Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB

Posted by: bacpacjac

Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/21/15 02:23 AM

I'm building and testing a new Get Home Bag/Day hike kit and I have a question for a collective:

For an EDC GHB/Day Hike Kit, that you are humping all day - Esbit pocket/hexi stove or fancy feast alcohol stove? My primary goal is a solo kit, but with the capacity to support me and the two kiddos if needs be, either under a lean-to or on a friend's couch in a winter power failure. My standard kit for this bag will be - GSI Halulite kettle, anodized aluminum cook set (800 mL and 300 mL pot & cup), aluminum bottle, stainless steel mug... I've ruled out a canister stove for this bag - but do have one in the family kit. wink

Fuel is obviously finite, so which is better - liquid or solid fuel tabs? We're above freezing for now, but winters usually get to -40C. Alcohol is pretty plentiful, cheaper and easier to find around here, so I'm leaning that way, BUT, the cold is a factor AND I can use my esbit as a wood stove if I needed to...

Help!! THANKS!
Posted by: chaosmagnet

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/21/15 02:33 AM

Esbit advantages:
  • very long storage life
  • works in any temperature
  • makes a great firestarter when you have wood for fuel
  • great if your objective is to boil water
  • higher energy density than many fuels (30 MJ/Kg, vs 21.1 MJ/L for ethanol and 15.8 MJ/L for methanol)

Esbit disadvantages:
  • once it's lit, you're not putting it out until it's used up
  • leaves yucky residue
  • more expensive than other options
  • very challenging for simmering
Posted by: haertig

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/21/15 02:41 AM

I have one of these:

http://www.fireboxstove.com/camp-stoves/3-inch-folding-firebox-nano


A Trangia burner will fit inside, as will an Esbit tablet - and the folding stove will act as a windscreen for those while also supporting your pot. Also, you can feed it with small scraps of wood and bark if you run out of other fuel.

[edit] p.s. - All the pictures of this stove on their website show it with the legs angled inwards, but they can be angled outwards too, if you need to support a larger pot. [/edit]

I like the versatility of the setup. You can get this stove in titanium as well, but the stove is small enough that I'm happy with the heavier stainless version - it doesn't weigh much.

I also have this small folding stoves big brother:

http://www.fireboxstove.com/camp-stoves/5-inch-folding-firebox


But this bigger one is pretty heavy (made of stainless). An awesome stove, just not a lightweight one. I've got the accessories for this larger one too - the grill plate and the boil plate. My typical use for this larger version is on car-camping trips. If we're not going to have a campfire, this stove will sit on the picnic table, fed with scrap wood and bark, and serves as a heater and something to gaze into as you sit around in the dark. Also good for heating your hot chocolate or roasting marshmallows.

But for a get home bag, I'd recommend the small version at the top of this post.
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/21/15 02:47 AM

I should have mentioned that boiling is my primary goal for this kit. wink

I love the ease and dependability of the esbit, but the residue has been bugging me. I don't mind washing dishes at the end of the day, but in an emergency, I'd like to go with the easiest solution.

I like Wetfire because it will light even when wet, but holy soot, Batman! It's the most expensive and hard to find solid fuel I can get around here too. Coghlans/Coleman hexi cubes are cheap and plentiful, and better but still a mess. Esbit brand is better still but not as clean as alcohol. UGH. Zip - forget it. It will light in a hurricane, i bet, but what a disaster to clean up.

Any weight, leakage concerns with alcohol? Freezing isn't an issue, I think, but cold temps are. Tips? I keep my fuel bottle with the stove and windscreen in an insulated bag in my backpack.

P.S.

Sharing just cause: My hubby made me a new pot holder/windscreen today. It's a perfect fit with my alcohol stove kit. AWW!!

Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/21/15 02:49 AM

Originally Posted By: haertig
I have one of these:

http://www.fireboxstove.com/camp-stoves/3-inch-folding-firebox-nano


A Trangia burner will fit inside, as will an Esbit tablet - and the folding stove will act as a windscreen for those while also supporting your pot. Also, you can feed it with small scraps of wood and bark if you run out of other fuel.

[edit] p.s. - All the pictures of this stove on their website show it with the legs angled inwards, but they can be angled outwards too, if you need to support a larger pot. [/edit]

I like the versatility of the setup. You can get this stove in titanium as well, but the stove is small enough that I'm happy with the heavier stainless version - it doesn't weigh much.

I also have this small folding stoves big brother:

http://www.fireboxstove.com/camp-stoves/5-inch-folding-firebox


But this bigger one is pretty heavy (made of stainless). An awesome stove, just not a lightweight one. I've got the accessories for this larger one too - the grill plate and the boil plate. My typical use for this larger version is on car-camping trips. If we're not going to have a campfire, this stove will sit on the picnic table, fed with scrap wood and bark, and serves as a heater and something to gaze into as you sit around in the dark. Also good for heating your hot chocolate or roasting marshmallows.

But for a get home bag, I'd recommend the small version at the top of this post.


SO SO SO WANT!!! No funds right now but some day. laugh

EDIT: My hubby works with sheet metal and is determined that he can make something similar to this. I'm really hoping he's right. wink
Posted by: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/21/15 03:00 AM

Quote:
Fuel is obviously finite, so which is better - liquid or solid fuel tabs?


