Review: Esbitt Pocket Survival Stove

This post was originally published here –


I recently had the opportunity to try out a classic survival item – the pocket stove. Mine came form – and is also available from other sources as well.

Being able to boil water for purification purposes as well as heat/cook food in the field is important. Many foods – such as MRE’s and freeze dried camp foods – can be eaten cold but just flat out taste better warm. Eating food that is typically warm in a cold state is a morale killer and can be a negative factor into your mental state. In a true survival situation – mental stability and outlook is important.

Pocket Stove with Fuel Tablets

Alright – back to the pocket stove’s review:

Purpose: Geared towards the backpacker – to provide heat for cooking, boiling water, or provide warmth in the outdoors.

Construction: Super lightweight and compact – the pocket stove measures 3″ wide x 4″ long x 3/4″ thick. It weighs only 3.25 ounces and is made of galvanized hardened steel. I had expected this thing to feel flimsy – but it doesn’t at all. It is solidly built.

Method of Use: Using the stove is simple. It can be opened into 2 different position.

  • Position #1 has the sides opened at an angle to support smaller bowls or other containers atop the stove.
  • Position #2 has the sides opened completely to hold the largest container (see picture below).
Stove opened to Position #2.

Fuel cubes are placed in the center of the stove in a small recessed area. [Note: This recessed area is well designed as the cube sits securely in case the stove happens to sit at an angle for some reason (like in a boat) – the tablet will not just fall out of the stove. There are also vents around the outside of the fuel tablet area to allow oxygen to feed the fire.]  Anyways – the fuel tablet is lit, ignites, and burns for approx 12 minutes or so. During my test I found that the tablet burned at full force for a little over 10 minutes – then started to decrease in the amount of heat being put out. Once a fuel tablet burns out – just replace it.

Will this work?
Flame on!! Position #1.

My goal on this simple trial was to see if I could boil water – which as you can see from the picture above was successful. The water had just started to boil when the tablet ran out. The advertised time-frame for boiling 1 pint of water is less than 8 minutes. A couple factors that interfered his test – and makes it realistic- is it was a little cooler outside (upper 40’s) and it was windy. The wind was the biggest problem. Lastly – the metal bowl I was using was very thick which increased the heat transfer time from the flame to the water. If I had used a thinner aluminum sierra cup or bowl – the water would have boiled much sooner.

Value: The pocket stove sells for $10.00 and includes 6 fuel tablets. A pack of 12 extra fuel tablets costs $7.00. So – for $17.00 you can have the pocket stove and 18 fuel tablets. I think the value is very good. Low in weight – great for a pack – and low in price. I am looking forward to more trials soon.

Pro’s: Low cost, low weight, simple use.

Con’s: Not wind friendly. Can heat up/cook only one smaller container at a time.

Summary: Overall this little pocket stove performed a little above my expectations. I was able to bring water to a boil – and although not pictured I used the same container to heat up some beef stew. Both was accomplished with one fuel tablet each. For inclusion in a backpack  – it adds a cooking capability with very little weight. Good for use when building a fire is not wanted or very difficult. One thing I plan to investigate is using this stove with optional fuel sources to see if I can increase performance even more.

If you think this is something that would fit in your preps – check it out HERE.

Take care all –


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  1. I have several of the Esbit stoves–and a box of 100 fuel tablets. I remember these from the 1950s when I lived in Munich.

  2. Thanks for the review!

    I have one of these somewhere in the house. I bought it at a gun show many moons ago, but never used it. I am happy to see that it works well for it’s intended purpose.

    I may file this idea away for Christmas present, this year.

  3. I have used these for years, I they’re great and take up the least amount of room. We incorporate into all packs, LBE, GHB and BOB. Tryox works in these to, sometimes I have gotten a residue build from them doesn’t effect usage. My daughters carry one these in there LBE using one of the mag pouches, along with a few other things

  4. I have one of these and I keep a sheet of aluminum foil folded up inside that I can fashion into a wind screen if it becomes an issue. Other than that one simple “modification” I use the stove as is and it is bomb proof. We all love a roaring fire, but when the time or the conditions aren’t right for one of those, this little jewel comes in mighty handy. Also, not mentioned in the article, but worth mentioning I think, several (at least 4, maybe 6, I forget which) of the fuel tablets fit conveniently inside the stove(along with the folded up sheet of foil mentioned above) when folded up for travel. All in all, a good deal for not a lot of money in my opinion!!!

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