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Penny Alcohol Backpacking Stove
Mark Jurey - jureystudio

Sad News:
Starting in March 2011 the Heineken Company changed the design of the keg-shaped aluminum can to a standard straight wall can. Since the the Original Penny Stove requires the unique shapes offered by that can, I have provided instructions for the Penny Stove 2.0 - built using two regular pop or beer cans. Performance is comparable to the original shown below.

| Web reviews |Independent tests | features and performance |

Bill Waite, at A. C. Aircraft, still has a limited supply of Heineken cans and you can contact him to build you one of the last remaining stoves - a genuine collectors item. I want to thank Bill - because of his extraordinary generosity over the years, the Sierra Club has received thousands of dollars in donations - $5.00 for every stove he has made. Also, thank you to those who sent donations to conservation organizations after building the Penny Stove.

Mark Jurey

photo & stove made by Forbes Conrad

"This plan is human ingenuity at its very finest. For the cost of a few beers (plus one penny), you can build yourself a camping stove like no other... lots of scientific data to back up the claim that it's the best travel stove for any money..."
Jules Allen, St. Ptersburg Times

"I built the penny stove last summer and used it on a 2.5 month camping trip in Europe. It worked every time, 100% of the time, rain or shine... It is the perfect stove, especially for international use. If it gets confiscated at security, it takes about 30 minutes to make a new one. Fuel can always be found... Simmers perfectly."
Paul Lapides

.. .
" ... wind chill factor of -9 degrees, temp was 14 degrees... Performed like a champ!!! Not affected by wind, or cold. Boiled water in minutes, simmers forever...
I would recommend this stove to anyone, anywhere."
asphalt commando

In 2003 I posted the original instructions for a hiking stove that I had been developing for many years - one that is dependable, safe, lightweight, fast, efficient, but is still simple to make and use. I called it the Penny Stove.

This site documents the response to the first alcohol stove that is good enough to compete with gas stoves and keep canisters out of landfills. Most alcohol stoves will boil only two cups of water, but the Penny will sterilize two quarts of 45° water with only 2 oz. of fuel. It will bake scones, or simmer a pot of real rice for 20 minutes with 2/3 oz., and make tea for two with 1/2 oz..

The penny pressure regulator and simmer ring combination let it function as two stoves. It can prime and boil a quart of water just 20 seconds slower than a gas cook-top, or simmer at max efficiently for almost an hour. Web reviews from around the World show that it "performed like a champ" with a wind chill of -9°, "excellent" even with 50 mph wind gusts, and "great" at the top of Mt. Whitney - 14,491 ft..

Independent tests document that it heats faster, uses less fuel, simmers longer, and packs lighter than any commercial alcohol stove. It combines the features and performance of three basic designs - the efficiency of a high pressure/Photon Stove, the ease to fill and light of a double wall/Pepsi Stove, and fast heat of a tub/Cat Stove. So simple that you can build a rough one on the trail with a leatherman or good pocket knife - no insulation, ruler, epoxy, needles, or tape. If you have played with homebuilt stoves before, this one should be a snap. If not, this site contains help from generous people around the world.

Making the Penny Stove
Extensive building instructions and frequently asked questions.

Making the 1/2 Penny Stove
Designs for use with a mug or 24oz. Heineken pot by Charles Bodner & Don Trapp.

Penny Wood Backpacking Stove
This 3oz. wood stove works as a pot support for the Penny Stove.

Penny Features

almost full burn .............................. simmer ring burn

"Due to the light-weight, the small size, the fast boil, and the geek factor, the penny alcohol stove is definitely the best and coolest camping stove ever. Thanks!"
Fred the Red

Several YouTube videos show a normal pressurized stove with a penny covering the filling hole and represent this as a Penny Stove - it is not. They are missing unique features that make this stove safe and efficient - including a top priming fuel area, high cup rim, jet area tuned to penny weight, spaced jets, dimpled burner, insulating base, Heineken rim spacing, and simmer ring.

