How To Make Heat In A Can For Hunting or Survival

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This is a great way to make heat in a can for hunting or survival. My awesome friends, Wally and Danielle, knew I would LOVE this idea! Wally and Danielle are avid hunters and preserve the meat acquired through the hunt. They know how to cook any game meat so many different ways. They are amazing hunters. I wrote this article several years ago, but deer hunting season is coming up and if you know a game hunter, please pass this information on to them.

They wanted to show me what they use when they go hunting to keep their hands warm. They said the hand warmers do not compare to how great this little heat can works. I picked up a few quart-size empty paint cans with lids and went to work making some heat cans.

All you need is 70-90% rubbing alcohol and a roll of toilet paper. Add some matches and we are good to go! Please note, I will not add the alcohol until I intend to use the can immediately. In other words, do not store these cans with alcohol, they may become combustible, under certain conditions.

The only supplies you need are toilet paper rolls, one-quart paint cans, come 70-90%  rubbing alcohol and a match. You can buy these cans at your local paint store pretty cheap, or order them online: Empty Quart Paint Cans with Lids (2 Pack) High-Quality Empty Paint Cans Value Pack.

Make sure you get the paint cans with lids because that’s how you extinguish the flame. We know you are storing and toilet paper so that’s an easy one: Georgia-Pacific Envision 19880/01 White 2-Ply Embossed Bathroom Tissue, 4.05″ Length x 4″ Width (Case of 80 Rolls)

Heat For Approximately Eight Hours:

One quart with a roll of toilet paper (remove the inner cardboard) will burn for approximately eight hours, depending on the size of the toilet paper roll. Yes, eight hours!

heat

Heat In A Can Ingredients:

Here are the ingredients needed to make your emergency heat in a can. A bottle of 70-90% rubbing alcohol, a paint can with a lid, a roll of toilet paper and a can opener. Warner 10000 Paint Can and Bottle Opener (2 Pack)

You just roll the toilet paper roll between your hand and the cardboard center can easily be removed. You could tape a package of waterproof matches to the lid and you are good to go. Coghlan’s 940BP Waterproof Matches – 4 Pack

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Here we placed the toilet paper roll which fits perfectly in the quart can, by the way. We added enough of the alcohol to saturate the toilet paper.

heat

Use The Lid To Extinguish The Flame

You can use the lid to safely extinguish the flame when you are done and then reuse the can later by adding more toilet paper and alcohol. This would be a great item for a car emergency kit, but I would not recommend using it in the car because of carbon monoxide issues and other safety concerns.

If we were stranded and had limited gas in the car to keep the car warm, this would be great to at least keep our hands warm outside the car until help arrived.

Comments from readers:

Ranger Rick:

I teach this in my Survival / Emergency Preparedness classes and they work great. I also have added a 1-gallon paint can, everything stores inside of the 1 gallon can nicely. I take a can opener/church key and poke some holes in the side and bottom of the 1 gallon can for heat and air to circulate and you have a great little stove. Make sure the holes on the side of the 1 gallon can are near the bottom of the can.
Great info Linda. I have made these up and passed out for Gifts. These will keep you alive if you get stuck in the backcountry in cold weather.

15 thoughts on “How To Make Heat In A Can For Hunting or Survival

  • August 3, 2016 at 8:57 am
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    Oh my! This is great! I just got back from our camping vacation and we could have used this idea. I even have a half dozen new unused quart sized paint cans sitting around that were left over from my daughter’s art project. We got them at Home Depot and they weren’t expensive, so I didn’t take them back. I was thinking they’d make good storage for something. So I have everything to make them. Oh I wish we had a couple of these when we went camping this summer when we were away from base camp. EZ open, light it, and dinner is cooked, even if it rained. I think I’ll look into making a suitable packable grill
    that will fit over one of these that will allow headspace for air when you sit a pot on it.

    I can’t get over how brilliant this is!

