How to Make an Inexpensive Camp Stove out of a Tuna Can

Hello, readers. I’ve been wanting to expand to video blogging for a while now, and this is my first attempt. Hopefully, this is the first of more DIY gear videos.

If you’re trying to spend the least amount of money as possible on gear, you may want to consider making some of it yourself. A camp stove would normally cost at least $40, if not more. However, you can make one yourself using a tuna fish can for just a few dollars.

What You Need:

  • a tuna fish can
  • a can opener (to open the can)
  • a hole punch
  • fuel to use with your stove (HEET or denatured alcohol)

    A simple, inexpensive cooking method.

    A simple, inexpensive cooking method.

Step 1: Open the can and empty the tuna out. Wash the can out and peel off the sticker (otherwise, it might catch fire).

Step 2: Take the hole punch, and start punching holes around the top edge. Don’t go down farther than halfway because you need to be able to dump fuel inside of it. Go all the way around the can.

Step 3: Dump fuel inside of the can. You can use HEET, denatured alcohol, or moonshine or everclear. Light the fuel on fire. The flames will be clear so you won’t be able to see them. You will feel the heat coming off of them though. Let it burn for 10 to 20 seconds before you put your cooking pot on it, so you don’t smother the flames and put it out.

Step 4 (optional): Make a windscreen out of tin foil. This will help your fuel last longer and be more efficient.

Step 5: Put your cooking pot on top of the stove and wait while it boils.

A few things to know about tuna camp stoves:

  • Once you light the flames, you won’t be able to move the stove until the fuel all burns out. The can will be too hot to touch, and you’ll risk spilling the burning fuel on yourself.
  • You can’t reuse the fuel once you light it on fire. You have to wait until it all burns out.
  • Make sure to set the camp stove on a flat surface, and be careful not to bump it. If it spills, you’ll send a path of burning fuel all over the area.
  • While there might be other more efficient, easy to use methods, this is by far the least expensive.
  • This method is extremely lightweight, but you don’t have to use it all the time. To save even more money, cook on a campfire whenever you can.



8 thoughts on “How to Make an Inexpensive Camp Stove out of a Tuna Can

  1. Pingback: A Guide for Cheap and Affordable Hiking Gear

  2. I especially like how you carefully show that the tuna must be removed from the can, prior to starting construction of the stove.

  3. I actually plan on using a chicken can…..hopefully, that will not mess up the project. 🙂

    Then again, tuna is the ‘Chicken of the Sea’, so I should be fine.

  4. I love my homemade alcohol stove, but as a friendly reminder, don’t use them in areas with heavy drought (most of the US west this spring/summer/fall) and areas with fire bans.

  5. My question is how do you dispose of the leftover fuel? do you pour it back into the bottle? How do you feel about using sterno VS other fuels?

  6. Pingback: The Most Reliable Campstove | Appalachian Trail Girl

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