Disposable water bottle + esbit + rocks = emergency day hiking stove?
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May 30, 2014 at 9:05 am #1317387
It would be a nice piece of emergency day hiking gear for crappy weather if all you need are a handful of esbit tabs. You could build a little pot stand with rocks and maybe a metal trowel. I'm pretty positive the plastic won't melt if the bottle is full and the water doesn't evaporate. Definitely keep the cap off or the water vapor pressure might blow it up.
I'm 90% sure this would work with a disposable water bottle that doesn't have anything hanging off the edges not touching water (like a smart water bottle). I just don't know the health effects of the plastic getting up to boiling, anyone care to speculate?May 30, 2014 at 10:05 am #2107189Ben H.BPL Member
@bzhayesLocale: No. Alabama
This is only for emergencies? I'm trying to understand why you would need an emergency day hiking cook system. Are you planning on bringing emergency dehydrated food, or are you boiling water to sterilize it? If you are bringing food you might as well bring a proper cup to cook in. A lighter option would be to just bring no cook food. If you are using the system to treat water, why not just bring a few water treatment tabs.
On to your real question… I agree it would work. The health effects are pretty up in the air as far as science is concerned right now. There is some pretty nasty chemicals used to process plastic that will leach out more readily under heat. The key is that they are in fairly low concentrations. No one (as far as I know) has been able to prove a health effect at the concentrations present in liquids in plastic containers. It doesn't mean there isn't a negative health effect, it just hasn't been proven and would have to be more long term. For an emergency situation there is no good reason (as far as I am concerned) not to do this. And…. I am one of these nutters who has tried to eliminate all plastic from touching my food.May 30, 2014 at 10:16 am #2107193Don MorrisMember
For about 3 o,z more weight, I throw in a metal (ti)cup, some foil for windscreen, and I can heat up a storm – boil water and even cook.May 30, 2014 at 10:34 am #2107204
The Ti wing stoves have come down in price on eBay if you want something more formal, but rocks will work. Make sure you're on bare dirt or rock.
I carry a little day hiking/overnight cook kit with a 450ml mug, Ti Esbit wing stove, aluminum flashing windscreen and folding Ti spoon. It all fits in the mug with a lid from a soup can and a rubber band to keep it closed. I carry my Esbit in an aluminum cylinder with a screw top to keep the stink at bay.
The cheap version is an IMUSA mug, which will work just fine. You can find small light stainless mugs in Daiso stores for $1.50.
The next step up is a Snowpeak Ti bowl. Another light and cheap cook option is the Oilcamp Space Saver hard anodized aluminum mug that runs about $13 on eBay.
Of course there is the Fosters beer can option that would still work with rocks. That's about as fine a Dirtbag rig as you'll find.May 30, 2014 at 10:45 am #2107212
I should have clarified a little better, this would be if you're out hiking for the day and the weather turns fouler than expected. The hot water could be mixed with hot chocolate powder or a starbucks via for a hot drink if you get cold and wet enough to become hypothermic. I don't carry dehydrated food on day hikes either. I do carry a 5×9' tarp so I would probably set that up to get out of the rain/snow/sleet and get some hot water started.
I know a pot and actual stand only weighs a few ounces but I like being able to just leave a few esbit cubes into my daypack and not have to worry about digging my pot out from the gear room.May 30, 2014 at 10:50 am #2107214Justin BakerBPL Member
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
Yes, it works.
I would not do it unless in an emergency when I needed to purify drinking water.
Use the esbit to start a small campfire.May 30, 2014 at 10:54 am #2107218
It's nice to have a hot drink or soup on a day hike. On an overnighter, I can just take a sandwich and snacks, but I gotta have my coffee in the morning, so a minimal cook kit is all I need.
I would pass on the plastic bottle idea. It can be done, but it's weak and a mini-disaster if it melts. You could heat water in a stainless water bottle too, but that is a step backwards for weight. I would just go with a cheap metal mug.May 30, 2014 at 11:35 am #2107232Mobile CalculatorSpectator
…May 30, 2014 at 12:52 pm #2107252Bob GrossBPL Member
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Instead, I would recommend a titanium "Sierra cup" with a folding handle. I have one, and it goes around 1.6 ounces. In it, I store some Esbit fuel, a mini Bic, a packet of coffee, etc. Then I seal it in plastic wrap so that nothing gets lost.
In winter snow season when there is no fire danger, I omit the Esbit fuel and just use twigs.
–B.G.–May 30, 2014 at 1:40 pm #2107264
The plastic bottle would be used for carrying water, for drinking, as you hike. You know, like the one you already have? The esbit tabs would be the only intentionally brought item, and a lighter.
I was originally looking to see if anyone has done this and if there are any known health effects and all I've gotten are suggestions pots to use…May 30, 2014 at 2:40 pm #2107280Justin BakerBPL Member
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
Micheal, I have not done it but I have seen the method used many times on youtube or survival shows. As long as it has water in it, it will not melt. The water bottle will stretch and lose it's shape.
I have no idea what the health effects are.
For day hikes, I would carry a small titanium mug. Weight isn't much of a concern on day hikes and with a titanium mug you can heat up hot water in non-emergencies.May 30, 2014 at 3:01 pm #2107286
It is great to know the bottle trick if you have no alternatives and even then I would reserve it for purifying drinking water if needed.
If is your only water container, melting it in an emergency situation would be adding to the disaster du jour.
A better bet is to plan with forethought and have the right items to improvise with. A few small items in your kit can get you through a night or two without braking your scale or your bank account: a space blanket or poncho, some small line, duct tape and the classic essentials like fire starters, a pocket knife, your navigation gear, lighting, etc. If you want to take items that need hot water like cocoa of dried soup, I think it is far easier to take a mug and keep that precious water bottle intact.May 30, 2014 at 3:12 pm #2107291Mobile CalculatorSpectator
…May 30, 2014 at 3:23 pm #2107297
If you have a wide mouth container and build a fire, you can drop hot rocks in it to heat the water. That has it's own hazards with exploding rocks, but ancient folk cooked that way with baskets. Nalgene a la granite— yummy!May 30, 2014 at 3:31 pm #2107298Gary DunckelBPL Member
Thanks for that link, Roger. I've wanted to learn about the different grades of plastic, but I've been too lazy to google for it.May 30, 2014 at 3:48 pm #2107307AnonymousInactive
to cook using a plastic bottle, it would be wise to try it at home first to avoid unpleasant surprises when the chips are down. Myself, I just bring a thermos of Miso soup on day hikes in cooler weather. Yes, it's heavier, but it is just a day hike after all, and I'm not particularly concerned about weight most of the time anyway.Jun 2, 2014 at 8:33 pm #2108240AnonymousInactive
"There is some pretty nasty chemicals used to process plastic that will leach out more readily under heat. The key is that they are in fairly low concentrations. No one (as far as I know) has been able to prove a health effect at the concentrations present in liquids in plastic containers. It doesn't mean there isn't a negative health effect, it just hasn't been proven and would have to be more long term."
I tend to agree, and liken it to being nagged by one's new partner.. One, two, three, four times not so bad, but over months and years, can drive you mad and break you down as surely as a low flow creek can wear down granite over time…
Whatever, it's what popped into my head.Jan 15, 2015 at 6:47 am #2164772Rosaleen SullivanSpectator
@mamarosa43Locale: New England
OK-It sounds more like your water bottle idea is to use the bottle for your pot, not stove.
My experience with adding hot water to plastic bottles, even peanut butter jars, is they melt and change shape. Brawny made a cup from a plastic water bottle, somehow using duct tape to keep the rim from changing as the hot water was added. You could play with this at home.
A very cheap source for a small and light pot is a Vienna sausage can. Even some pets know this stuff is foul, but these are cheap enough to toss the contents and keep the pot. Vienna sausages can be found in 12 oz. sizes, so can hold up to 1.5 cups/12 oz. More sturdy and capable of taking abuse than a beer can pot, this was my go-to for years as my pot/cup/bowl when backpacking. Pack "stuff" inside the can to save space. If you would be happy with just 8 oz. capacity, empty a dip can. It should come with a plastic lid. Use the covered can to hold your emergency items.Jan 15, 2015 at 11:13 am #2164852jimmer ultralightSpectator
Ever smell canned cat food?
