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 MREs 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.
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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.
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.
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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14 thoughts on “Review: Esbit Pocket Survival Stove”
You can also find them at Dollarama for $2 I’ve seen various versions of this product from the early 80’s. The best one that I found was a product carried by Cabellas (sp). Big fishing store in the US. It burns small bits of wood from the forest floor – fold flat – shaped like an A with the top cut off.
I’m intrest is only in the fuel tabs. Very nice for making fires in inclimate weather. $20.00 for a months worth of bad days. Seems reasonable to me.
I remember buying one of these my first tour of duty over in Germany to take camping. They are great little stoves. Over in Germany they would not let use have any open fires in the forest so we had to use some type of fuel stove. They also worked really well with or c-ration cans too. Thanks for bringing back some fond memories.
Good morning Rourke. I am excited about that little stove! It seems to fit a lot of possible BOB/emergency uses.
You mentioned trying another fuel? What about votive candles? or, cotton balls soaked in Vaseline? You could store the cotton balls in a ziploc bag. I don’t know how long one would burn though or if it would work at all as I have not tried using one, just heard about them being used like that to start campfires. Keep the reviews coming, they are very informative.
Using this stove with wood also works or suing wood to increase efficiency from one tablet.
It’s not gonna melt on you. I have one too and tried it. I don’t like it though because of the residue left by tablets and/or wood. Also one should consider that Esbit tablets are poisonous and need to be stored completely sealed, cos they are hygroscopic.
Non the less its very light weight and small and if you know beforehand what you will be boiling and how much it is worth considering, especially on short trips from 1-3 days…or in a BoB
also those little fuel tablets are great when needing to start a larger traditional fire but maybe the wood is wet or there is not enough good (or dry) kindling.
I just bought one to. Found it at Academy Sports and Outdoors (The Walmart of sports) for less than $9.00. You can use those military “Troxaine” bars too. Def need a wind break though.
Excellent timing, I just received mine yesterday. Looking forward to putting it to use. I’m also curious to find out what other fuel can be used.
I used to use around 30 years ago when I was a grunt. They provided good heat to the C-Rats (pre MRE days) and are light weight and don’t take up much space. When we ran out of fuel we wood burn C-4…it works just as well as the fuel tablets. If you ever decide to do that though DON’T stomp on it to put it out…you will blow yourself to pieces.
Thanks for the info –
These are indeed good things to have in a bug out bag…I have several…I used to sell alot of these back in the 90s when I owned my Army/Navy store…had some left when I closed her down plus several cases of trioxane fuel….Im set for years in that dept…the best ones(the ones I use ) are stainless steel,theyll last for ever…also I burn charcoal and woodchips in mine lots of the time…nice small fire that works!
Another 30-years-ago grunt here, USMC-type. Those trioxane fuel pellets, heat tabs, as we called them, would gas you right the eff out if you were in a low-ventilation situation or if they were burning too rich (without enough oxygen.) You haven’t lived until you’ve gassed yourself with trioxane fumes.
I have heard that since doing the review.
Thanks for the reminder for everyone here –
Hexamine stoves, very common when I was in the UK forces in the early 90s