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Elizabeth Tracy
(mariposa) - M

Locale: Outside
Esbits: How to maximize fuel efficiency? on 02/08/2010 17:56:11 MST Print View

I have an old Esbit stove (the basic fold-out metal platform) and have loved using Esbit fuel, for its simplicity and quiet operation.

However, I seem to go through the tabs much too quickly (compared to other people here). I cook big meals, often for 2-3 people. At some point (especially on longer trips, or very high-altitude trips with long boil times), the tabs become too expensive and bulky to carry.

Aside from considering an alcohol stove or canister stove, how can I make my Esbit use more efficient?

Skimming the forums here, there seems to be a dizzying amount of info on Esbit related stuff including the "gram cracker stove" (?); alternative fuel tabs under a non-Esbit name; even people using a Caldera cone. (?)

I/we usually cook with the wide version of the Evernew 1300ml titanium pot.

So what would help me conserve the fuel? (And what are the advantages of the other brands of fuel tabs?)

Thanks!

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Esbits: How to maximize fuel efficiency? on 02/08/2010 17:59:31 MST Print View

1) get a Gram Cracker stove and use the 'wings'
2) get a Caldera Cone
3) enjoy maximum Esbit fuel efficiency!!

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Esbits: How to maximize fuel efficiency? on 02/08/2010 18:05:28 MST Print View

Here you go http://traildesigns.com/caldera-cone.html

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
reply for Elizabeth on 02/08/2010 18:06:11 MST Print View

There are many volumes written about fuel efficiency for the typical UL backpacker.

For one thing, your cook pot may be marginally too large to effectively heat with a single Esbit piece. The vast metal surfaces of the cook pot are radiating heat outward at the same time that the bottom is accepting heat from the burning fuel. You might have better luck with a smaller cook pot. OTOH, if that means that you have to burn multiple Esbit pieces sequentially in order to cook everything, then nothing has been gained. For Esbit, I seldom use a vessel larger than 0.75 liter.

The big thing that always helps is to use the best windblockers and windscreens available. Make sure that your windscreen allows a little bottom draft and that there is a fraction of an inch of top space around the cook pot. Cook pot lids are very important if you are boiling water.
--B.G.--

Pamela Wyant
(RiverRunner) - F - M
RE: Esbit fuel efficiency on 02/08/2010 23:00:19 MST Print View

If you are cooking large meals for 2-3 people, Esbit would not be the most efficient fuel.

Rand Lindsly
(randlindsly) - MLife

Locale: Yosemite
Re: Esbits: How to maximize fuel efficiency? on 02/09/2010 03:03:09 MST Print View

Elizabeth:

As an Esbit user myself, here are my thoughts:

1) You're not going to see any more heat production out of alcohol than you will with Esbit, so that isn't the answer to cooking for more people/heating more food. If you really need to pump out lots of BTUs, petroleum based fuels, or wood burning might be the way to go.

2) At higher altitudes, I actually get quicker boil times and use less Esbit. This is primarilly because the boiling point of water is lower and it doesn't take as much heat to bring my water to a boil for the dehydrated stuff I eat.

3) As to making Esbit more efficient, what you have to do is decrease the amount of surface area of the tablet that is burning....or that is exposed to oxygen. It will then burn slower, and more efficiently. This is what we do with the Gram Cracker.

4) Since you and a few folks brought up the Gram Cracker and Caldera systems.....let me provide that context. The Gram Cracker is a 3 gram titanium Esbit stand with adjustable titanium "wings" to throttle the air flow to the tablet. The wings also will rotate vertically to facilitate burning 2 tablets at once which also might help your 2-3 person cooking issues. The Gram Cracker is manufactured by Trail Designs specifically for use in our Caldera Cone/Ti-Tri systems. These cone systems also help efficiency by protecting the rather "lazy" flame coming off the Esbit, capturing the heat and funneling it to all sides of the pot.

Hope that helps!

Rand :-)

Edited by randlindsly on 02/09/2010 03:06:20 MST.

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Re: Esbits: How to maximize fuel efficiency? on 02/09/2010 03:53:15 MST Print View

Rand-
Is the ULC system made for Esbit as well? I may be interested in it but don't see anything on your site about it. Maybe I am looking in the wrong place.

Also, can the Gram cracker be used alone with a home-made wind screen and pot holder? I have the BPL esbit thing, but find my MSR Titan pot just isn't stable enough.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Esbits: How to maximize fuel efficiency? on 02/09/2010 04:17:10 MST Print View

.

