Amazingly compact & light stove.
Of all my stoves, this is the lightest one I own. I also have a Jetboil stove and a Stratus TrailStove, and I typically use my Jetboil the most. However, I am very impressed with this Esbit stove! Today I took this stove with me on a hike in the snow. I used this stove to boil two and a quarter cups of water to make a dehydrated meal. It was 32 degrees and snowing, but there was no wind. The most stable place I could find to set the stove was a picnic bench with about a quarter inch of ice on top of it. The Esbit fuel tab lit easily with a REI storm proof match and I placed my GSI Minimalist cup (with the 2 1/4 cups of water) on top of the stove. It took about one and a half Esbit fuel tabs to get the water to boil. When the first tab was almost gone, I simply put another tab on top of the one that was already burning, and it caught fire within seconds. I wasn't in a hurry to boil the water so I am not sure how long it took to boil, but it wasn't very long. I do plan on keeping a bit of foil with this stove to use as a wind screen... just incase I have to us it when it is windy. For the weight and space savings that this stove offers, I love it! I usually don't do anything more than boil water with my stoves when I camp or hike, so this stove does the trick for me. I also think the Esbit fuel tabs would make great fire starters in a pinch. As I mentioned before, when I carry this Esbit stove, I have a GSI Minimalist cook kit and I can place four fuel tabs inside the stove and then store the stove inside the cook kit. It is very compact! Some people complain that the fuel tabs have a fishy smell... and they do. However, I double bag them in two ziplock sandwich bags, and no smell gets out. I am very impressed with this stove and I will continue to take it with me on hiking and camping trips... especially day hikes.
My husband and I bought this stove a few weeks ago to go with our GSI soloist cookset, and LOVE it! It fits just as well into our pot as any other compact stove and we can keep all our fuel in there in just a plastic bag. No more worrying about fuel leaking into my pot and I never have to worry about the extra weight or if I have space in my pack for extra fuel.
We recently took this out on a day hike for a wet weather test of some of our newer gear and it did very well. It took two cubes to get a full liter of water to boiling in moderate rain and brisk winds, but just like any stove, it does better in good conditions. One cube got it hot enough for two cups of hot chocolate, so I'm guessing the one cube would have got a half liter boiling. Even with two of us I really can't see needing a whole liter of boiling water realistically at any point. It really works best with a windscreen and in the picture you'll see I've made a homemade windscreen out of tin foil that works just as well as the kind you buy and if it blows away I'm not broken up about it. Using it in the "A" frame position works best with our stove for stability.
The only issue at all is that for us it did take a lighter like you'd use on a grill to get it going and it took about 30 seconds to light, but of all the issues that a stove can have that is one I'm definitely willing to live with. Especially since it is a fraction of the cost of the next cheapest stove I found and is able to work anywhere in the world without any issues due to altitude or temperature issues.
I bought this stove about 6 years ago for an emergency earthquake kit. I already use a campming gaz stove for backpacking and never really thought about bringing this stove.
Just got back from a 3 day 2 night backpacking trip on the Rincon trail in Sequoia National Forest.
I brought this along as a backup just in case because my friend didn't have a stove and we were going to share mine.
I took it out while he was using my stove and started frying up dinner.
Wow!. It heated up oil so quick that I used it for the whole trip to cook breakfast and dinner.
It did take a while to boil water but I was trying to boil a lot of water. (think cheap mess kit pot full)
I used my gaz stove for that.
Keep in mind that we love food and don't pack ultralight. I brought a bag of Jimmy Dean Skillets for breakfast that is chopped potatoes bellpeppers onions and sausage. Dinner 1st night was 1 lb pre-cooked bbq ribs from fresh & easy and second night I had 2 hormel roast beef & mashed potatoes ready meals just heat package in boiling water)
We were so impressed by the performance that he is going to buy one also and might use it as his primary stove.
This thing is so small I can keep it in the little bag my stove came in with my gaz stove or inside my mess kit.
The fuel cubes work great for starting fires also.
No need for kindling just pile larger sticks in your pit and light a fuel cube under them.
Less work and you get warm real quick.
Used on a couple of four-day backpacking trips this month. Temps were below freezing overnight, so in the morning, the stove boiled water from a temp that began at just above freezing. I needed about half a cube to boil 14 oz. Lighting the cube in such cold temps wasn't too difficult-I put a glob of hand sanitizer on a corner, put a lit match on top, voila.
My 16 oz Snowpeak cup didn't look secure on top, so I created a solution.(see pic) I cut a couple of 3" lengths of ½" wide aluminum strapping material, and folded them lengthwise. The strapping comes in a roll and has holes along the center. I just place them on the stove's top edges, and I have a level surface. I remove and stow them in the stove when done.
When opening the tablet package, I found that if I run a fingernail along the outer edges of the top, I can pull away a large rectangle of aluminum. When this is placed on the stove underneath the tablet, it keeps the black gunky stuff off the stove.
I keep the tablets and stove in a zip-lock bag so the slight smell won't transfer to other items in the backpack. The stove zip-lock stays with the food bag, when hanging from a high branch at night. I suspect some night animals might find the fishy smell yummy.
All in all, a small reliable lightweight stove to heat water.
Fantastic Lightweight Stove
The Esbit has proven to be a fantastic little stove. I take it on every backpacking trip that I go on. It's bulletproof as far as construction goes (I also believe it could also stop a bullet if carried in a shirt pocket) and couldn't be simpler to use.
