Lightweight CanPots

 


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Can-Pots

 

There are many ways to make your own pot.  You can use soup cans, beer cans, ammo cans, metal buckets, or whatever you come across that might work.  Just don't use anything that is galvanized or you might end up with heavy metal poisoning.

 

NOTE:  As a main component of the epoxy lining metal food and beverage is bisphenol-A (BPA).  It is also the main building block of polycarbonate plastic, a hard plastic widely used to make kitchen utensils, food storage containers, travel mugs, and water bottles.  This weak estrogenic compound has been linked to a variety of health problems, such as infertility, prostate cancer, and breast cancer.  It is felt that heat, acid, alcohol, harsh detergents, age, and microwaving can also exacerbate the release of BPA.

 

See Patent Search BPA + Beverage Cans.

 

 

If you want a really lightweight homemade aluminum pot, you have many choices available.  Just about any drink can can be used as a pot with a little modification to the can or by adding an adapter or stand to your stove. 

 

2 Liter Kirin Ichiban and 1 Pint Heineken Keg Cans

 

As far as the Can-Pots made of drink cans go, Heineken keg cans are considerably more rigid than other aluminum drink cans due to their curvy shape and thicker sidewalls.  Also, non-U.S. made cans (European beer and Asian soft drinks) are generally a bit thicker, more durable and often have a wider lid than US made cans.

 

Note: - unfortunately in 2011, Heineken changed their can design and now have a more traditional appearing can.

 

 


Can-Pots

Special note - Aluminum drink and food cans are coated with a transparent layer that will burn off when heated over an open flame, releasing fumes that may irritate sensitive eyes or lungs.  If you are bothered by this, you may want to remove the paint from the outside of your cans with sandpaper, steel wool and/or an SOS pad.  There is also a transparent coating on the inside of cans that may possibly pose some sort of heath risk if the can is used as a pot.  The coating on the inside of cans may be removed with enough effort. 

  

Three types of Can-Pots made from 12oz Heineken cans

 

Type I

Simple

Type II

Inverted

Type III

Hybrid

 

 

 

Pot Weight and Capacity Comparisons

Pots without Lid

oz

g

fl oz

ml

8oz Type I

0.4

10

9

270

8oz Type II

0.4

9

9

270

7oz Sterno with lid removed

0.4

11

12

325

12oz Type I

0.4

12

13

375

12oz Type II

0.4

11

13

375

12oz Heineken Type I

0.5

15

14

380

12oz Heineken Type II

0.5

15

14

380

Trimmed Element Energy Drink

1.7

49

18

500

Untrimmed Element Energy Drink

2.3

65

20

550

Foil Pot

0.5

13

21

610

24oz Heineken Type I

1.0

29

27

775

24oz Heineken Type II

1.0

29

27

775

Foster's Type II

1.0

27

28

820

Tin Can

3.2

92

30

850

Trimmed "Grease Pot"

2.4

67

43

1200

 

 

 

 

 

Antigravity 3 Cup Pot

2.5

71

28.7

850

Snow Peak 600 single walled

2.8

80

21.2

600

Captain Stag

2.5

72

27

700

 

 

 

 

 

Evernew 0.9 Liter

4.93

140

30

900

 

 


Can-Pot Type I - Simple

 

Type I Can-Pots made from US 24oz Beer cans fit very securely on stoves made of 6oz cans and sit ok on ones made of 12oz drink cans.  Large Heineken (24oz) or 25oz Foster's beer cans fit ok on stoves made from 12oz drink cans.  Most all other Can-Pot/stove combinations will need a Can-Pot adapter, stand or special Can-Pot stove

 

Perfect sized lid made from unopened can top

 

A perfect sized lid may be made by using a hand operated rotary can opener to cut the top off of an unopened can as shown above.  If you want a handle for the lid, carefully bend up the pull tab so that you can grab it or slide a stick through it.  Other lids may also be made from foil, oven liners, flashing, cut down bottoms of aluminum cans (i.e. some 7oz cat food cans make perfect fitting lids for large Heineken and Foster's cans), etc.

 

Construction -

If you would like a bigger opening in the top of your pot than the pull-tab hole, use a hand operated rotary can opener to cut out the center of the lid while keeping the top rim intact.

 

Some can openers work better than others.  For best results use half pressure (not enough to puncture the can) for at least one revolution to flatten the lip along the rim of the can.  Continue to go around the lid while slowly tightening your grip on your can opener handle until it starts to cut, then smoothly finish your cut with the minimal pressure needed. 

