• Weight of Stove including fuel 180 grams
  • Size packed 100mm X 78mm X 24mm
  •  
  • Cost $24.95

Esbit Pocket Stove

Camp Kitchen

Rating

Rating: 7.3 / 10

Value for Money          1.7

Ease of use                1.7

Boiling Speed              1.0

Weight                       1.7

Fuel Efficiency               1.2

Esbit Pocket Stove Review

While this is probably the least used stove type for hikers (approximately 2% in a recent survey we conducted use this as their main stove type) the Esbit Pocket Stove has been in production for over 50 years and is about as fool proof as stoves get.  The Pocket Stove uses Hexamine fuel tablets which are a small waxy looking block of solid fuel that is contained in a stove mechanism (a metal frame) that also provides a base to sit your pot. The whole ‘stove’ weights in at just on 180 grams and even when you add a lightweight pot to the system you you are still in the ultralight category. My set up which includes the pot from my Trangia Mini weights a total of 361 grams.

To use this little stove just unfold the metal frame unit to the desired size; place the waxy looking fuel tablet in its holder and light with a match or cigarette lighter. It takes approximately 11 minutes to boil 500 ml of water depending on the effect of wind which makes this the slowest type of stove on the market.

This fuel type is not susceptible to cold weather or altitude like other fuel types. While fuel is readily available you will need to ensure you know where your next resupply is going to be or carry enough to last you for the entire trip. The Esbit fuel tabs come in two sizes, 5 gram and 14 gram but you will also find other brands of hexamine fuel cells if you look around. While reasonably fool proof to use ensure that you have set up your cook site on stable ground, clear away any flammable material to prevent any unwanted fires (this is less of an issue than with spirit type stoves as fuel spillage is not a big issue), and shelter from the wind otherwise these units become less efficient. Each 14 gram fuel tablet will last about 12-14 minutes and I have found that this size tablet is what is needed to boil 1/2 litre of water.

If the water is not boiled and the tablet is nearly gone just add another one. If you have finished boiling the tablets can be blown out and reused next time you cook so I would recommend that you have a good quality zip lock bag to store the fuel in.

I typically don’t cook on the trail but instead boil water to rehydrate and for a hot drink. I’ll also have a rehydrated dessert every second day which means my average boiled water requirement is between 1.4 litre- 1.8 litres each day for two people. This costs about $4.50 for two people which is very expensive compared to my  Trangia 27-1 stove set, which uses methylated sprits and costs about 14 cents to do the same job.

So why then would you use this stove given the price of fuel? The initial purchase prices makes this the cheapest stove type on the market and even with all its flaws for me its not the price that is the issue but rather the weight and size of the unit that makes it a no brainer on short trips. While I probably will never use this as my one and only stove it has a firm place in my gear kit. I am looking at using the Esbit pocket Stove for an extended thu hike however the jury is still out.

Features/Advantages/Benefits

  • Very cheap to purchase the initial ‘stove’. The cheaper units are under $30 plus the pot price
  • Relatively cheap to run for solo hikers but can become expensive for two people when compared to other stove types
  • The fuel tablets have an indefinite shelf life if stored correctly
  • Two cooking positions to cater for different size pots
  • Easy to manage on the trail, almost fool proof
  • Physically small and lightweight with the ‘stove’ including fuel weighing 180 grams plus your pot choice which will also dictate the size

The Negatives

  • Mainly for heating up water for rehydrating but not so great for cooking
  • Can be a health hazard in an enclosed environment however this is an issue with any stove
  • The fuel smell can be off putting but is not noticeable in ventilated areas
  • Is prone to wind influence so choose a unit with a built-in wind shield or pick a well sheltered area
  • Leaves a residue on the pot so you need to store the pot in a bag to ensure you don’t transfer this residue to the rest of your equipment
  • Slow, probably the slowest of all the stove types. Over 11 minutes to boil 500ml of water
  • You may not be able to use this stove type in times of total fire bans so check before you go. Some parks or parts of parks may not allow open flames

The Esbit stove and pot boiling water. This picture was taken in a very sheltered area and even with a slight breeze you can see the impact on the flame. this will mean a longer cooking time

Best Uses

  • Great for couples on a short trip or for solo ultralight hikers who aren’t worried about the speed of cooking
  • A good option for kids (under supervision)

Investment

$24.95 AUD – Stove (often on special so keep an eye out)

$9.95 AUD – 6 X 14 gram fuel tablets

 

Esbit 5g gram fuel tabs. 14 gram fuel tabs are more common in stores

Esbit pocket stove and pot.

If you have finished cooking you can easily blow out the fuel tab and reuse it next time you cook

Other Versions

Esbit produces a wide range of cookware although not all of it is available inAustralia.

  • Esbit Pot Stand and Folding Stove.
    • This stove assembles to provide a windshield to minimise the impact of wind
  • Esbit Titanium Solid Fuel Stove
    • This is about as basic as you can get but only use this unit when there is absolutely no wind
  • Esbit Stainless Steel Stove
    • Upmarket version that is lighter and much more wind proof

Disclaimer

This review was done with product purchased from a retail store by the reviewer

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