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Outdoorsy stuff > DIY wax-powered backpack stove

You’ve followed what's on the Construction and Preparation pages. Now you’re ready to run your stove, perhaps even in subzero windy weather on a super-remote wilderness trek.

Operating this stove means, more or less, lighting a candle and switching on a fan. Strange, yes, for a backpack stove. But the stove will dependably blast away given proper treatment. Follow these instructions to operate the stove in the wilderness and keep it fueled.

1. Select a level place, outdoors, to set and use the stove. A safe location will one be free of dry combustible plant material and fabric.
2. If there is a breeze, turn the stove so the air inlet faces upwind.

Life-or-Death Warnings !

Do not use any stove or flame in a tent or any other enclosed, restricted, or poorly ventilated space. The dangers are many:
• Stoves create carbon monoxide, an odorless, invisible gas that can kill you without warning. It kills 430 people per year on average in the U.S.
• Stove use consumes oxygen.
• Stove flames can light tent fabric, hair, and clothing on fire.
• The wax stove’s fuel, while it's molten, may be actively burning, and if spilled can burn skin and light tent materials and other fabrics on fire. Never tilt the stove while hot.

This stove and portable stoves in general will perform safely.
However, careful operation by competent persons, outdoors only, is critical.

3. Open the flame-control plate.
4. Squirt a small amount of starter fluid down into the stove, particularly near the stoke port.
5. Light the wick using a match or lighter inserted through the stoke port. One of those long-handled lighters with the long wand is quite helpful. The flame may need to be held against the wick for several seconds.
6. Allow a few minutes for the flame to grow around the wick. Cookware may be placed on the stove.
7. Switch on the supercharger, and mate the hole in the supercharger with the stove’s air tube.
8. Place the cap over the stoke port.
9. The flame can be moderated by using the flame control rod to move the control plate variably over the flame focuser. To further moderate the flame, the supercharger may be partly disengaged (and left running) or fully disengaged (and switched off).
10. View through the stoke port to observe the fuel supply within the stove. If additional fuel is needed, sticks of wax may be inserted through the stoke port. The wax pool should always leave about ¼ to ½ inch of wick exposed. Replace the cap afterward.


Don’t let the wick go “dry” and burn up. The wick itself is merely cardboard and will burn up and destroy itself if there isn’t some wax to burn. Maintain at least ½ inch of wax in the stove.

11. To extinguish the stove,

  • Pivot the control plate over the top of the flame focuser, and have the cap on the stoke port.

  • Disengage (and switch off) the supercharger, and rest one side of it alongside the air inlet to block air inflow.

12. After use, allow at least 10 to 20 minutes for the stove’s wax to solidify, depending on ambient temperatures, before handling the primary stove unit. Protect the supercharger from rain or overnight dew.

Execute this DIY project and use any resulting product solely at your own risk.


This web page and the information therein have received no input, authorization, or endorsement from,
and the author has never had affiliation with, any mentioned individual, manufacturer, or retailer.

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