Total - stove & large pot support = 43 gm or 1.5 oz
Burner, penny, simmer ring, & lid/base (19gm), support (24gm)
Much safer

Unlike pressurized stoves, it has no external priming flame and uncontrolled pressure buildup. Unlike un-pressurized stoves, once lit, it has no open reservoir of flaming fuel to splash or spill. Unlike both, flame can be extinguished instantly - just set the pot on the stove. An insulated base protects from fires below and a wide freestanding pot support leaves the stove stable when pot is disturbed.
More efficient

Independent tests show that it heats faster AND uses less fuel than the most popular commercial and homebuilt stoves - many use 50% more fuel.
Fuel Use
15 ml. (1/2 oz.) of fuel will boil 2 cups of water. 20 ml. (2/3 oz.) boils 2 cups and simmers for another 2 min. or 10 min. with the simmer ring. At that rate, 8 oz. of fuel will boil 24 cups (6 quarts) of water then simmer for for 2 hours. Light the stove with the simmer ring on and 8 oz. will burn for a total of 4 hours - 12 fully cooked meals.
Less wind vulnerable

The low profile and large low-pressure jets heat faster, are resistant to the wind, never clog, and are almost impossible to blow out.
Automatic pressure adjustment
Tests show that the penny regulator provides a stable efficient burn under changing conditions. It seals the filler hole to hold pressure for slow simmer and provides a center flame for maximum controlled burn without flare-ups.
Self measured fill
To boil two cups, just fill the top of the stove covering the penny (2/3 oz.) and light. For a one quart boil, fill to the top, slide the penny aside to drain fuel, then back to cover the hole, and fill the top again. No eye droppers, cups, or measuring bottles required.
Self priming/filling

Heats the pot while priming, excess priming fuel on the top of the burner runs under the penny to fill the stove - no primer ring, cold weather lighting problems, or wasted fuel.
Holds almost 2 oz of fuel

Some have boiled 8 cups with only 1.5 oz. of fuel. This makes it a great two person homemade stove or winter camp stove.
Long efficient simmer
The simmer ring raises the flame closer to the pot and slows both fuel and air supply to make it more efficient and less vulnerable to wind. It will boil one quart and hold a simmer for over 50 min. on less than 1-1/2 oz. - about 20 min. on 2/3 oz. of fuel.
Stable efficient support

The three-spike support provides maximum flame contact, minimum heat loss, and a wide, non slip base for large pots. Reverse the support for smaller pots.
No seams to break & leak

All parts are heavy impact forged aluminum and there are no sealed seams, and no glue, tape, or solder to fail.
Small & easy to backpack

The stove is small enough (1 1/4 hi. x 2 3/4 dia.) to fit in a pocket or plastic pack cup. The support folds flat. Stove, pot, cup, wind screen, & 8 oz. of fuel fit inside a small pot.
Insulated base

The lid/base is used to maintain thermal efficiency, makes it safer, and able to burn on a cold wet ground or a wood table top.
Burner lid

If the lid/base is not needed under the stove, it can be use to instantly stop the burn, save fuel, and also protects the burner when packing.

Indpendent Tests

"OH MY GOD. 8 cups of water. 16 minutes. boils for an additional 3 minutes before 1.5oz fuel runs out. This is what we at MIT would call a really good hack."
Jon Powell

"I just got done with a simmer test and found by using the original simmer ring I was able to simmer hot water for over 56 minutes. I used 1.25 oz. of denatured alcohol."
Phil Perkinss

"How about a video of a 1 hour 15 minute burn? About 1 3/4 oz of fuel, simmer cap on... the batteries in the camera ran out before it finished! This was using the Heineken pot setup (tri - dual hole setup)"
jared (hiflyer)

What really got me going was that it boiled (and I mean a solid rolling boil with pleny of burn left) 2 full quarts on 2 oz... Water temps +/- 45 degrees."
jack flanagan

"It brought a camp pot with 32oz of cold water to rolling boil in 7 minutes (920' elevation) and had fuel to spare for the simmer with the ring on."
Brian Parks

For complete Mike Martin test information go to:

Please note that these are controlled tests and different environments, pots,
lids, pot stands, and building techniques may increase boil times and/or fuel use.

Wikipedia gives these specs for "normal" beverage-can stoves:
* Time to boil 2 cups (500 ml): ~5 minutes (<2 tablespoons (30 ml) of fuel)
* Time to boil 4 cups (1 l): ~12 minutes (<3 tablespoons (45 ml) of fuel)

Compare these with tests of the Cat, Pepsi, and best commercial stoves at:,1023,4566,00.html

Jeff tested many Penny stove options and a big jet Pepsi stove at:

To Top plotted the daily weight of stove+fuel for five stoves boiling two cups per day for a 14 day trip.
I have added the Penny to their chart showing how it relates to other stove and fuel options.
The Penny average is 5.25 oz/day, the Esbit is 5.1, Canister 7.8, Cat 7.4, Wisperlite 20, Doublewall 9.4.

What about the super high efficiency Jetboil Personal Cooking System stove?
Below the Penny & grease pot is compared with Jetboil & integrated pot as tested by
- based on a 14 day trip boiling 2 cups per day.
The Penny average is 8.5 oz. per day, Jetboil is 17 oz. per day.

