The Tenkara USA Forum is no longer active, and is now a read-only resource. If you’re interested in current topics and discussions, please join us on the Facebook Tenkara Anglers group (link:

Alchohol Stoves

Tenkara is a great type of fishing for backpacking and securing a meal when out in the woods. This forum discusses backpacking in general and how it relates ot tenkara: fish recipes, favorite spots, ultra-light backpacking

Alchohol Stoves

Postby NewTyer1 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:40 am

Has anyone tried these? I have seen plans for building these and it looks really simple, small and looks as if it would pack well.
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2012 8:24 am

Re: Alchohol Stoves

Postby jburge » Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:24 am

I love 'em. I've made quite a few and I've also purchased a couple. Been using them now for the last 5 years, sticking with the philosophy of keeping it light and simple. For example, I've been able to do an 8-day backpack trip carrying only 10 ounces of fuel. You may also want to look at some of the kits that are available at And if you haven't seen it, check out

Posts: 105
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:07 am
Location: sacramento, ca

Re: Alchohol Stoves

Postby doliver » Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:54 pm

I have geen using a Trangia brand stove for that last 10 years - it is the 28T system that includes a pot, lid, and holder for the stove. It cost me about $25 in total back then and is a bit more now. Alcohol stoves have their good and bad points.

-Liquid fuel available anyplace. I use yellow Heet which comes in handy containers.
-Burns clean.
-Could not be much simpler or lighter.
-Very easy to make for your DYI types.
-Cheap to buy (free to build) and run.
-Not very temperature sensitive (unlike many propane/butane stoves)

-They are a bit more dangerous than most stoves. The alcohol flame can be nearly invisible and most people have knocked over a lit stove at one time or another.
-A wind screen is nearly essential.
-Compared to other stoves the BTU (heat) in alcohol per ounce of fuel is fairly low. So you have to carry more fuel that you might expect (but the fuel is available everywhere except the middle of the wilderness).
-Most home made stoves do not have a way of extinquishing the stove (the Tangia does) so you have to let it burn out. This tends to waste fuel and increases the chances of an accident.
-Most alcohol stoves can not be adjusted (again the Tangia is an exception) so subtle cooking is not their strength.
-The tend to be a little slower than other fuel stoves (I can make two pots of coffee in my JetBoil before the Tangia will make one).

I personally think that the cheap and simple outshines the negatives, but there are some. Trust me getting stuck 10 miles into the wilds with a high tech stove that suddently decides to stop working and you do not have a machine shop handy to fix it can be a little taxing.
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:25 am

Re: Alchohol Stoves

Postby TJ @ Tenkara USA » Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:24 pm

I also enjoy small alcohol stoves. I have an old 1950s Sepil that I am rather found on and now a super small UL style pepsi can style from Primative Stoves.

I did a video of my 1950s Sepil for the fun of it boiling water. Then I made my wife a nice cup of tea. :P I could have used a small windscreen that morning but you will get the idea.

But check out the super small Primative Stove brand of alcohol stove, they are nice.

Tenkara USA, Director of Customer Service

Tenkara Junkie - Tenkarajankī
Now sporting all of the Tenkara USA Rods!
User avatar
TJ @ Tenkara USA
Posts: 1668
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:41 am
Location: Northern California

Re: Alchohol Stoves

Postby statikpunk » Sun Jul 22, 2012 7:48 pm

Jason would be a good one to ask he has a ton of ultralight backpacking knowledge, and i know he has some videos on alchohol stoves from several years back. I have been following his backpacking videos long before tankara reared its head here in the states, and its all good stuff
RODS: Ito&
Iwana I/II 12ft & 9ft
User avatar
Posts: 249
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 5:39 am
Location: Elko, Nevada

Re: Alchohol Stoves

Postby albertyi » Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:59 pm

If you're into DIY -

Great pressure-regulating design.
User avatar
Posts: 135
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:43 pm

Re: Alchohol Stoves

Postby Karl Klavon » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:44 pm

The Limitations of Wood Burning Stoves For Me:
I have a couple of wood burning stoves that go with a couple of Kifaru Tipi tents, but here in the central Sierra, depending somewhat on the area but usually around 10,000 feet and higher in elevation, there are wood burning restrictions. So the wood stoves are of limited utility here at high altitude.

