Windscreens are an important part of your alcohol stove camp kitchen. When you set one up properly, it will make up for its added weight by reducing your fuel use. A windscreen increases your stove’s efficiency in two ways. First, it stops the wind from shifting the flame and heat of your stove away from your pot or extinguishing the flame completely. Second, it reflects the heat back towards the pot, minimizing heat loss to the surrounding air.
There are plenty of good windscreens available to buy, but they can be expensive and heavy. With just a little work and a few household items, you can put together an ultralight light windscreen that weighs under 2 ounces for less than $1.00.
Build Your Own Ultralight Windscreen
You will need:
- Disposable aluminum baking dish- 13” x 9” is a good size
- Paper clips- small binder clips work best, but wire paperclips will work
- Utility knife or heavy duty scissors
To make the windscreen:
- Cut the sides away from the bottom of the baking dish. Flatten the bottom as much as possible.
- Decide how tall your windscreen needs to be. It should at least cover the bottom inch or so of your pot, though further up the pot is better. Cut the flattened sheet to that width.
- Cut out ventilation holes. These should be cut every 2-3 inches around the bottom of your windscreen.
- Smooth the edges. You don’t need to risk cutting yourself every time you want to heat up some water!
If you cut the windscreen a bit bigger than needed, you can fold down the edges about a quarter inch. That will give a smoother edge to protect your fingers, and will make the windscreen more sturdy.
Using and Packing Your Windscreen
Using your DIY camp stove windscreen is simple. Just set it up around your alcohol stove and use the paperclip or binder clip to secure it. Make sure to leave about a quarter inch of space between the windscreen and the pot. That space keeps the stove flame from being smothered and directs the heat up around your pot.
Once it is time to pack away your camp kitchen, you only need to roll up the windscreen, being careful not to crease it. Use the clip to secure it in its roll. It could also be wrapped around the outside of your cooking pot to help save space.
Don’t use this windscreen with canister stoves. The windscreen will trap too much heat around the canister and may cause it to explode.