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Move to Esbit
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Terri Wright
(ncalcamper) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Move to Esbit on 06/09/2011 19:53:03 MDT Print View

I'm pretty sure I want to use an esbit stove on my upcoming JMT trip. I have a Caldera Keg H. and would get the gram cracker to go with it. Looking for some advice on making this switch. Here are my observations/questions:

1. I should plan on one tab to heat up ~32oz below 10,000 ft. Up to 1 1/2 tabs for above?
2. A sandwich ziplock can be used to contain the residue on the pot vs. trying to clean.
3. Bring a little alcohol to easily get the tab going. (not sure how much).
4. I can mail esbit without restrictions.
5. Esbit stinks, so pack it in a separate ziplock to minimize smell.
6. Where's the best place to get esbit? Are some products better than others?
7. Anything else?

Erik Dietz

Locale: Los Angeles
Re: Esbit on 06/10/2011 09:37:50 MDT Print View

Hi Terry,

I too just made the switch to a Caldera Keg and Esbit tabs and I really like it. While I'm no expert I can at least tell you what I do.

1. I should plan on one tab to heat up ~32oz below 10,000 ft. Up to 1 1/2 tabs for above?
-I asked Rand from about this same thing, but in relation to the JMT as I'll be doing it in August and this is what he told me: "as you go higher in altitude, the temperature at which water boils goes down. What I found when I did the JMT was that at lower altitudes or with colder water to start with I was doing 2/3 to 3/4 of a tablet of esbit per boil. As I got higher in altitude, I found that I could often get my boil on 1/2 a tablet." I'm pretty sure he was talking about two cups and not 32oz though.

3. Bring a little alcohol to easily get the tab going. (not sure how much).
-I haven't had any trouble getting them lit but I'm sure somebody out there has considerable more experience then me and can give you a more informed opinion.

6. Where's the best place to get esbit? Are some products better than others?
-I got my Esbit tabs from Their prices were just a little cheaper then everywhere else I looked and it was the same kind.

Hope this helps some!

Rand Lindsly
(randlindsly) - MLife

Locale: Yosemite
Re: Re: Esbit on 06/10/2011 19:53:27 MDT Print View

Thanks Erik....

One other note.....I was doing my esbit burns with a 900ml Evernew there is a possibility that the keg, being taller and skinnier, will have different performance characteristics. Also, I was doing mostly Enertia trail foods....which on occassion only do 12oz....but 2 cups as well.

Rand :-)

ben wood

Locale: flatlands of MO
Re: Move to Esbit on 06/11/2011 22:25:50 MDT Print View

I have been using the keg-f and really, really, really like it.

1-i find 1 tab to be enough for a 12oz or 16oz boil plus enough to heat up water for coffee or tea below 10000'. I have no experience above at that altitude.

2-i just run the bottom of my can with a bit of dirt and call it good. I always store in the caddy from trail designs.

3-you can scrape off a timy bit of the esbit tabs to make tiny "scraps" that light faster and easier. Never tried that alcohol trick, but then might as well just go with an alky stove.


5-i store my esbit in the blister packs it comes in and keep a tiny plastic bag (not ziplock) to put those in. And store in the caddy. I can't "recommend" this as its always a bad idea to put toxic materials in your pot, but I take the risk.

6-i've only used esbit brand tabs. I've heard that the knock offs aren't as good but cannot confirm. Esbit are usually available at outdoor stores.

7-this is a great stove system and I bet you'll enjoy it. The low weight of the whole system supplies a pot/mug as well as 2 bowls!

Tim Drescher
(timdcy) - M

Locale: Gore Range
extinguish on 06/12/2011 12:58:04 MDT Print View

I have yet to light an esbit tab, but would like to know. What is the preferred method of extinguishing your tab in preparation for using the rest of it later?

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Make a wish on 06/12/2011 15:53:08 MDT Print View

Then blow Or drop a piece of foil over it

Edited by mtmnmark on 06/12/2011 15:53:41 MDT.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Move to Esbit on 06/12/2011 18:41:37 MDT Print View

1. I should plan on one tab to heat up ~32oz below 10,000 ft. Up to 1 1/2 tabs for above?
I'd plan on two just in case. 32 oz is a lot of water.

2. A sandwich ziplock can be used to contain the residue on the pot vs. trying to clean.
I wouldn't bother trying to clean the residue. Plus it's probably toxic to the aquatic life.

3. Bring a little alcohol to easily get the tab going. (not sure how much).
Yeah, do that. I brought esbits on my last JMT section and couldn't get them going for the life of me. I went through about one mini-bic lighter per tablet.

6. Where's the best place to get esbit? Are some products better than others?
I think some must be better than others. I may have gotten a bad or old batch. Nothing appeared physically wrong with it, but I just couldn't light it. I'm not sure I'll ever use esbit again because of this and because of the smell and the residue. Alcohol is just so much cleaner.

Terri Wright
(ncalcamper) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Typo on 06/13/2011 20:23:45 MDT Print View

Sorry, had a typo there. I'd say I'd be good with the 24oz that the H-Keg can hold, not the 32. I know esbit can be messy, but I just don't want to worry about shipping or buying alcohol while on the trail.

Theron Rohr
(theronr) - F

Locale: Los Angeles, California
lighting esbit on 06/14/2011 19:16:25 MDT Print View

I find matches work well to light esbit tabs. just light the match and lay it across the top of the tab, allowing about 1/4 inch of the match to burn before the flame contacts the tab. this way the flame heats up the fuel as it gets closer and it lights every time.

