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mik matra
(mikmik) - M

Locale: Allways on the move
how come esbit is not more popular? on 12/31/2012 21:11:37 MST Print View

Using esbit as a fuel sorce to boil water is surely a lighter option than an alcohol fuel stove system. I mean the alcohol system includes the stove + alcohol + the lightweight plastic bottle for carrying the alcohol.

So how come esbit doesn't seem to be the go-to fuel option for the UL or SUL water boiling system?

....or am I wrong and that's EXACTLY what the UL and SUL guys do.....

Edited by mikmik on 12/31/2012 21:18:34 MST.

Kimberly Wersal
(kwersal) - MLife

Locale: Western Colorado
Re: how come esbit is not more popular? on 12/31/2012 21:43:35 MST Print View

Can't speak for others, but esbit's reputation for leaving a nasty residue (and a less than pleasant odor) makes alcohol more appealing to me.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: how come esbit is not more popular? on 12/31/2012 21:53:00 MST Print View

It's also pretty slow to boil

mik matra
(mikmik) - M

Locale: Allways on the move
Residue??? on 12/31/2012 21:54:12 MST Print View

My alcohol stove leaves a black residue as well.....

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Residue??? on 12/31/2012 22:01:57 MST Print View

Which takes us to canister stoves : )

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: how come esbit is not more popular? on 12/31/2012 22:44:13 MST Print View

Mik,

"...+ the lightweight plastic bottle for carrying the alcohol."

Each Esbit tablet has its own container made of a plastic bubble/blister pack with a foil backing. Assume a hiker boils two cups of water for a meal. If one tablet boils two cups of water then that hiker is carrying 1 container of Esbit per meal.

Say that same hiker carries a 16 ounce bottle of alcohol in a re-purposed spring water bottle. Assume that hiker can boil two cups of water on his alcohol stove using 1 ounce of alcohol. At what point would the individual containers of the Esbit tablets add up to the weight of the re-purposed water bottle?

On another thread concerning solid fuel tablet stoves it was noted that some hikers carry dedicated Ziploc bags to contain their fuel tablets and the associated odor. Add the weight of this bag to the individual tablet blister packs and the weight of the fuel bottle seems almost less than or equal to all of the associated packaging materials.

The weight savings between the two types of fuel shows up when you realize that an Esbit weighs 14 grams or 1/2 ounce. A fluid ounce of alcohol weighs 24.2 grams. Zero out the containers and you get a difference of approximately 160 grams or 5.7 ounces.

Alcohol stoves burn clean. Esbit leaves soot and residue on the cook pot and "stove". This usually means that the hiker has to separate his stove and cook pot from the rest of his/her gear. This adds in a stuff sack and or another Ziploc. There can be additional weight if the hiker carries some sort of cloth or pack towel to wipe the soot from the cook pot after use. My guesstimate is that the stuff sack, Ziploc and "towel" could add up to 2 - 3 ounces in weight.

Both systems need stoves, pot stands and windscreens. I weight is the only consideration Esbit wins but not by much IMHO. Factor in the sooty residue and the odor of the tablets and alcohol, even though heavier, becomes more attractive to some hikers.

Note: You could remove the tablets from their packaging and put them all in the Ziploc to create a larger weight differential between Esbit and alcohol.

The lighter option is to use a wood stove. You carry the stove, windscreen and pot but gather your fuel at each spot where you choose to cook. In that way there is no fuel weight to consider at all. But you will spend time gathering wood and a wood stove does soot up also.

BTW I compared alcohol to canister stoves and found that since the canister stove is usually about twice as fast as an alcohol stove the two systems are about equal in weight over say a two week trek.

Esbit is lighter but the inherent soot and residue make alcohol more attractive to some hikers.

Party On,

Newton

Chad Poindexter
(Stick) - F

Locale: Wet & Humid Southeast....
I like Esbit on 12/31/2012 22:46:04 MST Print View

I like to use Esbit, although, I do admit, it can leave a residue behind, but this is easily managed and worked around. Only bad thing about Esbit is that is is generally more expensive than other types of fuel. But this is the price I pay for a fuel that is easy to carry, easy to dispense and use, lightweight and just works great. There is no chance I can spill it, and I always know how much I have left, and what I can expect to get out of it.

And by the way, all of my alky stoves burn clean, including my ISO-Clean stoves from Flat Cat Gear.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re:My alcohol stove leaves a black residue as well..... on 12/31/2012 22:46:56 MST Print View

Mik,

What stove and alcohol are you using that leaves this residue?

Party On,

Newton

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Re: how come esbit is not more popular? on 12/31/2012 23:27:13 MST Print View

It has its uses. I used esbit for years, but as others have said, there is a burnt, sticky residue to deal with, plus it is slow to boil. Also, until recently, you could take it on airlines in your checked luggage. All that aside, it is still convenient for short trips where even a small canister is too much fuel and fuel for an alcohol stove is hard to come by. Further, it is a lot safer than liquid fuel or canisters.

I look at it as an option along with my canister stove or alcohol stove.

mik matra
(mikmik) - M

Locale: Allways on the move
Reply to Newton on 01/01/2013 00:25:33 MST Print View

"Mik,

What stove and alcohol are you using that leaves this residue?

Party On,

Newton"

I made one of those 2 aluminium can bottom alcohol stoves...not sure what is the official name for them as I have seen about 4 different names it's called. Got the info off BPL and youtube vids and made a few of them of different styles and also tried different locations for the jets. I put 30ml of fuel in it (Methylated Spirit, bottle said 96% ethonol) and had it about 1.5inches above my beer can pot. Pot bottom went black.

I tried the 250ml redbull cans and also made one out of those scented candle soft aluminium cups as well, you know the little cups that are less than an inch diameter. The small candle bottom alu cup stove came in at 2.6grams and despite the fact I spilt some of the 30ml of fuel I put in it it still performed as good as the bigger redbull can stove. Though I can see this stove would be easily 'accidentaly' crushed and I'd be not very happy camper from there on.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: how come esbit is not more popular? on 01/01/2013 00:35:12 MST Print View

Probably because it is hard to find, smelly to store and leaves residue on your cookware.

I live in an area with lots of outdoor stores, so it is easy to find her. The way to get the residue off is to use an old fashioned Brillo pad (at home) ---- the stuff just melts off. I carry it in an aluminum tube with a screw cap.

I Ike to use it with a Ti wing stove and mug with some foil for a windscreen and a folding spoon. That makes a light and simple kitchen for day hikes or minimalist overnighters. It is perfect for a hot drink or soup.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: how come esbit is not more popular? on 01/01/2013 04:30:42 MST Print View

http://thru-hiker.com/articles/stoveweight_vs_time_14days.php

mik matra
(mikmik) - M

Locale: Allways on the move
Re: Re: how come esbit is not more popular? on 01/01/2013 05:18:24 MST Print View

Thanks John for the link :)

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Reply to Newton on 01/01/2013 06:13:35 MST Print View

Mik,

Does your stove resemble either of these?

Penny Stove

or...

Pop Can Stove

The stove in the top picture requires a pot stand. It is filled through a center hole in the top. After filling the penny is placed over the hole for pressure regulation.

The stove in the second picture is filled by pouring the alcohol directly into the center and needs no pot stand. After the stove warms up and "blooms" out through the side jets the cook pot can be set directly on top of the stove. It serves as its own pot stand.

Was your stove's flame yellow or blue while the stove was burning and the pot was in place?

If there was a lot of yellow in the flame while the cook pot was in place it will blacken your cook pot. Lowering the cook pot closer to the stove could help.

For flame color reference here is a picture of what I am describing for the second stove.

Fancee Feest clone stove

This stove serves as its own pot stand and the distance to the cook pot bottom is about 1/2". The center is an open "cup" style reservoir and the "jets" are formed by fiberglass wick material sandwiched in between the inner and outer "walls" of the stove.

As far as the fuel goes the Methylated Spirit, 96% ethanol, could be just a little "hot". I've tried and used Everclear, 95% grain alcohol, and found it very "hot" but hard to regulate under a small diameter cook pot.

Party On,

Newton

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: how come esbit is not more popular? on 01/01/2013 08:31:42 MST Print View

Smell, residue and I would also add that I find alcohol stoves easier to manage variable fuel loads. Finally alcohol is dirt cheap and avalible everywhere. Can't imagine a scenario where I would take embittered over alcohol even though I have quite a few sitting around.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: how come esbit is not more popular? on 01/01/2013 17:32:34 MST Print View

How do you know it isn't popular?

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Re: how come esbit is not more popular? on 01/01/2013 17:42:41 MST Print View

Nick,
I assume he means why doesn't he see more discussion on BPL about Esbit. However, I understand your comment too.
Tom

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: how come esbit is not more popular? on 01/01/2013 17:44:27 MST Print View

"Can't imagine a scenario where I would take embittered over alcohol even though I have quite a few sitting around."

What the heck does that mean?

Alcohol will spill or leak. Esbit doesn't.

--B.G.--

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - M

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Re: how come esbit is not more popular? on 01/01/2013 18:12:46 MST Print View

I prefer Esbit. I can't spill it, it burns when wet, and it's stupid easy to use. It boils water in 6-7 minutes which is fast enough for me. They are expensive compared to most of the alcohols you can use except for maybe Everclear though. It just comes down to personal preference, both have their goods/bads.

12g of Esbit will boil water so technically the weight difference could be a little more in Esbit's favor, but that does definitely increase the fiddle factor.

Ryan

Edited by ViolentGreen on 01/01/2013 18:14:38 MST.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: Re: Re: how come esbit is not more popular? on 01/01/2013 18:14:06 MST Print View

"Can't imagine a scenario where I would take embittered over alcohol even though I have quite a few sitting around."

What the heck does that mean?

Alcohol will spill or leak. Esbit doesn't.

--B.G.--

iPad spell checker. Embittered = esbit.

Still no scenario where I wouldn't take alcohol though. :)