Welcome to the KF8GR Ultralight Stoves Page

Canteen Cup Stove - Used by The United States Armed Forces (and others) for decades.
Dragonfire Stove - Made from a Dragonfire gum tin, simple to constuct, works like a charm.  From my son James idea, which was based on the Altoids stove.
Mini Photon Stove - My own version of the Don Johnston Photon stove cut down to be practical for ARES and SAR work.
Trangia Stove - commercially made, a bit larger, and heavier, but works like a dream.
The windscreen - works with all these stoves (except the Trangia and canteen stove of course), and can be a wood burner all by itself.

Alcohol Stove Notes and disclaimers

Never use anything but alcohol in these stoves.
Do not use Isopropyl alcohol in these stoves, too much water.
Use alcohol fuel for stoves, usually available in paint departments of stores.
Alcohol stoves are safe by nature because they work at lower or no pressure.  But, since I cannot tell how much of a klutz you may be, you build and use these stoves at your own risk.  Thousands have used such stoves safely for years, always use caution when using fire and flammables.  Using a stove in an enclosed area can kill!
Alcohol does not burn easily below freezing.  You may have to warm your burner and fuel in your armpits for a minute to get alcohol to light.  Once lit, no problem.

Food Suggestions for above stoves

I have found that if you have a Triangia or other stove that will boil water non-stop for around 10 minutes, Lipton's Sides make a manageable meal.  They are relatively light, and store in a smaller package than many of the "professional" backpacking meals. 

Other types of bagged, dehydrated, self-contained meals can be used, as long as the amount of fuel they require is manageable, and cooking time is not too long.     These meals are heavy on carbs, but, if you are spending a lot of time on the move or shivvering in the cold, they provide what your body needs for energy.

Need a faster more efficient cooking option?

I often use 4 to 8 oz of Minute Rice in a ziplock bag, with a chicken or beef boullion cube for a quick meal.  It only requires four minutes to cook (once you get the water to a boil, and put out the burner), uses four to eight oz of water to cook, and if you happen to have some shredded beef jerky or beef pemmican, it will add much to the taste.

Pots and Pans and Flatware and...

MSR and others make Titanium cookware that can be used, or if you are cheap like me, a good pot is the Grease Pot from Wally World.  It costs about $7.00, is lightweight, and made of aluminum.  It is not the heaviest duty, and dents easily, but, for the price, it is very good at what it does.  If you pack your chuck items inside the pan, it will hold your burner, flatware, s&p shakers (if you can't get along without them), small alcohol measure, small alcohol container, etc.  and you can wrap your chimney/windscreen around the outside of the pan if you use a short windscreen, or around a water-bottle if you use a taller windscreen.

If you need something to prop your pot up over the burner, how about three tent stakes driven in the ground around the burner?  Not the plastic ones of course.  If you carry some tent stakes, you can always turn a G.I. poncho into a makeshift shelter, cook using them, use them to set up snare lines, etc.  A good idea for you go-kit.

Flatware is easy.  If you find out you really, really need a metal flatware set, you can find them cheap almost anywhere there is a camping section.  More often than not, you get get away from metal flatware, and since you are already carrying a folder knife in your pocket (right?), all you will need is a spoon, or sprork... spork... spock.. whatever.  The best spoon I can recommend is either a disposable type made of Lexan or the spoon from an MRE (nylon, I think).

That will pretty much cover your needs, with a couple of additions.

First the pot cozy.  Take your closed cell sleeping pad, and cut off the extra width you do not need.  Wrap it around the cold pan you will be using, cut it to shape leaving enough height to cover the pan lid and knob or handle, and using aluminum tape, tape the seam on the inside, and outside too if you like.  Now cut out a bottom for the pot cozy, and tape it to the bottom of the pot cozy on the inside.  Now, fill in the entire inside of the pot cozy with aluminum tape, which you can do before taping the pot cozy together if it is easier for you.  make a cozy top that  will fit inside the cozy, and if you want, make an aluminum tape "hinge" to attach the top to the cozy.  This little gizmo will keep your meal warm for an incredible amount of time, and the aluminum lining will both reflect heat back to the pan, and keep the pan from sticking to the pot cozy.  Store your pot in the cozy, which will help to keep it from getting dented.

Second, is cleanup.  Scorching is not out of the question when using an alcohol or other small, fast and efficient cookstove.  Keep a brass "Chore-Boy" and a small vial of dishsoap for cleaning out the pan, and if you cannot waste water, clean the pans, etc.  using good, clean, dry sand.

Where do I get this stuff?

Well, a lot of it I discovered the hard way, only to often find out later someone else had already done it (and better) on the internet.  I do a lot of camping with my metric V-Twin cruiser motorcycle, and use a lot of this in my Go-Kit for Search and Rescue, and ARES missions.

I also like to Ultralight hike, (not the real long distance trails  mind you) with everything from clothing, shoes to backpack weight coming in at under 20 pounds.  It always keeps me thinking of new ways to conserve weight and space.

I have picked up this stuff over the years from books whose names I do not remember, and web pages that I cannot recall.  I do not intend to claim any of their work for my own, I simply cannot remember who started what.  If you are interested, Google "alcohol stoves", "ultralight backpacking", "survival camping" and other such things, and you will soon amass a large mental database of how to do it better, smaller, faster gear and methods.

This page last updated by KF8GR Nov 4, 2004