Mar 26, 2013 at 6:52 am #1300910
Just wanted to spread the word…I've been using canisters and alcohol for a long time.
Been tempted to try Esbit, but have been putting it of for some time because of the usual:
– Fuel-leftovers, smelly fuel, and sticky pots
After my first Esbit-fueled hike, i have to look really hard to find any downsides…
Leftovers: I followed John Abela's advice (HikeLighter.com) to use the 4g esbit tabs instead of the 14g tabs. This leaves me with no leftovers, as i can easily tune the needed amount of fuel. Problem solved.
Smelly: The 4g tabs have no "fishy" smell to me compared to the 14g tabs. Problem solved.
Sticky: The pot does get sticky on the bottom, but since i always pack my pot in my shaped pot cozy, there's no chance of anything getting icky from the pot residue. I was a little worried about how difficult it would be to clean my pot when back home, but using regular oven-cleaner spray took care of that very easily. Just let the foam sit, enjoy a cup of coffee, and wipe clean! Problem solved.
It's the perfect solo fuel to me. I'll now start to experiment using it for Duo-use.
Anybody out there thinking of trying Esbit, but are held back because of the usual "problems" – JUST DO TRY IT!
FYI – I use the Evernew 600ml pot and Caldera Sidewinder system, and i get circa 200ml boiled pr 4g tab (this was in +2 degrees celsius)Mar 26, 2013 at 7:24 am #1969675
What kind of burner/stove and windscreen are you using?
NewtonMar 26, 2013 at 7:37 am #1969680
I use the Gram Cracker and Titanium Sidewinder Cone from Trail Designs for the 600ml flat Evernew pot.Mar 26, 2013 at 7:42 am #1969683
Nice cook kit. ;-)
NewtonMar 26, 2013 at 7:46 am #1969687
Oh yeah…Japanese perfection meets USA made cottage nerdiness and use German made foolproof fuel ;-)
What do you use?Mar 26, 2013 at 7:51 am #1969689
I'm a vet from when the Army was still issuing heat tabs so I was indoctrinated early! I've used a variety of stoves but Esbit is my go-to for solo backpacking. Another forum member mentioned that he ran into some inconsistencies with Esbit but they've been pretty good to me. I use a cozy as well when I'm hiking but I can clean off my SP 700 with just plain water when I get home.
The only thing I don't like about Esbit is the fuel cost but otherwise it has been a great system for me.Mar 26, 2013 at 7:54 am #1969690
Get ready for a long read. ;-)
I'm still investigating the move to Esbit. That is why the thread and the video links in my earlier post interested me.
As of now I'm still working with alcohol stoves and Fosters can cookpots.
NewtonMar 26, 2013 at 8:10 am #1969697
"The only thing I don't like about Esbit is the fuel cost but otherwise it has been a great system for me."
If there is an Academy Sports and Outdoors brick and mortar store near you look in their camping aisle. I can get a dozen Bleuet solid fuel tabs, comparable to Esbit, for a little less than 5 bucks.
They don't show up on their web site but they are in their location nearby to me. If they have a store located near you they might also have them.
NewtonMar 26, 2013 at 8:51 am #1969704
I've started a similar thread. Long term plan is to buy kits from Trail Designs and Flat Cat and a couple myog projects. I'm going to update this thread as I go. By no means am I trying to pretend to be an authority on the Esbit topic but I figured someone may be able to learn from my mistakes as I go.
"If there is an Academy Sports and Outdoors brick and mortar store near you look in their camping aisle. I can get a dozen Bleuet solid fuel tabs, comparable to Esbit, for a little less than 5 bucks."
Unfortunately not but I'll see if I can find a better deal online. REI sells a box of 12 Esbit for ~ $7. I'm only boiling a little more than 16oz of 40* water per tablet so that works out to:
Esbit $.58 per boil
Vs my inefficient alcohol stove which uses 1oz of Heet to boil the same quantity/temp of water. Assuming I pick up a 12oz bottle from Wal-Mart for $3.50 (haven't priced it recently):
Heet $.30 per boil
Vs. my Soto ODR and its magical regulator which uses .25oz of fuel to boil the same/same. My most recent purchase of a Jetboil canister which contains 3.5oz of fuel for ~$6 is:
Jetboil fuel $.42 per boil.
My opinion is that Esbit is close enough in price to justify (in my mind) paying a modest premium. I'm sure there are better deals on all three fuel sources and I'm trying to quote from memory so please forgive me if I’ve misquoted the market value for any of the above.Mar 26, 2013 at 9:44 am #1969711
Welcome to the club Peter! I also switched to the 4g versions and found that this eliminated the "left overs" issue as well as lightened up my overall cook kit. Albeit by only a few grams. The simplicity to weight ratio of Esbit is hard to beat.
RyanMar 26, 2013 at 9:58 am #1969715
"I also switched to the 4g versions and found that this eliminated the "left overs" issue"
I've never considered it an issue. I just put the leftover chunk back in the plastic tub it came out of and use it next time I heat water.Mar 26, 2013 at 10:28 am #1969727
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Esbit is great for solo trips and making coffee or soup. I have a Ti wing stove and a 450ml cup, a foil windscreen and a folding spoon for my minimalist kitchen. Perfect for "almost-no-cook" overnighters and day hikes.
