Feb 8, 2010 at 4:56 pm #1255014
I have an old Esbit stove (the basic fold-out metal platform) and have loved using Esbit fuel, for its simplicity and quiet operation.
However, I seem to go through the tabs much too quickly (compared to other people here). I cook big meals, often for 2-3 people. At some point (especially on longer trips, or very high-altitude trips with long boil times), the tabs become too expensive and bulky to carry.
Aside from considering an alcohol stove or canister stove, how can I make my Esbit use more efficient?
Skimming the forums here, there seems to be a dizzying amount of info on Esbit related stuff including the "gram cracker stove" (?); alternative fuel tabs under a non-Esbit name; even people using a Caldera cone. (?)
I/we usually cook with the wide version of the Evernew 1300ml titanium pot.
So what would help me conserve the fuel? (And what are the advantages of the other brands of fuel tabs?)
Thanks!Feb 8, 2010 at 4:59 pm #1571348
1) get a Gram Cracker stove and use the 'wings'
2) get a Caldera Cone
3) enjoy maximum Esbit fuel efficiency!!Feb 8, 2010 at 5:05 pm #1571352Feb 8, 2010 at 5:06 pm #1571354
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
There are many volumes written about fuel efficiency for the typical UL backpacker.
For one thing, your cook pot may be marginally too large to effectively heat with a single Esbit piece. The vast metal surfaces of the cook pot are radiating heat outward at the same time that the bottom is accepting heat from the burning fuel. You might have better luck with a smaller cook pot. OTOH, if that means that you have to burn multiple Esbit pieces sequentially in order to cook everything, then nothing has been gained. For Esbit, I seldom use a vessel larger than 0.75 liter.
The big thing that always helps is to use the best windblockers and windscreens available. Make sure that your windscreen allows a little bottom draft and that there is a fraction of an inch of top space around the cook pot. Cook pot lids are very important if you are boiling water.
–B.G.–Feb 8, 2010 at 10:00 pm #1571447
If you are cooking large meals for 2-3 people, Esbit would not be the most efficient fuel.Feb 9, 2010 at 2:03 am #1571496
As an Esbit user myself, here are my thoughts:
1) You're not going to see any more heat production out of alcohol than you will with Esbit, so that isn't the answer to cooking for more people/heating more food. If you really need to pump out lots of BTUs, petroleum based fuels, or wood burning might be the way to go.
2) At higher altitudes, I actually get quicker boil times and use less Esbit. This is primarilly because the boiling point of water is lower and it doesn't take as much heat to bring my water to a boil for the dehydrated stuff I eat.
3) As to making Esbit more efficient, what you have to do is decrease the amount of surface area of the tablet that is burning….or that is exposed to oxygen. It will then burn slower, and more efficiently. This is what we do with the Gram Cracker.
4) Since you and a few folks brought up the Gram Cracker and Caldera systems…..let me provide that context. The Gram Cracker is a 3 gram titanium Esbit stand with adjustable titanium "wings" to throttle the air flow to the tablet. The wings also will rotate vertically to facilitate burning 2 tablets at once which also might help your 2-3 person cooking issues. The Gram Cracker is manufactured by Trail Designs specifically for use in our Caldera Cone/Ti-Tri systems. These cone systems also help efficiency by protecting the rather "lazy" flame coming off the Esbit, capturing the heat and funneling it to all sides of the pot.
Hope that helps!
Rand :-)Feb 9, 2010 at 2:53 am #1571504
Is the ULC system made for Esbit as well? I may be interested in it but don't see anything on your site about it. Maybe I am looking in the wrong place.
