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The Pie Tin Stove-Stand Snow Melting Hack

A pie tin makes a great winter stove stand

When you melt snow for drinking water in winter, your stove, if you use a liquid fuel (white gas) stove or an inverted canister stove, is going to get red hot and start to melt the snow it’s sitting on. Melting a few liters of snow for drinking and cooking water is a time-consuming process and your stove is going to be running continuously for much longer than it would in warmer weather.

One of two things can happen at that point. Either the surrounding snowmelt will drown out your stove or the stove will tip over when the snow supporting it melts, spilling the contents of your cookpot all over the place and wasting the fuel you’ve already burned through.

But there’s a simple ultralight hack you can use to prevent this, which is to use an aluminum pie tin as a stove stand. If any of the snow under the pie tin melts, the tin will float on top of it and the tin’s sidewalls will prevent the stove from getting drowned out. This pie tin hack is compatible with any kind of stove and if the tin gets a little bent up in packing, it’s easy to bend it back into shape. I just pack my pie tin at the bottom of my backpack and pile my gear on top of it.

This hack works marvelously well, it’s inexpensive and extremely lightweight. So if you’ve been struggling to find a good stove stand for winter camping or backpacking, give an aluminum pie tin a try.

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  1. for winter stove use i carry an appropriate sized piece of closed cell foam to sit the stove upon.

    • If you use a white gas or an inverted canister stove (both which burn liquid fuel) that sounds like a good way to melt or burn the pad. Just saying. Has that been your experience?

      • no that was never an issue, though that could have been because the pad used was an old bit of Ensolite that was kicking around from times gone by.

      • no, that was never an issue, though that might be because the pad used was an old piece of Ensolite that had been kicking around from a bygone time. also careful stove use probably played a part.

  2. I have wrestled with this exact issue! What a brilliant hack!

  3. Any reason you moved away from using Reflectix for your stove base? I have a pie tin for use with my MSR in snow. Thought about taping Reflectix to bottom of pie tin to reduce melting snow underneath, but haven’t tried it yet.

  4. I use a aluminum tray glued onto a thin piece of very dense CCF, from some packs back stiffener. Foam gives some rigidity and insulates it from the tent floor, when that’s relevant.

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