Homemade Esbit Stove and Windscreen

homemade e

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.

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  • Hey Bryan thats a really slick little setup. Me thinks you’ve got the stove bug ! I started out with a whisperlite, but havent used it since i switched over two years ago to a Trangia. Now you’ve got me thinking about Esbit !

    Not to side track, but have you seen this vid on a pop can alcohol stove? I’ve watched lots of them but this is imho the best.

    What about this $15 woodstove? Have you tried it yet? Keep up the good work !

  • Nice stove! My only question is why are people having trouble with the Solo Stove? I purchased one for me and my brother to save weight, space and money as we are planning a 740 mile trip with 55 miles of portaging. We eliminated having to carry 2 months fuel supply. I find the stove very reliable. When the weather is wet, we use Coughlin’s firestarters for tinder. In nice weather we use white birch bark from downed trees. I have a Jet Boil and a Markhill canister stove. The Jet boil is only good for boiling water as I cannot get the flame low enough without going out. I do use them for cold weather camping for a quick cup of coffee. To make it efficient, I put a chemical hand warmer under the canister!

    • The problems that I had with a Solo Stove were that even when using dry paper and wood under a tarp in the cold and rain, the stove seemed to suck the fire out and put everything that was going out. I could have started an open fire in the rain faster. Plus, I didn’t like having to sit there and feed the stove sticks as it burnt nor did I like the soot. It just wasn’t my cup of tea.

      I’ve used a Jetboil — they sponsored one of my expeditions — to cook Enertia Trail Foods. It worked well. I’ve also use Markill stoves, Primus and others. For winter I always go back to the Whisperlite International and the rest of the year I tend to use a Pocket Rocket. I’ve also had good luck with popcan stoves.

  • I went inverted for those really cold days .
    Heavy gauge copper wire heat sink helps to vaporize the liquid canister fuel.
    Esbit is my backup, redundancy in the winter is good !

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