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Buddy Burner

Are you comfortable cooking on a camp stove? Try this style of camp stove and see if you have what it takes to make your own stove!

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  • What supplies will you need for this adventure?
  • Will you make a buddy burner per person, pair or small team?
  • What will you cook on your buddy burner?


Making your buddy burner:

  • Carefully cut a door along the bottom (open end) of the larger can. This should be slightly bigger than the tuna can.
  • Use a can opener to make vent holes around the top (closed end) of the large can. You should make 8-10 holes.
  • Cut the cardboard into strips (cut at a right angle to the ridges of the cardboard) that are as wide as the tuna can is deep and spiral them into your tuna can. If you want to add wicks for easier lighting, insert one into the centre of the spiral and 1-2 others between the coils.
  • Carefully fill the tuna can with your melted wax. Allow it to soak into the spaces between the cardboard.
  • After the wax has set, you can store your buddy burner until you are ready to use it.


Cooking on your buddy burner:

  • This stove can only be used outside and must be used on a heat resistant surface (e.g., no wooden or plastic tables!) as it will get very hot.
  • Light the wick or the cardboard, depending on how you designed your stove.
  • Once the cardboard and wax have caught, place the larger can upside down over the small tin, so that the flat bottom of the tin can be used as a cooking surface. You can also cook in a clean tuna can or even a small frying pan!
  • You can cook directly on the can but use lots of oil to prevent your food from sticking.
  • To extinguish your fire: using tongs or oven mitts, you can flip the larger can upside down and use the solid surface to smother the flames. Do not use water to extinguish your stove!
  • Once your stove is fully extinguished, leave it to cool. You can reuse the large can after cleaning it and reuse the smaller can by adding more wax.


  • Were you able to cook something on your stove? Why or why not?
  • What was the most challenging part of this adventure? Did you expect that part to be challenging?
  • What would you do differently next time?
  • How did you work as a team to succeed?


  • 1 large, empty tin (large coffee cans work well)
  • 1 empty tuna can
  • Cardboard
  • Can opener
  • Tin snips or other metal cutter
  • Wax
  • Old pot to melt the wax
  • Stove to melt wax on
  • Long wicks (optional)

Keep it Simple

  • Work in small teams and have an adult or older youth assigned to each team to help with some of the trickier parts, like cutting the can and pouring the wax.

Take it Further

  • Challenge your team to cook a whole meal on your stove – don’t forget about dessert!