Have you ever made any of your own backpacking gear? Cat food stoves are a type of homemade backpacking cooking stove. They’re called “cat food” (A.K.A. Super Cat) stoves because they are typically made from an empty Fancy Feast can. However, you can make a stove out of any small lightweight can.
A couple of days ago I was about to toss out an old wasabi can when I realized that it would probably make a great stove.
To make the stove you need to:
clean and dry the can
punch holes into the can approximately 1/4 in apart
make a second set of holes under the first one.
With a cat food can, a hole punch will work to make the hole. The wasabi can turned out to be too strong for this to work. So I made the holes with a hammer and nail and then enlarged them by inserting the end of some needle nose pliers and twisting back and forth until they were the desired size.
At a 2in diameter and a .8oz weight, this stove is slightly heavier and more narrow than a cat food can.
Advantages of using a cat food stove
- inexpensive: can potentially be made with items you already own
- can burn a verity of alcohols as fuel: methanol, ethanol, isopropyl, or even tealight candles
- easy to find fuel for while on a thur-hike
- no parts to clog or break
- no stand is needed since the pot goes directly onto the stove
- easy to see how much fuel you have left
- fuel can be multifunctional: depending on the type of fuel used as a disinfectant
- tippy: needs to be used on a very flat surface to avoid tipping
- can be blown out by the wind
- fire hazard: open flames are much closer to the ground than other stoves
- no off switch: if the stove does tip over the fuel inside of it will spill out
- alcohol has less energy per weight than some other stove fuels
- slower cook times than other systems
- doesn’t work as well in cold weather
To use the stove, add the alcohol of your choice. Ignite the fuel and wait a few seconds before placing the pot on top.