SUL 16 oz Capacity Esbit System
Apr 30, 2021 at 12:09 pm #3710967
I’m planning my first no-cook trek this summer on the Sierra High Route in order to go as light as possible, but wanted to have an emergency hot water system for potential hypothermia situations. So my primary goal was to make the lightest system I could that would boil 500 ml/2 cups of ice cold water. Canister systems are obviously out because of their weight, and neither wood nor alcohol are permitted in most of the Sierra Nevada. Although Esbits are not my usual fuel of choice they are by far the lightest option and they are allowed in the Sierra Nevada. They also work in the coldest conditions.
As usual (for me) I started with a Foster’s can modified with a 5.5 oz cat food can base. The flat base is thinner, lighter, more stable, and absorbs heat better, as well as allowing me to cut down the overall size of the can to match my capacity goal. The lid is cut from another cat food can because, amazingly, the grooves fit perfectly into the Foster’s top rim. The “handle” on the lid is ripstop nylon sail repair tape.
For the burner I used an empty aluminum tea candle cup.
The windscreen is a titanium gripper style, which is very effective as a windscreen and eliminates the need for a separate pot support.
Total weight: 1.6 oz
As you can see, the low intake holes are only on one side of the windscreen so that it can be positioned with the no-hole side facing the wind.
Pressed a ridge into the can at the 500 ml level for easy measuring:
Did four quick and dirty test burns. Used 7 gm (1/2 Esbit) to boil 500 ml of Brita-filtered ice water in roughly 15 minutes (60F outside temp, 30′ elevation). I played with the height of the can above the flames. With the can about 1.5″ above it boiled in 13 and flamed out at 15. With the flame 1/2″ above it boiled at 21 and burned out at 25!
Added a cozy for comfortable holding and to keep the water hot.
Added a cozy “hat” to keep it all together and for packing purposes:
Cozies look kinda sloppy but I was using scraps of Reflectix and tape and just making it for personal use.Apr 30, 2021 at 12:29 pm #3710968matthew kModerator
I have lost interest in cooking while backpacking but I enjoy tea/coffee and having some warm beverages seems like a good backup plan in a bad situation.Apr 30, 2021 at 12:32 pm #3710969
Actually, now that I’ve seen how light and efficient it is I’m thinking of taking along enough Esbits to have hot coffee every morning :-)Apr 30, 2021 at 1:27 pm #3710982
Nice system, looks perfect for the situation. You might add a heat shield just to be safe and it won’t weigh much. My 2 cents.Apr 30, 2021 at 1:29 pm #3710983
Not sure what that would be exactly. Like a secondary windscreen to keep things from touching the primary?Apr 30, 2021 at 1:42 pm #3710985
I love using esbit ..Apr 30, 2021 at 1:51 pm #3710986
Just a piece of foil between the Esbit stove and the ground, that’s all.Apr 30, 2021 at 2:15 pm #3710989
You can barely see it beneath my stove set in that picture above..
As not to scorch mother nature and her earth.. and possibly to reflect some heat back to the pot??? Not sure about the second part, but it sounds good!!Apr 30, 2021 at 2:30 pm #3710999
Ha! I have called that a base sheet in the past, but I’ll update my nomenclature. I actually did put a piece of foil folded over a couple of times under the rig when I did the test burns and plan to take it along. Guess I’ll include that in the weight!Apr 30, 2021 at 2:46 pm #3711004
Yeah, I just call it a titanium floor or a burn sheet…Apr 30, 2021 at 10:42 pm #3711068matthew kModerator
Just my $.02 but I find the 4g tablets really nice to pack in a ziplock pill baggie. I prefer keeping the stinky, toxic tablets outside of my cook kit (usually in the front pocket of my pack). The 4g tablets are more expensive but I don’t use many so the price seems negligible to me.May 1, 2021 at 5:04 am #3711074
Agree about the 4g. Or the 5g too!
