|Rating:||7.3 / 10|
|Ease of Use||1.7 / 2|
|Weight||1.7 / 2|
|Boiling Speed||1.0 / 2|
|Fuel Efficiency||1.2 / 2|
|Value for Money||1.7 / 2|
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 thru hike however the jury is still out.
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
$18.99 AUD – Stove (often on special so keep an eye out)
$14.45 AUD – 20 X 4 gram fuel tablets
Esbit 4g gram fuel tabs
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
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Esbit produces a wide range of cookware although not all of it is available inAustralia.
This review was done with product purchased from a retail store by the reviewer