First day Weight
-14 day trip
Jetboil = 18 oz (pot & stove 14, fuel 4)
Penny = 12 oz. (pot & stove 5, fuel 7)
~Last day Weight -14 day trip
Jetboil = 16 oz. (pot & stove 14, fuel 2)
Penny = 5 oz. (pot & stove 5, fuel 0)

Web Reviews

Brad Monsma's Penny visits Whitney
Scouts on Whitney

Just a quick note to say that your stove rocks. I discovered it while researching a replacement for my old Whisperfight... I'm giddy at boiling 2 cups in a little over four minutes on the Penny. The real test will come on Mt. Whitney in a month . . ."
"Penny Stove on Whitney
I just carried the penny stove on its first trip. It worked great in the cold and high elevation... I've got a little video clip of it boiling at the top, but it wouldn't sent because of the size... Thanks again for a great invention."
Brad Monsma

..."Just back from a very cold 4 days hiking north Shenandoah, snowed last day. First day with a wind chill factor of -9 degrees, temp was 14 degrees. Made and used for the first time a "penny stove" for the trip. Performed like a champ!!! Not affected by wind, or cold. Boiled water in minutes, simmers forever. Never have used alcohol stove before..... I would recommend this stove to anyone, anywhere."
asphalt commando
"I shit you not...I put this thing together starting with two empty cans (did not bother yet making the lid) in less than 30min. Couldn't wait to test it following such an easy assembly. It brought a camp pot with 32oz of cold water to rolling boil in 7 minutes (920' elevation) and had fuel to spare for the simmer with the ring on.
You've created a marvelous little jewel here man. I am very impressed!! I am taking this thing to elevation in the Rockies next summer to give it the major field test. I am sure I will not be disappointed. Kudos!! "
Brian Parks, Madison, WI
"Having constructed and tested nearly every homemade version as described on the alcoholstoves website I was pretty impressed with Mark's claims for his penny regulator version using the Heineken beer cans. Soo...I had to make a couple just to check it out. The results of my comparison tests were pretty amazing! The penny stove burned much more consistently without flameups, it did not need a special primer ring to preheat the fuel, and it actually brought 2C tap water (71F) to boil in 3.5 minutes!!! Starting with 1 oz fuel, I had another 3 minutes of burn time after achieving the boil.
... I timed the boil to where it actually lifted the lid, not to where steam was observed. Also consider that I live in Aurora CO where the elevation is in excess of 5000 ft, therefore the boiling point is somewhat lower... Guess what I did with all my other stove versions! (deep 6)"
Lin McEnerny
"I made a stove based on your instructions and it was the only source of heating water that I took on a 8 day 7 night hike through the Olympic National Park in Washington State.
It worked faster than the white gas stove the other two in my group shared. The weather was cold and wet, but the stove worked flawlessly. Of all the designs out there, the penny alcohol stove is easiest to make, pack and refuel. Best of all, I made it myself and everyone I camp with has been amazed and impressed.
The penny weighs as much as the stove. My views are my own and may not reflect the views of my employer, wife, or my dog. But I do strive to keep all of them happy."
Russ Whitt
"I built the penny stove last summer and used it on a 2.5 month camping trip in Europe. It worked every time, 100% of the time, rain or shine.
I had to write and say thank you for coming up with this elegant design. It is the perfect stove, especially for international use. If it gets confiscated at security, it takes about 30 minutes to make a new one. Fuel can always be found, even 70% isopropanol at drug stores if necessary. Simmers perfectly. Thanks again!
Paul Lapides
... we are farmers in North Sulawesi, want to produce Bioethanol from Arenga Juice (Arenga Pinnata trees, palm family). Therefore we need alcohol stove, which, safe, cheap, eficient, durable, easy to make and has long burning time. After searching an learniing the nets for months, we decided to take your penny stove for our stove. We will sell the stove for household user, its price range usd 0.4-0.6/pcs. The stove will be sold to over 20.000 household in North Sulawesi. We will introduce Bioethanol as alternative fuel because North Sulawesi has over 2 mio Arenga trees and price for kerosene fuel will be higher and higher.
Nocke Sumampouw, Manado-North Sulawesi Indonesia

"My wife and I have been backpacking for approx. 1 year now and as most, we have gotten addicted and into lighter and better. We bought a Snow Peak GigaPower stove and a Vargo Triad titanium alcohol stove. As part of my research into lighter gear, I stumbled across your design and decided to give it a try with both soda cans and the Heiny cans. The Heiny, in my opinion, is far superior (more durable).
Recently, we took a 3 day trip into the Sipsey Wilderness in Northern Alabama. We took along all three stoves to try them out side by side. Your design out performed the others and I have been raving to my friends about it. Thanks a million!"
Milton E. Barker, Jr. a/k/a Caveman, Birmingham, Alabama

"I have actually made a penny stove with my leatherman...
I have a Pocket Rocket and it works well. However, I prefer my home made penny stove. It works just as well, if not better, and is much lighter especially for trips 1 week, or less. I never use my WhisperLite because it is to big, bulky and heavy. The penny stove works great in the winter too."