Both fuels have roughly the same specific fuel energy/weight ratio.
Ethanol fuel such as bio ethanol does better than methanol.
There are also gels fuels, which are gelled Methanol. These are somewhat safer to use than liquid fuels.

Evernew does a nice Trangia replacement but it is not as efficient due to its higher faster burn times. Trangia fuel bottle work well.

Esbit is messy, but can make for very lightweight stove kits

All the fuels above such as alcohols, gels and Hexamine fuels can be problematic is very poor weather conditions.

Why not stick with a good quality stove burner like the Soto Windmaster and some good quality fuel for cold weather using a isobutane/propane mix from Jetboil.

For really cold weather my stove fuel combo might even be a

Coleman Propangas cartridge
Kovea LPG Adaptor
Firemaple Stove







Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/21/15 03:09 AM

Thanks Fear!

I have a Primus Classic Trail stove and an old Peak 1 Micro stove, that I really like, and do carry on bushwacking hikes with the family, and have been called into action more than once when the power has failed. I just hate lugging around the canisters every day. Maybe it's just a mental block?

backpackgirl and I have more time on our hands now that I'm a full-time stay at home mom agin, and I want to make the most of it and go lighter weight/less space. wink

p.s. - I need to check out Jim's site and compare the stats.
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/21/15 03:16 AM

Originally Posted By: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor

There are also gels fuels, which are gelled Methanol. These are somewhat safer to use than liquid fuels.


I saw some at the local Army Surplus store. Might just have to try it out. Thanks!
Posted by: Russ

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/21/15 04:04 AM

I actually prefer little wood-stoves. Not for use in SOCAL, but assuming you have wood in Canada...
Vargo Hexagon Wood Stove
Posted by: EMPnotImplyNuclear

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/21/15 04:09 AM

Hi bacpacjac,
So what is the tallest/widest cooking container you have?

Pick your dedicated boiler (say a bottle)
and wrap aluminum foil/flashing around it,
this is your pot skirt (more than a wind screen)
attach to bottom a metal can/cup with skewers,
this is your grate / wood stove / pot stand
you can put soda can stove inside this cup


Links to construction/theory/fancier version in this caldera cone thread
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/21/15 04:40 AM

Why not carry both, along with some Vaseline cotton balls so that you can start a fire with wood even when it is ridiculously cold? Vargo makes a stove designed to use both fuels - http://www.vargooutdoors.com/triad-xe-multi-fuel-stove.html#.Vnd6FFl2E2A - kind of pricey, but it should do a bang up job.

There is also a three legged Esbit holder that weighs almost nothing. It should work well along with your Fancy Feast stove. Regardless, you will have only a finite amount of fuel and you need to be ready to transition to wood at some point.

I use alcohol a lot and I like it. It is readily available, relatively safe and non toxic (at least compared to petroleum fuels). Keep it in a good tight bottle and it will be just fine. In cold weather, consider sleeping with it so it will work in the cold early morning.

If I am doing serious cooking, I do like canister stoves a lot. They are hot and simple, like some of my old girl friends (my apologies for my sexist comment, but I couldn't resist).
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/21/15 04:40 AM

I really like ESBIT. It does stink pretty bad and leaves a crappy residue but it burns great and keeps forever. It's a lot better emergency tinder than Wetfire, too; I promise you that if you count on Wetfire eventually you'll be let down. The packaging seems prone to leaking, and once air hits it it's inevitable that it will fail if you store it long enough. In my experience the stuff just isn't that reliable. But ESBIT is! You could leave a block of it unwrapped on the coffee table and it will still work a few decades later.
Posted by: CANOEDOGS

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/21/15 07:19 AM

bacpac i saw you using that stove just a few days ago on Youtube.
i have a couple of those,the real German Army ones but never really used them.i had one in my PFD ditch kit and some Esbit tabs.
what i liked about that little folding stove/pot stand was that it gave you a dry spot and some wind shield for any sort of fuel you could get your hands on.
for day hikes i would use some sort of alcohol burner and for a
survival kit the Esbit tabs and matches folded up inside.
Posted by: Tom_L

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/21/15 08:26 AM

Originally Posted By: CANOEDOGS
for day hikes i would use some sort of alcohol burner and for a survival kit the Esbit tabs and matches folded up inside.


+1. The good old Esbit is very compact, can be carried easily in a pocket and works really well as a "survival" stove.

An alcohol stove (Trangia being my favorite) takes a little more room but is more convenient as a general purpose outdoor stove.
Posted by: LesSnyder

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/21/15 12:51 PM

Jacqui... nice to see your byline again... an option for an alcohol, paraffin (sooty), gel or twig stove...I opened up the fuel feed hole of a Swiss Ranger stove ($10US about 3 years ago), originally to fit the Trangia, and then enlarged it to fit the Sterno canister... I was not aware that there were smaller Sterno canisters, and would not have opened it up as much for a do-over... the 500ml cup has tapered sides and heats quickly... with the kit is a spun aluminum bottle with cork top that nests...

Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/21/15 04:24 PM

Originally Posted By: Russ
I actually prefer little wood-stoves. Not for use in SOCAL, but assuming you have wood in Canada...
Vargo Hexagon Wood Stove


Thanks Russ! There are very few things in this world that I enjoy more than cooking over a campfire. I have no budget for a new stove, but a girl can dream...

We made a couple of IKEA cutlery caddy wood stoves last year and I am such a happy camper with them. I keep one in my bushcarft & camping kits. They're obviously bulkier and weightier than folding stoves, but I stash my cookset inside mine so it really doesn't take up much more space.
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/21/15 04:29 PM

Originally Posted By: hikermor
Why not carry both, along with some Vaseline cotton balls so that you can start a fire with wood even when it is ridiculously cold? Vargo makes a stove designed to use both fuels - http://www.vargooutdoors.com/triad-xe-multi-fuel-stove.html#.Vnd6FFl2E2A - kind of pricey, but it should do a bang up job.

There is also a three legged Esbit holder that weighs almost nothing. It should work well along with your Fancy Feast stove. Regardless, you will have only a finite amount of fuel and you need to be ready to transition to wood at some point.

I use alcohol a lot and I like it. It is readily available, relatively safe and non toxic (at least compared to petroleum fuels). Keep it in a good tight bottle and it will be just fine. In cold weather, consider sleeping with it so it will work in the cold early morning.

If I am doing serious cooking, I do like canister stoves a lot. They are hot and simple, like some of my old girl friends (my apologies for my sexist comment, but I couldn't resist).



LOL!! wink

Man, I've missed you guys!! Thanks for the awesome advice my friends!

For now I am doing exactly this, hikermor - carrying both, with backup wood fire starting supplies. smile I just added a 9 oz bottle of meths to my pack. (Re-purposed a kids shampoo bottle, and added a Naglene squeeze lid.)
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/21/15 04:31 PM

Originally Posted By: EMPnotImplyNuclear
Hi bacpacjac,
So what is the tallest/widest cooking container you have?

Pick your dedicated boiler (say a bottle)
and wrap aluminum foil/flashing around it,
this is your pot skirt (more than a wind screen)
attach to bottom a metal can/cup with skewers,
this is your grate / wood stove / pot stand
you can put soda can stove inside this cup


Links to construction/theory/fancier version in this caldera cone thread


NICE! Thanks so much EMP!
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/21/15 04:34 PM

Originally Posted By: Phaedrus
I really like ESBIT. It does stink pretty bad and leaves a crappy residue but it burns great and keeps forever. It's a lot better emergency tinder than Wetfire, too; I promise you that if you count on Wetfire eventually you'll be let down. The packaging seems prone to leaking, and once air hits it it's inevitable that it will fail if you store it long enough. In my experience the stuff just isn't that reliable. But ESBIT is! You could leave a block of it unwrapped on the coffee table and it will still work a few decades later.


Agreed, Phaerus. Wetfire too small and expensive to count on. I like that they're waterprooofish, but it's still not worth it to me to buy more. The cheaper brands in a good waterproof container works better, IMHO. The more I test them, the more I lean to the ESBIT brand tabs. I have to go out of my way to get them, but it's worth the trip if I stock up a bit. wink
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/21/15 04:38 PM

Originally Posted By: Tom_L
Originally Posted By: CANOEDOGS
for day hikes i would use some sort of alcohol burner and for a survival kit the Esbit tabs and matches folded up inside.


+1. The good old Esbit is very compact, can be carried easily in a pocket and works really well as a "survival" stove.

An alcohol stove (Trangia being my favorite) takes a little more room but is more convenient as a general purpose outdoor stove.


Totally agreed, Tom. Love my alcohol stoves and I actually have an ebsit pocket stove in my EDC purse. LOL! I'm an addict, what can I say. smirk
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/21/15 04:42 PM

Originally Posted By: CANOEDOGS
bacpac i saw you using that stove just a few days ago on Youtube.
i have a couple of those,the real German Army ones but never really used them.i had one in my PFD ditch kit and some Esbit tabs.
what i liked about that little folding stove/pot stand was that it gave you a dry spot and some wind shield for any sort of fuel you could get your hands on.
for day hikes i would use some sort of alcohol burner and for a
survival kit the Esbit tabs and matches folded up inside.


Thanks Canoedogs! They really are a well-designed little stove. You can use them as a small wood stove and I've got a bigger one (Coghlans, maybe?) that is just the right size to hold an alcohol stove. They're not as fancy as the new folding box stoves but they're very adaptable.
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/21/15 04:44 PM

Originally Posted By: LesSnyder
Jacqui... nice to see your byline again... an option for an alcohol, paraffin (sooty), gel or twig stove...I opened up the fuel feed hole of a Swiss Ranger stove ($10US about 3 years ago), originally to fit the Trangia, and then enlarged it to fit the Sterno canister... I was not aware that there were smaller Sterno canisters, and would not have opened it up as much for a do-over... the 500ml cup has tapered sides and heats quickly... with the kit is a spun aluminum bottle with cork top that nests...







Thanks so much, Les. I missed you guys!

Our local army surplus store carries ranger/volcano stoves. They look pretty cool. Love multi-fuel options!
Posted by: Mark_R

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/21/15 11:04 PM

Esbit. Cold weather wreaks havoc with alchohol vapor pressure, limiting stoves to to open flame and updraft types.

