View Full Version : Esbit?

06-26-2012, 12:11
I have been a long-time alcohol user (for stoves!) and am just switching over to esbit as a back up fuel for my new QiWiz FireFly woodburner. I have never used esbit before, and hoped the esbit users would weigh in on their experiences. Got any esbit advice or stories, both good and bad? thanks.

06-26-2012, 12:23
It's all I've used for a few years. Love it. Light, doesn't require a container, and when you use it, it's gone.

I use the graham cracker stove, ti cup, and caldera cone.

06-26-2012, 12:35
It's great for boiling a couple cups of water. Only negatives is that it leaves a black sticky residue on the bottom of the pot. I bring a small (think eye dropper size) bottle of alcohol to help light them. Sometimes it's hard to get them started. When you are done cooking, you can blow them out and reuse the part that's left. Another negative is their smell....fishy...keep them in a zip lock, maybe double ziplock, or your pack will smell.

I got started using them when taking boy scouts on week long hikes. We thought they were much safer than alcohol...no problem spilling or measuring for kids. Also it's very easy to make a simple stove for them out of wire mesh or pet food can. We made wind shields out of aluminum baking trays. The caldera cone mentioned above looks pretty nice. You could easily make one yourself out of aluminum flashing..

06-26-2012, 12:43
I use the graham cracker stove, ti cup, and caldera cone.

Only negatives is that it leaves a black sticky residue on the bottom of the pot.
I also use a Caldera Cone and graham cracker stove with a Snow Peak 900 pot. I haven't used esbit extensively, but the few times I have used it that black sticky residue has been kinda a deal breaker. That stuff is tough to get off, so the pot has to be put into something (like a plastic bag) to keep it off of everything else. It can be removed by rubbing the pot on the ground, or using something like one of those scouring pads. My main issue with it is I also use my pot for treating water (with a Steripen), and I just don't want there to be any chance of getting any of that crap in my water.

Old Hiker
06-26-2012, 17:13
When I was in Scouts and never cooking over anything but wood fires, we would smear a thin layer of dish soap on the bottom of the pans. The soot would collect on it and then easily wash off while doing KP later.

Just boiling water: not sure if that would be an easy fix or not.

06-26-2012, 17:53
I've made a number of esbit stoves and have the materials for my next one. The big thing to keep in mind is that esbit is particularly susceptible to breezes.

My basic approach: Use a stove/windscreen pot slightly bigger than the cooking pot. About 1 inch diamter more will allow for a 1/2 inch gap between the cooking pot and stove/windscreen pot. The stove/windscreen pot should come about halfway up the sides of the cooking pot. The cooking pot should be about 1.5 inches above the esbit tab.

My next esbit stove will be made using a titanium pot, a couple of holes drilled to slide a tent stake through. This will be across a torus (from side to side but shorter than the full diamter). This is to hold one end of the cooking pot. The other end of the cooking pot will be held up by resting the handle of the cooking pot on the rim of the stove/windscreen. Total weight of stove/windscreen should be around 5 ounces.

When using on a picnic table put a few pebbles down first to keep the potentially hot cooking/windscreen from scorching the table.

06-26-2012, 19:12
Just how important is that windscreen? If the air is still--as in a shelter--does the screen improve boil time?

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06-26-2012, 19:23
Even in my relatively calm testing lab (aka garage) it made a difference. I think it has to do with keeping/reflecting the heat where it's needed.

I've seen traditional esbit stoves (that fold up about the size of a deck of cards) with a piece of aluminum foil used to shield the esbit tab. The foil would go along the edge between the pot stands. According to the builder this was superior to not using the windscreen/foil.

Esbit will still heat without a windscreen, it's just that a windscreen should get you to boiling a minute or two faster. And that minute might be the end of the esbit tab. It's up to you if you really need the water to boil or just get hot and if you want to carry the extra few ounces of windscreen or just hold your pot over esbit on a piece of foil on a rock. Either way it's nifty (smile).

06-26-2012, 19:52
Esbit tablets are all I've been using since 2004. I don't use their stoves. I made my own UL stove and use the overturned bottom of a soda can to hold the burning Esbit tablet.

06-26-2012, 20:14
I cannot imagine using anything but my Esbit stove and its tablets. My windscreen is made from folds of heavy duty aluminum foil. The only problem worth mentioning that I have experienced was with some guy next to me at the shelter table who was offended by the odor of the burning tablet. Do other fuels not give off fumes too? Anyway, it is so light that I cannot quite get the preference of others for their canister stoves.

06-26-2012, 22:18
Here is my Esbit set-up: