Make an Ultralight Windshield (£1 / 11g)

WARNING - USE AT YOUR OWN RISK

When used with a 1oz Hexamine tablet - when deployed as shown below in windy conditions- I did manage to set fire to the windshield in one corner and scorch it a little. Therefore if you use this windshield you MUST be aware of a possible fire risk. I've since moved to using it as more of a wind-break rather than a wrap-around windshield as shown.

For summer camping I want to move away from a gas stove (MSR Pocket Rocket) to using either an u/l alcohol stove or an u/l Esbit stove. At the moment I'm tending towards the Esbit stove - it's simpler and weighs less.

Either way, both will weigh a lot less than the gas stove for one week of hiking but both will also require a windshield if I am going to make efficient use of fuel.

If a stove weighs 10-20g then I certainly don't want a windshield that weighs 40+g.

My other big concern was that I wanted a windshield that did not require lots of TLC or risked finger cuts. What I wanted was a windshield that could be repeatedly stuffed into a pack (OK, maybe placed kindly), be folded up and of course work!

The result was this:

 

It can happily be folded and abused without damage. It can be pegged down on really windy days and most importantly of all it's light and reliable.

Materials

  • Some scrap PU-coated Nylon or similar !!!!!
  • 2cm of Velcro !!!
  • Metal exhaust repair tape

This choice of materials may seem distinctly odd - using a flammable material as part of the windshield.

In fact, provided you are sensible it works just fine. The exhaust repair tape is laminated around the fabric and so it is not possible for the flame to come in contact with the fabric. The fabric acts as a flexible layer which allows the exhaust tape to flex without crinkling and cracking.

An esbit stove or an alcohol stove is not putting out a lot of heat in real terms and most of that heat is being directed upwards - away from the sidewalls.

Warning: Just because it worked for me does not mean that it will work for you. Using flammable materials as part of a heatshield is no generally a bright thing to do so don't do it. If you decide to ignore this warning you do so at your own risk.

Construction

1. Using your stove and your cooking cup/pot measure around the circumference of the widest point and add on maybe 10-20cm to allow for a safety gap between the heat, the cup and the windshield. Add another 3cm onto this measurement.

For height, make sure that the windshield is lower than the highest point of your cup or pot.

2. Cut the PU-Nylon to those dimensions.

3. Cut three small pieces of PU-Nylon that are approx 2cmx4cm. These will form small loops that can be used to take some 1g Titanium tent pegs (or larger if you don't have these).

4. Sew one loop at one end of the fabric and sew the other two so that the fabric is divided into thirds.

5. Sew some Velcro onto the outside and inside of the fabric at opposite ends so that when formed into a tube the Velcro will stick and make the tube.

6. Starting on the peg-hole free side, stick several strips of the exhaust tape onto the fabric. Make sure that each strip of tape overlaps the previous one by 0.5-1cm and that the first and last strip can be overlapped onto the top and bottom edges respectively. You do not want to be able to see any nylon apart from the Velcro

7. Turn over and repeat for the back. Almost all the flammable stuff is now encased within non-flammable material.

8. Trim the fabric near the Velcro to allow for a cup/pot handle.

9. Using a paper hole punch create a row of holes at the bottom of the windshield.

10. Check that Foil covers everything that is burner-side.

11. Assemble everything CAREFULLY around your stove and test.

Field Testing

As you might expect, because it is so light it will blow away. That's why it can be pegged down.

Clearly, this is no Trangia. Instead it's designed to be used in a partially-sheltered position so that something big (like you) is shielding it from most of the wind and it just needs to handle the guests that normally play havoc with small stoves.

The lamination of the foil onto fabric produces something that can be repeatedly folded and scrunched without appearing to suffer any damage. It's not going to last for 100 years but it'll probably do a season.