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esbit type tab
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esbit type tab on 02/03/2012 19:11:43 MST Print View

Out of curiosity I finally tried Esbit-style tabs today to compare to alcohol.

Only in the kitchen. With a SP600, same pot stand I use with a tealight, etc.

Efficiency wise, my SP600 can boil 2 cups on 0.5 oz alcohol (0.6 fl oz) indoors in about 8.5 min give or take using tealight and SLP. More like about 7.5 min using 95% ethanol. Thats about as good as it gets with alcohol though, 0.5 oz to boil indoors. Usually closer to 0.75 outdoors to guarantee reaches boil.

So I tried the Bluet brand tab under it, just for comparison. Same al windscreen and wire mesh pot stand. Full rolling boil in 6:05 min, water was boiling at 5:45. Total fuel used was 0.41 oz out of a 0.5 oz tab. Easy to put out too, just blow.

Pot is a little sooty, but I was impressed with the time AND the fuel efficiency. Probably get 0.5 oz to do it outside in most conditions based on this.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: esbit type tab on 02/03/2012 19:18:28 MST Print View

This may seem new to some of us. I had never seen this brand of solid fuel before last year. Bleuet tabs are at least 99% the same as Esbit. Same size, price, etc. Mine appear to have a faint pink color, and that is about the only significant difference that I can tell.


Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
re: esbit on 02/04/2012 01:06:38 MST Print View

I am a recent Esbit convert. I get a full boil in about 8 minutes with a caldera cone and a MSR Titan kettle 850ml on a little less than a 0.5 oz tablet. After 3 boils I usually have enough Esbit scraps left over to boil a 4th. I gotta say, not having to deal with storing, measuring and pouring alcohol is nice. And the weight is significantly lower for week-long trips. The (minimal) soot on my pot hasn't bothered me at all, after the pot cools down the soot is no longer sticky and hardly any has come off on the inside of my pot cozy.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: re: esbit on 02/04/2012 01:34:20 MST Print View

I carry a teeny-tiny knife with me, and about the only duty that it sees is to cut a full Esbit cube into two pieces. I would like to cleave the cube evenly, and not shatter it into a dozen scraps.


Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Esbit Tab with BC Boiler II on 02/04/2012 21:28:57 MST Print View

Curious if any Backcountry Boiler users have used an Esbit tab with it as a fuel source? I would think it would work just fine and the design of the BC Boiler would seem to get the most out of the heat output from the tab.

James Sogi
(zephyr1) - F
Esbit on 02/14/2012 23:46:22 MST Print View

Trying to figure heat for warm premade lunch for backcountry skiing. Thermos is good but 9 oz. Alcohol stove won't work in wind and cold. Trying to figure a way to use Flameless Mountain Oven to reheat. Esbit sounds like it might be good with a titanium cup and a
Snow Leopard and part of an Esbit tab just to reheat leftover stew. Appreciate tips from experience.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
esbit type tab on 02/15/2012 13:32:32 MST Print View

Thanks for the numbers, guys. !/2 oz. esbit for a boil; that's pretty good. I'm toying with the idea of a caldera cone ti-tri for wood burning with esbit back-up. Never having done this, I'm not sure about real world results. Definitely like the ease of esbit over alcohol, and relative lack of pot stain. Perhaps I'd find that I'm and esbit boiler with wood back-up. Or just ditch the wood idea and go with esbit. Any comments are welcome here.

Rob E

Locale: Canada
cutting esbit on 02/15/2012 13:55:04 MST Print View

I have been interested switching to esbit, but the real barrier for me is cost.

In Canada, the cheapest I can find 12 esbit cubes is $6.25 CAD. Add 13% tax and some shipping and it works out to about $0.65 CAD per cube.

On the other hand I can get 3.78 litres of methanol for under $10 CAD. Assuming 25ml of methanol per 500ml of water boiled (in reality I usually use 15-20 per boil, but I'll be conservative here), that works out to about 6.5 cents per boil.

