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School me... Alcohol Stoves
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Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: MLD Pot w/ Esbit on 12/14/2009 21:09:43 MST Print View

I use my MLD pot with esbit. I wipe off the bottom of the pot with a couple of leaves after each use, then scrub it up at home. The bottom is still black (but much of that happened when I used it over fire in the TiTri), but it's not 'mucky.'

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Caldera/MLD - packing on 12/14/2009 21:23:42 MST Print View

In case I didn't explain it clearly:looking into pot

Looking down into pot: my spoon and esbit 'pack' which includes (for an upcoming trip) 4 esbit tabs, a mini bic, some matches, and the gram cracker pieces. Will also contain my toothpaste and toothbrush when I get those together. Alternately, my alcy stove and fuel bottle, with spoon and teeth cleaners, would be in there with no problem.ready to pack

Here it is with the titanium 'scotch glass/coffee cup/ over the top, ready to be enclosed in the stuff sack. The foil looking stuff is the cozy for the MLD pot (even comes with a cozy 'lid'!) from AGG. I like keeping my water warm for teeth brushing after dinner and any cleanup necessary. The cozy does that wonderfully.all wrapped up

And here it is all secured, with my alcohol fuel of choice next to it for comparison.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: MLD Pot w/ Esbit on 12/14/2009 23:42:24 MST Print View

I found that there is a bit less gunk when burning esbits with the caldera then with some other stoves I have tried... easy to clean.

Specifically I bring around 12 ounces of water to boil for my dinner... blow out the esbits. Eat. Relight the esbits, and have enough fuel to 8oz cup of tea. I then use the tea bag is as spong... I knock off any food particles on the inside of the mug before drinking. The tanic acid in the tea seems to help cut through an oily remnants of dinner so a quick rinse takes care of the inside, and then use the tea bag to remove the esbits residue from the outside of the pot when I am finished drinking the tea.

Edited by verber on 12/14/2009 23:43:07 MST.

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: MLD Pot w/ Esbit on 12/15/2009 05:56:19 MST Print View

hey Mark,
I use the MLD Pot with the caldera compact and gram cracker. I take an ordinary plastic grocery bag, cut it down to side and wrap it around the pot, then place it in the mesh sack the pot came with. Do the same with my soot covered Tri Ti spec pot and it works like a charm.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Fuel of Choice on 12/15/2009 06:07:39 MST Print View

Hey Douglas,

"with my alcohol fuel of choice next to it for comparison" (Everclear)

That's kind of expensive, unless you get it tax free or something. Does it really work that much better than plain old hardware store denatured or Heat?

Keith Selbo
(herman666) - F - M

Locale: Northern Virginia
A convenient way to measure if you must use alcohol on 12/15/2009 07:18:37 MST Print View

At least one brand of mouthwash comes in a bottle with built in metering that automatically dispenses 10 ml. at a time. I found it to be very convenient to re-employ the bottle as an alcohol container once I became practiced at refilling it. Dispensing becomes a one hand operation. It was fast and there was no little cup to misplace.

I say was, because my wife and I could easily go through six ounces of alcohol a day. Compare that with a 5 ounce wood stove and a couple of ounces of charcoal lighter for a 50 mile hike and wood becomes the more attractive choice despite the added fuss it may entail.

Edited by herman666 on 12/15/2009 07:22:13 MST.

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: School me... Alcohol Stoves on 12/15/2009 09:31:30 MST Print View

To me, one problem with Alcohol stoves is that i tend to find myself burning HEET. I think a lot of long distance hikers primarily burn HEET. It's toxic stuff.

Sanad Toukhly
(Red_Fox) - MLife

Locale: South Florida
Re: Re: ml on 12/15/2009 09:40:16 MST Print View

I like the method mentioned by Mark and Franco. What kind of home made setup are you guys using to snuff out your stove? I think I want to try this method for better fuel efficiency.


Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
fuel options on 12/15/2009 09:42:09 MST Print View


I think all the info is here, but nobody has really laid it out for you:

There are three common alcohols used for stove fuel:

Isopropanol packs the most energy per unit volume, but burns very sooty. It is commonly available at gas stations as a fuel-line de-icer called Red Heet. The bottle it comes in is reasonably light, too, so you don't need to buy another one. It is toxic if ingested.

