Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Review: Esbit pocket stove

When it comes to backpacking stoves one must really consider many things. What their climate is, their altitude, are you cooking or just boiling water, how much cooking or boiling, is weight a big issue, is pack space a big issue, budget, and so many more variables that vary per individual. I find usually find myself alone or only heating a cup or two of water for myself, buying an expensive stove and carrying around canisters of butane fuel seemed foolish in my situation. I next considered an alcohol stove but decided that carrying liquid alcohol as fuel would become heavy and take up more pack space then I was willing to sacrifice. So with those things decided I narrowed it down to what I need: I'd be in a temperate forest most of the time so climate wasn't to big an issue, the stove needed to be small, light, and cheap while still being sufficient for at least one person. After some searching, I came to a conclusion. I chose an Esbit pocket stove.

The real beauty of the Esbit pocket stove is it simplicity. It consists of three pieces of plated tensile structures steel and runs on non-toxic solid fuel tablets. There's the platform and two folding "legs." The platform has slots through it to increase airflow to the burning fuel tablet causing maximum burn time and heat output. The steel legs can be set in two positions: put straight up or at a 45 degree angle. 

Esbit pocket stove in standard position

Esbit pocket stove with legs at 45 degree angle
The idea behind this is that when at a 45 degree angle heat will be deflected off the legs and at one particular spot on the bottom of the heated container being heated. The stove is very stable in both positions, but when the legs are at a 45 degree angle it makes contact with the stove towards the center of the heated container rather than to the sides as it usually does when the legs are set up straight. Obviously this would make the heated container less balanced so be very careful. 

What is really nice about the Esbit pocket stove is, well, it's a folding stove! When folded it is only 4 inches long, 3 inches wide, 3/4 an inch thick. This stove can easily fit any place in your pack or in your pocket. 

Let's talk about the fuel, shall we? Esbit produces solid fuel tablets designed for the Esbit pocket stove. Each tablet is about an inch long and half an inch thick and come individually packaged in a blister package.

Esbit fuel tablet in blister package
 Each have an approximate efficient burn time of 12-13 minutes. They light very easy, all you need to do is put the flame of a lit match or lighter to the corner of a fuel tablet for a few seconds. There is no sparks, exploding of cubes, or smoke. There is, however, a strange, almost fishy smell. Bear bait? Let's hope not. A feature I particularly enjoy is that they are reusable. If you've manage to boil your water with out burning a full cube you can simply blow it out and relight it when needed. The fuel tablets do have one negative feature: they tend to bind themselves to the platform of the stove. To remove binded tablets all you must do is scrape the tablet off or hit it with the hilt of a knife or multi-tool.

All in all, the Esbit pocket stove is good for those going Ultralite, soloists, and emergencies. What is really awesome is the price. The Esbit folding stove retails at $10.99 and a pack of 12 fuel tablets will cost $5.99, if you have ever have some spare money I suggest you pick one up and try it yourself.

1 comment:

  1. A lot of the attention has been on the pocket stove since Esbit launched over in UK. But Esbit have better stuff I reckon (iconic as the Esbit pocket stove is). I found this mildly amusing blog about it that reviews some of their range.