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:
- 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.
- The side of the can is wound with 1/16″ fiberglass wick to provide an insulated gripping surface
- 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.