Ethanol is midway in energy and sootiness, and is readily available over most of the world. But most governments tax it heavily, so it is expensive. 190-proof Everclear is a good source, but the bottle isn't very light. Multi use, though. (FYI- You need at least 170-proof to burn well.)

Methanol burns with essentially no soot, but is the least energetic of the three. It is also commonly available at gas stations as a fuel-line de-icer, called Yellow Heet. Also comes in a handy bottle. It is also toxic if ingested.

If you buy "Denatured Alcohol" in the United States you are almost certainly getting a mixture of methanol and ethanol. Frustratingly, even though the bottles say "denatured ethanol" they can actually be 55% methanol! And you never know what other wacky adulterants they've added- some leave a sticky residue in your stove.

Edited by acrosome on 12/15/2009 09:44:04 MST.

Juston Taul

Locale: Atlanta, GA
Thanks on 12/15/2009 10:56:41 MST Print View

Thanks everyone for your input thus far. Please keep the conversation going. I'm learning a lot.

I'm specifically interested in the esbit tablets being used in the MLD Caldera UL Compact. How does one modify the system? It would be nice to use these, but also have the ability to use an alternate fuel if need be. Pics would be great.

@ Dean, thanks for laying it out for me. Lots of help.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: MLD Pot w/ Esbit on 12/15/2009 11:39:50 MST Print View

" Have you found any ways to avoid and/or remove the muck from your pot, or do you just deal with it?"

Rubbing the bottom of the pot in damp sand or soil works well, but there is usually some residue left to 'deal with' over the long term. I carry a small piece of pot scrubber for those alpine sites where no sand/soil is available. Esbit is my preferred fuel.

Roger B
(rogerb) - MLife

Locale: Here and there
Re: Re: MLD Pot w/ Esbit on 12/15/2009 13:23:42 MST Print View

Agree completely with Lynn, Esbit the fuel for use with a Caldera. Rubbing the base of the pot on grass, sand, soil removes most of the gunk. The rest is removed at home. Esbit has less issues with measurement and packaging, an Aloksak (or similar) can be used to store all the fuel needed.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: fuel options on 12/15/2009 13:33:16 MST Print View

I would add that the fumes from burning isopropanol can also be at least harmful, if not toxic. Tony Beasley found this out when testing water/alcohol mixtures.


Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
School me... Alcohol Stoves on 12/15/2009 14:02:09 MST Print View

This is one I used. It is just a piece of aluminium foil folded over and shaped over the burner. Eventually I will find/adapt a tin that fits snugly over the 10-20 burner.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Fuel of Choice on 12/15/2009 14:37:47 MST Print View

Hi Steven,

No, it's expensive. Ridiculously so to use as a fuel, I guess. But expensive doesn't really bother me. I skimmed the article that Roger Caffin and someone else (sorry, I forget the name) did about various fuels, and if I understood it correctly (always up for debate!) the everclear was the least toxic of any of the other choices. After reading that I gave my nearly full can of Crown's denatured away, and bought two bottles of everclear at the local liquor store.

I use esbit most of the time anyway!

Sanad Toukhly
(Red_Fox) - MLife

Locale: South Florida
Re: Re: Fuel of Choice on 12/15/2009 18:38:18 MST Print View

Did the article mention which fuel was the most efficient? I have been contemplating switching to Everclear as well. But I want to find out if it burns more efficiently than other fuels.


Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: Fuel of Choice on 12/15/2009 18:49:14 MST Print View

Hi Sid!

Only 1 's' in the name, but many who know me wouldn't quibble with your spelling.... ;-)

I believe it was, but if I remember correctly not significantly so. I THINK this was the article:

If so, it was just Roger, not co-authored.

Take care,


Mark Seeley
(mseeley) - F

Locale: Arizona
Esbit Muck on 12/15/2009 20:30:58 MST Print View

Thanks all for the tips on removing the esbit gunk. I never bothered to take it off with with my caldera keg, since I just pop in into the caddy when finished. But its good to know what it takes now that I have a MLD 850 on the way!

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
Re: School me... Alcohol Stoves on 12/15/2009 20:53:44 MST Print View


For second there I thought you were showing a before-and-after picture Franco...


Juston Taul

Locale: Atlanta, GA
Esbit on 12/15/2009 21:01:13 MST Print View

For those using esbit tablets for fuel... do you have to modify your system in any way for it to work efficiently? Or does one just place it where the fuel goes and light it up?