You can't beat both the cost of the stove and fuel, as well as the weight savings over a conventional gas stove and fuel tanks. The only con is the odor from the fuel pellets, but it's easy to avoid. Avoid puncturing the foil on the pack (it's thin), and I just keep them double-bagged in a couple small ziploc's and that takes care of it. The small amount of residue that is left on the bottom on my stainless pot always comes off easily, so it's never been a big deal to me.
Overall, it's a great stove. Even though I am usually the only guy on a trip without a JetBoil, I enjoy not lugging around the equipment and fuel tanks. I also recommend keeping a piece of aluminum foil folded up and stored in the stove to use as a windscreen. This works very well and I've never had any issue reaching a rolling boil with one fuel pellet as far up as ~10,000ft.
esbit performance measurement
Bought the Esbit Pocket Stove as a winter day hike emergency stove.
air temp.: 28F
starting water temp: 63F
amount of water: 16oz. (2 cups)
pot: 500ml alum. (Optimus Trio), covered
burn time: 12 min
max water temp: 193F (after 10 min burn time)
According to my calculations, given the heat of vaporization of H2O, it would take about 8 tablets to actually (rolling) boil the water. Therefore, one tablet would certainly heat 2 cups of water to a high enough temp. for a hot drink, or to prepare a packaged dehydrated entree for two. However, at least at colder ambient temps., it is not realistic to expect to purify a significant amount of water with this stove.
I like the Esbit's low weight, and might even use it for a night or two of backpacking, in place of my Jetboil stove. Fuel weight of tablets versus iso-butane tank crosses over at about two days/nights of backpacking with two people.
Actually, after buying the Poscket Stove, discovered and even lighter Esbit that is a flat plate that you fold into a stove shape. Will use this limit use stove for emergency stove and save the unlimited use pocket stove for backpacking.
Did not notice any significant unpleasant smell in use.
This is a MUST item for backpacking
This stove is a MUST for backpacking. It enables you to use the solid fuel tablets, as well as a suitable alcohol stove. The stove supports standard 700ml and 850ml cookpots, as well as all the stainless steel pots.
I was once a Whisperlite user and have gone to using alcohol stoves (popcan). I use the ESBIT stove as the pot support for the alcohol stove, and it works flawlessly, provided the alcohol stove is short enough to fit.
The ESBIT stove carries up to 4 solid fuel tablets in its folded up condition, and those are used as my backup fuel source, in the event my alcohol stove is destroyed by a careless footstep.
There are no moving parts to either system and there is nothing to go wrong. No matter what, it will work as designed.
The ESBIT is best for solo or dual hiking. If you are going with the family, the power output isn't sufficient to cook a timely meal. Additionally, you can't really cook with it. It is used to boil water. This is geared to be used with other ultralight gear, such as titanium.
I've had mine since the early '90s, and it is still functioning as advertized.
It is what it is
Sometimes you have to be smarter then the equipment you are trying to operate and this small stove is no exception, so here are a couple suggestions for those who have one or are looking to get one of these little beauties.
1)Have a bowl of Cambells condensed Chicken Noodle soup , but save the can. Clean the can and cut the bottom out at the most bottom ridge, approximately 3/4 of an inch. This will fit inside the stove when it is closed and will serve as a fuel tray and wind brake.
2)But some cotton balls ( use anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 a ball spread out around the fuel cube in the tray in the stove. Use a flint or match , which ever you prefer. I use flint.
3)Try the cube either on its end or side. Burn time maybe shortened, but you will get a little quicker heat from it being closer to the item you are trying to heat.
4)If you need to add more fuel, use 2 small twigs like chop sticks or take chop sticks with you. Remove pot or cup before adding fuel. This makes it easier to get the fuel in.
Have fun, I do
I've seen these before many years ago but never felt the Esbit would perform as well as it did. I used one for the first time today to demonstrate to my Webelos scout son how to use it properly and cook a hot dog. My 4yo daughter was very interested.
We sliced the hot dog and put it in an REI Ti pan (sprayed first with PAM). Once lit, the Esbit tablet cooked the hot dog very quickly. We had to stir and lift the pan off the stove frequently to prevent burning. Once cooked the hot dog provided a nice afternoon snack. No kid would deny that!
After the hot dog finished I blew the flame out.
Next I boiled about half a liter of water with the remaining tablet. The tablet was fully consumed when the water reached its boiling point.
Cleanup was a piece of cake. Since I had the tablet in a little bit of foil there was no burn mark on the stove. I kept the foil for later use, too.
This stove is a fantastic device and should be in everyone's pack.
What took me so long?
I've seen these stoves at REI, Walmart, and many other outdoors stores, but I've never had a reason to buy one. I finally decided that 10 dollars was worth giving it a try. I have to say I'm quite impressed with its size, materials, and over all quality. On top of that the tablets it burns seem to do their job when using the directed amount of water and a good cup. I have a pocket rocket stove, it's great, but at the end of the day most of my meals are just boiling water and rehydrating or occasionally heating up soup. This does both of those efficiently and in a compact package. On top of that I don't have to guess how much fuel I have left, because I just need to count the tablets. Last, but not least, the tablets are cheap, can be bought at almost any store with an outdoors department, and they are great fire starters. It's great for camping, hiking, or if you have an emergency pack for storms and the like, it would be great so you have a lightweight, compact method of boiling water.