Best DIY Camping Stove (2020 Buying Guide)
Backpackers usually use the open flames of a campfire to create warmth and cook delicious campfire meals and vegan campfire delicacies while they’re out in the backcountry. Other backpackers prefer the temperature control of camping stoves, and those who really have that admirable DIY ethic about them have been adding to the massive amount of extant literature on DIY soda can camping stoves for more than a century. Other materials can also be used to construct a DIY alcohol stove, such as tin cans, beer cans, or tuna cans. Designs for DIY wood stoves are also widely available. Campers, backpackers, and hikers with the necessary tools and the required know-how will find the construction process for a DIY camping stove fairly easy to follow, and the result is a dependable and ultralight portable camping stove that warm a tent or provide hot food and boiling water for hot beverages or anything else.
One of the most famous manufacturers of ready-made ultralight camping stoves is a Swedish company called Trangia, and many of the formulas for DIY alcohol stoves attempt to follow the Trangia design. The whole construction process is pretty simple and doesn’t require anything you can’t find at any local hardware store. Some kind of tin can, pliers, a razor blade, and an electric drill with a 1/16” drill bit are all you need to get cooking. Luckily for backpackers and hikers who enjoy cooking in the great outdoors and want the temperature control and dependability of a camping stove but don’t possess the DIY handiness skills to construct one from scratch, there are a wide variety of DIY camping stoves that come in various stages of construction.
We’ve scoured the DIY camping stove market on Amazon and found the best ultralight alcohol stoves, wood stoves, and rocket stoves that are super convenient and won’t add too much weight to your rucksack. Read through this guide and get to work cooking with one of these models, or try to build the best DIY camping stove yourself.
Best DIY Camping Stove – Overview
1. Redcamp Mini Alcohol Stove
- Material: Aluminium alloy stove stand and brass stove, the base with wind screen which can keep the stove stable and support pots and pans.
This alcohol stove is constructed out of a durable aluminum alloy that keeps away dirt and damage fairly well, which is useful because DIY camping stoves most often need to be placed on a naturally flat but dirty surface like a rock or the bare ground. The base of this alcohol stove has an included windscreen that not only protects the open flame from the wind but also provides additional stability to the camping stove itself. This alcohol stove is ultralight and comes with a velvet carrying case for easy transportation. One extra design feature of this camp stove is its foldable handle, which is located on the flame regulator and can be used to control and extinguish the open flame and used directly with outdoor cookware.
There’s also a rubber seal which prevents even a small amount of fuel from leaking, which should give hikers and backpackers who use it some peace of mind since the alcohol fuel is highly flammable. Combustion holes just like the ones you would make with a drill bit or razor blade in a fully DIY handmade camp stove are on this model in order to increase the air ventilation and provide high combustion efficiency. The open flame has a long burn time, lasting about 50 minutes for every 100ml of alcohol.
- Durable construction
- Long burn time
- Foldable handle
- Windscreen included
- Limited stability
- Moderate time to boil water
- Cannot store fuel inside when not in use
2. Solo Stove Alcohol Burner
- ESSENTIAL COMPANION - The Solo Alcohol Burner is a great backup fuel source and companion to our wood burning Solo Stove. The burner benefits from the Solo Stove's efficient air flow system to achieve...
This ultralight alcohol stove is super portable and has a neat airflow design that streamlines oxygen into the burner and really quickens the burn time. Boiling water is a cinch and only takes a few minutes. You can also extend your burn time with the simmer lid, which offers the possibility of adjusting the open flame from full to simmer. The simmer lid features a fold-out handle and extinguishes the flame when closed completely, which allows great control and safety. One improvement in the design of this ultralight camp stove compared to similar models from competitors on Amazon is the twist on cap.
The cap has an o-ring that seals the burner so you don’t have to empty unused fuel between uses. It also prevents evaporation, which means you won’t have to refill the alcohol fuel as often, which means you won’t have to carry around lots of extra isopropyl or HEET with you. There’s a larger Solo-brand stove that is designed to work with this one but it is unfortunately sold separately.
- Airflow design for long burn time
- Quick boil time
- Handle and simmer lid for portability and temperature control
- Larger stove attachment not included
- No pot stand included
3. Evernew Titanium Alcohol Stove
This camp stove has a minimalist design and near-ultralight weight that both make it easy to pack away in a rucksack and carry on multi-day hikes to remote campsites. The fuel capacity of 70 ml is less than some competing models but the burn time is fairly long. Two levels of jets create an open flame that is more stable than most other camping stoves. There is a cross-stand that is sold separately which functions as a windscreen and also allows for multi-fuel versatility. If the DX stand is purchased, you can burn not just alcohol fuels like HEET or isopropyl solutions, but also use this model as a wood stove.