If you have pets that are so picky they wont eat vienna sauages,do Darwin a favor and make sure they don't reproduce…;)
Compared to what pets find tasty, Vienna Sausages are Fois Gras.Jan 27, 2015 at 2:43 pm #2168699Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I'd far rather "cook" in a cut down soda or beer can (i.e. Foster's big can) than get plasticizers infused into my water from a cut down bottle.
Use a rim protector. I dunno where to get them but I've seen them in photos here on BPL.
The BEST way to use ESBIT is with a Brian Green modded tablet holder for max burn time – it almost doubles ESBIT burn time.
The most efficient ESBIT "stove" is a small aluminum Caldera Cone. It acts as a stable windscreen/pot holder/heat concentrator.
Yeah, I have the BPL 3 leg folding "stove" but it needs a small aluminum windscreen to work well.
For day hikes I just carry my Caldera Cone ti Sidewinder and ti "floor" rolled up INSIDE my small 3 cup aluminum cook pot and 4 ESBIT tablets plus the Brian Green tablet holder. It's very light and very fast to heat water. It also can easily use wood since it's sheet Ti and not aluminum. Keep ESBIT tabs in an old coffee bag that has a foil lining as it keeps the fishy stink inside the bag.Jan 29, 2015 at 9:56 am #2169375Jeff LaVistaBPL Member
Try it in your driveway, water bottles are cheap.
I think you will find that the newer extra-thin plastic pint bottles will deform a Lot. If you are planning on boiling in plastic in emergency, I would step up to a thicker bottle, like a soda bottle, the walls are much thicker.
As to the health risks…
If you are truly stranded, maybe injured… what will kill you sooner?
Dehydration from not drinking at all while you await rescue? "They" say 3 days without water.
Ailments from virus/bacteria/protozoa tainted water? these usually have long incubation times, you may take days to even become sick, it may pass in total some time later or you could be like that one kid who sipped from a pond and 6 months later protozoa ate his brain from the inside. Or you could be totally fine.
Or in twenty years your liver and kidneys will shut down from traces of plastic. Or you will be fine.
Maybe don't make your "plan A" involve boiling with plastics, or even your "plan B" but certainly boil with plastic before enacting plan "die of dehydration Alongside the trail"Jan 29, 2015 at 10:39 am #2169390David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
There's also the trick of using paper as a pot. As long as it is filled with water, a sheet of binder paper will work as a pot. Some types of folds and origami work better than others, and it is much easier on a flat, stable grill with closely spaced slats, but it can be done. Once the water is boiling, it is dang hard to pour from the paper "pot" – far easier if you have something to scoop the water from the paper pot without moving it.
But if you're going to bring a 8.5 x 11 piece of paper as a pot, skip that and bring a 12×12 square of aluminum foil which has so many more uses: pot, pot lid, water pipe, smoking pipe, funnel, rain collection, rain hat, wind guard for sensitive areas, solar hand warmer, and defeating government surveillance:
How about a 12-ounce soda can? Give or take the plastic lining, it obviously will take the heat of a flame and have excellent heat-transfer properties. Better yet, bring a beer. If in trouble, drink the beer. If still in trouble and in need of a hot meal, use the beer can as a 12-ounce pot. Rub two Boy Scouts together to get a fire going and cook away.Jan 29, 2015 at 12:00 pm #2169429Bob GrossBPL Member
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
David, can I construct one of those aluminum foil deflectors against the ads that appear here on BPL?
–B.G.–Jan 29, 2015 at 4:48 pm #2169514EndoftheTrailBPL Member
What ads? I don't see no stinkin' ads. I've got Adblock. Life is good.Feb 7, 2015 at 5:35 pm #2172362Dan YeruskiBPL Member
Purchase sodium free chicken broth in the waxed paper container. Dual purpose, heat your soup broth and carry it in same container.
I did it with an alcohol stove. I might be able to find the video.
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