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Esbit tabs. How much do yours weigh?
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Einstein X
(EinsteinX) - F

Locale: The Netherlands
Esbit tabs. How much do yours weigh? on 02/22/2007 09:46:27 MST Print View

Frequently i read here that people get a roaring boil with Esbit tabs. I have been 'cooking' exclusively on Esbit for a while now but never achieved a boil of any sorts.

My kitchen comprises of an 0,85 liter MSR titanium pot, a tuna can (cut open) as pot stand and the bottom of a juice karton as windscreen (which caught on fire this weekend :D so i think i'll replace it with something more durable).

I usually cook on two Esbit tabs and use 0,5 liter of water (bit more than a pint). It doesn't boil. Ambient temperature usually is somewhere between 10 and 15 degrees C.

Now i saw some pictures of solid fuel tabs here on BPL which seem bigger than mine so I thought that maybe tab size varies and maybe I'm not using enough fuel.

I put one tab on the scale this morning. The scale couldn't really decide if it was 4 or 5 gram so I added another tab. Two tabs measured between 7 and 9 grams, so my tabs are about 4 grams each.

1/ How much do your tabs weigh?
2/ Should I use two or more tabs at the same time or one after another?


David Neumann
(idahomtman) - M

Locale: Northern Idaho
Esbit: about one half of an ounce on 02/22/2007 10:04:29 MST Print View

My Esbit tabs weigh about a half of an ounce. I don't like the smell when they urn and I haven't found them to be particularly efficient. I prefer alcohol or a canister stove depending on the length of the trip and altitude. I've used one tab then added another near the end of the burn cycle if I needed additional heat.

I've met people who use them exclusively and swear by them. They are certainly easier to ship and handle than other fuels.

David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Re: Esbit: about one half of an ounce on 02/22/2007 16:40:06 MST Print View

I don't know about "roaring"... but it's bubbling hard and making lots of noise... and the beer can is shaking on it's little stand. That said... I only cook for one... and I don't drink coffee or tea or any other hot drinks for that matter... so I'm usually only heating about 1.5 - 2 cups of water. I get a rolling boil in under 10 mins. every time... in all 3 seasons up here in Canada. The water is usually from my water bottle... not right from the stream... so it wouldn't be super cold. But the hottest it gets in summer... on average... is 25C. Sping / Fall temps average about 15C.

I went on a trip recently which I thought would be a backpacking trip. Since I thought we'd be backpacking... I left the canister stove at home. However... I didn't know that A) my companion drinks a lot of tea and B) we would just end up car camping! She would always fill that 26 oz beer can just about to the top... and we never got a boil with one tab. She was going thru esbit like crazy... lol. If I had known we'd be 20 feet from my car in camp and boiling so much water... I would have taken my Jetboil.

My tabs are the standard esbit tabs.... 0.5 oz (14 grams) in the blister pack.

Edited by davidlewis on 02/22/2007 16:42:36 MST.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Esbit tabs. How much do yours weigh? on 02/22/2007 18:07:46 MST Print View

Consider the configuration of your Esbit rig. The tablets are most efficient when 1.25 inches below the pot. Because of the limited output, you need a close-fitting windscreen. BPL titanium is very light and won't burn up, but oven liner will last a few uses. A full Esbit tablet will boil 2 cups (.5 liter) with some left over (just blow it out) on a well-designed system. In my solo kit, I generally use 1/2 a tablet - 0.25 ounces (or Coghlin's 1/4 oz. hexamine tablets) - to bring 1.8 cups to 190-195 F because for making tea, hot cocoa and light cooking you don't need or really want a rolling boil. (The Coghlin tablets soot themselves up and are much less efficient than Esbit, but get the job done on my rig. I have not tried BPL's hexamine.) For tandem cooking, we use a 600 ml titanium cup - which holds a full 2 cups, and, as I said, achieves full boil under all conditions with a 1/2 ounce Esbit tab - with some left over.