Also, can the Gram cracker be used alone with a home-made wind screen and pot holder? I have the BPL esbit thing, but find my MSR Titan pot just isn't stable enough.Feb 9, 2010 at 3:17 am #1571505
.Feb 9, 2010 at 4:06 am #1571506
Too early in the morning for me….but, I finally found the compact system which doesn't mention Esbit, although I'm sure it would work. But the point is moot anyway because my MSR pot isn't listed as being 'one with the cone'. I can build my own. Or dig into my junk box of parts and find something suitable. I just need the Graham Cracker.Feb 9, 2010 at 8:49 am #1571583
Lynn, Rand, et al have covered it… but just for the supporting vote, can't beat Trail Designs for efficiency. Their systems work incredibly well.Feb 9, 2010 at 9:21 am #1571595
It is and I agree but the Esbit system(Ti Tri) is only for certain pots and mine isn't one of them. The regular Caldera for alcohol is the only cone that fits MSR Titan. I'll just stick to what I have for now.Feb 9, 2010 at 9:22 am #1571597
.Feb 9, 2010 at 9:28 am #1571601
FWIW, you can have a Ti-Tri made for pretty much any pot on the market… I had one for a Titan kettle, too…Feb 9, 2010 at 9:41 am #1571607
@ramblerLocale: On the AT in VA
Esbit Stove Height and Efficiency (Not sure when this article was written)Feb 9, 2010 at 10:08 am #1571623
For me it is either wood or Esbit and that is why I use TiTri Caldera. this coming week I will be in Sweden, with my Gram Cracker and Ti Tri Inferno for a BPL 550 pot (but using and MLD 850). It gives me the best of both worlds and my testing over the past couple of weeks has helped me to understand how to successfully use the Ti Tri Inferno in snowy conditions. Some information can be found hereFeb 9, 2010 at 10:51 am #1571643
You are both right!
Anna….I believe you are looking at the AntiGravityGear website….they are the people that do our order fulfillment for us and they do mention our esbit solution.
Donna….I believe you are looking at the Trail Designs website….and you are absolutely correct! The page doesn't mention esbit or our Gram Cracker. A hideous and ham-handed mistake on my part. I just updated the website to include esbit and Gram Cracker comments. Thanks so much for pointing this out! :-)
Quick summary to clarify the confusion my poor web page authoring skills created. The Gram Cracker works in all of the Trail Designs products. It does not support the pot but is intended to work with the Caldera Cones as the pot support.
Hope that helps…..and again….sorry for the confusion!
Rand :-)Feb 9, 2010 at 12:27 pm #1571692
+1 on using two tabs with the Gram Cracker for larger pots and more people.
+1 on using the Ti-Tri (as either a wood burner or solid fuel support) plus Gram Cracker for *most* trips…best of both worlds.Feb 9, 2010 at 12:38 pm #1571697
Everybody dance! Thanks, Rand. : )Feb 9, 2010 at 12:52 pm #1571706
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I have to agree with Lynn. Get a Caldera Cone & the "Grahm Cracker" ESBIT/FireLite fuel tab holder.
Now you've got maximum heat conservation efficiency, especially if you use two tabs at once, blowing them out when your water boils and SAVING them for the next meal, when you add only one fresh tab. Two tabs get much faster results and, IMHO and experience, actually saving fuel overall.Feb 9, 2010 at 3:58 pm #1571766
Thanks for the feedback thus far. Very enlightening.
Now to the question: Are there alternative fuel tabs that work as well as the Esbits, and that might be cheaper? Or should I just stick with my Esbits.
If there *are* good alternative fuel tabs: Do they fit just as well into the Gram Cracker stove? Or are those built specifically for the Esbit shape.Feb 9, 2010 at 4:29 pm #1571778
the only alternative I know of is wetfire tabs and they are not as efficient as Esbit (in my testing anyways)- they make one of the best emergency fire tinders out there and thus one is in my kit, but Esbit out performs them for boiling
here's a partially homemade alternative for Esbit that might work out for you- my is setup to burn wood or EsbitFeb 9, 2010 at 4:58 pm #1571790
The gram Cracker is designed specifically to burn 14g Esbit sized fuel. It will burn other fuel, but not as efficiently.Feb 9, 2010 at 6:03 pm #1571836
Coghlan's makes round tabs similar to Esbit but you need 2 of them to equal 1 Esbit. They light easier but burn faster. There's tiroxine bars but they crumble and burn fast, too. I prefer the Esbit over any of the other solid fuels. I've come full circle with stoves. Esbit-alchohol-wood-canister. I'm back to Esbit again. It just plain works for me.Feb 9, 2010 at 8:15 pm #1571933
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
The store on this site sells FireLite fuel tabs which I prefer to ESBIT for their slightly faster boil times. That's why I got a small carton of FireLite tabs.
I used FireLite and my few remaining ESBIT tabs on a 6 day Grand Canyon backpacking trip two years ago. The base of my Vargo Ti Triad EX served as my stove B/C I could set two tabs in the stove. Of course I used an MSR foil wind screen tight around the pot. With this setup I could even cook spaghetti with two fuel tabs.
This summer I'm getting a Caldera Cone TRI TI W/Inferno and Gram Cracker conversions. I know the efficiency will be much greater than my old setup.
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