posted on Apr, 9 2010 @ 11:40 AM
I used to carry around an MSR WhisperLite. It had a beautiful flame but that is where the fun ended. Bulky, complex, loud and made out of plastic
parts it constantly needed maintenance and often broke from my extreme lifestyle.
When a friend spotted an 8R in the garbage and gave it to me I instantly donated my WhisperLite to a weekend warrior.
The 8R is arguably the pinnacle of expedition style stoves. Designed in the time of the dinosaur its all metal construction and simple, maintenance
free design is raved about by everyone who owns one.
It’s a great stove that I take on every backpacking trip but it weighs about 2 pounds and for simple weekend trips, overnighters which I do every
week and for the emergency kit there is another exceptionally elegant alternative.
Weighing only 6 grams and made by hand pressing together parts from three soda cans this little power house has become a staple in my SEK pack.
Modeled around the penny stove of which there are dozens of designs posted on the internet the version here has a couple of improvements that make it
a practical cooking system for emergency and short term use.
To keep it small this stove was made from two “Red Bull” 250 ml cans (careful, there is a slightly large 355 ml can too) and one standard 355 ml
soda can. A bit of fiberglass insulation is loosely stuffed into the stove before the two can bottoms are squeezed together and those are the only
parts. The cans are cut with a razorblade knife and the holes are punched with a thumb tack. The main improvement of this particular design is the
addition of a preheat cup added to the bottom of the stove which eliminates outages due to cold pot heat sinking. The cup also makes starting a cinch
and safer and improves the stoves stability.
The stove works very well with inexpensive methyl hydrate (presently $6 for 4 liters) and produces a clean, blue, almost silent flame which will boil
half a liter of water in 6 minutes. There is no smoke. Methyl hydrate burns to produce water and carbon dioxide. The flame is fairly wind resistant
but as with any stove a wind screen helps. I make my own out of a large, folded up piece of aluminum foil. The stove will burn almost any other fuel
with varying results. For those of you who are into stealthy survival techniques the stove has a very small thermal footprint and cools down almost
instantly after being put out due to its small thermal mass and the boiling fuel inside. I'll be posting thermal footage of the stove in action
When out by myself I generally cook and purify water with a 500ml stainless coffee cup. The little penny stove is perfect for this, producing an
even blue flame that encompasses the bottom of the cup perfectly and produces no black soot. A pot stand is not required for this particular model
but one can be constructed out of thin welding rod or a metal close hanger.
Now, as much as this cooker suites my needs I'm certainly not claiming that it is the end all of stoves. It takes a couple of minutes longer to boil
water than some of the stoves out there and occasionally I'll have to take a minute to refuel it when cooking an elaborate meal but I'm generally
not in a hurry when I'm in the bush so that's fine with me. Another disadvantage is that without a pot stand it is difficult to adjust the heat but
cooking over a fire pit is even worse so I'm fine with that too.
My favorite part about this stove is that with the same weight as an 8R I can carry ten times as much fuel or for a short outing I can carry just
enough fuel for a few meals and it hardly increases the weight and size of my kit. This is particularly important during the dry season here when
fire bans are often in effect.
I am constructing another one of these and will post images, video and instructions of the build as it happens.
Edit for typo
[edit on 9-4-2010 by dainoyfb]