Watch Four Dogs video on Esbit. I learned a lot about efficient burning, stove construction and Coughlans tabs.
The video really has me thinking about the potential for Esbit fuel. Basically, few if any of the popular stoves come close to using the fuel efficiently. The jaw dropper for me was that the residue is because of poor stove design. With proper airflow and height, it's like a completely different product.
Use a good old fashioned Brillo pad for cleanup at home. It just melts the Esbit goo. Best on Ti and use with caution on aluminum and non-stick. Not for wilderness use, IMHO.
Stash your cook kit in a big ziplock to keep things clean and organized
Start the Esbit with a dab of alcohol gel hand cleaner. One spark and its going.
If the smell is an issue, store the tabs in a small screw top bottle or can. I use a round aluminum can from Freund containers. I have found vitamin and supplement bottles that work. In sure there are other recycled food containers that would work. Just doubling zip locks is a good step up.Mar 26, 2013 at 11:13 am #1969746
Welcome to "The Light Side".
I've been using the Trail Designs Sidewinder with ESBIT and the TD 3 cup pot for 3 years now and love it.
I was an "ESBIT tinkerer" for several years, always searching for the most efficient ESBIT stove. My last effort was using a 1.25" wide aluminum "chimney to direct the flame. But it still didn't help much.
When I got the Sidewinder I bought it mainly for the Inferno wood fire option, which works great, especially in winter conditions. But after using ESBIT with the Sidewinder I discovered that I used 1/3 less fuel! I kid you not. The combination of the Gram Cracker tab holder and the Caldera Cone design is the best way to go for ESBIT. BRILLIANT!
ESBIT or my FireLite tabs are a bit hotter than alcohol and definitely easier to use. Plus, meal for meal, ESBIT fuel is lighter than alcohol.
As for the residue on my pot I just use leaves or grass to wipe it off and keep the pot in a stuff sack. And you can re-use unburned ESBIT fuel tabs for the next meal.
Now it "they" could just take a de-tuned form of solid rocket fuel and make an adjustable stove for it we would be in solid fuel Nirvana. Hopefully the stove would not take off in a pillar of smoke and flame. Yes, Titanium would be necessary for a "rocket stove".Mar 26, 2013 at 12:12 pm #1969767
@valsharLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Love esbit with the Caldera Cone and Gram Cracker Stove.
If you are looking for something that should allow for simmering or adjusting the heat/flame output, you might want to check this out:
I have not gotten one yet, but I am pretty intrigued by the possibility of getting more boils per 0.5 oz cube vs. the Gram Cracker.
-TonyMar 26, 2013 at 1:03 pm #1969790
@m-lLocale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
I find that the round Coghlans fuel tabs to be the perfect size for a boil. I use a myog titanium setup and love solid fuel too.
It's so easy to just say I'm going to 3 days, and need 6 tabs for breakfast and dinner. So light.Mar 26, 2013 at 3:32 pm #1969844
"I've never considered it an issue. I just put the leftover chunk back in the plastic tub it came out of and use it next time I heat water."
Me either really. I always just let the remaining bit of Esbit burn until it was gone. Never could get a 2nd boil out of the left overs, although it would heat the water some.
RyanMar 30, 2013 at 1:03 pm #1971109
Been without internet for some days…nice, more time to reading a book ;-)
Thank you all for the warm welcomes to the ESBIT CLUB! ;-)
And i'll look forward to tinker around with your input!
/Peter – member of the EC!Mar 30, 2013 at 9:29 pm #1971255
Thanks Tony for the link to the ESBITmizer. Interesting concept.
I may make one from a small Altoids box to try it before I buy one.Mar 31, 2013 at 5:08 am #1971290
Dale, thank you for the FourDogStoveCo-video Link, i've just watched it, and i find it very informative.Mar 31, 2013 at 5:12 am #1971291
Eric, FYI, when reading the BPL forum regularly, your never ending Esbit enthusiasm definitely helped me make the move to Esbit ;-)Mar 31, 2013 at 9:39 am #1971356
@valsharLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Let me know how it works out for you.
Great idea about using an Altoids box, but are you going to modify the lid to slide?
-TonyMar 31, 2013 at 11:16 am #1971397
I've located an old Bayer asprin metal box with sliding lid that I used to keep tiny star washers. I'm sure they don't make 'em any more. So the sliding lid problem is solved. Noe I have to drill 3 small holes on each side like the ESBIT Mizer box.
But for maximum efficiency I think the Gram Cracker is still the best bet. Maybe I can make one with a sliding top. More fun tinkerng in the garage.
WIFE: "Eric, what are you still doing in the garage? Are you EVER going to finish the yard work?"
ERIC: "Uh, yeah Luz, just a few more minutes. I'm in the verge of a great discovery."
Thanks for the mention of my ESBIT obsession being responsible for your interest in solid fuel tabs. Maybe someone will make a pressurized ESBIT stove for even more efficiency.
BTW, I was in Denmark last summer for 3 weeks. I visited Odense, my grandfather's home town. LOVE Denmark. 'Spensive but fun.
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