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Esbit Stove - Test and Comments

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I am curious, are we all talking apples or oranges?  Is every fuel  tablet
stove considered an "Esbit" stove?  Talk about "Wilder Napalm".

I received my new Esbit stove Thursday (7-9-98).  Showed it to Milt Webb
in a totally unused condition this past Friday morning (7-10-98).  Told
him that I had not had a chance to test it yet.  Well here is the test!   I
also tested it against a similiar (non-Esbit) model I already owned.

Are we talking apples and oranges?  I had absoutly no problem getting  two
cups of water to boil much less being able to cook a "typical"  backpacking
meal.  By this I mean your Lipton Rice or Pasta dinner,  rice, potato or
other similiar type combination meal.  If you need more  than this don't
even consider the Esbit stove!

First of all I have no stake in the Esbit or any other fuel tablet  stove.
All my tests, while very un-siencelike was carried out with  absolute
fairness.  I tried to use the same exact test, even down to  washing with
brillo pads, the soot from the bottom of the pot.  I even  tried to
duplicate the same temp. of the water/pot/stove.  I have no way  of
measuring these.
First my test of only the Esbit stove.  This was only a test of the
boiling ability of water.  The tests were conducted at the same spot  under
the same conditions, in so far as possible.  At first my test was
dissapointing - the Esbit stove would not even heat up my Hot Tub!
However with 2 cups water (normal amount of cooking water for most  meals)
it came to a boil in just over 6 1/2 minutes.  This boil would  also
suffice to treat water for later drinking purposes.  The stove left  no
residue (other than normal stains associated with any type of  burning) but
did leave a fair amount of soot on the bottom of the pan.

Next I tried heating (boiling) 4 cups of water.  At this it failed
miserably - However at each attempt it would have produced hot  chocolate,
coffee (instant) or other hot drink at a tempature that would  require
considerable cooling before drinking.  It was at a stage that it  was
"almost but not quite" boiling.  This test was at 1/2 open stove.

Next I opened the stove to the full position.  I placed 2 Esbit tablets
one on top of the other (The Esbit stove will only hold one tablet - any
attempt at putting 2 or more tablets one the bottom of the stove will  only
block the necessary air holes - placing 3 tablets on each other in  the one
spot provided would only produce disaster!)  This test produced  a roiling
boil in just about the same time as the 2 cup method.  However  I noticed
that the fuel was boiling and dripping beneath the stove.    This
definitely would have produced hot chocolate/coffee + a cooked  meal.  But
the stacked tablets were unstable - they toppled over and  produced a very
intense flame that lapped up, around, over and even  under the stove/pot!
In fact the fuel under the stove went on long  after the fuel above the
stove was depleted.  This is not a test I would  wish to duplicate in the
STOVE - EVEN IN NORMAL COOKING!!!!  It's  just as hot (if not hotter)
beneath the stove as it is on the bottom of  the pot.  At any rate the fire
was out of control!  Am I glad I had it  in a safe environment for this test!

In reading many of the e-mails I noticed that the tablets only burned 10
minutes, finished in a fizzle, sparkle or other noticable manner.  The = 
Esbit tablet I tested only dimmed further and further until the flame
burned out.  There was no residue remaining (only a stain similiar to  that
of  burning any other material remained).  This contrasts to the  other
fuel stove I have which leave a large glob of residue.  Eash Esbit  tablet
burned in what I consider the 14 minute advertised time.  The  lowest time
I timed in about 15 tests was 13 min - 51 sec and 49 (?)  (whatever that's

I also tested the Esbit against another brand I presently own.  These  two
perform in a similiar manner, leave a similiar amount of soot on the
bottom of the pots.  The Esbit slightly outperforms coming to a better
boil quicker.  The other brand required two tablets and the cost of  those
tablets is $2.99 per 12 tablets vs. the $5.99 for 12 Esbit  tablets.  (this
is before taxes, shipping & handling).

I can only conclude from the test that the Esbit stove is designed to  cook
a 2 - 3 cup water meal (closer to 2 cups).  It leaves no residue as
compared to scraping off the residue left by the other stove.  It will  not
heat up a Hot Tub, but then again all I'm looking for is cooking a  "2 cup
water" meal.  If you or I need more than this, this is not the  stove to be
looking for.

In reading your comments the stove goes "crack, pop, snap, fizzle at the
end of it's burning cycle and the fire ceased at 10 min +/-.  You placed  3
Esbit tablets in a space designed for only one tablet (how did you  cram
the other tablet in that space!  By the way in Lynne Whelden's  video
"Lightweight Backpacking Secrets Reveled" there is no Esbit stove
mentioned or shown.  They only show a "Boy Scout Stove that uses fuel
tablets that weigh 1/4 oz each and 4 are needed for each day.

As I previously stated I hold no stock or other interest in any firm  that
produces any fuel tablet stoves.  I do feel that Esbit is being  given a
bad name by comparing them to the other "Esbit" stoves (apples &  oranges).
 I'm not even attempting to say that Esbit is a notch above  other brands.
There are numerous brands out there.  Lets just compare =     
each fairly.  After all a pepsi is not a coke (and vice versa).

First of all I would like to know how long does the stove last when used
morning and night?  (how many do I need to buy to make any long distance

There are many stoves using fuel tables - Let me know your opinion as to
which is the best!  I own two - but am not married to either! =20

Also how do these perform at high alltitudes?  My guess it would be the
same as a normal gas stove and cooking time would be increased but  boiling
would start much earlier.

All I ask is to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges!  I get
the opinion we are talking butterflies vs space shuttles.

Buy the way I captialize Esbit as it is a known quanity - I don't even
remember the name brand that I already own.  When we determine other
specific brands they will also be shown in capital letters. =20

Let us agree to disagree but only in fairness.  What's best for me may  be
the worst for you.  Let us take our own paths but in full awarness  there
are others available to us.  This was not meant to condem/condone  anyone
but only to produce a fairness of all products available to us.   How will
we know unless we challenge others. =20

Quote of the day:  " programming today is a race between software
engineers striving to build bigger and better  Idiot-Proof programs and
the Universe trying to produce bigger and better Idiots.  So far, the
Universe is winning."

If any Mortgage People are out there privately e-mail me for my version  of
the Quote of the day.

Doug Banks                                       
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