    Reply
    • August 3, 2016 at 6:47 pm
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      HI Debbie, you are so right paint cans are great to store stuff! I love the idea about a small packable grill! We can always improvise, right!?! You rock, Linda

      Reply
  • August 3, 2016 at 4:34 pm
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    I teach this in my Survival / Emergency Preparedness classes and they work great. I also have added a 1 gallon paint can, everything stores inside of the 1 gallon can nicely. I take a can opener / church key and poke some holes in the side and bottom of the 1 gallon can for heat and air to circulate and you have a great little stove. Make sure the holes on the side of the 1 gallon can are near the bottom of the can.
    Great info Linda.

    I have made these up and passed out for Gifts. These will keep you alive in you get stuck in the back country in cold weather.

    Reply
    • August 3, 2016 at 6:55 pm
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      Hi Ranger Rick, I have got to add this to my post, this is a great idea! Thanks as always! The gift idea rocks! Thanks for your awesome ideas! Linda

      Reply
  • August 3, 2016 at 10:04 pm
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    You are most welcome Linda,
    Ranger Rick
    North Idaho

    Reply
  • August 4, 2016 at 8:13 pm
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    If needed would this work in a say big room in a house if the electricity goes out. And you have no other way of cooking or heating your house for days?

    Reply
    • August 5, 2016 at 12:03 pm
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      Hi Laurel, I would not recommend that because of the carbon monoxide issues. The heat in a can is only for outside to warm your hands in the woods or away from your car. Thanks for asking about that! We need to layer up in clothes and sleeping bags and close off a room if we lose electricity. I interviewed my niece after Hurricane Sandy hit her community and heat was the biggest issue for everyone. Fireplaces are not the best because you need so much fuel to heat a large room but it’s better than nothing. She talked about her friends vaulted ceilings and all the heat that was lost…she now has a wood burning stove and LOTS of wood ready for the next disaster. Thanks for stopping by, Linda

      Reply
    • March 7, 2019 at 7:37 am
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      Yes. I have a very large space with very high ceilings and have used two of the cans to heat when power was out one on each end of the space. It was wonderful and warm as these cans put out a lot of heat. Alcohol does not give off the toxic fumes that propane emits. However, fire does need oxygen so if you use it in a small room it will eventually suck out the oxygen. Just make sure there is a little air coming in. If it is really cold out, just open the door for a few seconds. That is important. Change the air every hour or so. By the way, I have Asthma and COPD and had no problem using this stove. I use the 70% alcohol. If you are worried, get yourself a carbon monoxide detector. If you have children and pets, keep this safely away from any area they can get to.
      Thank you Linda for the Gallon can stove idea. Be warm everyone.

      Reply
      • March 7, 2019 at 8:17 am
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        Hi Diane, great tips on using the heat in a can! Stay safe and warm! Linda

        Reply
  • May 4, 2017 at 8:06 pm
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    this is great! only thing that just crossed my mind is… do I really want to sacrifice a roll of TP. 🙂

    Reply
    • May 5, 2017 at 8:47 am
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      Hi, Julia, LOL! I love your comment about the roll of toilet paper, I can never have too much stored! I have made family cloths out of flannel, it I EVER need them. Linda

      Reply
  • October 25, 2018 at 11:20 am
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    There is another version of this meant as a small heat or light source. You take a small can (Tomato sauce or canned meats such as chicken or tuna) and then you tightly roll a long strip of cardboard and insert that roll into the can. Then you pour melted wax over the cardboard. You insert several wicks into the wax covered and it’s finished.

    Another thing one can do is to insert a wick into a full can of Crisco and you have a fat burning candle.

    Reply
    • October 26, 2018 at 6:29 am
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      Hi Frank, these are awesome ideas. I have seen the Crisco can but not the smaller cans. I’m going to make some of those! Great comment! Linda

      Reply
  • March 7, 2019 at 8:59 am
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    I forgot to mention that I used the absolute cheapest rolls of toilet paper I could find. They were small enough to fit in the can tightly. Also, I found my new quart cans at Ace Hardware since this is a small town and very little places to get things.
    Be warm, stay healthy.

    Reply
    • March 7, 2019 at 11:27 am
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      Hi Diane, I use the cheapest toilet paper for those cans as well. I LOVE Ace Hardware, great comment! Linda

      Reply

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