Monthly Archives: June 2011

Something for people feeling that AT itch…

So rummaging through the selection on Netflix Instant i found the National Geographic video on the AT, National Geographic: Appalachian Trail.  It’s not a lot of information that most anyone who has ever even looked into a thru-hike doesn’t know, but the views are gorgeous and the interviews are pretty interesting.  It’s a great little watch for anyone who is wishing that they were out there right now.  Like me!

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Homemade Alcohol Stoves

Well as promised I’ve gotten all my homemade stoves together for a post.  It is much later than I had planned but life’s been crazy and I’ve had a lot on my plate, not the least of which was a broken nose.  It started with just trying a basic open burner made out of a Chef Michael’s mini can of dog food to work with my Snow Peak 830ml solo pot.  I chose the Chef Miachel’s can because it has a resealable lid which is really nice for holding a small measuring cup and some matches.  This basic setup worked really well but no matter how I tried the flame licked up the sides of my pot very high over the top of it.  I ended up turning it into a supercat stove with a holepunch which will be used with our two man kit.

I also tried a series of mini can stoves with the jets on the inner ring of the bottom side of mini coke cans.  I used a thumbtack for my fuel jets which gave me a size I was happy with.  I started sealing them with heat resistant tape but didn’t get much success.  As I’m sure many before me have learned, the tape while hot is also very sticky and You have to get an airtight seal for the tape to do well.  Honestly, the tape leaks too much to really be effective but despite the leaking making the flame a bit unpredictible I did get a boil every time with less than one oz of fuel. 

After many hours of searching and pouring over all the stove designs out in the great expanse of the internet I found one I had never seen and just had to try.  It calls for epoxy and two cans so after doing my duty and drinking two of my favorite canned beverages, (Dr. Pepper)  I started my construction.  It was easy enough to make, this stove called for the bottom of both cans, one to make up the body and fuel storage and the other to make the jets, fuel port and lid area.  I cut my two cans the base at an inch high and the lid at a 1/4 inch, after punching out my 24 fuel jets.  Then after sanding down the inside of the bottom section and the outside of the top section where I planned on applying the epoxy, I epoxyed and squished together my can pieces.  Now according to the instructions I found told me to let it sit for 12 hours then bake it in my oven at 250 degrees for 2-3 hours for the epoxy to cure properly for the kind of heat that is produced with burning alcohol.  Having grown up with a step dad whom is extremely handy, I’ve used and am very comfortable with epoxy.  I’ve never heard of the oven step really being something required for epoxy to work, I’m still a bit skeptical that this is needed, but I followed the directions anyway.  I’m planning on trying it without this step at some point just to see.  At this point I pressed a dimple into the top so that the alcohol didn‘t just pool in the crevaces added a screw for added pressure and started my testing.  A note should be made that this design is much like several of the Minibull designs and a syringe is the best way to get fuel into the stove.  As far as actual boil time this design is no better or worse than your average homemade pressurized alcohol stove, 2 cups is about 8-10 minutes on 3/4 to 1 ounce of alcohol.  It takes the standard 15-30 seconds to prime and is aided by the use of a priming pan.  My real excitment with design is the diameter of the jets and ultimate perfectness of how well it works with my Snow Peak 830ml!!  I am still having some minor leaking but nothing like with the taped stoves and it’s more like short spurts once in a while and certainly didn’t seem to change the effectiveness of the overall performance.  So my current solo cook kit consists of my new homemade alcohol stove and primer pan (.5 oz), Snow Peak 830ml with silicone lid from the Hybrid Solo Set (4 oz), GSI Telescoping Spork (.25 oz), Kitchen Bandana (1 oz), Homemade Pot Cozy (1 oz), Mesh bag (.25 oz), Fuel bottle (1 oz), Kupilka 21 cup (3 oz), and Sierra Designs Windscreen (1 oz).  Something that is in it right now that will be replaced is my fuel measuring cup, which I am going to replace with a fuel syringe.  I am also looking for a suitable pot stand to add.  Everything in my mug is a total of 7oz, adding in the fuel bottle and my Kupilka cup, my whole solo cook kit weighs 11 oz, and that’s with all my extras!

Getting Back to Natural

So I’m still working on my homemade stove post. I broke my nose last week so it is taking me much longer to get it done than I anticipated, but there is something I just couldn’t wait to share. If you are researching and learning about the wonderful benefits of minimalist footwear I have discovered a really exciting company that has been making running shoes for decades, Saucony (pronounced sow-co-nee).  They have some really great minimalist every day shoes in their original collection as well as some great minimalist running shoes in their performance line.  They have just introduced a new running shoe called the Hattori.  From the description and pictures, it looks like as close as you can get to a Vibram Five Finger as you can get without having “fingers” for a toebox.  I’ve gotten my hands on several pairs of the original line and if their performance shoes are as good a quality and true to the minimalist standards as the ones I’ve gotten to try, then I’m really looking forward to trying this shoe out.  Also if you’re curious about going minimalist with your footwear check out The Minimalist Runner.  They’ve got great information on everything from road shoes to trail shoes, even casual styles all geared toward going minimalist!

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