Just two months ago after a miserable, rainy trip on which we only brought a Solo Stove wood burning stove and had a terrible time trying to cook on it, I vowed off experimenting with stoves, and I vowed to keep my backcountry kitchen simple by just using a MSR Pocket Rocket from now on. My memory of how terrible the experience was must have been short, because I’ve decided to give esbit a go again. For this experiment, I decided to use the smaller pan and lid from my Snow Peak Ti Multi Compact Cookset, a homemade esbit burner based on Brian Green’s design and an experimental conical windscreen and pot support designed using the stove tool at Zen Stoves.
I built the stove in one night of easy work while watching a movie. I used aluminum flashing for the esbit burner tray and the conical windscreen. To cut the material, I used a scissors. I was all pretty easy. Here’s what everything weighs:
- 0.4 oz. – Light My Fire Sporks (0.2 oz. each)
- 0.1 oz — Brian Green burner
- 2.8 oz — Snow Peak Ti Pot – 20 ounces
- 1.9 oz — Lid (I could drop an ounce or more with a homemade lid)
- 1.1 oz — Windscreen – I had to join two pieces together to make this, because I didn’t have a wide enough piece. This added weight, so I think I could drop the weight by 0.1 to 0.2 ounces with a full sheet of flashing.
- Total: 6.3 ounces (5 ounces with a homemade lid)
Fuel Weight: 3 tablets weigh 1.5 ounces. I estimate 4 meals out of three tablets. Maybe 5.
The windscreen is designed to slot into the lip on the pot and hold the pot above the burner tray about 1.5 inches, which after I surfed around the Internet I found referenced as a good height to use. At the current height when the windscreen is collapsed, it doesn’t fit into the pan, so I need to experiment with the height to see if a lower height would work as well. A quarter of an inch would allow it to collapse into the pan.
During use, and I only tried this once. It boiled two cups of tap water in about 10 minutes when the air temp was 20°F. I’m not sure if that is on par with what other people get with these homemade stoves, but I suspect it’s good based on my experience with Esbit in the past. The temperature was colder than I’d use this stove, so I suspect to gain a minute or two when it gets warmer out. The pot that I used is large enough to cook a one-person meal in, but I wouldn’t use it for two people unless I was just boiling water. After I finished with the esbit tab a little less than a half of it remained. I didn’t keep exact notes on the weight of the tab to see how much I was using. I think that I may need slightly better airflow in my windscreen, so I may add holes and test it again.
All-in-all it was a good experiment and a fun winter project. I can’t wait to really test it out in the spring.