In 2003 I began bike-camping. During the winter of 2003/2004 I did a lot of reading on the internet about other people's bike-camping and backpacking adventures. Somewhere along the line I read discussions about homemade alcohol fuel stoves.
The main website I found for homemade alcohol fuel stoves is the Wings website. Looking back, I would have to say that experimenting with building alcohol fuel stoves became my hobby for the winter. I found out that these stoves are sometimes built by Boy Scout troops for their own use. Now I have girls, not boys, and I guess that Girl Scouts do not go camping as often as the boys. Nevertheless, I thought my daughter's troop would enjoy building their own stoves; followed by cooking and eating.
I first posted these pages to the WWW in June, 2004. This Girl Scout project took place in September, 2004. (Click here for my post-project reality comments.) Most of the girls in my daughter's troop are about nine years old and beginning the fourth grade.
This project takes up three 90-minute meetings. The theme is "backpacking" with an emphasis on "cooking".
1st Meeting: backpacking info, tents, demo stove construction, hot chocolate
2nd Meeting: girls rotate through five stations to assemble their stoves, cup-of-soup
3rd Meeting: hike, cook & eat supper
The flame produced by these alcohol-fuel stoves is a bit faint and will be invisible in bright sunlight. You cannot show how these stoves burn if your audience cannot see the flame. I was fortunate in planning this project in regard to the time of year and the time our troop meets. By 7:00PM in the fall the daylight is fading. I also felt it would be safer if the girls could see the flames when they cooked for the first time.
The 2nd meeting (stove-building) could be expanded to two meetings. If you have less equipment per station, the kids will need to take turns and waiting time will extend the process. With an additional "building" meeting, I would add a sixth station and have the kids build the fuel dispensers.
For older scouts, consider having them also do the following work:Downloads
Right click to download:
build the measuring stacks
cut out the pot stand pieces from the roll of hardware cloth
cut out the wind screen pieces from the roll of aluminum flashing
cut out the stove base pieces from the roll of aluminum flashing
build a more sophisticated stove (see Other Stove Projects
or the Wings website)