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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Wilderness Survival - Altoid Stove

There are a variety of different stoves you can employ when you are practicing wilderness survival from MSR stoves to the humble tea light stove. And the large range in cost means you can find just the right thing to fit your pocket book.

A stove really only needs to contain two items - a fuel, and a container in which the fuel burners. Added components can be used to increase efficiency.

The simplest stoves are the tea light, cat food, and Altoid stoves. This article will discuss the bare bones Altoid stove, however the technique can be applied to just about any metal container you have lying around for wilderness survival.

The first item discussed will be the fuel used in the stove. At present, my current preferred fuel is the automotive additive called HEAT. You can get this at any gas station for about 2 or 3 dollars. It will easily ignite but does not produce fumes that can flare up light gasoline (do not EVER use gasoline as a fuel in a stove).

The stove itself is an empty Altoid tin with the top of the container removed prior to use. You do not want to have your cooking container sitting directly on the stove, as this may put the flames out. So you will need to either find an item that will allow your billycan or canteen cup to sit above the flames or you can just dig a small trench in the ground. This will house your stove and you can use the earth as your pot stand.

Place the stove in the trench or under your pot stand and add your fuel. With my test I found that 3 oz of fuel provides about a 20-minute burn, which should be sufficient to boil your water and heat your food. You can then light the fuel with your preferred method (match, lighter, ferro rod) and you are good to go. Just place your billycan or canteen on the pot stand and heat your food.

I thought that 3 oz of fuel was a lot to use in this stove, and you may be able to make the stove more efficient by adding some fiberglass insulation inside the tin. This will hold the fuel and provide a more even burn - but I have not yet tested this.

The knowledge you should keep is that you can basically create a stove from any metal container you have handy, but you may have efficiency issues. If this is tolerable, you can have a small, portable, nearly indestructible stove when you are in the wild. This is just one wilderness survival skill.

Ohio Valley Outfitters reviews gear and gives tips and tricks for wilderness survival.

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