How Lightweight is your Backcountry Cooking Stove?

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Home made alcohol stove is the ticket to lightweight travel!

Home made alcohol stove is the ticket
to lightweight travel!

One of the best gear items we used for our Wind Rivers, Wyoming backpacking was a homebrew alcohol stove my son made from a Guinness beer can. The stove weighs .4 ounce! It’s not quite as efficient as an MSR, but by our calcs it saves weight ’till you’re out for more than about 8 days. More, no matter how many days you are out, it is a joy on that last day when you’re marching (or skiing) 20 miles to the nearest trailhead and want the lightest pack possible. Here is the link for making one. Thanks goes to Scott Henderson for the design and excellent instructions.

I highly recommend this homebrew, but make sure you’ve got time to fiddle as the two can halves are tough to fit together (hint, we sandpapered one ’till it fit in the other — you’ll understand when you read the instructions.) The stove is more wind resistant than I thought it would be, and would work fine for backcountry skiing provided you used it in a windbreak and on some sort of stove pad so you could set it on the snow. Not only was this stove fun to make, but the can of Guinness tasted swell (thanks Louie)!


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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

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