My solo rig is a BPL 500ml pot (holding 1.8 cups reliably) with a flashing lid on a folding stand, a tea light base for the tablet (packed with insulation and turned over, it is an alcohol burner) sitting on an aluminum oven liner base (to reflect heat upward and protect the ground surface) and a titanium wind screen that extends about 3/8" up the pot side. The tandem rig is almost identical except for the larger cup and a larger tablet platform/alcohol burner to hold more alcohol for a longer burn time. It is also an open alcohol burner - like the tea light, made from a V-8 bottom.

Edited by vickrhines on 02/22/2007 18:09:47 MST.

David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Re: Re: Esbit tabs. How much do yours weigh? on 02/22/2007 19:05:08 MST Print View

I should mention that I got a lot of help from Vick when working on my beer can setup. I've mentioned it in other threads that you've probably seen already... but if not... here's the link.

The point about the windscreen is important. I was using cookie sheet / oven liner aluminum at first... and I had to keep it a fair distance away from the pot in order for it not to melt. I love the Ti windscreen. You can't melt it... and I really like how it keeps it's shape... how I can roll it up nice and small and it springs right back to shape. It is a little flimsy... but clipping it together with a bobby pin helps a lot. And the bobby pin is also the key to clipping all the various stove bits together for stowing inside the pot (look at the video at the link above if you want to see what I mean).

Edited by davidlewis on 02/22/2007 19:07:49 MST.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
My esbits are 4 g each on 02/22/2007 19:07:09 MST Print View

I always use two to get 500ml to a low boil.

David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Re: My esbits are 4 g each on 02/22/2007 19:09:44 MST Print View

Brett... two of what size? The ones Einstein is using sound really tiny @ 4 grams each. The tabs I use weigh 14 grams.

Einstein X
(EinsteinX) - F

Locale: The Netherlands
Re: Re: My esbits are 4 g each on 02/23/2007 03:35:51 MST Print View

Thanks for confirming my thought about my Esbit tabs.


>>I don't know about "roaring"... but it's bubbling hard and making lots of noise... and the beer can is shaking on it's little stand.<<

I don't get it to that state. This weekend i used my set up to make tea on the beach for my girlfriend. I used three tabs, which should be the same as your 14 gram tab and about two cups of water in my titanium MSR pot. I gets warm enough to make the tea. Little bubbles occur, which in my recollection is at about 80*C, but not more. I wonder if i loose some energy warming the titanium as compared to your Heineken can. I assume it to be much thinner and so requiring less energy.

I've seen your 48 gram kitchen two years ago already and as of than it has been my goal to achieve your weight. Currently my kitchen is about 200 grams so i have a long way to go. The biggest culpret(?) now is my 110 gram MSR pot which I'd like to replace with a Heineken can. I have gotten one kind offer of Chris Moore to send me two, but I think $20 postage is a bit much. At the moment I'm concidering to use a one or two pint soup can.

I think I'll visit my local outdoorshop and get an alu windscreen to see if a thight fitting windscreen (that won't burn :D) and three tabs will do the job.


>>The tablets are most efficient when 1.25 inches below the pot.<<

I think my tuna can is about 3 cm's (1,25 in) high so that should be ok. Thanks for that figure. I'll measure it tonight when i get home.

>>Because of the limited output, you need a close-fitting windscreen.<<

How close fitting should it be? My current juice box windscreen fits reasonably thight with one opening on the side to allow air to get inside. A combustion process needs air otherwise it dies out, right? Also there is some room at the top between windscreen and pot. I'll post some pictures tomorrow to give you an idea of my set up.


I can also get half a liter of water warm enough to make tea or prepare some freeze dried meals, but some meals (like goulash) don't prepare well, so i'd like to get the water a bit warmer.

I'll make a pepsi can stove, cat food can stove and tea light stove soon to see if i get better results with alcohol like Dave. I'd like to make my system multi fuel: alcohol and Esbit. I'll also get a windscreen and from now on i'll use about 14 gram of Esbit to (hopefully) get a boil.

