Pot hangers are a great way to suspend your pot over a fire to cook or to boil water, and are straightforward to make. They have 4 component parts, and if you’re lucky you can find a single stem from which you make them all. I use greenwood as it resists the heat of the fire better. For the same reason I leave the bark on. Hazel works particularly well and often grows in the right shape, but I’ll also use willow, ash, sycamore or sometime birch.
Making a pot hanger
A pot hanger is typically made of 4 pieces:
- A forked upright,
- A balance beam, sometimes known a saster stick,
- The hanger, and
- A couple of pegs.
The forked stick needs to be driven firmly into the ground. Place the balance beam across the ‘Y’. Make sure that the balance beam is long enough so that the upright isn’t too close to the fire; typically I’ll use a pole that is around 2 1/2 to 3m long. At this stage I’ll jiggle the balance beam around to see if it has a position in which it ‘wants’ to sit. Put a little pressure on the end of the balance beam to check if it wants to bend or twist; if so, adjust until it sits correctly.
Use 2 pegs at the end of the balance beam to securely attach it to the ground. Alternatively, use another ‘Y’ shape.
Once it’s sitting how it wants to, cut the end of the balance beam so that it is horizontal. Make sure you leave a few millimetres of wood to support the pot hanger.
Mark a cross on the pot hanger with your knife. Carve out the bottom, left and right sections of the ‘X’, leaving only the top section. Aim to get somewhere between a quarter and a third through.
Undercut the section left behind to form a ‘beak’ and then trim the tip. Add additional notches along the pot hanger so that you can alter the height of the pot above the fire to provide ‘heat adjustment’.
To hang the pot, repeat at the other end of the pot hanger, ensuring that the beaks are on the same plane but pointing in opposite directions (towards the middle of the stick). If the beaks aren’t on the same plane, the hanger is likely to fall of when you try to balance it in position.
Sit the pot hanger on the balance beam. The pot itself should be hanging into the support.
The photo below is Andy on our 5 Day Bushcraft Course in April 2015.
I generally use a billy can over my fire. I wrote a post about modifying the handle so that it sits better.