I've used homemade "hobo" stoves which operate on the same principle as the Ranger/Volcano stove. Messy, but very hot. If you're going to go with a twig stove, give some thought to woodgas stoves. They're supposed to be a lot cleaner then hobo stoves.
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/21/15 11:21 PM

Thanks so much, Mark! Points well-taken.

We made a DIY rocket stove out of tin cans in the Spring and it works great. Now for a smaller,packable version. Those little wood gasifiers look awesome!
Posted by: EMPnotImplyNuclear

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/22/15 12:29 AM

Originally Posted By: Mark_R
Esbit. Cold weather wreaks havoc with alchohol vapor pressure, limiting stoves to to open flame and updraft types.

I've used homemade "hobo" stoves which operate on the same principle as the Ranger/Volcano stove. Messy, but very hot. If you're going to go with a twig stove, give some thought to woodgas stoves. They're supposed to be a lot cleaner then hobo stoves.

volcano stove need to go a step further and skirt the cookpot as well fully, thats extra heat smile




henson2buckpopup


Posted by: dougwalkabout

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/22/15 02:18 AM

Originally Posted By: Mark_R
Esbit. Cold weather wreaks havoc with alchohol vapor pressure, limiting stoves to to open flame and updraft types.


+1. Below a certain temperature, I think the heat loss would make an alcohol stove unable to boil water. That said, a creative setup using lightweight insulation could possibly turn that around.

YMMV, but I don't care to use an alcohol (methanol) stove unless the cup/pot has a tight fitting lid. In my few modest experiments, I always got a hint of unburned alcohol in the flue gases, and its affinity for water may not improve the quality of the tea...
Posted by: Pete

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/22/15 02:42 AM

agree with Doug on both points above.

I am cautious when using alcohol for fuel and ALWAYS put a lid on the container that is being boiled. It's too easy for the alcohol vapors to condense on cool metal and drip into your food/drink.

I have never used alcohol for anything serious - only demo projects at home - just to test the system. But I would be worried about alcohol as a true survival fuel. When you are seriously cold - you need real heat fast. I don't know how well that fuel system would work for -40 degrees, or for hypothermic situations.

Posted by: hikermor

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/22/15 03:32 AM

If you are contending with -40 temps, you want liquid petrochemical fuels. Don't mess with either esbit or alcohol. Kerosene worked fine for me in those conditions.

Consider different fuels for different seasons.
Posted by: Russ

tRe: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/22/15 05:03 AM

With the cold weather considerations in mind, may I recommend an MSR Whisperlite International -- white gas, kerosene and unleaded auto fuel in a pinch. Alcohol and Esbit have their place, but if it's cold and you really need heat, why limit yourself to ultra-light methods.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/22/15 05:20 AM

Originally Posted By: bacpacjac
Originally Posted By: Phaedrus
I really like ESBIT. It does stink pretty bad and leaves a crappy residue but it burns great and keeps forever. It's a lot better emergency tinder than Wetfire, too; I promise you that if you count on Wetfire eventually you'll be let down. The packaging seems prone to leaking, and once air hits it it's inevitable that it will fail if you store it long enough. In my experience the stuff just isn't that reliable. But ESBIT is! You could leave a block of it unwrapped on the coffee table and it will still work a few decades later.


Agreed, Phaerus. Wetfire too small and expensive to count on. I like that they're waterprooofish, but it's still not worth it to me to buy more. The cheaper brands in a good waterproof container works better, IMHO. The more I test them, the more I lean to the ESBIT brand tabs. I have to go out of my way to get them, but it's worth the trip if I stock up a bit. wink


If you use it as a convenience and aren't relying on it to save your life, check out the Weber cubes. They're almost certainly the exact same thing, or are nearly identical, but they cost 1/20 as much or so. FWIW I've tested them next to WetFire and I can't tell any difference. They share the same volatility problem with WetFire- if not stored well sealed they go bad in a few weeks. But I have used a commercial chamber vacuum sealer to seal them in mylar and have had good luck with them after a couple years of storage. I've sent them to a couple of ETS members and they have had good luck with them so far as I've known. Of course, I also have used the same mylar pouches to seal ESBIT and I think that's the better option if emergency use is your concern.
Posted by: Tom_L

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/22/15 08:01 AM

Originally Posted By: hikermor
If you are contending with -40 temps, you want liquid petrochemical fuels. Don't mess with either esbit or alcohol. Kerosene worked fine for me in those conditions.


To be fair, longer term survival in -40 temperatures calls for a radically different strategy and a lot of specialized equipment. A multi-fuel/kerosene stove being just one case in point.

However, I'm not sure if that's what the OP had in mind. As a small portable (and/or emergency) stove I think either alcohol or esbit would work just fine for most people, unless they are actually planning to spend days on end exposed to -40 temperatures. But most people aren't going to do that on purpose, at least not without a good shelter in place.

I've read a lot about the supposed deficiencies of alcohol stoves in cold temperatures. Well yes, I'm pretty sure that trying to boil water on a small alcohol stove in the middle of some windswept icy plain wouldn't work that well. But no sensible person is going to do that anyway.

