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[pct-l] Re: stoves

Concerning Esbits and the much cheaper Coghlans fuel tablets...

-  Both are more efficient than alcohol.
Only 0.5 oz is needed to boil 16 oz of water.

-  Neither fuel requires a real stove.
Burn the tablets on a piece of aluminum or other metal because it liquifies 
at 270 C before turning
into a gas. It needs a potstand such as a strip of hardware cloth that 
should be 1.75 inches high for
the 0.9 liter Evernew titanium pot but higher or lower if the size of the 
bottom of the pot is larger
or smaller. A windscreen, such as a trimmed windscreen from the MSR 
Whisperlite, should goe up
beyond the bottom of the pot to minimize heat loss when cooking.
I compared them and the setup above is just as efficient as the real Esbit 
To be most efficient, the potstand should be just high enough for the flame 
to be almost as large
as the bottom of the pot but the flame should not be large enough to go up 
the sides of the pot.

-  Coghlans fuel tablets cost half as much as Esbits.
Both Esbits and Coghlans are hexamine held together by a binder. Both appear 
to contain the same
amount of heat energy. Both leave an easily removed residue on the bottom of 
the pot. Coghlans
leaves a small amount of ash.

According to USPS pub. 52 hexamethylenetetramine (hexamine) is a flamable 
solid that can only
be shipped by surface mail.
On the address side of the box must be "Surface Mail Only" and "Consumer 
Commodity ORM-D".
You have to include a complete return address. The entire package should 
weigh at most 25 lb.
Within the overall package, each package of fuel must be securely sealed and 
weigh at most 1 lb including packaging. You can enclose as many of these 
packages of fuel as you choose.
International mail is prohibited.
It appears that the regulations for UPS are similar or identical.

-  They are the safest fuels I know of.
Unlike some alcohol fuels, you can always see the flame and know if it is 
burning. It can't flare up
or spill. You can usually just blow out what remains and use it the next 
time, but if you choose to
put it out with water then the fuel that remains will burn if placed next to 
another burning fuel
tablet that was never put out with water.
Both fuels work fine at well below freezing and do not appear to be affected 
by altitude. All they
need is to be exposed to the heat of the burning gas so that more gas will 
be given off, and enough

Esbits are available from REI (mailorder 5.95/6 oz) and Campmor (5.99/6 oz), 
as well as some stores along the AT.
Coghlans fuel tablets are available at Coghlans (2.49/6 oz), possibly at 
CampingSurvival (2.09/6 oz),
often at army/navy stores, and at a few other locations such as the south 
rim of the Grand Canyon
and at Hilton's Tent City in Boston.

The fuel used in both of these tablets, hexamine, is a combination of 
formaldehyde and ammonia.
Its gas has a somewhat unpleasant odor but can usually be easily avoided and 
is considered less
dangerous than the gas given off by alcohol stoves. The residue left on the 
bottom of the pot can
cause an alergic reaction and form a rash if you do something stupid like I 
used to do and rub it off
by hand with a little dirt and water.
If you add concentrated nitric acid to hexamine you get the powerful 
explosive RDX. Hexamine apparently contains a considerable amount of energy. 
I suspect that it would not be a good idea to
either check or carry Esbits or Coghlans when flying.

I hope this information is helpful (except for the part about the 
explosive).  --David

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