How to Make a Soda-Can Stove

Most people tend to think of survival in terms of rural escape routes, underground tunnels, dark forests and camouflaged bunkers hidden deep in the woods. But chances are for the majority of folks, when a survival situation presents itself, an urban metropolis is most likely to be the setting. Sure, the forest is full of food, but the city has resources that are just as abundant. Making the best of what is around will become a daily necessity, and as any prepper worth his salt will tell you β€œnecessity is the mother of invention.”

The ability to boil water is essential for sterilization of unpotable water in a survival situation, be it rural or urban. But in a true SHTF scenario, a person could find themselves in a position where building an open fire to purify water or cook is either too dangerous or impossible. Enter, the tin-can fuel stove. Using tools and materials that can be scavenged almost anywhere, from an office building to an abandoned warehouse, it is possible to create a fuel-burning stove capable of boiling water and heating up food. Here’s how.



2 aluminum soda cans

1 boxcutter

Cotton balls

91% isopropyl alcohol

1 pushpin

Note: There are several potential substitutes for the above materials. For example, using part of a t-shirt will suffice if cotton balls aren’t available. A pair of scissors or a good old-fashioned knife will work the same as a boxcutter will. A thumbtack or a nail can function in place of a pushpin. Camp stove fuel, or even gas-line antifreeze can work in place of the 91% isopropyl.



Take one soda can, puncture it about three-quarters of the way down from the top lip. Cut until the bottom of the can is separate from the top half. Repeat this step with the other can as well.

Discard the two top pieces and carefully fit the two severed bottom halves together. This part can be tricky, as the edges may be sharp and it is important not to tear or rip any of the aluminum in the process.


Using the pushpin, puncture three holes in the center of the can. The holes will resemble a cross. Then, carefully puncture holes around the rim of the can. Make sure that the holes are wide enough, if needed, wiggle the pushpin about to widen the holes. About 16 holes should be enough.


Now, separate the two soda-can pieces and stuff a wad of cotton balls into the unpunctured half. Seal the soda-can pieces together, make sure they fit snuggly.


Pour small amounts of the 91% isopropyl into your stove through the puncture holes in the center of the top can piece. Allow time for the fluid to drain and add more, sparingly.

Light stove from the top at same place you put the fuel in.


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