Saturday, 12 October 2013

Trash full of Gold

It's been a while since my last post on the blog. Being a young parent and full time worker leads to shortage of time one can spend just for himself. Anway in the past few months I spent few minutes of my real "free" time daily tinkering of how to build simple&free water boiling kit. 

I set myself with few goals:

- FREE and 100% made from used materials = trash only or project upcycle,
- enough for my summer or day hiking needs = FBC & one cup tea,
- compact = all MUST fit inside the boiling pot,
- simple&no frills to use,
- efficient&cheap to run = alcohol type fuel, 
- and as light as possible = sub 50g.

Why trash? People are using waste materials for decades. So all this recycle or upcycle hype ain't that new after all. Right? As a kid I remember watching "gypsies" collecting all sorts of waste from our local scrap heap. They must be mad I said but actually they were smart turning trash to gold! So why not seek and find all the components from the bin?

One cup only? I think in heat of the summer when we need more refreshing cold water&drink, boiling kit that boils one cup (250ml) suffices easily for FBC style food or for
few sips of fresh tea brew in the morning to get the body going.  

Compact? All must fit inside the boiling pot and stay in there. That way I know exactly where all the "cooking" related items are. Inside the boiling pot!

Simple&no frills? Easy does it. Easy to make, easy to use!     

Efficient & cheap to run? Wood is free I know but rather slow and it takes time to prep before use. I think denaturated alcohol is always available and cheap enough even for the biggest cheapskate. From one liter (~5 EUR/liter) you get ~ 100x one cup boils. 

Light as possible? Following threads at BPL discussing SUL, XUL (or whatever _UL) cooking kits made me set the limit. I know you can buy kits as light like that, so the challange to build one was even greater. Beside it's always good to set a challange, work on it and once it's done try to improve it. 

So after I did thorough research on used materials I can easily pick up at various sources (yes even trash bin) I made the following sub 50g kit.

Weight&materials brake down is:

- Pot ~ 16.5g = empty aluminium tuna salad can,
- pot lid ~ 2g = aluminium, cut from used beer can + lenght of dyeema cord,
- wire bail ~ 1g = stainless steel, made from welding wire (TIG, MIG technique I am not sure about that), strong enough to safe&easy remove the pot off stove,
- pot stand ~ 6,5g = tripod, stainless steel welding wire left overs, 
- stove ~ 6g = used deodorant aluminium bottle (I have made few from aluminium bottle caps sourced on empty olive oil bottle) cut to volume, I added stonewool found at local construction site to hold the alcohol and covered it with tinny stainless steel mesh cut from used splatter screen,
- heat reflecting disc ~ 0,5g (actually my scale doesn't record it, but it must weigh something) = aluminium, cut from used beer can,
- windscreen ~ 7,5g = aluminium, cut from used beer can, single holepunch used to add a line of wenting holes,
- "cook kit" lid ~ 8g = to cover all up into nice and compact storage, PE lid sourced from empty cheese container.

I need to add tinny alcohol container to the above. 

The silicone wrist band above was later replaced with more finger friendly wire bail!


I used it on several occasions since I've made it and it's great. Nice&compact + light enough for me. I see no reason not to take it even on a short hike. You never know when you fancy a nice warm cup of tea or soup. The alcohol stove can be replaced with DIY version of Brian Green Esbit stove to cut some more weight, but the pot stand should be made a bit higher. 

It's so easy to make one so I encourage you to look around as there's plenty usefull trash lying around. Trash full of Gold!


  1. Velimir, that´s a great project, must be very rewarding to see the fruits of your labour. I like how compact it is. Hope you´re ok and have nice outdoor experiences.

  2. Thanks Thomas,
    yeah it was fun project not just making it but going through process of gathering
    all suitable materials. There's so much stuff that can be renewed if you look close
    enough..I encourage you to try it out as a keen MYOGer.