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Backpacker Magazine – December 1999

Homemade Stove Platforms

Or anything else, for that matter, once you use this easy-to-make stove platform.

by: Paul Cleveland

It was a cold morning in the Cascades, and I'd underestimated the amount of fuel we'd need to melt snow for drinks and meals on our five-day trip. As I stared at the boiling water on the stove, realizing we were about to eat our last hot meal for the next day and a half, the pot toppled. The snow under one leg had melted.

Returning home hungry and mad, I set to work designing a stove platform that would provide a stable base on snow, loose rock, and other unsteady surfaces. With a few household scraps and 20 minutes of labor, I created a lightweight platform that fits most backpacking stoves. Here's how it's done.

Step 1: Find a rust-free lid from an old paint or coffee can, roughly 8 to 10 inches in diameter. Using pliers, fold the lid into a triangle (for three-legged stoves) or a square (for four-legged stoves). Note: If minimizing bulk isn't important to you, skip this step and keep the larger, round platform.

Step 2: Place your stove on the platform, and mark where the legs rest. Drill two small holes at each spot to create attachment points. To reduce the overall weight, drill additional holes into the middle of the platform.

Step 3: Apply a coat of rust-inhibiting paint (e.g. Rustoleum) and allow your platform to dry overnight. Wrap duct tape around the sharp edges of the platform to protect your fingers and your pack.

Step 4: Thread hose clamps or heavy-duty twist ties through the leg holes; use these in camp to secure the stove legs to the platform.


  • Coffee or paint can lid
  • Duct tape
  • Rust-inhibiting paint
  • Plastic hose clamps or twist ties


  • Pliers
  • Drill or metal auger

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Reader Rating: -


Feb 07, 2012

Retired Forest service fire blankets work great as well; good for reflecting heat, light weight and roll up easily.

Dec 18, 2011

On my first ever snow backpacking trip in Yosemite, I ran into this problem. I thought about it for a minute, then realized I could use the removable aluminum stays in my backpack. I took them out, lined them up in parallel with a 2" gap between them (adjust the gap for your stove), and stabilized them with a few strips of duct tape I had wrapped around my water bottle for emergencies. You can set your stove directly on top, or use a plate in between. The aluminum stays convected heat away from the stove so well that the snow remained unmelted directly under the stove. Best of all it adds no weight or volume to your pack!

Mar 14, 2011

If you also have other tools at the ready, like a bastard file or sand paper, you can easily dull up those sharp edges without taping. Finished product would likely be more satisfying, as well. Function is key, but you want it look good too!!!

Mar 10, 2011

how about a disposable pie tin for the smaller canister stoves.

Bill Giles
Mar 10, 2011

Another good choice for a platform is a stainless steel kitchen stove burner cover. They are light, fireproof and don't rust. I have some, but mainly use them to hold wood chips over the burner in my smoker. I also use pizza pans, but more for my dutch oven cooking than back packing.

Dec 02, 2010

Our scout troop has made many of these platforms from old license plates. Ridgitiy is very favorable. same steps as above. Haven't lost a pot yet.

Dec 02, 2010

How about using an old license plate? They're light weight, tough and are easily packed. As a bonus, one can use it as a reflective signal in an emergency.

Mike Spalding
Apr 01, 2010

Augment any of the above ideas with a 12" disc cut from your closed cell sleeping pad. Stoves work better in cold weather when they're not losing heat through the bottom. Bonus: The snow under the stove won't melt allowing your stove to settle and tip.

John Hanck
Mar 14, 2010

My brother and I carry a frisbee for this purpose.

Geoff Moore
Feb 23, 2010

Or, use a disposable 12" aluminum pizza pan, available from any grocery store in packs of three. Fold into two or four for transportation, unfold flatten and place stove in middle for use. You'll get at least 6 trips out of it - enough for anyone in the New Hampshire winters.

Trevor Banner
Mar 22, 2009

Or, the next time you're at the hardware store or car parts store, pick up a small roll (some places will have sheets) of non-asbestos gasket material for a couple of bucks and just cut a circle, square, whatever tickles your fancy, from it. It's flexible, will fit inside anything will weigh no more than the metal lid covered with duct tape and has no sharp edges to become a health and safety concern. I use mine to protect the inside of the bottom of my non-stick pot from the edges of the fuel can that I stuff in there. It works equally well in snow, duff, sand, rock, whatever.


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