The 1,200 Rwandan Franc Camping Stove
Bicycle touring in new contexts poses a number of challenges:
- Am I allowed to camp? If so, how does one find an appropriate site?
- Are there any trees around, so I can use a lightweight & comfy hammock tent? Or shall I lug around my 3 lbs. tent?
- Will there be food and water along the way? Or will I need to cook my own food over a campfire or stove?
- How do I get my bike to the start of the trail I’ve picked out – bus or shared taxi?
Unfortunately, I still have yet to answer that last question – no bus or car would accommodate yesterday when I tried to start my Congo Nile Trail adventure. On the plus side, this delay gave me the afternoon to simultaneously prepare for question #3 and knock an item off my bucket list: create a soda can stove.
After a bit of Googling, I settled on this soda can stove design due to ease of construction and the availability of tools. I’d also highly recommend the websites Adventures in Stoving and Zen Stoves, which both a somewhat scary amount of material on DIY stove design and construction. I tweaked my stove using some of the tips from the entry “DIY Alcohol Stove – Basic Design Principles.”
This ought to cost about fifty-cents, but alas bottled Coca Cola is the norm here in Kigali and my cans had to make a long journey from Dubai (via Nakumatt Supermarket). I’ve been burning ethanol, as this is very cheap, relatively clean, and easy to light. I was able to get a good clean fire and bring water to boil in my tin cup in about 5.5 minutes. I am hoping to get about 1.5 hours of fire from each 500mL container of ethanol – not a bad output vs. the weight.
The “tin cup boil test” with my prototype.
Finished product after a bit of tweaking – finally got the side burners working.