Review: Esbitt Pocket Survival Stove

Everything ready to go.

This post was originally published here –

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I recently had the opportunity to try out a classic survival item – the pocket stove.

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 like these little guys! I used one for years, while camping, to heat water for my morning MRE, and tea.
    We now have one in each of our get-home kits.
    I gave the German army version as Christmas gifts, last year.

  2. I have used these since my DOD days and there in all of my preps. adding the philosophy of S.W.C. (Size Weight Constraints) They take up little to no room and are as light as you can get. Add a (Coghlan folding wind screen) and your good to go. My set up fits into a Mag pouch with some other goodies. The compactness and simplicity of use more then makes up for any short comings. life is about balance. In cold and or wet conditions as in winter/rainy months when dry bio-fuel is hard to find good luck, so providing your own source of fuel is great. Last time I used mine was in early 80’s hunting with a couple friends. I have a standing order, if I don’t make bag to base by night fall, don’t freak out. I will set up camp where ever I am at. I set up my Basha tarp, set up my wind screen on windy side of stove, heated water for Lipton Cream of chicken soup packet and 3 sticks of jerky followed by a brewing up some instant coco before sack time.

  3. This is one of those great products that just works and doesn’t break the bank. It doesn’t have to be made out of NASA grade titanium, include a USB port to charge your tablet or cell phone, a 1000 lumen flashlight or cost three month’s pay. No bells. No whistles. Just works and works well. I have several of these stashed throughout my various kits.

  4. I see an expanded use for the stove as depicted in position-2: If you flip it upside down you can use it as a platform for a “penny stove” (very easy to make with two soda cans) that will burn alcohol. You can include the penny stove with some fuel tablets inside the folding stove.

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