Edited by annapurna on 05/02/2010 06:24:16 MDT.

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Re: Re: Re: Esbits: How to maximize fuel efficiency? on 02/09/2010 05:06:45 MST Print View

Too early in the morning for me....but, I finally found the compact system which doesn't mention Esbit, although I'm sure it would work. But the point is moot anyway because my MSR pot isn't listed as being 'one with the cone'. I can build my own. Or dig into my junk box of parts and find something suitable. I just need the Graham Cracker.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Esbits: How to maximize fuel efficiency? on 02/09/2010 09:49:00 MST Print View

Lynn, Rand, et al have covered it... but just for the supporting vote, can't beat Trail Designs for efficiency. Their systems work incredibly well.

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Re: Esbits: How to maximize fuel efficiency? on 02/09/2010 10:21:29 MST Print View

It is and I agree but the Esbit system(Ti Tri) is only for certain pots and mine isn't one of them. The regular Caldera for alcohol is the only cone that fits MSR Titan. I'll just stick to what I have for now.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Esbits: How to maximize fuel efficiency? on 02/09/2010 10:22:11 MST Print View

.

Edited by annapurna on 05/02/2010 06:23:43 MDT.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: Re: Esbits: How to maximize fuel efficiency? on 02/09/2010 10:28:01 MST Print View

FWIW, you can have a Ti-Tri made for pretty much any pot on the market... I had one for a Titan kettle, too...

Frank Deland
(rambler) - M

Locale: On the AT in VA
Esbit Stove Height & Efficiency on 02/09/2010 10:41:41 MST Print View

Esbit Stove Height and Efficiency (Not sure when this article was written)

http://thru-hiker.com/articles/esbit_stove_height.php

Roger B
(rogerb) - MLife

Locale: Here and there
Re: Esbits: How to maximize fuel efficiency? on 02/09/2010 11:08:23 MST Print View

For me it is either wood or Esbit and that is why I use TiTri Caldera. this coming week I will be in Sweden, with my Gram Cracker and Ti Tri Inferno for a BPL 550 pot (but using and MLD 850). It gives me the best of both worlds and my testing over the past couple of weeks has helped me to understand how to successfully use the Ti Tri Inferno in snowy conditions. Some information can be found here

Rand Lindsly
(randlindsly) - MLife

Locale: Yosemite
Gram Cracker confusion police :-) on 02/09/2010 11:51:38 MST Print View

Anna/Donna:

You are both right!

Anna....I believe you are looking at the AntiGravityGear website....they are the people that do our order fulfillment for us and they do mention our esbit solution.

Donna....I believe you are looking at the Trail Designs website....and you are absolutely correct! The page doesn't mention esbit or our Gram Cracker. A hideous and ham-handed mistake on my part. I just updated the website to include esbit and Gram Cracker comments. Thanks so much for pointing this out! :-)

Quick summary to clarify the confusion my poor web page authoring skills created. The Gram Cracker works in all of the Trail Designs products. It does not support the pot but is intended to work with the Caldera Cones as the pot support.

Hope that helps.....and again....sorry for the confusion!

Rand :-)

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Esbits: How to maximize fuel efficiency? on 02/09/2010 13:27:53 MST Print View

+1 on using two tabs with the Gram Cracker for larger pots and more people.

+1 on using the Ti-Tri (as either a wood burner or solid fuel support) plus Gram Cracker for *most* trips...best of both worlds.

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Gram Cracker confusion police :-) on 02/09/2010 13:38:04 MST Print View

Everybody dance! Thanks, Rand. : )

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
What Lynn said... on 02/09/2010 13:52:10 MST Print View

I have to agree with Lynn. Get a Caldera Cone & the "Grahm Cracker" ESBIT/FireLite fuel tab holder.

Now you've got maximum heat conservation efficiency, especially if you use two tabs at once, blowing them out when your water boils and SAVING them for the next meal, when you add only one fresh tab. Two tabs get much faster results and, IMHO and experience, actually saving fuel overall.

Elizabeth Tracy
(mariposa) - M

Locale: Outside
Alternative fuel tabs? on 02/09/2010 16:58:43 MST Print View

Thanks for the feedback thus far. Very enlightening.

Now to the question: Are there alternative fuel tabs that work as well as the Esbits, and that might be cheaper? Or should I just stick with my Esbits.

If there *are* good alternative fuel tabs: Do they fit just as well into the Gram Cracker stove? Or are those built specifically for the Esbit shape.