Make Your Own Multi-fuel Backpacking Stove

Only 4 days left to register.

Make your own multi-fuel backpacking stove!

Have fun making a lightweight stove that you can use on day hikes and on backpacking trips. Created from metal cans and fasteners, these downdraft stoves efficiently burn wood, liquid fuel (alcohol), and solid fuel tablets. Each participant will be assisted in drilling, cutting, and fastening component parts to make their own stove, plus receive instruction in lighting and tending the stove. Class size is limited. Registration $20, plus $10 for materials to be paid to the instructor. 1 night 6:00-8:30 p.m. Class Tues 10/17 CHRHS Rm 112.- Instructor Tom Jamrog lives in Lincolnville.  Tom has been awarded the Triple Crown of Backpacking for having completed thru-hikes of the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide Trails.

Register here or at Camden Hills Regional High School  at 25 Keelson Drive,  Rockport, ME04856

Email or call  236-7800 ext 3274

5 spaces left for my “Make Your Multifuel Backpacking Stove” workshop

One-night stove building workshop in Camden, Maine, 6-8:30 pm.

screenshot 13Here is a picture of what the stove will look like:
Further details about the stove itself are in this updated blog post from 2012. This post feature a video clip of the stove in action, and illustrates the steps involved in constructing this tidy little unit.

  The evening will include an  introductory talk about some of the science and history of these stoves. You will learn how to get the most efficiency out of the unit.  This double-walled, gassification chamber stove burns denatured alcohol,  solid fuel tablets, and biomass- wood, dried dung, or charcoal.  Because of the hands-on nature of the class it will be limited to 8 people.  Sign up!

Online registration here.

My Keynote address at the Winter Camping Skills Symposium

In October of 2014,  I flew out to Minnesota where I delivered the Saturday night Keynote address at the Annual Winter Camping Symposium.  I just discovered that Four Dog Stove has released a video of my 90 minute presentation.  I have had several folks tell me that they would very much like to have heard my presentation.

Well, here it is.

I thank my good friend and supporter, Don Kivelus, of Four Dog Stove, for spurring me into action when the scheduled speaker, Mors Kochanski, took sick at his home in British Columbia and was unable to fly to the US to speak to the group.  I used Four Dog’s Bushcooker LT multi-fuel titanium backpacking  stove on my 2010 PCT and and 2013 CDT thru hikes.

Many folks don’t know that,  in addition to his sales of  stoves, Don is one of the top mail order suppliers to the bushcraft community world-wide.

Four Dog has also invested in professional Youtube support to bring an array of instructional videos to the pubic. Don’s YouTube page is a storehouse of almost one hundred interesting and informative information to keep you safe and warm in the outdoors.

Contact me at if you would like to have this type of presentation or  workshops at your organization’s event. 



Prepping For My 50 Mile Hike of the Appalachian Trail

I am taking out three clients on a Half The Hundred Mile Wilderness backpacking trip next week through my Uncle Tom’s Guided Adventures business.

Sign at start of the Hundred Mile Wilderness
Sign at start of the Hundred Mile Wilderness

Now is a great time to be doing any business that involves communication. As a starting point, I sent my clients a copy of the excellent book Lighten Up: A Complete Handbook for Light and Ultralight Backpacking. It’s been easy to stay in touch with clients about how they best prepare, train, and consider gear recommendations.  We trade photos and gear talk via texts and e-mail. I will fill in their kits with the additional gear.

For example, I am supplying three different types of air pads that I will encourage them to switch out and try, including two Big Agnes Air Cores, and a Thermarest Neo Air.

I am also providing stoves and cook sets. I have a brand new Bushcooker LT2 multi-fuel unit that two of them will share. This will allow the group to try out cooking with alcohol, solid fuel tablets ( hexamine), and biofuel( wood). There will also be a MSR Pocket Rocket/ isobutane canister stove for comparison.

I had a disappointing experience in my purchase of a two person pot set at LLBean last week. Bean’s is going downhill.  Their book selection is 1/10 of what it used to be, and is leaning toward coffee-table tomes.

A month ago, I was exploring buying an Osprey hydration pack when I asked the salesman about the lower zipped opening.  He informed me that it held a waterproof pack cover, which seemed like a great idea, however when I got it home, it harbored a tool roll, and not a pack cover !

