How to make and cook on a buddy burner – Outdoors Kids

How to make and cook on a buddy burner

Cooking outdoors with kids has always been one of my favorite activities. We can’t always have a fire and lugging a Coleman stove can be a lot of extra space and weight on a trip. Buddy burners are simple to make, are lightweight, and get so hot you can boil water.

You need:

  • #10 can (about 120 oz, check with the school’s kitchen)
  • 1 tuna or cat food can
  • 1 slab of Paraffin or other wax
  • 1 long strip of 3″ tall cardboard, rough edge preferred
  • 1 can punch
  • Double boiler
  • Hammer
  • Possibly a large nail

buddy burner equip

Rip the cardboard into a long 3″ tall strip. I used two sides of the box from canned milk. Roll the strip up, place it in the tuna can, and let it unroll.

Melt the wax in a double boiler. Pour it over the cardboard, into the can. The cardboard will absorb some of the wax. Add more wax if the can isn’t at least three-quarters full.

how to make a buddy burner

Poke holes around the outside wall at the bottom end of the #10 can. I space the top holes about 1.5″ apart. The bottom becomes the top.

how to make a buddy burner

Now poke holes about 1″ apart all the way around the new bottom. This allows air flow to keep the fire burning. If the can gives way under the pressure of the can punch, use a hammer and nail. Flatten the sharp edges inside the can with the hammer.

During the first use, light the cardboard and allow the portion that isn’t covered in wax to burn. Place the large can over the small can. This gets hot fast. Place your pan on top of the burner to heat water and cook.

Never leave this unattended. Gauge the use of the buddy burner on the kids’ ability to use it safely. Allow to cool completely before packing to avoid wax spills. Have fun!

Robin Follette

About Robin Follette

Maine Press Association award winner, 2013. Robin's Outdoors, Bangor Daily News, third place in Sports blogs. I grew up with a fishing pole in my hand and have always loved the outdoors. From gardening to hunting and fishing, kayaking, camping, hiking and foraging, most of my time is spent outdoors. I teach outdoor skills as a volunteer instructor for Hooked On Fishing - Not On Drugs and Becoming an Outdoors-Woman. Pro-staff at The Limb Grip. My personal blog is here. I'm currently working on my first book, a collection of short stories based on my outdoors experiences.