“Pop Can” Stove


November 20, 2016

Burning alcohol is a fantastic clean fuel for cooking. This simple pop-can stove has been evolved over the years by many light weight wild campers, and stove enthusiasts. Its robust design should last many years of use. You will need to use a windshield if using it in any exposed areas, and possibly a small trestle to hold your pan a few cm above the flame. This will burn a couple of cups of water in under 10mins.

  • Prep: 1 hr
  • Lifespan: 2 yrs


1Start with two empty aluminium drinks cans (this would probably work with steel cans, though I have not tested it).

2Use a very sharp knife to cut the two cans as shown in the diagram. The knife can be placed on block of wood and the can rotated around the blade to get a good straight cut. Discard the top of the can as this is not needed in this design.

3Again, using a sharp knife cut around the inside edge of the bottom of the can. Multiple light passes is better than trying to cut it in one go. This will make the top of the stove. Discard the centre piece as this is not needed.

4The inside sleeve can then be cut with scissors and taped into a cylinder. The diameter must allow it to sit in the bottom groove of the drinks can, but bigger than the hole you just cut in step No.3

5Assemble the stove carefully as shown in the diagram. It's helpful to stretch the bottom section of the stove a little by pushing a full can of drink into it. This is a tricky job, that get easier with practice! Some people use add glass fibre cloth and conceal it between the aluminium tube and outer wall of the stove, this helps the stove light quicker but is not essential.

6Once assembled you can use a pin / drill / tack to make 16 small holes around the outer edge of the stove, these make the jets for the alcohol.

7Fill with a small amount of fuel and light in the centre, through the large hole. It will take a little while for the pressure to build up and ignite the outer jets. Enjoy!


1 Empty aluminium drinks can

10cm Fibreglass (optional)

20 ml Burning alcohol


1 Pair or scissors

1 Carpet or craft knife

Where is this useful?

This little stove can be used wherever bio-ethanol alcohol can be made / bought.

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Do not use indoors, or in arid areas where fire can spread quickly.


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