5 Simple Steps to Create Your Own Homemade Soda Can Stove

How to Make a Portable Soda Can Stove in 15 Minutes: A Life-Saving Camping Hack

Camping can be a fun and relaxing experience, but it can also be a challenging one without the proper equipment. One of the most important things to have when camping is a reliable stove to make meals and heat up water. However, not everyone can afford to buy an expensive camping stove, and some may not have space to carry it in their backpacks. That’s where the soda can stove comes in handy. In this article, we will guide you on how to make a portable soda can stove in 15 minutes – a life-saving camping hack.

Things You Will Need

Before you get started, you will need some tools and materials to make the soda can stove. These include:

– 2 aluminum cans in good condition (soft drink cans, beer cans, etc.)
– Push pin with a plastic head
– Small hammer (optional)
– Sharp knife, utility blade, or scissors
– 1/4 cup perlite
– Wire coat hanger (remove any paint with sandpaper beforehand) – only if making your own stand
– Fuel – denatured alcohol, methanol, or absolute ethanol. Denatured alcohol is inexpensive and available at any hardware or big box store. Absolute ethanol will be harder to find and a lot more expensive.
– Leak-proof container to carry your extra fuel. Camp stores have a selection of appropriate bottles that close tightly and dispense cleanly. Clearly mark the fuel bottle. Do not use a bottle that resembles a water bottle; you definitely don’t want to drink from the wrong one at night.

Step-by-Step Guide

Now that you have all the necessary tools and materials, let’s get started on making the soda can stove.

Step 1: Clean the Cans
The first step is to clean the cans. Make sure they are in good condition with no dents. Wash them with soap and water and dry them thoroughly.

Step 2: Cut the Cans
Using a sharp knife, utility blade, or scissors, cut off the top of one can just above the curve. Then, cut off the bottom of the other can just above the curve, leaving a little bit of the bottom intact.

Step 3: Poke Holes in the Can
With the push pin, poke several small holes around the center of the can that you just cut the top off from. These holes will allow air to enter the can and mix with the fuel, creating a stable flame.

Step 4: Fill the Can with Perlite
Fill the can with perlite until it’s about 2/3 full. Perlite is a volcanic glass that is lightweight, easy to handle, and can withstand high temperatures. Spread it evenly in the can and gently tap the can on a flat surface to level it out.

Step 5: Add Fuel
Add enough fuel to the can to soak the perlite fully. Denatured alcohol is recommended, as it burns cleanly and without odor. It’s also inexpensive and easy to find. However, methanol or absolute ethanol can also be used.

Step 6: Light the Can
Using a matchstick or lighter, light the can from the outside, where the fuel is.

Step 7: Make a Stand
You can use a wire coat hanger to make a stand for the can. Remove any paint with sandpaper beforehand. This will help elevate the can and keep it stable while the fuel burns. You can also use rocks or logs as a stand.


It’s essential to take precautions when working with flammable materials like fuel. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

– Never use the soda can stove indoors or in an enclosed space. It produces carbon monoxide, which is dangerous when inhaled.
– Keep the stove away from flammable materials like tents, clothes, or trees.
– Use a leak-proof container to carry your extra fuel. Denatured alcohol contains methanol, which can cause blindness and death if swallowed. Do not use a bottle that resembles a water bottle; you definitely don’t want to drink from the wrong one at night.


Making a soda can stove is an inventive camping hack that can save you from a lot of trouble on your trips. It’s simple, easy to make, and portable. While you may not be able to cook a big meal with it, you can use it to make small meals or heat up water. It’s perfect for solo camping or couples who want to keep things simple. So, next time you plan a camping trip, don’t leave without making a soda can stove.

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