When it's that cold outside your top priority is going to be a decent shelter. All your boiling and cooking and whatnot will take place there, in a place at least somewhat protected from the elements. A good shelter will trap heat quite effectively so it will get warm fairly quickly, at any rate warm enough for an alcohol stove to work well. Keep in mind that the trangia stove is very popular with the Scandinavian military and outdoor enthusiasts in general, speaking for a very solid track record (even) in the Arctic climate.

I absolutely agree that a kerosene stove is a more effective solution in the extreme cold. But it can be finicky to operate, pretty darn dangerous in less experienced hands and requires a fair bit of maintenance to perform reliably. Unless you're going on a truly hardcore Arctic or mountain climbing adventure I don't think a kerosene stove is really necessary, or even ideal for most people.
Posted by: EMPnotImplyNuclear

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/22/15 08:39 AM

yeah until it freezes alcohol should be burnable smile hey candles burn and they don't vaporize at room temperature


Originally Posted By: http://www.jureystudio.com/pennystove/myths.html#anchor3
In his book Annapurna: 50 years of Expeditions in the Death Zone, Reinhold Messner relates how the first party to ascend an 8,000 meter mountain made "tea on the alcohol stove" the night before the "assault". At way over 20.000 ft. it was very cold on that trip - Herzog and Lachenal both came back with critical cases of frostbite.


TRANGIA Alcohol Stove IN 2 Minnesota Cold - shugemery
Alcohol stove works below freezing 19 degrees F - Freddy Johnson
Originally Posted By: Trail Tested: A Thru-Hiker's Guide to Ultralight Hiking and Backpacking - Justin Lichter
I have used alcohol stoves in conditions as cold as negative 30 degrees and at 18,000 feet elevation and haven't had any problems.


Alcohol Stove: Rumors, myths & Lies #alcohol-stoves-dont-work-in-low-temperatures
Posted by: wildman800

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/22/15 11:41 AM

I carry Esbit tabs (Trioxine tablets whe I can find them) in my GHB. The Esbit tabs are to use in wet conditions if all else fails. I still prefer feeding twigs into my stove to heat up some coffee, tea, or warm up a meal.
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/22/15 03:24 PM

You guys are awesome! Thanks so much. I now have three different cook sets and two stoves in my DAY HIKE KIT! LOL!! An over-packed work in progress, as ever. wink

I should have clarified that this is a strictly urban kit. I'm using this bag as my "more than just a walk to the grocery store" EDC, and regularly stopping for trail-side lunches and snacks with the kids, but it isn't my bushcraft/camping/wilderness bag. It may wander a little far from the pavement occasionally, but this kit isn't intended for wilderness trips planned or otherwise. wink Backpackgirl and I are doing a lot of hiking, and we're moving on foot or bus, or carpooling within suburban/urban areas, and this is my just in case kit for those adventures.

In terms of it being a GHB, I'm planning to be caught outside for a few hours or overnight on a walk home, to couch-surf with a friend or in a bus station during an ice/winter storm or power failure - at worst, with one or both of my kiddos. I'm not packing a saw or an axe in this kit, for example, but do have a plug-in recharging system for my radio and cel phone. As Tom wisely pointed out, I am not going to be lost in the barrens with this bag. wink

When it comes to the stove, I want something to use on the trail and I need something that I can use indoors in a power outtage.

What's in my bag:

OUTSIDE OF PACK

*Thermarest Z Seat (attached by side compression strap)
*Fox 40 slim Whistle (attached to zipper)

FRONT OUTSIDE POCKET
*cough drops
*Clif bars
*emergency poncho
*baby wipes
*Purelle
*garbage bags

FRONT POCKET
*Kleenex
*MP3 Player/Radio, ear buds and charging kit
*Mora LMF Fire Knife
*Leather Wave (Mag Solitare, Ferro rod and cotton in sheath)
*bandana (cotton)
*buff (wicking)
*LED headlamp and one set of extra batteries
*LED Glowstick (Thank you Izzy!)
*Pens and pencil
*lip balm
*Sunglasses
*Tylenol, Advil, Benedryl, cough drops
*Mini BIC
*Tweezers & safety pins
*Repair needle
*Fire Tin with fatwood, birch bark and jute twine
*Platypus water bag
*duct tape
*signal mirror
*notebook
*paracord

MIDDLE POCKET

*GI poncho
*silk liner gloves
*balaclava (Camo/Blaze orange)
*baseball hat
*9 oz meths for alcohol stove

MAIN POCKET
*FAK (with water filter straw, BIC, whistle, 2 mylar blankets and standard FAK kit stuff)

*Extra Clothes (merino wool hiking socks, merino wool hoodie, leggings, underwear and a wool poncho in dry bag)
*Shelter kit (Heatsheets 2 person blanket, plastic sheet, jute twine, paracord, chem hand and body warmers)
*Hygiene kit (maxi pads, tampons, pull-up diaper, toilet paper, soap, purelle, shami, bandana, extra ziplock bags)
*Bag of Chow (noodles and rice ,tuna, oatmeal, trail mix and hot drinks)
*Cookset
-32 OZ stainless steel water bottle (and fish mouth spreader) nested in 28 OZ Outbound Robson Adonized Aluminum cook pot and lid
-32 OZ GSI kettle (holds ESBIT stove, BIC, stormproof matches, folding cup and the fixings for tea)
-18 OZ Outbound stainless steel mug and homemade lid (holds alcohol stove kit with fancy feast stove, windscreen/pot holder and 4oz of meths)

