One Item I Will Never Hit The Trail Without

I have been on many trails and spent many a night in the woods.  I have used many types of gear and pride myself on always being prepared.  I am also a nut for DIY tips and tricks that you can make out of cheap supplies.  However, I was humbled the other day when a customer came into our Cleveland store.  He was looking for a fly rod and we somehow started talking about camping gear.  We were swapping stories, locations, and gear when the topic of camping stoves came up in the conversation. He asked me what I use and I told him that I used a vintage Coleman stove that my grandfather bought back in the 70's.  It works like a charm and has never let me down. He asked me, " Have you ever used a cat stove."  I was immediately intrigued, as I mentioned earlier I love DIY projects.  I told him I had never even heard of a cat stove. He then began to tell me what I would need and how to make one.  I was all for it, I almost left work early that day just to go try this out.  So basically all you need is a cat food can and a hole punch.  What you do is you take the top of the can off and then roll down the sharp edges to make a nice, smooth rim around the edge.  After that you take your hole punch and make a hole every inch or so around the edge of the can.  All you have to do then is pour denatured alcohol in it and light it.  Once you put your pot on top, the pressure then forces the flames through the holes and around the pot to cook like your stove top at home.  Its not going to be my first choice for a stove, but a cat stove makes a great emergency stove as well as a make shift second cooker at camp.  All I know is that I won't ever hit the trail again without a can of fancy feast in my pack!