Last week, I told the salesperson that I was a backpacker who was looking for a larger cooking setup to take wilderness backpacking.  He steered me to the GSI Outdoors® Pinnacle Dualist Cook System.  277013_0_42 However, it was out of stock, so he helped me get it sent to my house (with my Maine Guide’s discount) and with free shipping.  So far, real good.  After I opened the box and checked out  the product, I was surprised to see how much plastic and rubber there was in the unit, including the pot and the pot lid.  Thankfully, I  actually read the directions.  I was shocked to learn that the pot and lid , “.. is intended for stove top use only. Not for use with open campfires. Never expose handle to direct flame.”  I like to cook with wood and will also place my cook pots on established campfires or coals,  where flames sometimes creep up the sides of the stove.  There was no way that I was going to keep this backcountry cookpot impostor !   It’s going back.

It was obvious that neither product was actually used by the salespersons, which could be a  dangerous practice for any business, let alone LLBean.

In truth, I might have done better just to strip the label off a 28 ounce can of tomato puree, punch a couple of holes through the top edge, and fashion a bail handle out of a short length of wire, and saved myself a trip down to Freeport to The Flagship Store.

One new product that I will be packing is a foot care item recommended to me by Joe Niemczura, a rural nursing guru who is also a very decent backpacker. Joe was enthusiastic about New-Skin Liquid Bandage, in either paint-on and spray form. According to Joe, it leaves a Krazy Glue-like residue that protects the skin from breakdown. Joe uses it in advance, along with duct tape.

Today, I’m dehydrating the first of my two supper choices. I have a lot of fresh corn right now so Campo Corn Chowder will be one choices. photo 12 My favorite is Smoky Mountain 6 I picked up a 4-tray electric dehydrator a few years ago at a yard sale for $4. The recipes are from Lipsmackin’ Backpackin’ by Tim and Christine Conners.

I am also fine tuning my own fitness for the trip. Last night I pushed out a hard two-hour mountain bike session with The Bubbas in The Woods up and around Ragged Mountain where I was able to ramp up my heart rate and maintain it between 145- 175 beats per minute for over an hour.

This morning I put 20 pounds in my backpack and did close to a 5 mile hike at a pretty good clip, targeting a two run repeat of the steepest hill I can walk to from my house (Moody Mountain).

I like to view my biking and walking results on Strava.  Today’s elevation profile is highly reinforcing !  photo   On the hike next week, I plan to hold the group to a 10 mile a day average, spending 4 nights and 5 days to complete the 50 miles.

Here’s my own packing list for this trip. I have whittled things down to  a 15 pound base weight, meaning what I have on my back, without food or water.   Do check out Lighten Up: A Complete Handbook for Light and Ultralight Backpacking.   That’s how I got lighter.  It’s got a lot of cartoons to get the point across.  It’s less than $7 in Kindle format and retains those great cartoons!

Ibex customer service rules!

Ibex does it right,  again .
Ibex does it right, again .

Men’s woolies tights -replaced, again.

I am hard on gear. I can find a company whose products are robust enough that I don’t break their stuuf, that’s great.

It’s even greater when I do break stuff, and deal with a company that comes through for me.

Ibex is on that short list.
Steripen, Four Dog Stove, and Patagonia are also on that list. [For full disclosure, I have received sponsorship donations from all three companies.] Leki trekking poles are on that list (But only if you stay away from their carbon fiber poles, which are apparently so breakage prone that their warranty is limited to just 1 year. The aluminum pole line is a much better deal, with lifetime replacement on any broken pole sections). Western Mountaineering (superb sleeping bags), and Cascade Designs (thera-rest-sleeping pads) both came through when their products failed on the trail. ULA Packs also backs up the hiker.

These guys are definitely off my list: Mountain Hardware, Arc’teryx .

I don’t think these Ibex tights are going to give me problems. I only use my Ibex tights to sleep in, or wear around camp at the end of a day of backpacking. I like to put a clean layer between my often grimy body and the interior of my down sleeping bag. The old tights were prone to tearing, which happened when I was squeezing into the tights after a shower, more than once. The previous model was ultra-thin, with a light thread weave that’s not used for tights anymore. The new ones look tear proof.

Thanks Ibex, and thanks to all the companies out there that back up the hiker.

My Packing List – 1 Week/ Baxter State Park

Still working on streamlining my current backpacking gear.  My “kit” is now down to 15 pounds without food or water.  Since all but one night will be under shelter ( 3 sided lean-tos ), I will probably ditch my 2 pound tent and be down to 13 pounds.  Comments, suggestions , and questions welcome.

