View Full Version : My Alcohol stove with windscreen

Woods Walker
2007-06-06, 00:59
Alcohol stove with windscreen.

I have built a few types of alcohol stoves. After testing them out here is what I settled on for my favorite. The standard Pepsi can stove with Aluminum flashing windscreen. I use tent stakes for a pot support. Here is the link with instructions on how to build the burner.


The whole system packs down small and weights in at under 2.5oz complete.


Calling it a Pepsi can stove is not being 100% fair to the Irish beer can that is used for the bottom. It appears that the Irish beer can is just a very tiny bit smaller than the soda can. This allows me the slide the cans together and connect them without any expansion slits in the Pepsi can top section. I put a bead of hi temp epoxy around the lip of the Irish beer can before slipping both cans together. Than for good measure I place a bead of the same Hi temp JB weld over the newly created lip. No real reason for doing this. The inner wall ring is connected with JB weld. Unlike the Pepsi can instructions I use material from a 24 oz Arizona Ice Tea can to construct the inner wall ring. This is done as the aluminum stock from these cans are thicker than the Pepsi can or Irish beer can. Stronger inner ring makes for a stronger stove. But you can use stock cut from the Pepsi too. I also put JB weld underneath the top grove that the inner wall fits into. The combo of all these things keeps air from being sucked into the inner wall turning the clean blue alcohol combustion into a more reddish flame.


The fuel intake is controlled by 3 holes or notches in the bottom of the inner wall created with a hole punch. Guessing that two would be enough but have settled on 3. I have tried various hole sizes and numbers for the burner and have came to the conclusion that 24-28 small holes burn the cleanest and most efficient. Do I have hard-core scientific data to back this up? No but than again it is only a stove.


The windscreen and pot support is one of the most important aspects of any alcohol stove. Darn important factor in most other camp stoves too. One thing I donít like about side burning stoves is that people tend to use the stove as a pot support. A soda can is a tinny pot support any way you cut it. Other times they try to add wire to the stove or push 3 tent pegs into the ground for a pot support. Better but these methods are not ideal in my view. Why not just combine the two? Have the tent pegs be supported by the windscreen and than use the windscreen to support everything. Air intake is provided by either holes drilled into the aluminum flashing or groves cut into the bottom. I have shortened the high of the windscreen from my earlier design. Reduced it from 6 inches to between 3-4 depending on factors like cook pot size and my general mood at the time. A shorter windscreen is a bit less efficient but this offers a few important advantages. First and foremost the cook pot handle gets a bit less hot. Second being smaller pack size. Not going to add reduced weight, as we would be taking about grams and that is just silly. A grove is cut into the top of the windscreen so cook pot handles will not get hung up on the lip. The tent peg support holes are drilled to support the pot about ĺ of an inch above the burner. Donít know the optimal height for this but thinking anything less than 1.5 inches is good to go.


The width of the pot support depends on your cook pot. I made this one to work with all my small pots and metal cups including the MSR, Snowpeak and USGI canteen cup. Here is the stove complete with a USGI canteen cup.


This may not be the perfect Alcohol stove set up. But it has worked best for me however I am no expert. I use this all the time with my daypack for cooking and boiling up some coffee. If done right it can get a rolling boil with most small cookpots/canteen cups in under 6 minutes. One big pro of the top ported stoves over the side port models is the easy addition of a simmer ring. These stoves can be made for very little money and like most projects the feeling of accomplishment and fun from building something your self is well worth the time and effort.

2007-06-18, 12:50
Nice pics, thanks for sharing!

I have not used Irish beer cans (not being a drinker has some disadvantages <grin>), but it's interesting that the can is a little bit smaller than a Pepsi can. I use a can "stretcher" to widen one half so it fits inside, but this seems easier!

My question is why didn't you use the cans in the other order (the Irish beer can for the top, the Pepsi for the bottom)? That way, the top can would have fit inside the bottom can, which is the traditional method. It makes the bottom can into a "bathtub".

I completely agree with you on JB Weld-ing the top of the inner wall - I too have noticed an improved flame with this method (plus is just seems to make sense). I had not noticed that Arizona drink cans had thicker sides - since I don't set anything directly onto my stove (not this design, anyway), I wonder just how much difference this makes overall.

I use JB Weld to seal the top and bottom together as well, but have found that smearing a little on the inside of the sides of the larger can makes for just as good a seal but a cleaner appearance. Really just aesthetics, I guess.

Thanks again.


2007-06-18, 15:08

One tip I learned on Aprovecho Research Center (http://www.aprovecho.org/web-content/publications/publications.html) is that you can increase efficiency if you extend your wind screen up around the sides of the pot, keeping the heat close to the pot for as long as possible. I think that'd work better on a more cylinder shaped pot.

Woods Walker
2007-06-24, 11:04

One tip I learned on Aprovecho Research Center (http://www.aprovecho.org/web-content/publications/publications.html) is that you can increase efficiency if you extend your wind screen up around the sides of the pot, keeping the heat close to the pot for as long as possible. I think that'd work better on a more cylinder shaped pot.

You are right about the higher wind screen but often I pack the windscreen and stove inside my cook pot.

2007-06-24, 11:18
If you had two, the same size, you might be able to stack them with the tent pegs going through the same holes to keep the top one elevated. Also the top one could be of a lighter material maybe.

2007-06-24, 12:01
I like it a lot, but IMO, remove the paint.
Other than that, nice design and construction. I give it a 8. Tighten up the windcreen some and it's a 9. The windscreen doesn't need to be that wide. If you took off what looks to be about 1.5" in diameter, I think you'd dramatically increase heating efficiency and keep the handle cooler.
Very cool. Weird how us stoveaholics can get so worked up over this stuff.

2007-06-24, 17:24
I also agree with CoyoteWhips and JAK. Improved efficiencies would be had with a better wind screen. It looks to me also that the wind screen is closer to circular than matching the shape of your pot. Instead of changing to a round pot ( understandably your fond of that one), could the screen be shaped to closer match that pot, with a tighter gap 1/4 to 1/2 inch around the pot? Still using the pins. Then have a second one, like first , with only 4 holes for the 2 pins. That way the pins lock the two together. The top would fit snug and outside of the lower one . Rising to the same height as the pot, give or take. Having 2 narrow slots (one wide?) for the handles, allowing the pot to be lifted up and out when done cooking leaving the stove behind. The slots going no lower than the handles &/or top of bottom screen. I think that in two parts , upper / lower and equal heights, they would still pack inside the pot, same as one. What you think, woody ? SS

PS Just restating JAK!

Woods Walker
2007-06-25, 00:37
I tend to use this wind screen/stove with my MSR ti titan cook pot when looking to cut some weight. It fits better on that than the USGI SS cup but I just can't dump that good old trusty Stainless thing so maybe I will make a special one just for that. The shape is just kinda funny on the USGI cup. I do have higher wind screens for my MSR too but the darn cook pot handles would get so much hotter and harder to handle. I guess if going out for longer and every last oz of fuel was needed than I would take one of them but I just like packing the wind screen and stove inside my MSR pot. I used to remove the paint or cover it up.




But just no longer cared one day. Don't know why I stopped doing this but it happened.