Still My Favorite Cook Kit

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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable Still My Favorite Cook Kit

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    Stephanie Jordan


    Locale: Rocky Mountains

    Companion forum thread to:

    Still My Favorite Cook Kit

    BPL Member


    Locale: SE USA

    Bradford I hear ya on the gunk.

    But once I started using mine, I found that the gunk comes off quickly if wiped off immediately after boiling.

    Joel Brodkey
    BPL Member


    I have played with Esbit Tabs on day trips, and have had results similar to those expressed in the previous comments. I also carry the Lite Trail stove, a homemade foil windscreen, and a small cup/pot in my day pack as an emergency means of boiling water if forced into an unplanned overnight stay (read survival kit). It will not only purify questionable water, but serve to keep one's core temperature up by drinking any hot liquid (plain water/coffee or tea/cup 'o soup/ pine needle tea/etc.).

    There are two things which came to mind when reading the article. The first has to do with fire restrictions. I typically hike in the Sierra's, and when fire restrictions are if effect, "ONLY a portable stove with gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel…" are permitted outside of developed recreation areas. I spoke with the Fire Management Officer at the closest U.S.F.S. office about this (specifically asking about both Esbit and alcohol stoves), and he confirmed the above statement from the California Campfire Permit. As such, one needs to be certain that open flames are permitted in the specific location of your hike. In a survival situation, I'd rather be alive and pay a possible fine, so I'd be willing to disregard the open flame restriction if necessary.

    The second thing has to do with an odor emitted from some sealed Esbit Tab packages. I may have had an rare occurrence, however, I've read of other people experiencing the same thing. The odor is hard to describe, but it's an unpleasant chemical odor, and it clung to the nylon fabric of the pack. It went away by airing the pack out and placing a couple of vehicle "odor eater" containers in the pack. I think I've solved the problem by wrapping each packet first with wax paper (which also makes them easier to light) and then with a couple of layers of aluminum foil.

    Hope this helps.

    Eric Blumensaadt
    BPL Member


    Locale: Mojave Desert

    I keep my ESBIT in a good quality 1 lb. coffee bean bag (the kind lined with aluminum foil laminate).

    Roll down the top and fold the keeper ends and no odor will get out. Try to get as much air out as you can while folding the top down.

    Michael Gillenwater
    BPL Member


    Locale: Seattle area

    My experience using Esbit for many years is that the residue is water soluble, and comes off easily with a little water and light scrubbing. I do it at camp after each cooking event. Takes 1 minute. Not a big deal.

    John S.
    BPL Member


    And Michael just throws that chemical in the dirt when finished?

    Owen McMurrey


    Locale: SE US

    And John would like to tell us exactly what chemical that is?

    Ken Thompson
    BPL Member


    Locale: Right there

    Hexamine is prepared by the reaction of formaldehyde and ammonia. In an acid environment hexamine is converted to toxic formaldehyde, which is their main hazard for toxicity by ingestion.

    Owen McMurrey


    Locale: SE US

    Yep, Google is still in business.
    What's left after it has burned was what I wondered about.

    Formaldehyde, ammonia. These are buzz words that people react to without even knowing what they really mean.
    OMG, those are harmful! But, wait…they're both biodegradable, so they can't be all bad, right?
    Check the MSDS for denatured alcohol if you want something to scare people around here with.

    Greg Mihalik


    Locale: Colorado


    Now there's an meaningless and overused cliché.

    Owen McMurrey


    Locale: SE US


    outdoors *
    BPL Member


    Locale: Michigan

    Worked since I was a youngster those Esbit tabs. I will die soon from it I am sure. Between sitting under a fluorescent light and the chemicals carpet give off I am a goner. Did you not read that bananas if you eat 230 a day will give you cancer.

    Just like to heat something warm from time to time. Not a cold food eater, but close. Esbit gives you the ability to change your mind depending on the conditions present with little weight penalty. I think sometimes people get so conditioned to have to have a hot meal each day. Figuring I brought this fuel I need to burn it….. Sometimes after a long day the last thing I would want is a hot meal. Maybe a snack, a hot drink to make me pee at night and a sleeping bag.

    Jennifer Mitol
    BPL Member


    Locale: In my dreams....

    I so badly want to like esbit. It seems simple, small, light…….

    But wow it just stinks. It's like when I backpacked in Alaska with my dad…we stood and gawked at a rare view of Denali! across the ribbons of glacial runoff……and all I could smell was his cigarette. Totally ruined the moment.

    Billy Ray


    Locale: the mountains

    I agree Jennifer. All the trouble to put a backpack trip together, all the hiking effort for the purpose of enjoying the beauty of nature. Not only the visuals, but also the smells of nature. And then have to suffer the stink of Esbit. Sorry, but I am not obsessed with light weight enough to ignore that smell. Further, it can't be good for you to breathe that stuff… give me migraines.


    Bob Gross
    BPL Member


    Locale: Silicon Valley

    "Further, it can't be good for you to breathe that stuff"

    Simple solution. Don't breathe it.

    If you were stupid, you would breathe the fumes directly above the burning flame.

    I have the opposite problem. Where I am cooking, there is often enough breeze to overwhelm my minimal windscreen, so I don't get any fumes at all.


    Billy Ray


    Locale: the mountains

    "Simple solution. Don't breathe it."

    I walked into a camp where one guy was using Esbit 30 feet away from me and had to walk away the smell was so bad…

    Each to his own…

    Lou Z
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southern California

    I wash my pots with dishwashing liquid (dawn) after each trip, it cleans off the esbit gunk easily.

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