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Steve Dwyer’s ultra-lightweight stove

Steve Dwyer's lightweight stove in action

Trampers will always be looking for ways to cut the weight of their load, especially for those overnighters where the tent, sleeping bag and food can drag you down.

That’s why Westport-based Steve Dwyer has devised a stove that saves him valuable weight when out on the trail. Rather than using a commercial stove, Steve took a 185g tuna tin with 10mm holes drilled into it, an exhaust guard and two or three firelighters.

The firelighters are placed in the base of the tin with the grill placed on top.

Dwyer says it saves weight and performs pretty well too. “I used to carry a gas cylinder, cooker and billy – it soon adds up especially when I’m also carrying my gun, binoculars and knife – you can get sick of carrying it all if you’re out for a few days.

“This stove takes up no more space in the pack than a tin of tuna. It burns slower than a gas cooker but faster than a meth burner. I use it to boil water which takes 8-10 minutes for two cups.

“On top of the tin I use a piece of exhaust guarding as a stand to keep the pot about 50mm above the fuel.  Any lower and the pot stops the fuels from burning properly. 

“The tuna tin could probably be seen as unnecessary but the fuel seems to burn better on the tin than it does on the  ground, and the tin serves as a handy container to store the exhaust guarding in when travelling.”

Burning the firelighters leaves a little bit of soot residue, which is why Dwyer has recently switched to using hexamine fuel tablets which burn cleaner and throw out a lot more heat. But he admits the device has its limitations.

“I don’t think it would be good for proper cooking because you’d have to keep lifting the pan up and replacing the fuel,” he says. “But it’s perfect for boiling water for a cup of tea or to rehydrate a meal, which is what I use it for. I haven’t tried to cook any sort of meal on it as yet.”