DIY Wood Gas Backpacking Stove

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Home Preppers DIY DIY Wood Gas Backpacking Stove
Published on July 2, 2016

A constant pursuit in backpacking is finding ways to lighten your load. One way you can do this is by getting your cooking fuel from nature as opposed to carrying it in all the time. In this video I demonstrate how to make a lightweight wood gas backpacking stove. This design has been around for a while and is constructed in such a way that causes the wood to reach a state of secondary combustion whereby the smoke / wood-gas is burned up due to the super-heated air flowing through the walls of the stove. This completely burns up the wood into a fine white ash afterward. It is incredibly efficient, puts out a lot of heat, puts out very little smoke, and saves you from having to carry liquid fuel in your pack.

One of the coolest things about this type of stove is that it takes very little fuel to boil 2 cups of water. And all of this fuel can be picked up right off the ground so long as the fuel is dry.

For an awesome written tutorial on how all this works and is put together, head on over to

If this is your first time with us, my name is Dave, and David’s Passage is the name of my vlog. This passage in life started with a desire to share my love of the outdoors with the world. My hope is that those who tune into my videos will be inspired to venture out and enjoy all of creation for what it’s worth. This video blog features videos on an array of outdoor-related topics, as well as DIY projects that might just help you more fully enjoy the outdoors. New videos come out on Tuesdays at 3pm EST, so please subscribe and be on the lookout for new content soon!

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See you outdoors!

Intro music for this video was written and recorded by myself.

Other music in this video came from the YouTube Creator Studio.


  1. B Mart.

    The cadmium in the galvanization when in fumes causes fever-like symptoms IIRC. I've welded on galvanized (no choice) before and got really sick. It sucks and I don't recommend it.

  2. umvhu

    Shouldn't have cut off the bottom of the inner can, just put some small holes in it. This will give better air flow control, make the fire hotter but burn more slowly. So, packed tight with sticks and lit from the top it will produce good heat for about an hour before needing more fuel. The flame should be blue, not yellow.

  3. You are supposed to light the wood from the top! It burns from the top down! That is why your wood burns too fast.

  4. Are you Michael Douglas? because you sure sound like him.
    You did a verry nice job on this one,
    keep up the good work!

  5. Nifty. just make sure the fire is out before you put it in your backpack. lol.

  6. You spent $3.00 on the paint can then missed the neat trick of fitting the soup can into the paint can's top rim !! You built it "upsidown" basically.

    Your "tuna can" pot-stand needs bigger holes, but you got a great tutorial here !

  7. Aren't your flanges blocking the holes on the inside can?

  8. Would a left or right hand pair of aircraft snips work fine for cutting as opposed to a dremel? I like my dremel, but I am not as handy using a cutoff tool as I am with the snips, haha.

  9. Definitely one of the cleaner, more finished wood gas stove builds I've seen on YouTube… Good Job!

    I have to agree with what +Heath Putnam suggested.  As far as having to "babysit wood gas stoves" go, one's 'babysitting-high-maintenance' fate is sealed by the initial chosen fuel loading technique; it's either the (1) 'batch-load / top-lit' method (as Heath recommended — I agree) or the (2) 'bottom-lit / then-load' method.

    The method shown was somewhat 'unique' in that you sorta-kinda 'batch-loaded,' but seemingly placed ~10% tinder at the bottom 1st, ~60% kindling in the middle 2nd, ~30% large wood at the top 3rd, then you 'bottom-lit' your stove.  I have to say I've never seen this method, but as the video has shown the result was still as I would have predicted — quick fire, short actual flame/burn time; and as you found, one is forced into "babysitting" a wood gas stove — true, if this method is chosen.

    By 'bottom-lit/then-load' loading, you're not only wasting the volume of available fuel space within the burn chamber by LOOSELY loading it from the bottom with tinder 1st, then kindling, and lastly large wood, but you're also delaying the 'heat cap' generation which is key to the pyrolytic/gasification process: quicker gasification = faster optimal operating temperatures = quicker boiling & LONGER cooking times.

    By design, wood gas stoves burn from the top via the secondary-air holes which is key to generate the necessary 'heat-cap' to trap the created wood gases, and as a result beginning the perpetuating cycle of the pyrolytic/gasification process.  This is why wood gas stoves are also known by the acronym, TLUD – 'Top Lit Up-Draft' stoves; their design intent is to burn from the TOP down, not from the 'bottom' up.

    Consider the 'batch-load/top-lit' method (note wood density % pattern): load ~70% large processed wood 1st (stacked vertically, like straws in a restaurant container), then ~25% smaller wood/kindling 2nd (scatter horizontally, non-patterned), and last ~5% tinder/accelerant (spread completely across top); be sure to keep your fuel load stack-height BELOW the secondary-air holes at the top rim of the stove.  Light it & leave it alone… If your stove is designed correctly, you should not have to add any wood for at least ~20+ minutes.

    Long story short, there really is no need to sit there and "babysit" a wood gas stove — I say this is a positive.

  10. Saw a guy use wood pellets (for cats) in his stove, burned for an hour and a half with 1lb of pellets and had  boil in 5'. Wanna try them and let us know how it burns in your stove?

  11. This is really cool! Now I want to make one. Thanks for making this video!  Awesome.

  12. Great tutorial! Have you tried to load the stove up, pretty tightly packed, then light from the top? That may give you less smoke and more heat:) Keep up the good work!

  13. if you throw one of these soup cans in a campfire, after a couple of hours it will degrade and break down. How long will it last as a fire stove?

  14. I think you will find that if you had made your gas holes inside a lot smaller you would have got a better burn, just my opinion!!

  15. Nicest vid I've seen on a small gasification stove.  Thanks!

  16. Subbed, good vids man! I'm going to make this one using your tutorial 🙂 Beautifully done!! 

  17. have you tryed useing bbq charcoal  in this stove

  18. fervens

    If you drill holes in the bottom of the inner can instead of using the cloth, you can control how much oxygen gets to the fire. This will help control how fast of a burn you have. Also, it looks like the tabs from the outer can are blocking the holes at the top of the inner can. Very nicely don all around though. Great vid!

  19. Would it be possible for you to give me a shout out to help me get my new camping channel started. 
    Thank You,

  20. an alternative to the possibly galvanised net, is to buy a cheap "splash guard" for frying pans, fine mesh stainless net in those.. great work on the stove btw

  21. Erik K.

    Glad you are doing some more videos again.  I really enjoy your channel.

  22. One of the better gassifiers I have seen. Nice work and very clear tutorial. Thank you.

  23. Another great video David, thanks for sharing…..

  24. David, very good DIY project! You do a great job demonstrating how to build the stove. I am wondering if a small battery powered fan could force more air into an air hole on the bottom to increase the burn. I must give it a try.

  25. Nice spin on the wood gas stove! remember that different types of wood will be better than others. I know a few guys that will carry a brickett or 2 just for giggles…LOL  great tutorial David!

  26. Great video Dave. Welcome back, have not seen your videos in awhile. Check out my last video, i video our float on the Dowagiac river.

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