I made a video showing this kit, but the cookset is obviously still a work in progress. It's heavier and bulkier than I'd like so I'm still fiddling. All suggestions for improvement are appreciated as always! smile

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbHBJGIiHD8
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/22/15 03:37 PM

Notice that you are packing hand sanitizer in a couple of places in your kit. Not only is that stuff good for sanitation, it burns quite nicely in an alcohol stove (62%). I would say you are set for anything short of an asteroid impact or Yellowstone blowing up....
Posted by: Russ

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/22/15 03:42 PM

Hmmm, for indoors during a power outage I go away from anything I'd take for a walk. A single burner butane stove like the Amazon butane stoves are fairly cheap and they work really well.

The basic design seems to be universal, I s'pose the patent ran out or was simply overrun. I have a stainless model from Gas One that simmers well and boils water faster than my stovetop. Iwatani markets a couple that are very nice at over twice the price and also available from Amazon. IME they burn clean, crack the window and don't worry about CO.

I wouldn't consider the other fuels: kerosene, white gas, et al -- for use inside. I never tried Esbit or alcohol because those stoves are either On or Off, and aren't in the same class for serious cooking.
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/22/15 03:43 PM

Originally Posted By: hikermor
Notice that you are packing hand sanitizer in a couple of places in your kit. Not only is that stuff good for sanitation, it burns quite nicely in an alcohol stove (62%). I would say you are set for anything short of an asteroid impact or Yellowstone blowing up....


HAHA! I have an almost three year old who feels like dealing with an asteroid impact a lot of the time. wink
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/22/15 03:44 PM

Originally Posted By: Russ
Hmmm, for indoors during a power outage I go away from anything I'd take for a walk. A single burner butane stove like the Amazon butane stoves are fairly cheap and they work really well.

The basic design seems to be universal, I s'pose the patent ran out or was simply overrun. I have a stainless model from Gas One that simmers well and boils water faster than my stovetop. Iwatani markets a couple that are very nice at over twice the price and also available from Amazon. IME they burn clean, crack the window and don't worry about CO.

I wouldn't consider the other fuels: kerosene, white gas, et al -- for use inside. I never tried Esbit or alcohol because those stoves aren't in the same class for serious cooking.


Thanks Russ! I agree and have a couple of camp stoves that we've used at home before for just those reasons!
Posted by: Tjin

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/22/15 04:01 PM

Originally Posted By: bacpacjac
Originally Posted By: Russ
Hmmm, for indoors during a power outage I go away from anything I'd take for a walk. A single burner butane stove like the Amazon butane stoves are fairly cheap and they work really well.

The basic design seems to be universal, I s'pose the patent ran out or was simply overrun. I have a stainless model from Gas One that simmers well and boils water faster than my stovetop. Iwatani markets a couple that are very nice at over twice the price and also available from Amazon. IME they burn clean, crack the window and don't worry about CO.

I wouldn't consider the other fuels: kerosene, white gas, et al -- for use inside. I never tried Esbit or alcohol because those stoves aren't in the same class for serious cooking.


Thanks Russ! I agree and have a couple of camp stoves that we've used at home before for just those reasons!


Be aware of those butane stoves. Several recalls and bans were in effect in Australia (https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/water-energ...s-cooker-safety) and EU. Over heating seems to be a issue, make sure you do not exceed the maximum diameter size pans.
Posted by: Russ

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/22/15 05:46 PM

Thanks for the warning Tjin. I checked the link and fortunately neither my Gas One nor the Iwatani brand names made the list. HOWEVER, as Previously stated, they are all of the same basic design so precautions are probably warranted regardless of the list. I pulled mine off the shelf and I recalled thinking that it was nice that the fuel canister was offset from the burner. Obviously an oversize pan that extended out over the canister compartment could negate that design and become a flaw, allowing the can to overheat. So smaller pans and water kettles only.

Mine is primarily for morning coffee so the water kettle is primary.
Posted by: Alex

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/22/15 08:35 PM

I've decided on the Alcohol stove for my GHB because of its multi-use. Everclear in the original pint bottle (refilled) - good for the stove, for disinfection, natural tinctures preparation, cleaning optics and electronics contacts, could be suitable for trade or making friends (thus the original bottle), and many other survival uses. Esbit... - is just Esbit, nothing even close. The cat can stove is tiny, zero weight, doesn't require a pot stand, could work with many other fuels as well. Just make yourself familiar with its specifics. By the way, it lights nicely with a single spark from your fire steel or spark wheel.

The best cat can design I've found so far: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XQVKLlLQjw
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/22/15 11:28 PM

Originally Posted By: Alex
I've decided on the Alcohol stove for my GHB because of its multi-use. Everclear in the original pint bottle (refilled) - good for the stove, for disinfection, natural tinctures preparation, cleaning optics and electronics contacts, could be suitable for trade or making friends (thus the original bottle), and many other survival uses. Esbit - is nothing even close. The cat can stove is tiny, zero weight, doesn't require a pot stand, could work with many other fuels as well. Just make yourself familiar with its specifics. By the way, it lights nicely with a single spark from your fire steel or spark wheel.

