Friday, January 17, 2014

Low Cost Esbit Lightweight Pot & Stove

Esbit Cook Set
Here’s a deal for you.  An interesting and very light Esbit cook stove and pot is available online at in the sports & outdoors section, listed for only $21.88.  You can buy it here for the low price. 
This same unit sells for $29.00 at REI and other outfitters.  It is a hard anodized aluminum pot & stove, not Titanium, but it is very light at about 7 ounces.  The stove is designed by Esbit to use Esbit tabs, and it stows neatly inside the pot & lid, sitting on rubber feet.  The pot will boil up to 16 ounces of water (holds about 20 ounces), more than enough for most bag cooking dinners and hot drinks.  12 Esbit tabs (a season’s worth for me) are available online for $6.95.  You could buy the pot, stove and 12 tabs on Amazon for less cash than you can just purchase the pot and stove elsewhere.  The stove appears to be wind proof with a large enough door to light up or blow out the Esbit tab.  The pot handles fold against the body for packing and are coated, which may help reduce burned fingers.  I caution you to still use a small pot-holder cloth for protection.  
Stows nicely!
I have not cooked with this stove & pot, but I have checked it in out in the store at Dick’s Sporting Goods.  I like the quality construction, the small size, the pour spout details and how it all fits together.  If I were designing this stove I would make a smaller door and lower the pot to be closer to the flame, but that is just me.
I have been using Esbit for 3 years now and prefer it for cooking outdoors.   You can’t beat the simplicity and portability.  For boiling up 8 ounces of water for tea or coffee, it is perfect.  Just cut one Esbit tab in half.  Use a full tab for boiling 16 ounces of water and you should get a rolling boil like I do.  Have the water already poured into the pot before you light the tab, and it should work as promised.  Use your first finger to strike your lighter or lay a lit match beside the tab for easy lighting.  I always carry one or two extra tabs with me just in case of bad weather, or if I need help with starting a fire to warm up or dry out.  So far, cleaning the cooking smudge off the bottom of the pot has been fairly easy, but it is something you will have to always do when using Esbit.    
This model came out a couple years after my wife had bought me a titanium pot, so I’ll have to pass on it.  But I will recommend it for any interested lightweight hikers because it is so light and small (and about half of the price of a titanium pot), plus this price is excellent for ultralight cooking gear.  Packed in its own stuff sack, you could also stuff your lighter, extra matches, 12 or more Esbit tabs, and maybe even your tea and condiments inside the pot, saving precious pack space.  The reviews I have read have been mostly good, though in cold, windy weather you may need to increase the height of the Esbit tab a bit (on a small rock?) for more heat.  In a day pack, it would be perfect for that hot cup of Joe at the hike turn around and it would be a little lighter than what I now carry.  
Oh well.  When you get one, send me a picture showing how well it works.

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