Thanks so far, Eins

Edited by EinsteinX on 02/23/2007 03:39:03 MST.

David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Re: Re: Re: My esbits are 4 g each on 02/23/2007 06:08:37 MST Print View

Well... it could be the pot, or the windscreen or maybe even using 3 small tabs instead of 1 big one (the big ones burn really hot at first... don't know if 3 small would act the same way)... but one thing that stands out is that you said your doing this on a beach. I've rarely been able to cook sucessfully on any beaches here in Nova Scotia. Not matter how calm you think it is and it seems to be... it seems there is ALWAYS a slight cool brezze coming in off the water. If I'm near a beach and I have to cook... I usually go inland a bit and try to find a more sheltered location. Also... as I mentioned... I'm only ever boiling 1.5-2 cups of water.

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: Esbit tabs. How much do yours weigh? on 02/24/2007 11:39:28 MST Print View


I recently tested the new Firelite fuel tabs from this site against the usual Esbit brand tabs. They are both 14 gram (1/2 ounce) tablet, and a search of this forum should find the thread.

After seeing this thread, I went back and repeated the test, though in much nicer weather. With 1/2 of a Firelite brand fuel tab -- 7g of fuel -- I brought 12 ounces of water to a full rolling boil in about 8 minutes. It boiled for about 2 minutes, and then the fuel ran out. Take a look:

My cook set is 8 ounces complete. I know, that's heavy by SUL standards, but it works for me. SP 700 pot, foil lid, Firelite stove, Reflectix cozy, aluminum wind screen, and a (heavy) windproof lighter. Oh, and a tiny bottle of soap and an onion-bag scrubbie:


John Baird
(jbaird) - F

Locale: Deleware Watergap A_T
the Esbit Tabs on 02/24/2007 23:10:08 MST Print View

So....Has anyone found out how many BPL points it takes to get a pack of tabs?

Einstein X
(EinsteinX) - F

Locale: The Netherlands
Re: SUCCES!!! on 02/27/2007 03:33:32 MST Print View

I've been experimenting in my kitchen this week to see if i can get a boil using either alcohol (85% ethyl-alcohol with some addative so no one will drink it) or Esbit tabs.

I bought a fresh pack of tabs yesterday morning. The day before I tried the tealight 'stove' filled to the rim with the alcohol. It burned for 15 minutes and got the water nice and hot, but no boil. The water seemed hotter than what I got with Esbit so far. It was more than hot enough to make tea or prepare a freeze dried mail (I did the first not the latter)

Than yesterday I used three fresh Esbit tabs (of about 4 or 5 g each), with a drop or two of alcohol on them to make them light easier (a tip I read on these forums that didn't seem to do much though). After a couple of minutes the water boiled, a real roaring boil, with big bubbles everywhere. I was quite pleased with that and had another cup of tea.

Both test were done with 475 grams of water, which should be about a pint. The water came directly from my tap. I had the kitchen door open to provide me with some fresh air, so ambient temperature dropped from about 19 degrees to, I guess, about 13 or 14 degrees (that's Celsius scale!). Unfortuanetly I don't have a thermometer so I couldn't measure temperatures and i forgot to press start on my stopwatch in the Esbit test, but I don't care; it boiled! No windscreen was used, but inside my kitchen it's usualy not that windy.

I think the reason why I didn't have that much succes in previous attemps with Esbit is that the tabs may have been wet. I took a carton of tabs with me on hikes and I do recollect the carton box feeling clammy after some days. From now on the tabs will go in a ziplock bag.

I'll do additional testing this week with one tab less and i'll also do some test with tabs I'll add a few drops of water to to see if that makes a difference. Than I'll do all test again after I buy a thermometer.

Thanks everybody for the tips so far and thanks for providing the weights of your tabs. I now know I can get a pint to boil with 14 g of Esbit.