“The more you know, the less you carry”- Mors Kochanski

Uncle Tom’s Final Packing list  (rev. 8.14)

1. Pack Group:
1 Backpack – Granite Gear Leopard AC 58…………………   49 .0 oz =3.06  lbs.

2. Shelter Group:
rain wrap                                                                                          2.4 oz
rain jacket                                                                                        8.0 oz
1 Tarptent -Moment —–                                                            32.0 oz.
Total…………………………………………….                                      42.4  oz  = 2.65 lbs

3. Sleeping Group:
1 down bag, Western Mountaineering/stuff sack, 40°F        26.0 oz.
1 Ibex wool long sleeve zip T                                                       5.8 oz.
1 Ibex long tights                                                                            5.4 oz
1 socks wool                                                                                    2.6 oz.
1 headlamp w/ batteries  ( Princeton Byte)                              2.1 oz.
1 stuff sack sil-nylon………………………                                        1.3 oz.
1  Neo Air  inflatable mattress                                                   13.0
Total……………………………………………                                        56. ounces  = 3.5 lbs.

4.  Spare Clothing :
1 pr. wool socks                                                                              2.9 oz.
1 pr. Manzilla Windstopper gloves                                            2.2 0z.
1 Ibex wool hat                                                                               2.1 oz.
1 pr.  Patagonia mid weight stretch tights                                8.6 oz.
1  wool Patagonia midweight long sleeve hoodie                    9.4 oz.
1 Patagonia Puffball  jacket                                                         11 oz.
1 pr. New Balance Minimus shoes                                               9.0
Total……………………………………………                                       45.0  ounces=  2.8 lbs.

5. Kitchen Group:
1 Steripen  Utra                                                                               4.8 oz.
1  “Four Dog”  Bushcooker LT1 multifuel stove,  titanium
windscreen, titanium cook pot 700 ml w/ lid                         10.0 oz.
2 lighters…………………………………………….                                 1.2 oz.
1 water bottle – used Gatorade bottle…                                       1.7 oz.
1 qt. water bottle ( “Triple Crown Tiki Mon”)                           5.4 oz.
1 Ursak Minor – food bag………….                                                2.7 oz.
abrasive scrub pad, Bronner’s soap                                            1.0 oz.
1 titanium spork……………………………………                               0.3 oz.
1 cup, bowl=Orikaso                                                                      4.2 oz.
1 MSR coffee filter                                                                          0.6 oz.
2 bandannas………………………………………..                               2.0 oz.
1 length cord – 50’……………………………..                                   2.5 oz.
Total………………………………………….                                          36.  ounces     =  2.25  lbs.

6. Hygiene Group:
1 small pack towel……………………………..                                   1.0 oz.
1 bottle hand cleaner                     …………                                   1.3 oz.
1 small zip lock………………………………….                                   1.3 oz
w/ floss, vitamins, ointment, emery boards
1    toilet paper……………………..                                                   1.0 oz.
1 Baby wipes                                                                                    2.0 oz.
1 chap stick                                                                                       0.2 oz.
1 disposable razor                                                                           0.1 oz.
1 small child toothbrush……………………..                                  0.5 oz
1 small tube tooth paste…………………….                                    0.7 oz.
Total……………………………………………..                                       9.4  ounces  =  0.6 lbs

7. Electronics:
1    iPhone with headphones                                                            5.1 oz.
1    Olympus Stylus Tg-830 waterproof digital camera/video  7.1 oz.
1      Anker portable charger for camera, iPhone, Steripen       4.2 oz.
Total……………………………………………..                                          16.4 ounces =   1.0 lb

8. Navigation:
Map, compass                                                                                            3.9 oz.   =    0.2  lb

9. Wearing:
1 cap                        1 pr. On The Beach/ boots
1 pr. sunglasses                1 pr. gaiters
1 pr. Leki poles                1 pr.  socks
1 Ibex wool zip-t        1 pr. synthetic underpants     1 pr. Patagonia shorts

Total packed weight  without food, or water                                   15    pounds

Still Space to Build Your Own Multifuel Backpacking Stove


Class runs one night on Tues, first week in March.  As of today-  4 spaces left.
Make your own multi-fuel backpacking stove! Have fun and learn how to make a lightweight stove that you can use on day hikes and on backpacking trips. Created from metal cans and fasteners, these downdraft stoves are compact and efficiently burn wood, alcohol,  and solid fuel tablets. Each participant will be assisted in drilling, cutting, and fastening component parts to make their own stove, and receive practice in lighting and tending the stove. Class size is limited. Registration $20, plus $10 for materials to be paid to the instructor. 1 night 6:00-8:30 p.m. Class Tues 3/4 CHRHS Rm 112 • 236-7800 ext 274

Click here to learn more about the stove and it’s history.

Tom Jamrog lives in Lincolnville, and has extensive backpacking and stove construction experience.

2013 in review- Thanks to all my readers!

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

I appreciate all the contacts with my readers.  Even though I was not able to blog very often while I was off on my 5 month hike of the Continental Divide Trail, LOTS of people connected with me in 2013.  I pledge to try and bring my readers more interesting stuff .  Stay tuned!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 33,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 12 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.