Jan 21, 2008 at 8:31 am #1226842
nmJan 21, 2008 at 1:31 pm #1417021
@retropumpLocale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
There are plenty of threads in this forum re: pros and cons of Esbit versus alcohol.
I think the best thing is to try both methods and see what suits you best. If you can handle the blackened pot bottom, fishy smell, extra cost and fiddly ignition of the Esbit then it can be more fuel efficient and handier to carry. Alcohol is less efficient (but not by much), can spill and contaminate your pack or catch things on fire, requires a special container to carry it, and also smells bad, though not as bad as Esbit. It is cheaper and easier to find, but you need a decent stove to burn it in. The Esbit just needs a small stand.Jan 21, 2008 at 1:36 pm #1417025
Rodney MrukBPL Member
@rodney-mLocale: Northeast Oregon
I am making the switch to lightweight backpacking. One of the items that needs to go is my old but very reliable white gas stove. I am considering all three options but would like feedback regarding the Bush Buddy versus the Esbit and alcohol stoves. Any thoughts?Jan 21, 2008 at 2:02 pm #1417027
I use both but lately I find myself taking the esbit stove (I use the titanium esbit wing stove) most of the time. I just find it easier to use than alcohol.Jan 21, 2008 at 2:25 pm #1417032
@foodLocale: Colorado Rockies
The investment into each system is small enough that you can try both and choose the one that fits your style.
I did a snowshoe last weekend with a very knowledgable person. I offered to lend him my Caldera Cone stove. He said "No, I am not going to use the stove and you can't make me."
Sorry, but you may have analysis paralysis.Jan 21, 2008 at 2:49 pm #1417035
I have a Bush Buddy stove which I have used for my only stove on 4-5 day hammocking trips. The pot stand also makes an excellent stand when using an Esbit tablet a few of which you could carry for ease of use. It is also possible to stand a small meths burner in the main stove and again use the pot stand on top as normal to quicky boil water. The Bushbuddy is great but does require a bit of practice to achieve good results but at only 200 grams all in without the need for additional fuel is a winner on longer trips. Overnight I quite like a solid fuel as I can calculate how many tablets to take with no mess or bother.
NigelJan 21, 2008 at 3:21 pm #1417042
Nigel can you share more about your Bushbuddy esbit setup? What do you use for a windscreen? Can you post a photo?
When I read about the Bushbuddy I thought it sounded like the perfect stove…until I realized that I wouldn't be able to use it under my tarp like an alcohol or esbit stove. I really like the idea of being able to heat water for morning coffee without getting out of my bag and that's just not feasible with the Bushbuddy.
For me I think the titanium caldera cone is close to the perfect system. It's optimized for alcohol/esbit when I need to cook under the tarp but I can use a wood fire if they are permitted and the weather is clear. Unfortunately they are sold out now but are promising a new size in the spring. I'm crossing my fingers for a SUL beercan version in titanium :)Jan 21, 2008 at 4:54 pm #1417051
Why can't you use the bushbuddy under your tarp assuming you have enough wood gathered? Is the flame that uncontrolled or what?Jan 21, 2008 at 5:50 pm #1417061
I don't own one so I'm speculating but several of the reviews said that the Bushbuddy can throw off sparks. It is a wood stove after all. Pinholes are a mild annoyance but silnylon is pretty flammable and I wouldn't want to be under it if it caught on fire.Jan 21, 2008 at 5:59 pm #1417062
I made this bushbuddy knockoff this afternoon:
You might get away with it near the centre of a big tarp like a hex 3, but personally I'd use my alcohol stove in the morning from the sleeping bag and save the bushbuddy for the evening.Jan 21, 2008 at 6:21 pm #1417065
aww yes…I imagine sparks are the biggest worry and that makes perfect sense…
And that flame looks pretty intense! Did you use gasoline or something?! ;)Jan 21, 2008 at 6:24 pm #1417066
No way! That's just wood in there plus a sugar cube size piece of firelighter.Jan 21, 2008 at 8:08 pm #1417094
Heh..OoWee Boy, that is some serious output Rog! :) Watch your eyebrows when you use that thing!Jan 21, 2008 at 8:11 pm #1417095
It calms down when I put my homemade kelly kettle on it.Jan 21, 2008 at 10:33 pm #1417121
Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I use FireLite tabs now as they are a bit hotter than ESBIT.
I have a Vargo Ti stove that has a removable alky container so I use it to burn FireLite or ESBIT tabs. It will accomodate 2 tabs, side-by-side for a hotter stove if needed. I prefer fuel tabs over alcohol for the higher heat, lower weight and easier use.
It's all what you like FROM YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE.
Personally I'm waiting for modified solid rocket fuel tabs in a clever Ti burner with flame jets. Ought to be HOT!
EricJan 22, 2008 at 2:23 pm #1417232
@archnemesisLocale: England, UK
I go through phases on both of these. It's something I'm looking at again as an alternative to Gas.
I ran some simple tests this week of a Vargo Decagon vs. Gas vs. Esbit.
By the time the Decagon had primed (about a minte and half) both the Esbit and Gas stoves were well on their way to boiling.
To use either Alcohol or Esbit I'm gonna need a small windshield but even so I think the weight saving will be worth it.
Basically, I'll take both out into the field in realistic conditions and see how well they work for me.
In fuel-weight terms Esbit is equivalent to Gas. I boiled a cup of water in under 3 minutes using 3g of fuel on the Esibt. That's about the same burn rate as for Gas but an empty Gas cylinder weighs at least 100g and a stove at least 70g compared with say 25g for an Esbit stove and windshield.
There's no perfect stove but with Alcohol and Esbit you might as well just try both and see what works for you.
