Friday, 9 March 2012

Homemade Bushcraft Hobo Stove & Pop Can Stove

Learn How Easy You Can Put Together A Cheap Homemade Cookset With A Bean Tin And A Pop (Soda) Can.

A Popular Piece Of Kit With Bushcrafters Is The Hobo Stove, Which Is Cheap To Make And Coupled With A Homemade Pop Can Stove, Provides A Great Cookset When Out On  The Trail.

Having all the best gear is great if you can afford it, but not everybody has a disposable income to throw at bushcraft kit (Me included), so why not use what you already have around the house and create your own homemade cookset.

When you are out on the trail, you always need to be able to heat up some water for a brew or cook some noodles etc. And for this you are going to need some form of stove.
Having a few fuel options for your stove is also an advantage and being able to use either meths/alcohol or simply sticks and twigs means you can always get the kettle on.

There are many stoves out there that do a great job, but we are not going to discuss these today. We are going to learn how you can create a versatile, cheap and compact cookset using old bean tins and pop (soda) cans.

I don'y know about you, but there is something satisfying about making something yourself, then going out into the woodland and testing it out for the first time. And its even better when the thing you have created, works great and does everything you wanted it to.

The Hobo Stove

We will start with something we call a Hobo Stove. And as the name suggests, these were (And probably still are) made by hobo's (tramps), out of old tin cans etc. so they could create a contained fire to keep warm, cook food or heat water.

It is, just a tin can, with some holes cut into it. You then load your tin can stove with fuel, such as tinder, kindling, sticks, twigs etc. Ignite the tinder with your firesteel or matches etc. and away you go. You have yourself a small contained heat source, which you can keep going by adding more sticks or twigs.

This is great when you want to make a brew or heat up some food. You just have a quick search round for your fuel, chuck it all in your bushcraft hobo stove and in a few minutes you have heat, which is both a means of heating your water/food etc. and a huge moral booster.

As a wood burner, the hobo stove is excellent and you know you are always going to have a source of fuel around you (most of the time).

Pop Can Stove

Now as a backup or alternative to the wood burner, you can make yourself a "Trangia" style alcohol (meths) burner out of an old pop (soda) can. These are very easy to make (There are endless videos on youtube on how to do this) and work really well.

Homemade alcohol stoves weigh next to nothing and if you damage it, just make another one. The only downside to the pop can stove is that it will not keep excess fuel (meths/alcohol) in it, once you have finished heating your water and extinguished the flame. You have to work out (By experience) how much fuel you are likely to need for the job in hand. Then once you are done, just let the excess burn away until dry.

The pop can stove can be used in conjunction with the hob stove, by simply dropping it in the bottom of the hobo stove, which then acts as a windshield. Your billy can of choice can then sit on top of the hobo stove to heat your water or warm your meal.

Hobo stoves can be adapted to take all manner of billy cans, pans and pots etc. Its just limited by your imagination really.

Depending on what size of bean tin you use, your hobo stove design will work in different ways and allow you to do more or less functions.

You may want a larger bean tin to create a more versatile and robust cooking platform. Or you may want to use the smaller tins to create a lightweight backpacking tin can stove setup.

Whichever you chose (maybe both) you can be pleased with what you have created, knowing you have produced a cheap (if not free) and versatile cooking set, giving you the option to use natural fuel (wood) or alcohol/meths.


  1. Love this idea. I used to use large coffee cans the same way.

  2. Thanks Nathan, why throw things away that can be used for another purpose. Thank you for your comment