The Esbit Stove is a light weight, collapsible, tablet powered backpacking stove.
At a mere 3.25 ounces and not much bigger than a deck of cards, the Esbit Pocket Stove is hard to ignore. Also, it’s relatively cheap price of around $15 makes it far more palatable than most of the $50+ stoves available.
It almost sounds too good to be true. This is because it IS too good to be true. If you are camping or backpacking in fair weather for fun then this stove is a good option. Unfortunately, if you find yourself being a last-minute survivor (hint hint) you should consider using this stove as a paper weight, regift, or barter item.
Although it shines in the size, weight, and price departments it will disappoint you in cold weather. I took the Esbit Pocket Stove on my most recent backpacking trip. After carrying a 45 lb. pack across 10 miles of rugged terrain, I sat down and set up to boil some water. The MRE’s issued to me in the past spoiled me rotten in the hot food department. It was easy back then. Just add water, literally. Not so this time friends! With the temperature at 40 degrees F and dropping fast, the Esbit Pocket Stove was unable to reliably provide the boiling water needed to rehydrate my freeze-dried backpacking meals. Pundits hush! Yes! I did use a wind screen! Sadly, the hot water I did end up with didn’t have the energy needed to bring my Mountain House dinner to full flavor. Adding insult to injury would be my fellow backpackers using isobutane/propane mini-stoves. These fancy contraptions allowed them to prepare their dinners and make coffee before I even had hot water.
The bottom line…
Although the Esbit Pocket stove might be cute, it simply won’t cut it in cold weather. Don’t buy it if you want anything more than somewhat hot water. In regards to preparedness, a fuel canister stove is not a good option either. A grid down situation won’t allow for a drive to the local REI to stock up on fuel canisters. As usual we have no silver bullet solution to last-minute survival stoves. Our best bet is to use what we have at hand. Rocket stoves, mentioned earlier on LMS, are a great solution. If you find yourself wanting something a bit prettier then check out the Vargo wood burning backpacking stove. Just add sticks, twigs, and a lit match. Doesn’t that K.I.S.S. rule keep sneaking up on you?
SGT. G, LMS Contributor