No Pots Alcohol Stove Cooking:
I have also used a variety of MSR's white gas stoves and still do use them for car camping, but I have gone to an alcohol stove system for backpacking because of its compactness and very light weight. What I am doing requires no cooking pots at all other than an Optimus Tea Pot to heat water in. Dehydrated and or freeze-dried food is placed in a couple of 8 oz. Nalgene screw cap jars, which are then placed in foam insulating can caddies, which cooks and re-hydrates the food in from 5 to 20 minuets with no cooking pots being required. The food is eaten out of the container it was cooked in. Dish washing consists of putting some hot water in the jar and shaking it, tossing the water and rinsing with cold water. A flexible, soft bottle carries olive oil, in a plastic bag, which goes in the cooking jar for safe worry free transport in the backpack.

Hot Beverages:
For hot beverages, a Rubbermaid Juice Box is used, which has a screw on lid with a fold out straw arrangement, and it also is placed in a foam can caddy. I make the hot coco first, then do the main course of the meal. That way, I can have hot food and drink at the same time. But this requires some caution on your part because the hot beverage can be hot enough to burn you if you are not careful, even up to an hour later.

The Penny Alcohol Stove:
Here is a link for the Penny Stove and how to make it: Since the keg shaped Heineken beer cans are no longer being made, here is a link on a good replacement beer can and instructions on making the stove out of those cans: Some of the things I really like about the Penny Stove is that no priming pan is required to use it, you get an instant blue flame and no pot carbon deposits on the pot every time it is lit, 100 percent of the fuel is used in heating the water once the pot is on the stand, and the Penny Stove is one of the most wind resistant alcohol stove designs there is out there. I must have built 20 to 30 different design alcohol stoves in my testing, and the Penny Stove proved to be the best of the lot on every performance rated level worth mentioning.

A Wind Screen Option:
I am using the heavy gauge aluminum MSR Wind Screen with my Penny Stove, with 3/8ths of an inch holes punched around the bottom of the wind screen, and the wind screen is fold reduced in diameter and height to be about 1/2 inch larger than the Tea Pot is in diameter, and about 1/2 inch taller than the pot is tall with its lid on and in place.

The Pot Stand and the Stove's Insulating Base:
The pot support is a 3 leg folding stand, made out of 3, S/S bicycle spokes and brass tubing, which is very light in weight and very compact. You can get Titanium spokes to make an even lighter weight stand but the cost is prohibitive in my view. I also made an insulation stove support out of the top of the beer can with the pop-top removed so you can push the stove out of the insulating base with your thumb for more compact carrying and storage. Under cold conditions alcohol stoves are very cold sensitive, and the insulating base boosts the stove's efficiency a lot, and the narrow end of the insulating base nests in between the 3 triangular legs of the pot support nicely. Here is a link with information on making the pot support:

My Modified Pot Stand:
The improving modifications I made to the above pot stand was to bend the side of each triangular piece of the base up vertically 5/16ths to 3/8ths of an inch, which served to stabilize the insulating stove base and the stove, and it also gave the pot support a 3 point base, which is a much easier tripod to level the pot with on uneven rock surfaces than the flat base pictured above is able to be leveled on the same surfaces. I also bent the pot supports in, in line with the axis of each support leg, which made the stand smaller and more compact. The stove jets will turn the pot supports cherry red in a matter of seconds, so I try to align the pot support feet in between the stove gas jets.

Packing the Alcohol Stove System:
The folded pot support, a spoon and a butane lighter fold up inside of the wind screen, placed inside of a rubber banded sandwich sized plastic bag to in the insure that the flint on the lighter stays dry. The stove, the penny, in its own little zip-lock bad, along with the simmer ring, which I never use, is stored and carried in side of the Tea Pot, as well as the insulating base and a packet of spices in half sized film can containers with sealing salt and pepper shaker lids, along with a small bottle of biodegradable detergent and cut down non-abrasive pot scrubbers to pad and hold things in place in the Tea Pot. The Tea Pot is 6" in diameter x 2 & 1/2" high. The folded wind screen, pot stand, lighter and spoon make a 6" x 4" x less than an inch thick package, more or less including a silicone clam-shell pot gripper to grip the folded erect Tea Pot handle with when you need to pour hot water as the handle can get plenty hot enough to burn you.

