Creating a Survival Stove

I have hiked and camped all over the United States and aboard.  While the environments have been different there has been one common factor.  What is this?  Well, I really do think you would be surprised by my answer.  My simple answer is trash.  Yes, I said trash and frankly I have never been on a hike or a camping trip that was “trash free.” 

While I do pick up after my fellow humans when I am on the trail, I also like to turn this trash into something useful.  I mean I am having to carry it out so why not use it.


Before I get to my survival stove, I would like to talk about what I do not like to use unless I really have to.  My big pet peeve is plastic.  I will use plastic for projects that do not involve food or water.  In other words, I will make a container from a plastic bottle to carry spent chewing gum or the peel from an orange but not to cook or drink from.  On the other hand, if it was an emergency then I would use a found plastic bottle for survival. 

Now having said that, let’s move on to creating a survival stove.  This particular survival stove starts off with an aluminum can.  Yes, I said an aluminum can.  The can needs to be as perfect as possible.  Once you have found that, the next step is to prepare the top.  The top of the can is where the pull tab is located.  Once the top is up, take your knife and cut off the top.  Do not make this cut from the side but instead from the top.  What you are really removing is the circle inside the rim of the pop can. 

Once the top has been removed, place that part of your can in your pack and move on to the next step.  This step allows air to enter the stove.  To do this, you will need to cut some vents along the side of the pop can near the bottom.  Now your stove is done but how do you use it?

Cooking on this survival stove is simple but different from other camp stoves.  First, this stove is only big enough to heat water inside a metal camp cup.  Second, it is not designed to use large pieces of wood.  Instead, it is intended to use small twigs and dried grasses.

Once you are done cooking on your “survival stove,” do not forget to put it out.  While the fire is small, it is still large enough to cause a forest fire.