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Esbit Stoves
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Mike Philip
(mphilip) - F
Esbit Stoves on 07/26/2010 23:13:27 MDT Print View

Can a guy get buy with just an esbit stove if only for boiling water for MH meals? Will it actually bring water to a full boil or just get it warm?

I am trying to lighten up my pack and have an esbit that i have never actually used and thought I'd ask before i took it on a 4 day trip this weekend :)

Any info would be great.

thanks,

Mike

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
boiling on 07/26/2010 23:16:32 MDT Print View

depends on how much water and what size/shape pot you have. i can boil my snowpeak 700 and my GSI 660 pot without using a whole tablet.

Stephan Doyle
(StephanCal)
Re: Esbit Stoves on 07/26/2010 23:24:36 MDT Print View

Try it at home. Bust out your favorite pot and light one up.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
yes on 07/27/2010 00:09:58 MDT Print View

With my TiWing stove, trappers mug, lid, and tight windscreen I typically get 2 ~10 oz full boils per esbit tab.

Marc Kokosky
(mak52580) - F

Locale: Washington, DC Area
Re: Esbit Stoves on 07/27/2010 01:03:30 MDT Print View

Short answer, yes... if you are using it mostly for solo dehydrated meals, freezer bag cooking etc.

I can usually boil enough for a meal and coffee off of less than one tab in my MSR Titan Kettle.

If I am cooking for 2 or more, then I'd switch to alcohol or canister stove.

Donna Chester
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Esbit Stoves on 07/27/2010 04:48:49 MDT Print View

Don't know about a guy getting by with Esbit, but this gal does. : ) Before Caldera cone days, I could get a boil, using a good windscreen and my MSR pot. It was enough water for a cup of tea and a meal.

Kate Magill
(lapedestrienne) - F
windscreen + lid = success on 07/27/2010 06:27:22 MDT Print View

Yeah, this gal as well. I used an Esbit for quite awhile using an old steel mug with a homemade aluminum foil lid and windscreen. It was a pretty nifty budget operation. Wish I had pics. I only ditched that setup because the Esbit tab smell gives me headaches.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Esbit Stoves on 07/27/2010 07:23:21 MDT Print View

Yes. I've used them for several years and about 1000 miles of the PCT to do just what you want to do.

Two years ago, I switched from the folding esbit stove to the (IMO) far superior Caldera Cone with the Graham Cracker esbit "stove" (aka tablet holder).

Solid fuel stoves are far more susceptable to the effects of wind than other types so must be more carefully shielded to increase heating efficiency. This is where the Caldera Cone excels. I can boil 900 ml of cold creek water on slightly more than half a tablet (at 7000 feet). At lower altitudes, it can take an entire tablet.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Esbit Stoves on 07/27/2010 09:06:08 MDT Print View

Esbit is light and Esbit can be packed in your baggage on an airline flight, both of which are good things.

The down side of Esbit:
-Hard to light
-Smell (yuck)
-Leaves residue on bottom of pot
-Very susceptible to wind
-Most expensive fuel of all options (alcohol, Coleman Fuel, gas canisters, kerosene, etc.)
-Illegal in some areas (fire restrictions)

I use it on some trips where airline travel is involved, otherwise I use something else. Esbit takes some getting used to. I'd definitely use it at home and on short local trips before taking it on a more serious trip.

HJ

Kendall Clement
(socalpacker) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
"Esbit Stoves" on 07/27/2010 10:05:44 MDT Print View

I love it! Yes, it smells and leaves residue, but I just use a 1/4 sheet of a shop towel and it comes right off.

+1 for David for 10 oz. I tried boiling 16 oz at once on a trip this weekend and it took forever and 1 1/2 tabs. I was exhausted and impatient. Should have been more patient. Probably would have made a smarter decision and boiled less water at once time.

Edited by socalpacker on 07/27/2010 10:20:03 MDT.

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: Re: Esbit Stoves on 07/27/2010 11:34:40 MDT Print View

"Esbit is light and Esbit can be packed in your baggage on an airline flight, both of which are good things."

Do you have this in writing from the FAA? According to every document I've ever seen, no flammable items of any sort are allowed in checked baggage (with the exception of lighters in a special case.) "Fuels including cooking fuels" are specifically denied.

http://tinyurl.com/ptxdw

I am only writing this to prevent other hikers from trying to check Esbit tabs or other fuels. Or at least so you can let me know your flying schedule in advance....


On the subject of Esbit tabs in camp cooking, they do work pretty well. I did some tests with the BPL fuel tabs and found they worked better (faster) and were cheaper, though the shipping costs ate up any real savings.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Re: Re: Esbit Stoves on 07/27/2010 11:43:07 MDT Print View

I like Esbit, but it takes practice and planning - as everyone else has noted. I have used it for long backpacking trips such as AT thruhikes. It works better than alcohol in near-zero weather. It is also by far the most weight-efficient fuel option for solo or tandem backpackers as long as your cooking consists of boiling water.

I use Esbit with a titanium wing burner and a short cone-shaped oven-liner wind screen that goes about 3/4 inch up my pot/mug. Esbit must have wind protection, but it can't be crowded. The cone takes care of that while putting heat close to the pot. Home-made burner/pot supports are easy projects.

Esbit residue is water soluble, so wash it off if it gets on your nerves.

Esbit (hexamine) is a precurser used in making a high explosive and may trip 'sniffer' alarms at airports. That could be inconvenient.

Edited by vickrhines on 07/27/2010 11:51:01 MDT.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
ESBIT times 2 on 07/27/2010 13:11:37 MDT Print View

I've used only ESBIT for a Grand Canyon backpack and found that 2 tabs gives the heat necessary to boil water. And you still have some left over for the next meal. Usually adding one more fresh tab to the partially burned one is enough.