"I hiked the entire Appalachian Trail last summer using two penny-alcohol stoves. The only reason I used two is because I had a bad boil-over once and gummed up my first one. Due to the light-weight, the small size, the fast boil, and the geek factor, the penny alcohol stove is definitely the best and coolest camping stove ever. Thanks!"
Fred the Red
"The Penny goes a step further and corrects a problem common to alcohol stoves. When alcohol is vaporized too quickly, it escapes through the jets without boiling, lowering fuel efficiency. The Penny uses a novel design to counteract this - a penny covers the fuelling hole and seals the stove until boiling alcohol accumulates excessively. At that point the penny lifts due to the pressure and the gas is released slowly and burnt off, preventing fuel loss. The stove took me a couple hours to make and is constructed of a couple ridged Heineken cans.
I took this stove on my 5 day hike through Northern Japan, and also cooked with it for 3 other days spent at campsites in towns. What a rocket! I started my trip concerned about fuel consumption because I had to boil all of my water to kill a waterborne parasite that is rare but possible in those mountains. The Penny boiled tons of water, and in about half the time -- 4 to 5 minutes -- of other alcohol stoves. ... In any case, highly recommended: it weighs 19g and boils nearly as fast as clunky gas stoves."
"Thanks for coming up with this stove. I think it works really well... I found that by using an 8 oz. Pepsi can as the burner you don't need to crimp it. It slides right in. I just got done with a simmer test and found by using the original simmer ring I was able to simmer hot water for over 56 minutes. I used 1.25 oz. of denatured alcohol. Thanks again,"
Phil Perkins
"... I must say, your penny valve is beyond clever; it is absolutely ingenious! I am amazed everytime I see the hot alcohol draining down beneath the penny. I have no idea how you figured that out. How does it work anyway? Is it because the surface tension drops once the alcohol gets hot?, or is it because of the heat expansion difference in metals? or is there some kind of divine intervention involved? LOL
It is absolutely incredible invention! Incidently, I tested nickels and dimes as well, and your penny valve works best. Thank you!
Don Trapp

"We had a blackout today and I made your stove from Heineken cans. I was able to cook eggs, french toast, & boil water for our coffee press. Needless to say, it has made the day so far quite tolerable...
My wife and kids are duly impressed! Getting ready to attempt grilled cheese sandwiches next. This is the ultimate blackout device. I intend to make a better one when I have power & light again. But really, how cool is this? From $.05 return to heating our coffee & cooking our lunch in maybe 15 minutes of work. Thank you again."

"Your design is elegant indeed! I just used it on two camping/ backpacking trips in Death Valley, CA and the mountains of Pennsylvania. It's performance was excellent, even with 50 mph wind gusts (with windscreen of course)."
Bob McLaren
"Penny stove.2 thumbs up! I made your penny stove. The 1st one worked great!! I hope you patented this. I just cut a pound or so off my pack!! thanks."
"For cooking, I cannot more highly recommend a Penny Stove... I had friends over last night, and we got on the subject of preps. They were "unbelievers" in prepping. I broke out my penny stove and camp pot. Cooked up 2 cups of rice in 20 minutes with 2 tablespoons of Heet (yellow bottle) for fuel..."
Mike S.
"... I think my wife is a little concerned about my sanity, but the design is so fascinating, I can't help myself.
I showed your system to a friend of mine, a 28 year backpacking veteran, and he just about fell out of his chair when he saw the water boil. I had gone to his house to give him my now unused MSR Whisperlite, which he immediately stuck in a corner of his garage in favor of building a penny in my shop next time we get together."
Jeff Mauerman

Stove and photo by Forbes Conrad
(note the center flame from pressure relief penny)
"You are certainly welcome to use the photo on your website. It would be rather an honor, considering that your stove design is by far the best I've found online. I've made close to ten of the stoves, given most away, and used them from southern Mexico to Washington state. Thank you for releasing the design on the 'net!"
Forbes Conrad

"The Penny Stove exceeds my expectations!
Burn time is really what I was looking for, just put the penny in place and fill the top of the burner and your going to have at least 30 minutes of burn time...After the little guy gets hot and starts boiling the fuel it blows the fire out the jets and I mean this guy heats! Like a small blow torch!
Perfect size because it would fit right in your coat pocket if need be! If you enjoy packing...try this stove ...its called the Penny Stove I am sure you already know about it... But it is certainly worth your troubles to make.. They suggest using a Beer can and as I don't drink that often I used coke and pepsi cans... I was really surprised at how easy it is to make."

