“Alcohol: the cause of, and answer to, all of life’s problems” (Matt Groening)


Alcohol stoves are a real blessing in the jungle – they are extremely light and compact. and you can carry just enough fuel to ensure that you can cook your dinner in the event that a heavy downpour washes your fire away.

They are also easy to make and don’t have any moving parts that can break or get clogged up.

For me they are an ideal back-up to take into the jungle, particularly when going solo – not something I hope to have to rely on for every day cooking (an open fire will do that) but a fail safe in case of rain or lack of time to collect firewood (or even lack of patience when I need a first coffee in the morning to kick start the system).

In a larger group, or if you intend to cook more elaborate meals than simple boiling allows, then a small gas cooker may be a better bet.

There are other types of stoves to choose from Рe.g. solid fuel and petrol  Рbut ethanol is something you can normally find even in remote areas without too much problem whereas other fuels may be more difficult to find and handle.

The ultralightweight trekkers have made alcohol stoves their signature piece of kit and have done much to develop DIY models to the point that these homemade stoves pretty much match commercial models in performance.¬† There are various designs you can choose from, but my own favourite is the famous “pepsi-can” design which works very well indeed and is easy to prime.

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At the end of the video I cover the basic steps to building your own “soda-can” alcohol stove (there are more detailed descriptions available if you do a quick search on the net) and review some of the types of alcohol stoves you can make for yourself.

Alcohol stoves do not pack-out heat in the way, say, a gas stove will, and some sort of heat shield/draft excluder is going to help them get the temperature high enough for a rolling boil – along with a little bit of patience from your end!