I keep mine in little “dime” baggies, but i do leave them inside my rolled up cone.. inside my pot. No smells or issues for me.May 2, 2021 at 9:00 am #3711199Daniel OxnardBPL Member
I have heard of folks smearing the snapping together part of ziplock baggies with a bit of vaseline to block smell from escaping dope baggies. Works on drug dogs, would probably work for esbit baggies? Bear baggies?May 2, 2021 at 9:29 am #3711202
My understanding is that the plastic in regular baggies and ziplocks, although waterproof, is not gas/air tight, but that turkey baking bags are.
So I…uh…er…I mean some people I know…use turkey bags for storing odiferous herbs. For Esbits I cut off the bottom 12” or so off a turkey bag, put in the Esbits, then fold and roll it and rubberband it before putting it in a double ziplock freezer bag, which then goes in the pot.
Are there Esbit brand 4 and 5 gram fuel tabs? I’ve tried Coghlin’s and the don’t seem to burn as cleanly. I just cut the Esbits into 7 gram halves and 3.5 gram quarters before I head out. The 3.5 gram quarters are enough to boil 8 oz of water for morning coffee or a hot dinner.May 2, 2021 at 9:44 am #3711204
Can’t you just open up Esbit and let it air out to reduce the stink? If I recall right, 4 g Esbit is unwrapped and really don’t smell. Just a thought.May 2, 2021 at 12:26 pm #3711227
4 g esbit come in box.. not individually wrapped and do no smell.May 2, 2021 at 12:31 pm #3711228
here…May 2, 2021 at 12:32 pm #3711229
here are 5g.May 3, 2021 at 1:58 pm #3711321Robert SpencerBPL Member
@bspencerLocale: Sierras of CA and deserts of Utah
Could you just place the esbit tab on the foil base/heat shield/burn sheet or is it essential to use a gram cracker or tea candle cup? I do the former, but wondering if I’m losing significant fuel efficiency?
Also, does unpacking esbit tabs and airing them out before a trip lessen their effectiveness? I don’t know why, but I’ve always carried them in the foil-wrapped individual packages. Less odor and less packaging is appealing.
Thanks.May 3, 2021 at 2:16 pm #3711324
If you asking me … I use the Graham cracker with my set up. As for the Esbit, the 4g tablets are not packaged.. They come loose in the box. The 5g tabs come in package of 4. I usually open it and just throw them in little mini baggies before my trips. The bigger tabs I usually just leave them in the package as they come.. But I don’t think it would lessen their effectiveness if you did remove them and bag em.May 3, 2021 at 3:53 pm #3711337
@bspencer: You could just put the tab on the foil, but there is a bit of the tab that liquifies while burning and is lost as fuel if it isn’t contained. The 14 gram tabs seem to light a bit easier when fresh from the individual packages, but not so much that it’s worth the smell if you want to repackage and let them air out in the process.May 3, 2021 at 10:52 pm #3711394Adam KilpatrickBPL Member
@oystersLocale: South Australia
Love this set up David!
And the advice in the thread about smell. I have a ton of 4g tabs I bought a few years ago but never really got into using them much. Maybe its time.May 4, 2021 at 11:21 am #3711440toddBPL Member
@funnymoLocale: SE USA
I like it David!
I’m known to be dense, but I can’t see how the pot is supported – how is it suspended above the esbit?
Thank you.May 4, 2021 at 11:41 am #3711448
Todd, the windscreen and flaps are sized so that the Foster’s can be pulled up, but when you try to push down the flaps grip the can and, when sized correctly, the harder you push the more the flaps dig in. I liked the idea of some kind of flaps to function as spacers that keep the windscreen stable and evenly spaced around the pot, which I believe I first saw on Jon Fong’s Snow Leopard. The gripper concept I borrowed from Simmershield.
Another cool thing about this style of windscreen is that the height of the Foster’s can be adjusted to use with different burners (tea candle, Gram Cracker, Starlyte) and different fuels (Esbit, alcohol, wood, butane). By placing to SS rods across the top of the windscreen to support the Foster’s you can fill it with twigs and wood to burn, and since the windscreen can also hang from the pot it can even be used with a canister stove when properly placed so the bottom edge is no more than an 1/2″-1″ below the burner (and a heat shield above the canister!).May 4, 2021 at 7:44 pm #3711517toddBPL Member
@funnymoLocale: SE USA
Thank you David. That’s very nice – I had no idea the tabs did all that. Sweet!
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