Poor Man's Firebox

Earle A. Jones

Firebox.jpg (6257 bytes)While canoeing in the Adirondacks, I met a young couple who had a miniature version of the environmental firebox made famous by Bill Mason in "Song of the Paddle". Although not quite as sophisticated, I came up with a design as efficient, but made from a container most trippers and backpackers are cursed with: the empty Coleman gas can. First, remove the top with tin shears. Then make a cut down the center of the front face to the bottom. Cut along the bottom seam where it meets with the front and side surfaces only. Do not cut along the back. This will serve as a hinge later. Edges can be sharp so crimp with pliers for safety. Laying it on its back, bend the front flaps upward. Wood is fed in from the front. Place a backpacker's grill on top. It takes mere twigs to cook a meal for 1 or 2 and almost no ash remains. I usually rest it on a rock or the supplied grill at most campsites. If I get a wind shift or decide I don't like the location of the existing fire pit, I simply don my gloves, pick up the fire, and move it. To pack up, fold the sides and bottom in, place the grill on top cinch with a strap, and place everything in a nylon or canvas bag. Total package weighs less than 8 oz. (225 g.) and measures 6"x10"x1.5". I have been using the same one for 4 seasons and it is only now beginning to show signs of wear. Best of all, replacement cost is nil. I have another empty Coleman can waiting. 

Please submit all questions and comments to  eaj@sympatico.ca   

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