"When I read the part about using the popular "penny stove" I had to chime in. I found the instructions for building the penny stove on the internet back around Christmas time and decided to build one. The instructions were very clear and the cutting and assembly was
quite easy. I've since taken the penny stove on 2 camping trips and simply love the stove. I've since built a couple more for my daughters and friends.
There are 7 of us going on a 5 day trip to the Grand Canyon and 4 of us are sharing 2 of the penny stoves. Susan - I don't know if you've had a chance to use the simmer ring, but it works great too! It's pretty cool building something that actually works!"
kl7rs, Sun May 8, 2005 4:14 pm, Ultralight Backpacking] Digest Number 379

"I too used to like the beverage can stove, but have become a penny stove convert. It's more effecient and actually easier to build... I think it is a superior solution... I've made all sorts of alky stoves, and like the penny stove best for my purposes...
The SLX or similar denatured alcohol from Home Depot works great for me. I use the stove every day to make my coffee in the kitchen. I like the way my Turkish coffee maker makes coffee with that stove. Better than on the electric range."
Carey Parks

"Hello, I have enjoyed making and using this design of stove. Heineken is definitely best, the premium cans (for burner) are a little different but epoxy glue works fine... Brilliant, as little as 10ml (we are quasi decimal here in UK!) will boil a 300ml mug. My wife thinks I’ve gone nuts staying late out in the garage! But I explain to her you can see the flames…… Ha! No Pacific Crest trail here, just the mountains (hills) of Snowdonia."
Thanks, Chris Harper, Capel Curig, North Wales
"Your Penny Stove has been my favorite of all the stoves I've made, and I was thrilled to be able to use it out on the trail last summer. It really burned well!
By the way, I pulled out the alcohol stove this week to teach my boyfriend how to use it on his trip in the Ventana this weekend, and I just never fail to be amazed by that design. It is really a thing of beauty!!! (and one that I was able to make myself, which is in some ways even more amazing!)"
Debbie Kramer
"While skeptical at first, I love it. It's the easiest and most forgiving to build (but unfortunately requires Heineken instead of beer) and works better than the pepsi can design. I'm experimenting with the homemade alcohol stove genre and am happy to be impressed with your work. Thank you for your efforts. most men I enjoy playing with fire. Guess not much has changed in 60,000 years of evolution."
Chuck Bodner
"I have tried many different types of stoves over the years since I have been backpacking and camping. I have tried just about any type of stove I can think of. My preferred stove is the alcohol stove I made out of Heineken beer cans. It is called a Penny Stove.
I have made several other types of stoves from soda cans and have not been as satisfied as I am with the Penny Stove. The Penny Stove can actually be used as a multi-fuel stove by flipping it over, putting a piece of screen in the bottom and using an esbit, or fire starter.
The stove is very efficient and can easily bring 3 cups of water to a boil fairly quickly. It doesn't require a primer bowl to light it, and is extremely light weight. Can stoves are the lightest weight stoves I have seen. They are much lighter weight than the majority of commercial stoves on the market today.
Though I mostly do boil-in-bag meals, I have tested the simmer ring for the Penny Stove. My impression was that it does exactly as the creator of the stove claims. It takes much longer to burn the same amount of fuel with the simmer ring than without. I was able to easily cook a pot of rice. This was regular rice that takes 20 minutes to cook; not minute rice...."
"I believe there was a noticeable spike in the consumption of Heineken beer the week Mark Jurey announced his penny stove to the lightweight backpacking community. :^) The directions for making the stove are very clear and well done."
Don Ladigin,
"While your stove and backward garden designs might appear "simple", "elegant" seems much more appropriate. The designs only look simple initially; in reality they embody complex design ideas boiled down to simple implementations."
Mark Warren
"I really like your stove design. It heats fast like the pressurized white gas stove, is reasonably efficient like the best of the open alcohol designs and best of all, it looks "cool" with the way the jets shoot the flames out -- like the Viking gas cooktop in my wife's kitchen!"

"First, I'd like to add my complements on Mark J.'s stove: A beautiful, simple, elegant design. Great job, and thanks for sharing with this list!"
"I'm glad your stove is getting the accolades it deserves. It really is a beautiful design... The most surprising result of my testing has been how well the fuel efficiency of alcohol compares to the alternatives -- both the theoretical BTU/oz of the fuels when you consider the container weight, and the performance of actual stoves."
Mike Martin

"the penny stove is awesome"

"I have be able to generate a burn time of 8 minutes with 30 ml fuel. Temperature change of 157 degrees, effenciecy about 60%... The stove gives this result with one of faster burn times, and offers one of the easist consturctions available (Only Altoids/perlite stoves and fuzzy's stove are easier). I am impressed with the stoves overall qualities, easy of constrution and use. I suspect that effeicency of stoves is increased with approppiate windscreens to help retain heat... Nice job on this stove. I will use it."
Mark Redlin

"I have finally cracked the nut on an alcohol stove that I actually like! The penny stove has consistently boiled 24 oz of water on 1 oz of fuel with lots of left over burn using an MSR titan kettle. I have found the 16 oz constraint that most stoves seem to have frustrating to say the least... considering that I'm a bit of a tea addict morning and evening.
What really got me going was that it boiled (and I mean a solid rolling boil with pleny of burn left) 2 full quarts on 2 oz.
Fuel used: 50/50 blend of standard s-l-x denatured and 91% isopropyl alchy. I'm also sold on this blend if for no other reason than you can see the flames.
Water temps +/- 45 degrees.
Air temps - mid50's
I modified the stove by drilling the jets in the center ring of the burner to concentrate the flame under the center of the pot... so far so good...
jack flanagan, Rating: 5/5, Locale: New England,

"1.5 oz Penny Alcohol Stove — MSR, Brunton, Jetboil cower in fear (sort of)
One of the best elements of this penny alcohol stove is that you need to drink beer to make it. Throw in a weight of 1.5oz, a pressure regulator and simmer ring and you have an ultralight stove that makes the leading competitors seem Sumo by comparison. The pressure regulator and simmer ring let you adjust between mad-max-beyond-thunderdome boil and out-of-africa slow burn....
Not sure how durable this sucker is, but at the cost of a couple brews and some tinkering time, I’d say it’s a non-issue. As an additional point of comparison, check out this stove review I did a while back for — it doesn’t include the penny stove, but will give you an idea of how this stove stacks up to some of the competition."

"My favorite homemade stoves because the are easy to make and effective are the Penny Alcohol Stove and the Cat Stove."
Mark Verber's Outdoor Gear recommendations

"This plan is human ingenuity at its very finest. For the cost of a few beers (plus one penny), you can build yourself a camping stove like no other. It's fuel efficient, takes up little space in your backpack, and is about as safe as such an item can be. The author's site has a decent tutorial on how to build this Penny Stove and lots of scientific data to back up the claim that it's the best travel stove for any money. If you've got the time, they've got the plans."
Jules Allen in the St. Ptersburg Times
"I recently had the opportunity to enjoy your wonderful Penny Alcohol Stove site. I built the stove, and it works exactly as described. I have never had an alcohol stove- until recently I had a Seva 123 (how I miss that stove!) but I was thrilled with how well your design works."
R. Mark Adams, Ph.D.
"I use a chimney type charcoal briquette starter for my grill, the one with the newspaper and hassle. I was wondering one day about a better way to light the chimney and saw one of my little stoves and flash! Instead of using paper I use 3 ml denatured alcohol and place the chimney over the stove and there ya go.
I have been using the Svea 123 since they were 20 dollars and now I don’t.
Guy Clarke
Bill Waite System Reviews
"I had the chance to try out your Penny Stove a few minutes ago. I filled a tea pot half full and lit the stove, placing the tea pot on right away. Even though the fuel took some time to get to a boil and kick in the burners, I had boiling water in 6 minutes flat--start to finish. The flame that comes out of this stove is insane. I'm extremely impressed. It's an excellent piece of work and your refinements only serve to make the original design better. Thank you so much."
Steve, Delaware, OH
"I've been packing for over 50 years, and in my plan to get lighter, I decided to try alcohol stoves. Though I was skeptical of their power to cook food. In my search for info, I came across the Zen stove site, and decided to buy your stove.
Flabbergasted is the only word that describes my reaction!!
I brought 24 ozs (over .7 L) of water to boil in 4:00 min, and then with the simmer ring, cooked 1 cup of small elbow pasta to perfection with a total burn time of 15 mins. The cooking was done in an MSR 1.3 ti pot, burning SLX denatured alcohol. Any suggestions on how to mount the simmer ring when the stove is lit?I am now a convert. And with a lighter pack, too."
Michael Allison
"... I ordered some of the Minibull Designs stoves. I picked up the Mini Atomic, the Atomic, the BIOS and I ordered a Goto Stove from Zelph.
Test parameters: No wind/no windscreen, using a Bushbuddy top as a stand (except for the BIOS which is its own stand and the Penny Stove I used its wire stand). 16 ounces of tap water for each boil test. Snow Peak Titanium Multi-Compact pots. HEET fuel.
The Mini-Atomic and Atomic came with instructions to use 1 ounce of fuel. Both petered out before I could reach a full boil of 16 ounces of water. The BIOS called for 1/2 ounce of fuel but again it died out before a full boil could be reached. The Penny Stove took 2 ounces (for a good prime) and boiled 16 ounces of water in 4:40!! I blew out the stove immediately and waited for it to cool. I drained 1 ounce of fuel out of the stove, which means it used 1 ounce of fuel to boil 16 ounces of water in 4 minutes 40 seconds.
The AC Aircraft Penny Stove is still my go to alcohol stove. It whipped the other stoves easily. The only down-side is the wire stand doesn't support smaller pots. I went into this test fully thinking I'd like the Mini Atomic over the penny stove, but the results speak for themselves. Regards,"
Stephen Perry, Delaware, OH
"... I am very impressed, as it worked perfectly. It boiled close to a liter of water in about 6 minutes. As a comparison, I boiled the same amount on an electric range and got a boil at 6 minutes and 30 seconds..!
I just returned from a backpacking trip in a Colorado wilderness area. Since my old trusty Svea 123 had come up missing, I bought an Optimus Nova for this trip. What a disappointment, as it took me about 20 attempts in 45 minutes to get it to light off at about 11,000 ft. elevation. If I had not been in such a dire need for my morning coffee, I would have smashed the damn thing to pieces..."
Bill Pryor, Katy, Texas
"Just e-mailing to let you know that: 1. Methylated Spirits is denatured alcohol, 2. I tried the stove, and, 3. It's amazing.
The concept, the quality, the heat, the boil times. To be honest, when I ordered it, it was for the novelty. I didn't think it would be good enough for the ground. But it is. More than good enough. From a military point of view, the cooker is faster and lighter than solid fuel, you can put it out at any time, and a bullet through a bottle of meths won't blow up a ruck like gas would. All it needed was a nice case to avoid it getting crushed, and voila, the best cooker I have yet used, and I've spent about 500 dollars on different cookers over
the years. Thanks, again,"

Scouting Reviews
"...My fellow scoutmaster and I tinkered for many nights with the penny alcohol stove and wood stove and not only did we have a lot of fun working on the project, but developed some skills we could share with the youth on our troop. I made some modifications to the wood stove and incorporated the use of the penny stove into it as well, then field tested the units at elevations from 7,000 to 14,000+ feet. The penny alcohol stove performed spectacularly on Mt. Whitney, but I tired to use the wood stove as much as possible to conserve the limited amount of fuel I had brought. As it turned out, the penny stove was so efficient that I had about 5 oz. remaining when we finished..."
Mike Lancaster, Aka Mountainman Mike, ASM Troop 354, Clovis, CA

""The stove burns denatured ethyl alcohol, a fuel alcohol which can be purchased locally at Fred Meyer for less than $10 a gallon (it is NOT drinkable). The stove takes 50 milliliters of fuel to operate, which comes to 13 cents for each use of the stove. Grenfell did the math.
"This is safe because the fuel is not explosive," said Grenfell, warming to the subject. Users must still exercise caution because the flame can't be seen in bright light and it will float on water while burning. Never use such a stove indoors or inside a tent.
According to Pantenburg, who's been operating the stove four or five times a day for the past month or so, it boils 16 ounces of water at 3,500 feet elevation in 4.5 minutes. That's at an air temperature of about 50 degrees.
"I was looking for something the Boy Scouts can use that's cheap," said Pantenburg. "I wrung this thing out. We're not talking gourmet cooking, we're talking backpacking ... Ninety percent of the time, you're using a stove to heat water.""
Save a penny, make a stove
By Jim Witty / The (Bend) Bulletin
Published: January 03. 2007 4:00AM PST

