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(A Lightweight version of the Tuna Can Stove)

Roy L. "TrailDad" Robinson

Cut a 1 x 11 inch piece of the aluminum foil you have already used to build your windscreen, and wrap it around the air jacket of your Cat Stove, covering the air intake holes. Tape the ends together so it forms a simmer ring that will slide up and down over the air jacket to either shut off or expose the air holes (or anything in between). I used metal tape but a staple (punched from the inside, out, to avoid hangups) will also do the job. You want to cut the simmer ring down to where it will just cover the air holes. That way, it won't obstruct air flow when you raise it to let the stove roar. Mine ended up at 7/8 inch in width.

With the air holes closed and 2 tablespoons of fuel, the stove kept a pot of water simmering for 25 minutes (!) before burning out. It acted like a Stearno can, burning the fuel very slowly because it was starved for air. Next, we slid the simmer ring up so the air holes were completely open. Again, 2 tbsp of fuel and a pint of cold tap water in the pot. Light it off, and the water comes to a full, rolling boil in under four minutes. (Ideal conditions, 70 degree evening, no wind.) I then took the pot off, slid the simmer ring down to cover the air holes and returned the pot to the heat. It simmered for another full six minutes (10 minutes, total) on the original 2 tbsp of fuel! BTW, is anyone still unconvinced about the merits of an air jacket to improve the efficiency of an alcohol stove?

With the addition of the simmer ring, your Cat Stove can now be set to burn 2 tbsp of fuel in anywhere from 6 minutes (will normally bring a pint of water to a boil in 4-5 minutes) to 25 minutes (keeping your soup or cocoa hot for as long as you would like.) I tried to weigh the simmer ring to see how much it would add to the total weight of the stove (1.6 oz including stand and windscreen), but it wouldn't move the needle on a scale that weighs to 0.1 oz. You want to heat more water or simmer longer? Put in 3 tbsp of fuel!

If you have questions or suggestions for improving the Cat Stove, please send me a note at: royrobin@aol.com, or write to the address below. Good luck to you on the trail!

Roy L. Robinson
539 Los Ninos Way
Los Altos, CA 94022

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