I'll bet you never expected this many responses to such a simple inquiry, huh? Talking stoves around here is like politics or religion. Try not to bring up pots. smile Since you're planning a trip to Big Bend, I'll try to provide information that I hope will be helpful for that trip.

Here's the stove that I took to the S. Rim in Sept. All that I use it for is to heat water. I made it out of a potted meat tin in about 5 minutes using a sharpie and hand held hole punch. Total cost $0.28.

Set up w/o the lid and with half of the wind screen removed for visibility. The pot is an ImUsa Charro Mug from WalMart (~$5) and the windscreen was made from soda cans.

This is my complete kitchen. The stove itself weighs 7g, windscreen 10g, pot and lid (cut from an aluminum pie pan) weigh 102g. A Country Time lemonade container serves as a bowl and cup and doubles as a hard sided container for carrying non squishable items; 51g. Total weight, 195g.

and here it is all packed up on top of my most important piece of gear (~ $30 Target).

I burn denatured alcohol that I got in the paint section at Home Depot. The little bottle in the picture above holds enough for an overnight trip, that is dinner & breakfast. A 4 oz bottle will last a couple of days and a 10 oz. Minute Maid OJ bottle will last for several days. A $6 can should last you quite a while.

It's easy to use, just pick a level spot away from combustible materials, and out of the wind if possible, pour in some alcohol, toss in a lit match, wait for the alcohol to start boiling, set on the pot (with lid), pop the wind screen around it and go pitch the tent (or do some other 5 minute task). The futz factor goes up with increasing wind and decreasing temperatures but I've used this setup at freezing temperatures. Under those conditions it's harder to keep lit so I'll pile up rocks to act as an additional windbreak and keep a closer eye.

I also have a Primus stove like this one.

I use it when I actually want to cook something, or if I think conditions will make the cat stove too hard to keep lit.

My advice is put off buying a stove just yet, you can always grab a stove online or borrow one before your trip. Buy a can of alcohol and turn your son onto http://zenstoves.net/ instead. He may learn a lot and derive satisfaction from making a piece of gear himself. or burn the house down, I don't know....