Packing the Alcohol Stove Fuel:
The alcohol can be carried in any number of small light weight containers, from a 4 or an 8 oz cheap plastic water bottle to an MSR or Sigg aluminum fuel bottles. I like the 11 fl oz MSR bottle with a Fuel Faucet in place instead of the cap the bottle comes with, which eliminates the need for separate caps, spouts and funnels to fill and prime the stove with.

I have been using this system for more than 10 years now, and I am well satisfied with it. One of the things I really like about it is the fact that you can set the stove up, light it, immediately put the water on to boil, and go set the rest of your camp up. There is no pumping, preheating, valve turning or any moving parts involved to fool with or that require your attention. When you see or hear steam coming out of the Tea Pot, it is time to add the hot water to your meal. By the time you have set your tent up, dinner is ready to eat. Alcohol stoves take a little getting used to in normal daylight lighting because the flame will be invisible for all practical purposes. looking for the heat mirage shadows or feel for the heat at a safe distance with your hand will show you that yes, the stove is indeed working after all. Sure a white gas stove puts out about twice the BTUs that an alcohol stove does. But after using an alcohol stove for a while, I came to the conclusion that most of that extra heat was just passing off, harmlessly, into the atmosphere. Any given pot can only absorb so much heat, the rest just gets passed on by.
Last edited by Karl Klavon on Fri Oct 19, 2012 1:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Karl Klavon
Posts: 664
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:01 am

Re: Alchohol Stoves

Postby Karl Klavon » Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:46 pm

Here is a picture of my complete and assembled alcohol stove kitchen, including the food (orange bag) and stove (Navy blue bag) bags. The Nalgene Jars in the soda can caddies serve as both cooking pots and eating food containers. The Rubber Maid Juice Box, with fold out straw is in the blue can caddy. This allows you to have both hot food and drink at the same time, with no dishing up required and keeps everything hot to warm for a very long time. Depending on what food you put in the jars, cooking time can be from immediate to as long as 20 minuets or more. The Titanium Sierra Cup is used for drinking out of streams and filling the Platypus Water Tank. [img]
Karl Klavon
Posts: 664
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:01 am

Re: Alchohol Stoves

Postby jdchaussee » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:10 pm

You can make a very simple "penny" stove using 2 pop cans. I used to make them all the time. I used HEET (the stuff in the yellow bottle) which is just denatured alcohol, just dont inhale it ;-)

IMG_0207.JPG (34.73 KiB) Viewed 10451 times

IMG_0209.JPG (29.03 KiB) Viewed 10451 times

If youre interested, I can PM you instructions. :)
-Justin C
<>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><
Tenkaraholic since 2009
Proud owner of:
Amago, Yamame, Ito
**Instagram: Tenkaraholic**
User avatar
Posts: 152
Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2009 2:00 am
Location: Sacramento, CA

Re: Alchohol Stoves

Postby SonOfMartin » Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:46 am

The Penny Stove is absolutely the way to go. Sure there are + / - to the stove, but for the weight, design, ease of use, cannot be beat. Fuel is available just about anywhere. I just bought my winter survival kit fuel for $1.40 a bottle at wallyworld. I keep a penny stove in each of my cars along with a bottle of fuel (Yellow Heet). If I break down, or anyone in my family does, with 1 bottle of Heet they have 2+ hours of fuel to warm up the car. Only had to use it 1 time when it was 10 outside and wife blew out a universal joint. She fired up the penny stove and kept the car warm while she waited for tow truck to arrive - about 30 minutes. Since then, one penny stove per car.
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:44 am
Location: Hershey, PA


Return to Backpacking & Cooking

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest