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In the event of a crisis situation, you never know how you’re going to end up, and most importantly, for how long. You could be forced to live in the wild for long periods of time, and while as a prepper you probably won’t be short on supplies, it’s not just the comfort of a hot meal that makes this item extremely useful.
First off, “healthwise” speaking, our bodies evolved around hot meals for almost two million years, and there’s no arguing about the benefits of a hot meal over cold canned food: resilience, satiety, and a general good state of the stomach flora with an implied decreased risk of ulcerous diseases – all good advantages for life in the wild.
Since you don’t always find wood, or may not have the tools to cut it in handy, you should have this simple but brilliant home-made contraption in your survival backpack.
Most of the required materials should be about your home, as it’s very easy and cheap to do, and it will last forever! The high temperature resistant tape may be missing from your arsenal, but it should be easy to find at any hardware store at less than $10 per roll.
What you need:
- 2 soda cans (you can get extras for mistakes)
- a ruler
- a scratch awl or other sharp instrument
- a cutter or a heavy-duty x-acto knife
- a Sharpie
- a pair of scissors
- high-temperature tape (metal tape, aluminum tape, foil tape, muffler tape, or basically any kind of tape that won’t burn)
Step 1: The Holes
Using the scratch awl, start poking holes along the bottom of a can. Half an inch or less between them should do – give or take. It doesn’t matter how many you have, but I usually get around 18 -20. If you want to get them evenly poked, you can start with four holes for each direction (up, down, left, right), then halfway between each, and so on.
Step 2: The Main Opening
Now you need to take out the bottom of the can. An X-acto knife or cutter would work. If you get jagged edges, you can use a file to even them out.
Step 3: The Stove Top
Measure 3/4 inches from the bottom of the can and make a transversal cut. The piece you have now in your hand, with the holes, will be the top of the stove.
Step 4: Cutting the Tabs
To match the top into the bottom of the stove, you will need to make small tabs on the edge of the top. Do this by snipping the edges a few times.
Step 5: The Stove Bottom
Pick the second (intact) can and cut out the lower part, measuring one inch from the bottom. This determines the height of your stove, so you can adjust this according to your needs, but the bigger it is, the more space it will occupy in your backpack.
Step 6: The Inner Wall
From what’s left of one of the two cans, cut out a portion 1 and 1/3 inches wide – or according to your desired height.
Step 7: Size the Inner Wall
Insert this tin strip, which we will call the inner wall, into the bottom of the stove. Size the inner wall in the stove bottom. You’ll cut halfway through the strip on each end on opposite sides of the strip where the ends will lock together. When you lock the ends together, make sure the ends of the strip are inside the loop.
Step 8: Trim the Inner Wall
To make sure the fuel flows well through the inner wall, cut three equal notches around one side of the strip.
Step 9: Putting it All Together
Puzzling it together is simple: first put the inner wall into the bottom of the stove, notches down. Fit the upper part on top, with the tabs going into the bottom. This part may be a little tricky, as the tab edges sometimes tangle up, so you might want to bend the tabs a bit inward. Make sure the inner wall fits well into the groove and push the upper part well down.
While the stove will be pretty secured by the friction alone, it is always safe to tape it around.
Bonus: Simmer Ring
If you want to cook more advanced recipes, like dishes which require a simmer, you may want to give this simmer ring a try. From the top of a can, remove the tabs and cut it right where the can bends downward the length – the first dent.
The snuffer is very handy because with it you can conserve your fuel. It’s basically a lid you place over your stove to smother the flame. Very similar to the simmer ring, the cutting process is the same, but you use the bottom of a can instead.
This is It!
This video will help you with full directions:
By MFSP Contributor
Note: be sure to practice correct safety procedures with any form of naked flame and flammable fuels. NEVER attempt to pour flammable fuels into any flame or anything that is already lit or very hot!
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