One serious drawback to this model is that there isn’t really a way to put out the flame if, say, you’re boiling water and the boil time is shorter than the amount of alcohol fuel you’ve put into the stove. You’ll simply have to let it burn off. The only workaround is to learn how much fuel you’ll need for certain recipes and measure it carefully to prevent having an open flame burning uselessly at your campsite. That being said, the fiberglass cloth wrap inside makes this camp stove quieter than similar handmade DIY models, which is nice if you want to enjoy the serenity of the surrounding nature.
- Fiberglass cloth wrap for quiet burn
- Two levels of jets
- Windscreen available
- No way to put out the flame
- Low-ish fuel capacity
- Cross stand sold separately
4. TOAKS Titanium Siphon Alcohol Stove
This TOAKS alcohol stove, which you can see in use in this video, is a fantastic and reliable little camping stove that’s ultralight and durable. It can hold about 88 ml of alcohol fuel, which is sizeable enough, although it functions better with between 30 and 50 ml of alcohol fuel inside. TOAKS also manufactures a wireframe, pot, pot stand, spoon, and windscreen that are all designed to work with this alcohol stove, although they are of course sold separately. The boil time is just over 5 minutes which is faster than most competing models. The design of the burner makes for a very stable flame that won’t burn out if you’re ever boiling water in a windy area.
- High alcohol fuel capacity
- Ultralight and durable
- Short boil time
- Stable flame
- Windscreen, stand, and other attachments sold separately
5. Esbit Brass Alcohol Burner
- Crafted from the highest quality materials
This alcohol burner is ultralight and super packable in a rucksack. It has a leak-proof screw top with a rubber seal, as well as a flame regulator with a fold-away handle for easy use. It has a brass body that’s eye-catching but also very durable and scratch-resistant. Its rubber seal is leak-proof for safe transport and no leaks, so you can leave unused fuel inside without worry. For added temperature and flame control, it has been designed with a flame regulator as well as a flame snuffer so you won’t have an open flame burning away on the campsite once you’re finished cooking.
One major flaw in this alcohol stove is that using isopropyl solutions in it will cause the flame to burn yellow and may soot your cooking pot. Luckily, other alcohol fuels like HEET can be found at any local hardware store and they work just fine with this product.
- Leak-proof screw top
- Temperature and flame control
- Durable construction
- Doesn’t work well with isopropyl solutions
6. KINHOO Foldable Firewood Stove
- LONG-LASTING HEAT - The high capacity, insulated 11-liter soft Helio tank heats water using sunlight; Heated water stays piping hot for hours so you can clean up on your schedule
This is one of the most versatile camp stoves on Amazon. With its stainless steel pan you can use alcohol fuel and you can also use it as a wood stove. It requires some assembly when you want to use it, but that should be a welcome middle ground to those who respect the DIY ethos but don’t have the time or know-how to build a whole stove from scratch. Also, the unassembled parts pack away more easily that a one-piece unit would.
The stainless steel construction is likely to scratch during use, which won’t affect the performance of the stove in any way but will not please campers who want their gear to stay looking pristine. The burn time is good on this model when using alcohol fuel. Burn times when you’re using it as a wood stove will depend on the type of firewood, but boiling water should be a cinch on this camp stove.
- Woodstove and alcohol stove
- Good boil time and burn time
- Packs away easily
- Stainless steel will show scratches
- Some assembly required
7. Ultralight Portable Camping Stove
This is without a doubt the most ultralight and portable camping stove on the market. The whole thing fits in the palm of your hand with plenty of room to spare. That means when you use it there’s a little more setup work to do, but in keeping with that DIY ethos, that shouldn’t bother anyone much who’s looking for a camping stove. In order to achieve its ridiculously ultralight and portable size, this camping stove sacrifices in other areas like stability and construction.
It really depends on the user how stable this stove is since it doesn’t have a body to balance itself. The seal on this stove is not the best you’ll find on Amazon, but it’s not so bad that you’ll be risking leaking flammable alcohol fuel or butane over an open flame. Burn time and boil time are also not the best in the world, but this camp stove will get the job done in the end. For the ultralight-obsessed, this is the best DIY camping stove around.
