I have always been a fan of Esbit stoves. They’re compact, simple, and durable. When I had the opportunity to review the Esbit stove with one of their new cups, I jumped at it. I have carried an Esbit stove on elk hunts at over 10,000 ft in Colorado, and hip deep in thick South Louisiana swamp. They’re a fantastically dependable tool that gets carried a lot. Often, mine’s carried more than used. But I know I’ll have it when I need it and it’ll work when called on.
The Stove is typical Esbit quality. It’s a stamped sheet metal base with two fold up sides. The sides have molded in detents that provide a positive hold at 45 and 90 degrees for two options depending on what will go on top. For cups and pots with smaller bases, the 45 degree setting makes a secure base. For cook pots, frying pans, and similar items with a wide base, the 90 degree setting is the best choice. The whole assembly folds up small enough for a shirt pocket.
The stove uses a solid fuel tablet, six of which are included with the stove. The tablets are individually sealed, ensuring they’ll be dry and ready when they’re needed. Average burn time for the tablets I tested was about 12 minutes. Since they’re individually sealed, the Esbit tabs make a fantastic emergency fire starter. The tabs are best lit with an open flame, i.e., from a lighter, match, or a Vaseline cotton ball match. I was, however, able to get a small pile of Esbit shavings to ignite with a ferro/flint rod. But this method takes a back seat to something with an open flame. The stove is able to store four fuel tabs inside when it’s folded up, making a compact package that can be easily packed away and carried on the trail. It would also make a great stove to include in an emergency kit that you might keep on hand in the house or a vehicle.
The cup is a very nice aluminum affair, with a hard-anodized charcoal gray finish. As much as I like metal cups for their versatility and durability, they have one typical flaw… they get hot! Most of the metal cups I have get too hot to drink coffee out of. Esbit has solved this by banding the top of the cup with plastic, and molding in the handle to the plastic rim. This allows for easy coffee drinking without the burned lips. The cup holds a very nice 12 fl. Oz. It’s large enough for tea, coffee, or any other drink, without taking up too much space in the pack.
I did some testing with the cup over the stove itself. I was able to get 10 ounces of water to a good boil in about 4.25 minutes using the 45 degree setting on the stove. I was a little nervous about how steady the cup would be on the stove when full of water. In use, I found the cup very stable and had no issues with tipping. The testing was done on a moderately flat rock, but still at a slight angle. The cup was completely steady the entire time. Once the water was boiling, I blew out the tab and was able to place it back in the original packaging after giving it a few minutes to cool. Having the ability to re-use the tablet later is an advantage since it maximizes space and negates any unnecessary waste.
Together, the cup and stove make a very compact kit that will heat or boil your favorite beverage anywhere. The stove isn’t dependant on pressurizing anything, making it totally functional at any elevation. The only downside I found with either was that direct flame to the plastic rim of the cup could melt it off the aluminum. This limits its ability to be placed directly over a fire. The quality of both the implements is right on par with Esbits products I’ve used in the past. I have no doubt they’ll both provide years of dependable service.
You can find the Esbit stove and accessories at just about any major outdoors retailer online, including www.campingsurvival.com