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In the summer of 2002, Heineken introduced its 24 oz. “mini keg” can in the US. Besides having twice the volume of a normal aluminum beverage can, the “mini keg’s” unusual design includes a number of ridges and rings that make it much more rigid. Sometime around 2004, so far as I can tell, ultralight backpacking enthusiasts began experimenting with using the new can design as a cooking pot.

The community has evolved the design of these cooking pots to a remarkable extent, and although there seem to be as many variations as there are builders, a few common features seem to be emerging:

  1. The top of the can is removed with a side-cutting can opener and preserved for use as a lid. The tab may be bent up to provide a handle, or a small knob may be attached.
  2. The side of the can is wound with 1/16″ fiberglass wick to provide an insulated gripping surface
  3. An elastic silicone wristband is stretched around the rim of the can for drinking comfort.

I’m sure to screw it up if I try to give any particular person credit for any of these ideas, but the embedded video overview from Minibulldesign Cult gives the best general overview of the idea I can find. And Rick of Wilderness Survival Forums has produced a good phototutorial describing the fiberglass winding process.

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Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.


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