- Ultralight and portable
- Reasonably effective
- Seal is lackluster
- Possible stability issues
8. Marsh Kettles Flat Pack Mini Rocket Stove
- Packs flat for easy storage or transporting - it slots together for easy set-up or break-down
Rocket stoves are really handy for several reasons; some campers swear by them because they’ve found DIY rocket stoves handier than wood stoves or alcohol stoves. This rocket stove from Marsh Kettles ably demonstrates many of the characteristics that win campers over to team rocket stove. For one thing, it packs flat for easy packing and transporting. It has also been designed to fit together quickly for easy set-up or break-down.
Preppers and survivalists will like having this rocket stove around since you can use whatever you can find as fuel. Twigs, branches, pinecones, cardboard, paper, or whatever else you can find can all be burned in this stove. This stove isn’t ultralight but it is lightweight enough to still be convenient for campers, hikers, and makes a great backpacking stove. Lighting a fire is as simple with this stove as it is with any campfire, and the shape of rocket stoves mean gravity does all the work in terms of feeding the flames.
The biggest benefit to this stove is that you won’t have to store or bring along any fuel for a fire if you’re camping somewhere with plenty of wood and leaves. Butane, propane, alcohol fuel, and isopropyl solutions can all be left behind with this wood burning stove. There will be no need to worry about leaking flammable alcohol fuel over an open flame and burning the whole campsite down with this rocket stove.
- Wood-burning; no need for alcohol fuels
- Easy to assemble and break down
- Some assembly required
9. EcoZoom Versa Camping Stove
- ULTIMATE CAMPING WOOD STOVE: Extremely durable, long-lasting and energy efficient. The Versa uses wood, charcoal or solid biomass as fuel. Great for outdoor camping, hiking and even emergency...
This rocket stove is the best DIY camping stove for larger groups of campers and families. Ultralight backpackers won’t have anything to do with this model, but for everyone else, it offers all the advantages of rocket stoves and maximum durability and convenience. It’s durable, long-lasting and since its design doesn’t require much wood to cook, it’s also energy-efficient. The Versa uses wood, charcoal or solid biomass as fuel so there’s no need to carry alcohol fuel and no risk of leaking flammable isopropyl solutions or HEET into the open flame and starting a fire. The fully insulated vertical combustion chamber forces gases to mix with the flames, leading to decreased harmful emissions while boasting tremendous fuel efficiency.
This stove creates less smoke which any camper who has sat downwind from a campfire will certainly appreciate. Since it isn’t as ultralight as other models, you can trust this stove to have excellent stability and stay wherever you put it. Even though it seems like it would have more upkeep than smaller stoves, all the parts of this stove are easy to clean and maintain. For its overall construction, stability, and effectiveness in delivering food to more than one camper, this wood stove is our top pick for the best DIY camping stove.
- Wood burning; no need for alcohol fuel
- Energy efficient
- Less smoke
- Top of the line stability
- Not ultralight
10. US Stove Barrel Stove Kit
- Installation materials are not included (i.e. floor protector, chimney connector, thimble, radiation shield, flue)
This stove kit merits mention on any comprehensive list of the best DIY camping stoves simply because it’s the most DIY camp stove you can find on Amazon short of making one yourself with supplies from the hardware store. It offers a lot of the advantages our top pick camping stove does, but there’s much more work involved in getting it built. That might be an advantage to some, however. The drawback is that it’s designed to convert any 30 or 55-gallon oil drum. That being said, if it’s properly constructed this DIY stove can offer more economical space heating than pretty much any other stove. The stovepipe will have to be constructed by hand or purchased separately, which is no problem for die-hard DIYers but might be too much annoyance for campers who want to avoid a hassle.
- Very DIY
- Economical space heating
- Barrel and stovepipe not included
For its versatility and the economical use of fuel, the EcoZoom Versa Camping Stove is our top pick for the best DIY camping stove. Ultralight backpackers might feel slighted that some lighter-weight models weren’t our winners, but the stability and durability this model offers because of its heavier weight and larger size are precisely what the majority of campers will enjoy having around their campsite. Anyone preparing food for more than one camper will prefer this model over other alcohol fuel options.
The DIY ethos is still alive and well with the EcoZoom, and gathering wood around the campsite will always be more enjoyable than going through several aisles at a hardware store looking for supplies to build a handmade camp stove. It all boils down to personal preference, but campers who want to have more versatility than simply cooking over a campfire will appreciate having a DIY camping stove around, and this model is arguably the best. Now that you have an idea about the market, head off on your next camping trip with confidence that you can stay warm and prepare amazing meals with the best DIY camping stove available.
Bonus tip: Watch this DIYer construct an alcohol stove out of aluminum soda cans without glue!