I usually use the round coughlans fuel tablets. I prefer them because they're smaller and I often want a smaller but longer lasting flame than I get with the bigger esbit. They also cost about half as much as the esbit brand tabs and are the same as far as I can tell.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Move to Esbit on 06/14/2011 19:19:20 MDT Print View

"3. Bring a little alcohol to easily get the tab going. (not sure how much)."

1-2 drops is all you need.

Thomas Laepple
(bapou) - F
Shipping on 06/14/2011 19:47:18 MDT Print View

4. "I can mail esbit without restrictions:"
I had the same question, but the answer seems to be no;
This would exclude the convienient USPS Flatrate boxes for resupply... If anybody has a different knowledge I would be interested to hear as I'm just thinking of using ESBIT on a 4 Week CDT stretch this summer.

Edited by bapou on 06/14/2011 19:48:06 MDT.

Daniel Fosse
(magillagorilla) - F

Locale: Southwest Ohio
Esbit pros and cons on 06/15/2011 09:41:57 MDT Print View

Can use very light wing/platform stoves
No metering (as with alcohol). If I need 4 boils I bring 4 cubes, simple
Can be used without a stove in a pinch, support pot on rocks
Does not leak or spill
Long burn times are good for fire starting

It's stinky, like rotton sea food
It leaves a goopy mess on your pot and stove
I have to buy it on the internet (if I can find it there)

My recent inability to easily get fuel tabs has forced me to get my alcohol stoves back out. I really like solid fuel but it's seems hard find places to buy it. I know it's not impossible to find but I have to order it on line (if in stock) and wait a week or 2. It used to be available at Walmart or any store with a camping isle. My theory is that Coleman has edged Esbit out so that consumers will favor its fuel canister systems and white gas stoves (at Walmart type stores). Obtaining the fuel is just irritating so I am switching back to alcohol, which can be found at almost every gas station near a trail.

Eventually I may just bulk order a bunch of Esbit. Does Esbit expire?

Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: Esbit expiration on 06/15/2011 11:11:28 MDT Print View

I have some Esbit cubes I purchased 11 years ago which I just did some stove testing with a few nights ago. They seemed to burn and light fine, although it's been over 10 years since I last used them.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Move to Esbit on 06/15/2011 12:25:11 MDT Print View

I've used esbit exclusively for 3 season hiking for many years, including the PCT and the CT. They're great!

CAVEAT: you have to protect them from wind while lighting AND cooking. I light mine with a BIC lighter, holding the flame against a corner of the tablet. Remember that any flame is hottest at the tip.

No, you can not (legally) send Esbit through UPS or USPS. It must go ground, labelled accordingly.

I buy esbit-brand tablets at REI in boxes of 12, or they can be ordered from BPL or other on-line sites. Rarely have I found them along the trail, although they are available at:

PCT/JMT - Mt. Whitney Hostel in Lone Pine (and likely at the Mt Whitney Store itself as it's the same owner) and at Muir Trail Ranch.

CT - Salida Mountain Sports and in Silverton at Outdoor World. There is an REI in downtown Denver that I've never been in, but the Portland REIs all carry esbit so I suspect they will also.

I keep my esbit tablets in their protective packaging inside an OP Sack, which I carry on the outside of my pack. Whenever I ship them, I do the same. YMMV.

Esbit tablets also make great emergency firestarters (12 minute burn time) for those who use some other stove fuel but also carry an emergency firestarter.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
For the weekend warrior... on 06/16/2011 08:51:14 MDT Print View

What is your carry weight for your Stove system for 3-4 day long wknd. trek?

I use alcohol with a Heiny can and tealight plus some chicken wire for the pot stand. Everything is stored inside the heiny can so no need for additional bags to store the tabs, sticky pot, etc.

I'm wondering if the lighter esbit tabs would get near the weight of my alcohol setup for a long wknd. w/ extras needed to carry it? Could someone spec out their complete stove setup with Esbit for a 3 day wknd under 10k elevation? thx.

Thomas Hood
(ATTom) - F
lighting on 06/16/2011 11:31:12 MDT Print View

I always start mine with alcohol hand sanitizer.

Kent C.

Locale: High Sierra
ESBIT stove set-up on 06/16/2011 16:40:05 MDT Print View


item -- oz.

Ti Wing stove -- 0.50
homemade, heavy foil windscreen -- 0.30
ESBIT tabs -- 0.5 oz each
FrieLite 550 cup/pot -- 2.70
lighter mini bic -- 0.40
net stuff bag -- 0.25

everything fits into the cup; the stuff sack is the one that came with the cup.


Edited by kent on 06/16/2011 16:41:44 MDT.

Mike In Socal
(rcmike) - MLife

Locale: California
Esbit Odor on 06/17/2011 02:38:38 MDT Print View

I find that storing Esbit tabs in an OPSack is better than a Ziploc.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Re: ESBIT stove set-up on 06/17/2011 07:25:33 MDT Print View

Thanks for the info Kent...

So if you partially burn an esbit tab, it's stored inside your cup lying free or is there away to seal it up? (never smelled an esbit tablet, but I'm gathering they smell really bad?)

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: Re: ESBIT stove set-up on 06/17/2011 08:08:55 MDT Print View

Put partially burned tabs in the same bag as unused tabs. Whatever you do, don't leave opened tabs "free" in you pot ---- that'll be some nasty coffee!

I find that partially burned tabs stick to the stove so I leave them there until time to fire it up.