How to Make a Stove Heat Exchanger for Backpacking

by Matt Milano Google
A heat exchanger can increase the efficiency of a canister stove.

A heat exchanger can increase the efficiency of a canister stove.

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Heat exchangers are designed to maximize the heat transfer from one fluid or surface to another. In many applications, the fluid being heated is kept separated from the heat source by a heat-conducting barrier. A canister stove is a lightweight and effective stove used for backpacking. The basic design is a pot-holding burner with a valve connected to a canister of fuel. In cold weather, however, the stove's efficiency can dramatically decrease as the canister cools as a result of combustion. A simple, homemade heat exchanger is easy to construct and can increase the efficiency of a backpacking stove by keeping the canister warm.

Items you will need

  • Hammer
  • 1/8-inch copper wire
  • Foil-lined, closed-cell foam
  • Canister camping stove
Step 1

Flatten 1/8-inch copper wire using a hammer. The wire should be long enough to wrap around the fuel canister once, with the ends still reaching the flame.

Step 2

Wrap the wire in foil-lined, closed-cell foam. Leave an inch or two exposed at both ends. This will minimize the risk of burns from contacting exposed, heated wire.

Step 3

Wrap the canister with foil-lined, closed-cell foam. The foam will serve as an insulator and reduce heat loss.

Step 4

Wrap the insulated wire around the canister once. The wire can be wrapped around the bottom or middle of the container.

Step 5

Place the exposed ends of the wire directly in the stove's flame. Because copper is an excellent heat conductor, heat will travel through the wire and help keep the canister warm.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not let the canister overheat. The canister should never be too hot to touch. If it becomes too hot, remove the heat exchanger immediately to eliminate any risk of explosion.

About the Author

Writing professionally since 1999, Matt Milano has authored news articles, marketing and website copy, blogs, press releases and product documentation. He has worked with a wide variety of clients, ranging from small one-man shops to major corporations and universities. An expert speechwriter, Milano has drafted speeches that have been delivered to audiences ranging from 30 to 1,700.

Photo Credits

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