I know that compared to the price of a packraft, neoair or cuben fiber shelter, the cost of the esbit is a drop in the bucket, but still, at 10x the cost of methanol per meal, I'd like to see about stretching the cubes a bit.

So, my question is: is it realistic to cut the esbit cubes in half? or to snuff them out and save them to try to stretch their use a bit longer?

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: cutting esbit on 02/15/2012 14:22:36 MST Print View

I cut my Esbit tablets almost all the time.

If I have a medium-size pot with a lot of cold water, and if the wind is blowing, then I use a whole tablet. Normally, if I have a small pot with only 12-16 oz of cold water, and if I have the wind blocked, then I use a half tablet. If I have misjudged the wind conditions, then it may not get the water fully boiled on a half. If I have a small volume of water, like 8-12 oz, and if I hve the wind blocked, it will get the boil on a half tablet every time.

I don't like to handle the unburned scraps of Esbit much. They are kind of toxic in a low scale.

About the only thing that I don't like about using an alcohol stove is that the fuel storage bottle might leak. Either there is a pressure bubble inside, or the cap isn't on tight, or something.


Diane Pinkers
(dipink) - MLife

Locale: Western Washington
esbit for the long haul on 02/15/2012 14:27:32 MST Print View

I've been reading PCT accounts. One person mentioned that she used Esbit tabs for her ultralight hike. Can you get Esbit in bulk for thru-hikes? Or are they readily available enough that you can count on resupply along the way? Seems like you'd go broke trying to purchse enough to put in bounce boxes or mail drops. Can you even send Esbit through the mail?

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: esbit for the long haul on 02/15/2012 14:37:32 MST Print View

Just like most fuels, Esbit cannot legally be sent by air, but it can be sent by surface means.


Stephen Adams
(stevemkedcom) - MLife

Locale: Northwest
Beer can esbit stove on 02/15/2012 15:01:46 MST Print View

I think Esbits are safer than alcohol, especially after watching a friend catch his tent on fire after he squirted more alcohol in his stove when he thought it was out and it wasn't. I agree that esbits leave a nasty sticky residue but I Use a Beer can stove that I never have to come in contact with it.
From what I have read Esbits are close to the same efficiency as alcohol but you save the weight in not having a plastic bottle to store it in. I must admit that the white tables are pretty boring compared to making an alcohol stove and watching the little blue flames shoot out of the holes.

Rob E

Locale: Canada
beer can esbit on 02/15/2012 16:44:31 MST Print View

Does beer can esbit work? Is there a possibility that the esbit is too hot for the aluminum? I guess the water in the pot prevents the temperature of the aluminum from actually getting that hot

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
beer can esbit on 02/15/2012 16:54:14 MST Print View

For my Esbit tablet stand, I use the bottom a beer can. I cut it and roll the sharp edges, and invert it. Makes a nice little cup for the tablet, and it keeps it .25" off the cold ground. The Esbit doesn't melt the aluminum in this application. There would be no danger to a can full of water.

BER ---
(BER) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Esbit stand on 02/15/2012 17:06:53 MST Print View

I do the same with the bottom of a Starbucks espresso can. Perfect size for a full tablet.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: esbit type tab on 02/15/2012 17:18:33 MST Print View

Bleuet tablets are cheaper and found at Academy Sports. The company is in the DFW area.

esbit on 02/15/2012 17:35:05 MST Print View

Well I got 2 rolling boils outside one day on about 0.42 oz.Winds were light., good windscreen. I tried again one night with ~10mph gusty swirling winds, a full tab didnt get it to boil, but alcohol wouldnt have either it was just gusty.

I dont like the soot. I find the whole tab to work better than parts. I tried doing half tab, then adding 1/4s, etc, and it just doesnt heat as fast as when that whole tab roars for 6 min and leaves a little bit leftover.

Tossup to me really, alcohol is easy, CLEAN, less smelly.

One advantage of the esbit is you can automatically simmer by using small 1/4 cubes, easy to just keep adding every 5 min. Doing that I heated for 20 min , but never did get it to rolling boil, just not enough heat input.