(Residue on pots wipes off easily.)

I used a Vargo Triad stove W/ the alky burner removed. Very light and held 2 ESBIT tabs easily.

BTW, two tabs at a time REALLY speeds up boil times and, IMHO, saves fuel in the long run. A good windscreen is a must.

Edited by Danepacker on 07/27/2010 13:14:56 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Esbit Stoves on 07/27/2010 13:26:27 MDT Print View

>> Esbit (hexamine) is a precurser used in making a high explosive and may trip 'sniffer' alarms at airports. That could be inconvenient.

LOL. I can imagine that after being thrown to the ground and hand-cuffed and the airport evacuated, someone might get around to asking or finding out what it is.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Esbit Stoves on 07/27/2010 13:43:05 MDT Print View

Esbit tablet are forbidden in both checked and carry-on baggage per TSA regulations. I've asked several different agents several different times over the years.

That said, I doubt a TSA screener would recognize them as fuel if they were scattered throughout your food bags as part of each day's supplies. Bunched together, they might invite an inspection just to determine what these strange things are. YMMV.

And that said, before you attempt to beat the odds, can you afford the odds beating you? Esbit tablets can be very hard to find along the trail and if your supply gets confiscated or your checked pack doesn't clear security..... Not something I'd risk my hike for.

Call ahead to resupply points and see if any local outfitters carry them, or would be willing to stock them for you in exchange for prior purchase on your part.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Esbit Stoves on 07/27/2010 14:28:47 MDT Print View

"can you afford the odds beating you? Esbit tablets can be very hard to find along the trail and if your supply gets confiscated or your checked pack doesn't clear security."

I'm not a thru-hiker, so it doesn't affect me. However I think the Ti-Tri Caldera with Gram Cracker is perfect because even if I lose/run out of Esbit, I can still use it to contain a wood fire.

Before you try Esbit in the field, try it at home, but wait to do it outside on a rainy and really windy day. It can be challenging. I usually carry a small dropper bottle of alcohol and place a few drops on the tab before lighting. Makes a big difference in windy conditions.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Re: Re: Esbit Stoves on 07/27/2010 17:29:06 MDT Print View

"Esbit is light and Esbit can be packed in your baggage on an airline flight, both of which are good things."
Do you have this in writing from the FAA?
Hi, Ken, no I don't. I was just repeating what I had read elsewhere on other outdoors related forums. Personally, I think cotton T shirts are more flammable than Esbit, so it made sense that Esbit would be allowed when I read it, but I should have verified it before posting it here. Thanks for keeping me honest.

I looked on the TSA and FAA sites, and they do state that cooking fuels are prohibited. The TSA and FAA sites don't specifically prohibit Esbit or hexamine, but I think the general prohibition against "cooking fuels" does imply that Esbit is prohibited.

I also checked the explosives precursor issue and did find information stating that hexamine is an ingredient in some explosives.

HJ

Miriam Riner
(drmariner) - F
shipping options on 08/18/2011 16:31:09 MDT Print View

I live in Hawaii, so to go camping anywhere, even a neighboring island, requires fuel transportation. I've had luck having my parents on the Mainland shipping esbit tablets via the Post Office for General Delivery in areas that I can't find a fuel source.

It's a bit tricky to sort through the requirements (and the post office personnel frequently don't know the rules themselves). But flammable materials of certain hazard classes can be shipped via ground in "consumer quantities" so long as they are appropriately labeled "ORM-D." This is only for domestic shipping, I still haven't solved the international fuel issue.

http://pe.usps.com/text/pub52/pub52c3_012.htm
http://pe.usps.com/text/pub52/pub52c3_010.htm#ep898504

Also, technically you are not permitted to fly with chlorine dioxide tablets (for water purification) as they are hazardous material (intended for humans to drink?). I fly with them all the time and have never been stopped. Of course my UV Steri-pen has been confiscated for being a "weapon" because, in the end, the TSA officer can enforce "his/her best judgement" on the danger of any item.

If anyone has any other ideas for a backpacker stuck on a rock in the middle of the Pacific, I'd love to hear them!

Miriam

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Esbit Stoves on 08/18/2011 16:59:42 MDT Print View

"The TSA and FAA sites don't specifically prohibit Esbit or hexamine, but I think the general prohibition against "cooking fuels" does imply that Esbit is prohibited."

About one year ago I had that discussion with TSA, and finally they referred me off to the DOT specialist on such matters, so I had the discussion there. The pronouncement was that Esbit is a cooking fuel and is therefore banned from carry-on or checked baggage. I think it can go for most surface shipping.

You know, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if one unwrapped cube of Esbit goes along appearing to be a piece of white soap.

One of the few fuels that can go into checked baggage is one sealed bottle of high-proof liquor, up to 140 proof. Still, there may be lots of questions about that, because it will show up on the baggage scanners.

--B.G.--

Monty Montana
(TarasBulba) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Esbit Stoves on 08/18/2011 18:34:33 MDT Print View

Mike, I've been a happy esbit user for several years now. I have other stoves (alcohol, canister, white gas), but when I want to go SUL I turn to esbit. In order to make it work efficiently all the components must be carefully considered. I started out using a Snow Peak Ti Solo pot; at 3 3/4" dia. it was just too narrow, as the flame would go up the sides and thus lose precious heat. Then I switched to an Anti Gravity Gear Al pot that was 5" dia., and the subsequent increase in performance was remarkable! With both set-ups a BPL Ti wing stove and BPL Ti windscreen were employed, as was a circular piece of heavy Al foil for the bottom of the set-up. This last bit serves to protect the forest floor from scorching and also to reflect back up to the pot. Using the larger pot I could boil two cups of water with less than one tab. An even more effecient set-up would be the Caldera Cone.