"This is all about education. People veto what they do not understand. There are several such things in our troop that have been met with apprehension. Make a couple of penny stoves and bring them to a meeting for a demo. Show the cost difference between the penny stove and the huge Coleman stove. not only in the purchase price but in storage and maintenance as well....
For those of you not working with youth we are kinda on topic as these kids are the ones who will be voting to keep the trails and wilderness open in the future or shutting them down for conversion to new housing subdivisions."
Mark Liechty

"My Scouts all build the penny stoves. The work well and are extreamly light... It took me 20 minutes the first time and I can now make a stove on the fly with little more than a scout knife in 10 minutes. It is also a great way to recycle."
Patrick Caswell, Scoutmaster Troop 13

Comic Relief
"OK, you win (.... Guy at REI said... hey try the stove with the penny thing).
First I found the pepsi stove. I get the feeling the you two guys are having a little.... Competition. So I built his. God what a disaster. My hands still hurt. "just run the blade around the inside 3-6 times". More like 30-60 times. Burn proof tape. Burn Proof Glue. Come-on, I already drank the beer, I can't go out looking for shit. So, I put it together. The only good thing was that the directions for "testing" said "First fill a large pan of water". OH my. And it never went into turbo mode either. Just "spill all over and scare piss out of Jon" mode.
Then I find your design. Other than the fact that your Beer Can of choice holds sucky beer. Well fine. Well, except that I buy 3 cans and get most of one drunk and read the directions more closely (cause how in the hell can a soda can fit).... oh..... a 12 ounce can. I have the 24 ounce cans. Ok, put that aside for tomorrow. I will try a big one. Drive all OVER hillsboro OR. looking for 12 oz. NO SUCH LUCK. But all beer is on sale because it is the day before St. Pats. No good.
So I build your design with Pepsi cans. I even try the FREEZE and BURN trick to change the size of the parts. Goes together like a charm. No problem. Doesn't looks as good as your pictures, but I can fix that when I find the right can. On to testing. OH MY GOD. 8 cups of water. 16 minutes. boils for an additional 3 minutes before 1.5oz fuel runs out. This is what we at MIT (did I mentiont that?) would call a really good hack...."
Jon Powell

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Mark Jurey's Four Season Packing List

An almost complete list of the equipment I've collected over the years

Penny Radiant Trailer Heater
Save your battery and be more comfortable.

My Backward Woodpile
Learning from a master wood splitter.

Stephenson's Warmlite
The best and longest lasting tents ever made - my first is 40 years old.

Zen Alcohol Stoves
Complete list of homemade stove ideas

Anti Gravity
Lots of information - great food & gear
Quality camping gear, outdoor clothing and equipment at cheap online prices

..c studio
Great web design / graphic design services

My Backward Garden
How I learned to live and grow with nature

Parks Whistles
Very cool penny whistles designed for backpacking

The Reading Treehouse
Is someone you know having trouble learning to read?

A. C. Aircraft
Some very cool airplane models made from aluminum cans
Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy develoopes unique wood stoves for developing countries
The earth's first home ethanol production system - "produce where you consume"

Make Your Own Fuel
Get plans to make the famous Robert Warren Still

Making the Penny Wood Alcohol Stove
Based on Ray Garlington's "inverted downdraft gasifier" research,
it also works as a pot support for the Penny Alcohol stove.


Disclaimer & Warning

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes only.

Neither the webmaster nor anyone else whose information may be included on, or linked to, this web site can attest to or endorse the safety of using any techniques, equipment, supplies or services evaluated or referred to therein. Any endorsement or recommendation is limited solely to the evaluator's opinion about their effectiveness when used for their intended purpose in accordance with safe operating procedures, and if available, in accordance with any instructions provided by the inventor or manufacturer. Some survival and outdoors equipment and supplies are inherently unsafe and can injure, maim or kill even when used appropriately.
Endorsement or recommendation of any equipment, supplies, services or techniques does not constitute a guaranty or warranty the equipment, supplies, services or techniques will function when needed.

In daylight you may not be able to see a flame or hear an audible sound from an alcohol stove.  A windscreen wrapped partially around the stove may aid in seeing a flame more easily.
DO NOT OVERFILL STOVE. A space above the fuel inside stove is necessary for proper operation and overfilled liquid fuel may be ejected instead of alcohol vapor, creating a potentially hazardous fire.
Individuals not trained and experienced in use of tools and techniques mentioned on this page should not attempt creating a stove without supervision by someone with proper experience and training.
Eye protection should be worn whenever flying metal is possible (such as whenever a drill, hammer or knife is used).
Lighting of stoves should be attempted in a area not prone to fire.
Use of gasoline, or any other petroleum products in these stoves may result in severe burns and/or death.

©2004,5,6, 7 mark jurey