 

If you don't have a suitable can opener, you can use a knife to score around and around the edge of the inside of your lid, punch it out, and then clean with sandpaper, an SOS pad, etc.  The knife method may leave a small cup at the top that will catch a few drops of water in the can after emptying.  You can also cut your can down to widen the top opening.  This wider opening allows you to store a stove made of smaller cans in your can-pot.  It also saves an insignificant amount of weight and bulk and some hikers are proud of.

 

 


Can-Pot Type II - Inverted

 

A Can-Pot adapter isn't needed for this type of pot and this is probably the most functional type (depending on your needs) of those made of drink cans.

 

Subtle difference between 8oz Red Bull and 6oz V-8 bottoms

Energy Drink cans are ideal for use with Type II and III 12oz and 16oz Can-Pots

 

Can-Pots made from regular US 12oz or 8oz cans (these have a narrow lid diameter compared to cans from other countries) will fit like a glove on a stove made from energy drink cans (i.e. Red Bull), ok on one made of 6oz cans, and somewhat on one made of 12oz cans.

 

A pot lid may be made out of a trimmed down bottom of another can (same or different type), foil, etc.

 

Construction -

An inverted Can-Pot is made by drilling or cutting a hole in the bottom of a full can (to allow it to drain), trimming off the bottom circular ridge, and smoothing with sandpaper, steel wool and/or SOS pads.  You can also trim your pot down if you want a shorter pot.  Note- the bottom of this style pot may eventually leak around the pull-tab after a good deal of repeated abuse (generally only with intentional durability testing).

Cans with larger diameter lids may be set on just about any sized stove.  Try shopping for 12oz drink cans at an international grocery store or go for the big guns and get a 24oz Heineken or 25oz Foster's beer can.

 

 


Can-Pot Type III - Hybrid

A Can-Pot adapter isn't needed for this type of pot.

 

The top part of cans (used as the bottom of a Can-Pot) made from regular US 12oz or 8oz cans will fit like a glove on a stove made from energy drink cans (i.e. Red Bull), ok on one made of 6oz cans, and somewhat on one made of 12oz cans.

 

Perfect sized lid made from unopened can top

 

A perfect sized lid may be made by using a hand operated rotary can opener to cut the top off of an unopened can as show above.  If you want a handle for the lid, carefully bend up the pull tab so that you can grab it or slide a stick through it.  Other lids may also be made from foil, oven liners, flashing, cut down bottoms of aluminum cans (i.e. some 7oz cat food cans make perfect fitting lids for large Heineken and Foster's cans), etc.

 

Construction -

First cut the top half off of an empty can.  You will want to drill a hole in the top if it hasn't already been popped to allow heated air to escape.  If you don't like the idea of inhaling vapors from the burning inner coating of your can, you can sand it off and polish it up with an SOS pad, but note that roughening the inside may make it difficult to side it over another can.

 

Force the bottom of a full can into the top you just trimmed down. 

 

If you would like a bigger opening in the top of your pot than just the pop top hole, use a hand operated rotary can opener to cut out the center of the lid while keeping the top rim intact.

 

Some can openers work better than others.  For best results use half pressure (not enough to puncture the can) for at least one revolution to flatten the lip on itself.  Continue to go around the lid while slowly tightening your grip on your can opener handle until it starts to cut, then smoothly finish your cut with the minimal pressure needed. 

 

If you don't have a suitable can opener, you can use a knife to score around and around edge of the inside of your lid, punch it out, and then clean with sandpaper, an SOS pad, etc.  The knife method may leave a small cup at the top that will catch a few drops of water in the can after pouring.  You can also cut your can down if you like, to allow you to store a stove made of 6oz cans in it or to save an insignificant amount of weight.

 

Note -

After you empty your full can, it will develop a crimp on its sidewall from the pressure of the bottom section.  This is cosmetic only and isn't a functional problem.

 

If you don't like the look of the crimp on your Can-Pot, or feel that it hinders heat transfer or strength, simply heat your empty pot on your alcohol stove (or gas stove) until the colors on the bottom section fade.  Pour some cold water in your pot and carefully pull off the bottom section, which should now be stretched out a bit.  Clean out the inside if desired and carefully force it onto a new full can.  Burnish as needed (with a the bottom of another can or something smooth) to iron out any blemishes.

 

You can cut the top 26mm (1" of balsa blocks) of a regular 12oz drink can and slip it over the bottom of a 12oz Heineken can without crimping it (see image of type III Can-Pot above).

 

 


Can-Pot Type IV - Canned Fuel

A Can-Pot adapter isn't needed for this type of pot.

