[VIDEO] The Only Camp Stove You’ll Ever Need You Probably Already Own: The Beer Can Stove

During a cold-weather excursion (even a day-hike), having a quick and easy way to start a fire can make the difference between a experiencing the pleasures of our darkest season and hypothermic trauma (or, in extreme cases, death).

Luckily, there’s a simple way to construct a light-weight, portable, and affordable stove out of an aluminum can and some rubbing alcohol. It only takes about 10 minutes to construct. Watch the video, or read on for instructions:


1 can

1 pocket knife

1 pair of scissors

rubbing alcohol


  1. Using the pocket knife, cut off the top face of the can (where the tab is) in a slow, steady, saw-like motion. Don’t cut along the lower ridge, but along the top part of the seam where the aluminum is more rigid and easier to cut cleanly. Discard the top face of the can.
  2. Using the scissors, cut the can in half.
  3. Determine the desired size of your stove, keeping in mind that the larger the stove, the longer it will burn. Use the scissors to cut the bottom half of the can down to the desired volume.
  4. Cut the top half of the can to a size so that only the very top portion of the can (the part that slopes inward) will be visible when sitting inside the bottom half.
  5. Using the pocket knife, bend the aluminum to create internal, dented pockets along the outside of the top half of the can. This creates a space in which the alcohol fuel can vaporize and combust.
  6. Insert the top half of the can into the bottom half. Again, the very top portion of the can should be visible at this point.
  7. Puncture a small, thumb-tack-sized hole on the side of the can, near the top.
  8. Pour rubbing alcohol and carefully light.
Tanya Twerdowsky