In the UK Esbit stoves are sold as 'Picnic' stoves and are a direct copy of what the British and Australian armies use for cooking – a 4oz folding stand wrapped around maybe 8oz of fuel.
Even in this vanilla form you can see that it more than matches the weight and fuel efficiency of a Gas stove.Jan 22, 2008 at 3:20 pm #1417242
Yes the pot support for the Bushbuddy is the pot support for the esbit which is placed on a foil tray, stone or whatever really.
The ideal situation with the Bushbuddy would be to use an esbit first thing for the morning cuppa and then fire up the Bushbuddy properly for the rest of breakfast. The flames will get to about 30-40cm but I have used it successfully under a hammock tarp made of silnylon and inside the Golite Hex without any problems. Bit smokey with damp wood but I developed a small saw to chop dryer larger bits up.
NigelJan 22, 2008 at 3:21 pm #1417244
Sorry! NigelJan 23, 2008 at 7:42 am #1417320
Nigel, I like the saw, what did you use to piece it together?Jan 23, 2008 at 12:23 pm #1417360
Does anyone have any experience using the Bushbuddy under a spinnaker tarp? Is the spinnaker cloth sensitive to sparks?Jan 23, 2008 at 1:09 pm #1417369
The saw was made from aluminium sheet simply bent over to create a space for the width of the top of the saw blade with another piece with bent the other way to accomodate the base and create a box the blade slides in. The blade is for a hobby/Stanley knife and the tent peg simply stops the blade from coming out in use. It was a bit clunky and a bit if a prototype.
I think that with care Bushbuddy could be used under any tarp carefully. The main 'flare' up occurs when the Buddy is initially lit once in operation it is no worse than any other stove. The main concern would be smoke! It can smoke a bit when getting going particulary with damp wood. A few esbits as a back up for the rainy days with the tarp pitched low.Jan 24, 2008 at 1:53 pm #1417552
@longwalkerLocale: Pacific Northwest
Ken, you wondered about a windscreen for the BushBuddy. Here's what I carry. Not quite as light as titanium, but very environmentally sound.
Seriously, though, here's my take on the Alcohol/Esbit/BushBuddy trilemma, since I've used all 3 systems. I agree with the answers provided so far, and add the following observations:
ESBIT: In spite of what you may have heard, Esbit fuel tabs can be extinguished when the cooking is done, and the remainder used for future cooking. Esbit also has a sweet "feature" which is that it burns hot for the first 5 minutes, then simmers for the next 5. This is useful for bringing water to a boil, adding pasta & sauce, then simmering for 5 minutes without scorching. Alcohol tends to burn 100% then almost instantly extinguishes.
ALCOHOL: my favorite aspect of alcohol is that you can get it almost anywhere. For long through-hikes, Esbit requires careful pack-at-home planning of all fuel use. If you decide mid-trek to add a weeklong detour loop, you just buy more alcohol. With Esbit you're kinda screwed at that point. I also like how cleanly alcohol burns – no sticky pot bottom from Esbits or woodfire.
BUSHBUDDY: My current go-to stove. For me the BB is all about aesthetics and flexibility rather than efficiency. I consistently find that cooking with the BB takes much longer than white gas, alcohol, or Esbit, so if you're a high-mileage maximum-efficiency freak, I don't recommend it. I love the process of gathering wood, breaking it into small pieces, laying and lighting the fire, and stoking it later for a second cuppa after dinner. I love that it continues to simmer for hours so you can warm your hands over it. I love that fuel planning is a non-issue so you can drink as many cups of hot tea as you want without worrying that you won't be able to cook tomorrow's dinner.
David LongwalkerJan 24, 2008 at 2:10 pm #1417558
@longwalkerLocale: Pacific Northwest
Ken, one other thing about cooking under a tarp: I used a Gatewood Cape poncho-tarp this summer with my BushBuddy and never had problems cooking. I just set the BB outside the door while I sit inside under the cover of the tarp. No flame problems at all on my 500 mile Colorado Trail hike with this gear combo. In heavy rain it would've been more problematic as I'd want to close the door but that would make it hard to access the stove. In this case, I'd hope for natural tree cover to partially shield the rain, and pitch the tarp close to tree trunk for easy access to stove while staying under the tarp.Jan 24, 2008 at 3:35 pm #1417573
Richard NisleyBPL Member
@richard295Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Wouldn’t the Ti-Tri Caldera System, in wood burning mode, provide equivalent functionality to the Bush Buddy plus add alcohol and Esbit modes?
I am in the process of planning a multi-week pack raft / fishing trip for this summer. I would like to bake over wood and prepare freezer bag meals over alcohol. For baking, in wood mode, I would use three marble sized river rocks as bottom spacers between two titanium pots for the 20 minutes to 1/2 hour cook times required for large fish and bread. For freezer bag meals or morning coffee I would just use the alcohol mode.Jan 24, 2008 at 4:55 pm #1417583
That's a pretty sweet wind screen. How do you carry it?
It's good to know that the Bushbuddy will work near a tarp. I really like the idea of rolling over and lighting a stove to heat water while I'm still in my bag. I don't think the Bushbuddy is good for that since you have to stoke the fire.
Does the pot holder piece on the Bushbuddy play a role in combustion? If not it seems like you could make a big caldera cone to go over the bushbuddy. Then you would have a windscreen for both wood and esbit modes plus a stable potholder.
Richard I said before I think the Titanium Caldera is the most flexible option but the Bushbuddy is fully contained so it's non-scarring and is also a gassifier stove which means it burns hotter and more efficiently than an open fire. Unless someone comes up with a better way to integrate alcohol or Esbit burning into a Bushbuddy setup I'm waiting for the titanium caldera to come back into stock.
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