 

This Can-Pot is made from a large can of gelled alcohol.  A 7oz Sterno can (image above) holds about 11ozs of water.  If you can't find these at the store or don't want to fork out the cash, visit your local buffet or catering business and ask for some empty ones (if you look pitiful enough, you might even get fed).

 

Brand

Size

Dimensions

Material

Sterno

7oz (2 Hour)

3 3/8" x 2 1/2"

Aluminum

Sterno Hot Spot Super Wick 

4 Hour

3 3/8" x 2 1/2"

Aluminum

Sterno Stem Wick    

6 Hour

3 3/8" x 2 1/2"

Aluminum

Eco-Fuel

5 hr. Cooker/10+ hr. Warmer

3 3/8" x 2 3/8"

 

Handy Fuel

8oz 2 Hour

3 1/4" x 2 1/4"

 

Power Heat

2 Hour

3 3/8" x 2 1/4"

Tin

Heat-It

518 - 4 Hour

 

Tin

Heat-It

200 - 2 Hour

 

Tin

Safe Heat (Screw top)

9.3oz 6 Hour

3 1/4" x 2 1/4"

Tin

Safe Heat

4 Hour
traditional wick

 

Tin

Blaze

200 gram

 

Aluminum

Greenheat

350 gram

 

 

Diablo Chafing Fuel Gel

6 Hour

 

 

FancyHeat Chafing Fuel Gel

8oz

 

 

Gold Blaze

8oz

 

 

Dualheat

9.5oz

 

 

Magic Heat

10oz 300mL

 

 

 

Construction -

If you can live with the top as is, remove the label and you're done.  The original top has a tight fitting lid but pours a little odd.

 

If you would like a more traditional pot opening, carefully use a hand operated rotary can opener to cut out the center of the lid while keeping the top rim intact.

 

If you don't have a suitable can opener, it's very easy to use a knife to score around and around edge of the inside of your lid, and punch it out.  Smooth the edge as needed and scrub the insides for good measure. 

 

A lid may be made out of foil, thin aluminum open liners, flashing, etc.

 

Make sure you do a good job of cleaning and washing out this can as it was previously used to store poison.

 

 


Can-Pot Type V - Tin Can

 

A 16oz (1 pound) coffee can holds 2 pints of water (about a liter) and weights 4.4 ounces empty.  That's comparable to many of the liter titanium pots out there.  Steel also conducts heat better than titanium.  It also rusts.

 

 

Tin cans come in many sizes and are very durable.  If you can't find the perfect size, try an international grocery store, local recycling center or cut down a larger can to your desired height.  The Can-Pot above holds a bit over 3 cups of water and weighs 3.2oz.

 

The downside of tin cans is that they will rust over time.  But on the up side, you might also get a little extra iron in your diet.

 

One practice is to bring a favorite canned meal treat for your first day, open the can, eat the contents and then use the empty can as a pot for the rest of your trip.  You'll get both something nice to eat (if you like canned food) on the first day of your trip and a fresh pot each trip.

 

Notable Links:

WWII Improvised Coffee Can Pot

 

 


Can-Pot Type VI - Foil Pot

 

If you can't find the perfect sized pot - make one yourself.  Take a disposable aluminum bake pan and shape it around (or in) something such as a pot, plastic container, CD 50 pack spindle (shown above), etc.  Trim around your new pot and roll over the edge to keep it together. 

 

To keep it looking neat, you make a fold/crease at even intervals (four around then one between each of the first four in the picture above) and fold them all down in one direction (counterclockwise in the example).  When you are done folding, slip it back over (or in) your shaper and rub out any big lumps with something hard and smooth.  If you have two shapers, you might be able to sandwich your Foil Pot to help shape it.

 

People have successfully made square and rectangular shaped pot that are folded like paper Chinese takeout boxes.  These are simple to make and are often used in rectangular solar ovens where they maximize the use of space.

 

If you think folded up foil is too fragile to pack... well, it is for the most part.  To protect it, you may use a lightweight bowl (peanut butter container, disposable food storage bowl, top of that CD spindle, etc) as a pot mold and store your foil pot over or in your bowl.

 

The example above took about 5 minutes to make out of the pan that came with lasagna, weights 0.5 ounces (half as much as an empty 24oz Heineken can) and holds 5 cups (40oz) of water.

 

 

The smaller you make your pot, the more sturdy it will be.  Disposable bake pans also vary in quality, with some thicker, heavier and more durable than others.  The one above is a little over a pint and might be a little more practical for the lightweight trekker.