The best cat can design I've found so far: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XQVKLlLQjw


Great video, Alex, thank you. I've got one of these on the drawing board and this is a great tutorial. Thanks!!
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/22/15 11:31 PM

Thanks so much, Tjin! Much appreciated!
Posted by: Cauldronborn2

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/24/15 02:53 PM

Originally Posted By: bacpacjac
Originally Posted By: haertig
I have one of these:

http://www.fireboxstove.com/camp-stoves/3-inch-folding-firebox-nano


A Trangia burner will fit inside, as will an Esbit tablet - and the folding stove will act as a windscreen for those while also supporting your pot. Also, you can feed it with small scraps of wood and bark if you run out of other fuel.

[edit] p.s. - All the pictures of this stove on their website show it with the legs angled inwards, but they can be angled outwards too, if you need to support a larger pot. [/edit]

I like the versatility of the setup. You can get this stove in titanium as well, but the stove is small enough that I'm happy with the heavier stainless version - it doesn't weigh much.

I also have this small folding stoves big brother:

http://www.fireboxstove.com/camp-stoves/5-inch-folding-firebox


But this bigger one is pretty heavy (made of stainless). An awesome stove, just not a lightweight one. I've got the accessories for this larger one too - the grill plate and the boil plate. My typical use for this larger version is on car-camping trips. If we're not going to have a campfire, this stove will sit on the picnic table, fed with scrap wood and bark, and serves as a heater and something to gaze into as you sit around in the dark. Also good for heating your hot chocolate or roasting marshmallows.

But for a get home bag, I'd recommend the small version at the top of this post.


SO SO SO WANT!!! No funds right now but some day. laugh

EDIT: My hubby works with sheet metal and is determined that he can make something similar to this. I'm really hoping he's right. wink




Bacpacjac, if your hubby works with sheet steel this might be a better model to work from, five flat plates with tabs and no hinges. I've been look at these myself though I don't know if there's any thing similar available in your neck of the woods.
Posted by: bws48

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/24/15 04:20 PM

U.S. Amazon has it here:
http://www.amazon.com/Outdoor-Pocket-Mic...ro+Stove+EDCBox but the reviews are not so good, mostly because of it's really small size.

A larger one of the same type but different maker, also from 5 flats of steel, is available (but only one review): http://www.amazon.com/Outdoor-Pocket-Sto...ro+Stove+EDCBox, but it looks more practical.

Access to sheet metal, tools and time and you could work either one of these up fairly easily I think.
Posted by: acropolis5

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/24/15 10:31 PM

Bacpacjac, I noticed from reading ur first post, the possible use of the stove indoors. Do u know whether an Esbit stove is safe to use indoors, with a window open just a bir?
Posted by: M_a_x

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/25/15 10:08 AM

In Germany they recommend to use it only in well ventilated areas and suggest to refrain from using it indoors. I take this as its not considered save to do so.
Posted by: EMPnotImplyNuclear

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/25/15 11:15 AM

Originally Posted By: M_a_x
In Germany they recommend to use it only in well ventilated areas and suggest to refrain from using it indoors. I take this as its not considered save to do so.


There is a lot of truth in this,
caution is warranted,
burning produces carbon monoxide,
so you need to ventilate,
have stove on stable surface,
away from curtains ,
away from pets,
don't leave fire unattended,
don't drink alcohol or stuff like that,
keep children away from stove,
use carbon monoxide / smoke detector,
have fire extinguisher ready,
...
there is risk to everything
and the cheapest legal pants smile
is to say don't take the risk at all
easier than convincing people knowitalls to take precautions
but if you take a few simple precautions risk can be minimized




This is what a book on wood/coal... cookstoves has to say about ventilation
Originally Posted By: http://www.pciaonline.org/files/Test-Results-Cookstove-Performance.pdf#page=69

Figure 20 - CO and average PM level reduction by ventilation
Closed Kitchen CO Average (ppm) 54
Hole in Roof CO Average (ppm) 18 reduction of 67%
Window and Hole in Roof CO Average (ppm) 14 reduction of 75%
Door Open CO Average (ppm) 1 reduction of 97%

Kitchen Dimensions:
10 ft (3 m) wide X 8 ft (2.4 m) deep X 6 ft (1.8 m) high X
8 ft (2.4 m) peak
Door: 2 ft (0.6 m) X 6 ft (1.8 m)
Window: 11 in (0.28 m) X 14 in (0.36 m)
Hole in Roof: 9.8 in (0.25 m) X 7.9 in (0.2 m)
Stove height: 2 ft. (0.6 m)

Book also has a Cookstove Safety Ratings worksheet


This is short preview of article that takes a closer look emissions from camping stoves in a tent sized space

Stoves, Tents and Carbon Monoxide - Deadly or Not? Part 5: Laboratory Measurements for Solid Fuels - Backpacking Light

I don't expect any surprises smile
burning produces emissions,
too much fuel burns more dirty,
pot sitting in flames produces more emissions,
...
you need to ventilate

update:
Originally Posted By: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_monoxide_poisoning#Signs_and_symptoms

