst a great many backpackers is a backpacking stove. This tool primarily serves the purpose of generating the necessary heat to cook food or boil water, which makes it essential in surviving in the outdoor wilderness or improve a camping experience. This portable item can cost quite a bit. Add to the fact that it often requires purchasing its gas separately, which can cost quite a bit. But there is a solution to it—make your own backpacking stove.
If you’re working on a really tight budget and can ill-afford the additional expenditure on a camping or hiking trip, the do-it-yourself approach could be the best option. If you’re hesitant about this method, you’ll be surprised at how effective it can be.
Ask any experienced adventurers and they’ll most likely have made at least one or two during the course of their travels. In fact, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a backpacker who doesn’t carry a spare DIY backpacking stove even just to act as a spare.
The Internet is host to a multitude of designs and varieties for a DIY backpacking stove. They all generally require little more than a tin can and some sharp tools in order to fabricate them.
You’ll also find many in-depth pieces and even videos on how to accurately make them. They all share a few common good practices. Here are some top tips to keep in mind in order to maximize the chances of success and mitigate any potential issues along the way.
Measure Twice, Cut Only Once
While common household items are usually used in the fabrication of backpacking stoves, they are finite. The reason why the DIY approach exists to make your own backpacking stove is to keep things sensible. It’s understandable that you may not be able to get it the first time, but there’s no sense in wasting too many resources on it. You’ll most likely be better off buying a portable stove instead if that is the case.
The saying, “measure twice and cut only once,” can be taken both literally and as a figure of speech that basically means to make sure everything is in excellent order before appropriate actions are done. One good example would be going through a tutorial and trying to make do with what you have.
This usually leads to a lot of issues since most of us would undoubtedly try to find alternatives that may not necessarily work. Since this isn’t a project to take on lightly, accidents can potentially happen.
Once you have found the DIY backpacking stove that you would like to make, the next course of action is to make sure that you have all the necessary items needed. This will not only help make things move forward smoothly, but you’ll avoid a lot of mistakes in the process as well.
Expand Your Options on How to Make Your Own Backpacking Stove
A general rule of thumb when it comes to fabricating your own backpacking stove is to widen and expand your options. This isn’t difficult to do, and a few minutes online will literally yield hundreds of results. The important part is to invest some time and look over more than one or two designs. You may find something that is a lot simpler to do, which can make a whole heap of difference for those new to this approach or much more efficient variants for a longer trip.
One top tip to take note of is to try to look for forums with backpacker communities. They usually have a lot more information and can even point you in the right direction for more trusted designs. Don’t overlook these recommendations because they can make all the difference on choosing a variant that is more or less ideal and well suited for the trip you have planned.
In any do-it-yourself project, safety is always paramount and should take precedence above all else. This becomes especially important for backpacking stoves because the items and tools needed for its fabrication are oftentimes dangerous and can pose serious hazards. From sharp objects to flammable substances like fuel or alcohol, every preventative and safety measure must never be ignored or overlooked.
As sensible and frugal as this approach may be, it is a good common practice to invest in a few safety items. Safety gloves are always mandatory. By design, they are meant to protect our hands from abrasions, cuts, and burns, and these are elements that come with the territory of creating your own backpacking stove. A pair of safety goggles can go a long way too. Nobody wants his or her vision to be impaired in this do-it-yourself process after all.
Choose Your Design Wisely
You can be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed with the sea of DIY backpacking stove designs and variants available. While they all serve a similar purpose, there is a significant difference between each of them.
Generally, the simplest soda can designs work well as a spare in case of emergencies while others may be suitable alternatives to their retail counterparts. How well these options work ultimately depend on the trip’s duration and what it will be needed for.
To this end, it is essential to choose the ideal design for what the trip needs and entails. It’s neither sensible nor logical to go with an option that is not adequate for it after all. Another rule of thumb is to never assume. When in doubt, it is always best to ask first and act later.
As intimidating as it may seem to fabricate your very own backpacking stove, it is not a terribly difficult task to do. So long as you choose the right design, follow all the instructions properly and most importantly make sure that you have the required tools and safety gear at your disposal, you’ll be able to do it successfully. In fact, it wouldn’t be a stretch to fathom that you’ll get it on your first try too.