 

 

Advanced Option - Got a welder?  Make a pot from a roll of aluminum flashing or thin stainless sheet.  Just roll up a length of sheet, weld it together and weld it to a flat round sheet of equal diameter.  If you want it to be a little sturdier, weld (or roll on) a wire or a narrow length of sheet to the lip for rigidity.  Maybe you would like a handle to go with that?

 

 


Can-Pot Type VII - Aluminum Bottle Pot

 

Aluminum bottles are used for beer, drinks, unused aluminum fuel canisters, butane camp fuel, fuel additives, etc.  They are much thicker and sturdier than aluminum drink cans and are very durable.  Element Energy Drink cans are very heavy duty (like a real pot) and hold about 16ozs of water if you cut them down as show below.  They fit on stoves made from 6oz V-8 cans and a bit better on ones made with an 8.3oz energy drink can for the top section (which is almost poetic if it weren't so commercial).

 

 

A tight fitting lid may be made for the bottom of a 3oz cat food can (you might have to work it the first time to get it to stretch).  Since thin stainless steel shim (0.003") won't burn, it makes a great windscreen that is able to be wrapped close around the Can-Pot to help get the most out of your stove.  The stove and windscreen may be stored in the Can-Pot during transport. 

 

These Can-Pots weight about 1.7oz cut down as above and are able to endure rough travels.

 

If you are crafty, you can make a pot stand for you bottle pot and use a topburner stove, empty tealight cup or hexamine to cook with.

 

Use of fuel additive bottles (such as Berryman's) are not advised since they contain very toxic chemicals and possibly lead.  Butane fuel canisters are also not advised since there is great danger in cutting one open.

 

 


Options

 

 


The Wal-Mart Grease Saver

 

Grease Pot

The Infamous "Grease Pot"

 

Not actually designed as a pot, the Wal-Mart Grease Saver is an aluminum grease strainer/collector.  This ultralight hiker's favorite is often referred to as the "Grease Pot," and is one of the lightest and cheapest pots out there.  The outside of the pot is painted black and the word "GREASE" is imprinted on its side.

 

The few drawbacks of this setup include its rolled in lip that may trap food and can't be cleaned (but may be removed with a little grinding or unrolled with a little effort) and its lack of a handle.  It is also on the flimsy side (through more rugged than most of the Can-Pots listed on this page) but holds up well if not stepped on or abused. 

 

"Grease Pot" with rolled rim removed and knob replaced with aluminum thumbscrew

 

Note - This Wal-Mart only item is often difficult to find as it is often displayed with the strainers and kitchen utensils and not amongst Wal-Mart's line of pots and pans. 

 

"Grease Pot" with crimped aluminum flashing lid

 

Info on label:

Use & Care Instruction

Before using for the first time, wash in hot

soapy water and dry.  Don not use steel wool

or coarse scouring pads when cleaning

the exterior surface.

 

1492547

Manufactured by

Mirro Company

Manitowoc, Wisconsin, 54221-1330

Shop at Walmart.com

Made in USA

50033

 

5406984

0 14300 25120 8

Weights:

 

 

Volume: 

 

Price:


Dimensions: 

 

The Stanco Non-Stick Grease Strainer is a very similar grease catcher and have been available at K-mart, E-Bay and Amazon.  These K-mart grease savers have a rolled upper rim which rolls outward and "GREASE" imprinted on the lid instead of the side of the pot.

 

 


Thermos or Metal Water Bottles and Jars

 

Thermos CanPot

 

Thermos type coffee bottles come in all shapes and designs.  They come with a closable and sealable lid so that they double as a canteen or watertight food container.  Likewise, there are many metal water bottle and food jar options these days which can be found in all sizes and colors.

 

Klean Kanteen Pot

 

Single walled Thermos bottles can be used as a CanPot.  They come in both Steel and Aluminum.  Many suitable ones can be found at your local second hand shop.  Klean Kanteen has very nice stainless bottles which many use as water pots and snow metlers.

 

Related Links:

sgtmikessurvivaltips.blogspot  klean-kanteen-consumate-survival-tool

squidoo.com  klean-kanteen-for-boiling-water-and-melting-snow

 

Double walled Thermos bottles can be modified so that they are single walled for lighter weight.  But if you are crafty, you can open up the to bottom outer wall and add ventilation holes up high on the outer wall.  When used with an appropriate stove and stand, you and direct hot gasses between the two walls of your Thermos.  Add a fiberglass or Kevlar wrap around the outer wall, and you can handle your hot pot with bare hands.

 

LunchBots Rounds Pots

 

Food Jars and Boxes can make for great pots and food storage containers.

 

 


Commercial Pots

 

For lightweight commercial pots see the Lightweight Pots page.

 

 


 

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