How to Make a Windscreen

Most hikers seem to prefer a windscreen for their soda can stoves. That’s fine and good, and here’s a quick and easy way to make your own that weighs in at less than half an ounce. It is possible to cook just fine without a windscreen most of the time, but in gusty conditions, these are worth their weight in gold!

Materials List

Materials needed to build a windscreen: aluminum foil and a ruler

Really, aluminum foil is all you need. There’s a ruler in this photo only to give you a sense of size, and you can certainly use one if you want, but it’s not necessary. Make sure the length of the foil is at least four inches longer than the circumference of your cooking pot. I ripped off about 1½ inches for my stove.

It’ll be useful to have your cook system nearby for sizing your windscreen—windscreens are sized to the pot you’ll use it with.

Step 1: Fold foil in half lengthwise

Aluminum foil folded in half

Folding the foil in half gives it more strength and durability. (I left the corner up only so you could see it’s folded in half—it’s not particularly obvious otherwise.)

Step 2: Fold folded edge over twice

Reinforce folded edge by folding it over again

Fold over the edge that you’ve already folded about half an inch, then fold it again. This will increase the edge’s tear strength and rigidity.

Step 3: Fold open edge over twice

Close the long, open side of the foil by folding it over

Do the same thing with the opposite side, folding over the open edge about a half inch twice. Squeeze out as much air trapped in the foil as you can.

Step 4: Adjust height

Pot resting on pot support with windscreen next to it to check the height of the windscreen

At this point, I set up my pot support and pot to see how the windscreen’s height works. My pot has handles attached to it, and I want the windscreen to stop just below those. If you don’t have those handles in the way, you probably won’t need to made adjustments—your windscreen can go up much higher on the pot.

If your windscreen is too tall, fold over one of the edges another half inch. Repeating with alternating edges until the windscreen is the appropriate height.

Step 5: Connect ends (optional)

Creased ends of the windscreen linked together with pot in the middle

Fold the ends of your windscreen over half an inch once or twice, each end folded in opposite directions so they can hook together when wrapped around your cooking pot. Wrap the windscreen around your pot. If it’s too loose, fold one end over another half inch, alternating sides, until it fits with about a quarter-inch space around your pot.

Unless it’s a very windy day, I don’t bother connecting the ends like this. I’ll let the windscreen hang loosely around the pot with the open end on the downwind side of the stove.

Step 6: Fold it up, you’re done!

Folded-up windscreen leaning against a cooking pot

Roll up your windscreen in successive folds so it fits in your pot. You’re done!