Concentration Symptoms
35 ppm (0.0035%) Headache and dizziness within six to eight hours of constant exposure
100 ppm (0.01%) Slight headache in two to three hours
200 ppm (0.02%) Slight headache within two to three hours; loss of judgment
400 ppm (0.04%) Frontal headache within one to two hours
800 ppm (0.08%) Dizziness, nausea, and convulsions within 45 min; insensible within 2 hours
1,600 ppm (0.16%) Headache, increased heart rate, dizziness, and nausea within 20 min; death in less than 2 hours
3,200 ppm (0.32%) Headache, dizziness and nausea in five to ten minutes. Death within 30 minutes.
6,400 ppm (0.64%) Headache and dizziness in one to two minutes. Convulsions, respiratory arrest, and death in less than 20 minutes.
12,800 ppm (1.28%) Unconsciousness after 23 breaths. Death in less than three minutes.


Originally Posted By: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_monoxide_poisoning#Causes

Concentration Source
0.1 ppm Natural atmosphere level (MOPITT)
0.5 to 5 ppm Average level in homes
5 to 15 ppm Near properly adjusted gas stoves in homes
100 to 200 ppm Exhaust from automobiles in the Mexico City central area
5,000 ppm Exhaust from a home wood fire
7,000 ppm Undiluted warm car exhaust without a catalytic converter
30,000 ppm Afterdamp following an explosion in a coal mine





Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/26/15 12:45 AM

Originally Posted By: Cauldronborn2


Bacpacjac, if your hubby works with sheet steel this might be a better model to work from, five flat plates with tabs and no hinges. I've been look at these myself though I don't know if there's any thing similar available in your neck of the woods.



Thanks so much, Cauldronborn2! Forwarded to bacpachubby! wink There doesn't seem to be anybody local selling these so we're working on building one. (Well, he's building and I'm helping with the design requests.)

I found this simple mod for the Esbit stove that looks like it will work well, and we just happen to have the materials on the work bench waiting for a project. wink It's not as elaborate as a firebox/bushbox stove but it's a good start.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=difj5K4C7IU
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/26/15 01:02 AM

Christmas Cook Kit Update: I'm not sure if Santa helped or hindered my cook kit, but...

The 16 oz stainless steel mug and lid that I kept alcohol stove in has been replaced by two Sea to Summit X Mug collapsible cups. (The stove is now wrapped in a windscreen/pot stand inside a padded carrier that's just big enough to include a 2 oz bottle of fuel and a mini BIC.) The cups are 16 oz each, like the SS mug, but collapse down and fit inside my GSI kettle, along with the Esbit stove (with some hexi tabs inside), a BIC, and my folding cup. He also brought each of the kids a new LMF spork, which replaces their heavier and bulkier plastic spoons.

Brew kit for three - just what I wanted. I ditched a cooking vessel, but I still have two so I didn't need it. I added the extra cup that I wanted, which probably added a few ounces, but I lose an ounce or two with the spoon swap.

It's an addiction. Thank you for that! wink
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/26/15 01:04 AM

Thanks so much, BWS!!
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/26/15 01:07 AM

Originally Posted By: M_a_x
In Germany they recommend to use it only in well ventilated areas and suggest to refrain from using it indoors. I take this as its not considered save to do so.


Agreed. Outside is best, unless you've got good ventilation. It wouldn't burn for long, so similar risk as a chaffing dish, maybe? Better safe than sorry, me thinks, so a backyard, front step, balcony, beside the snowed-in car are the target burn locations in my books.
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/26/15 01:13 AM

Originally Posted By: EMPnotImplyNuclear
Originally Posted By: M_a_x
In Germany they recommend to use it only in well ventilated areas and suggest to refrain from using it indoors. I take this as its not considered save to do so.


There is a lot of truth in this,
caution is warranted,
burning produces carbon monoxide,
so you need to ventilate,
have stove on stable surface,
away from curtains ,
away from pets,
don't leave fire unattended,
don't drink alcohol or stuff like that,
keep children away from stove,
use carbon monoxide / smoke detector,
have fire extinguisher ready,
...
there is risk to everything
and the cheapest legal pants smile
is to say don't take the risk at all
easier than convincing people knowitalls to take precautions
but if you take a few simple precautions risk can be minimized




This is what a book on wood/coal... cookstoves has to say about ventilation
Originally Posted By: http://www.pciaonline.org/files/Test-Results-Cookstove-Performance.pdf#page=69

Figure 20 - CO and average PM level reduction by ventilation
Closed Kitchen CO Average (ppm) 54
Hole in Roof CO Average (ppm) 18 reduction of 67%
Window and Hole in Roof CO Average (ppm) 14 reduction of 75%
Door Open CO Average (ppm) 1 reduction of 97%

Kitchen Dimensions:
10 ft (3 m) wide X 8 ft (2.4 m) deep X 6 ft (1.8 m) high X
8 ft (2.4 m) peak
Door: 2 ft (0.6 m) X 6 ft (1.8 m)
Window: 11 in (0.28 m) X 14 in (0.36 m)
Hole in Roof: 9.8 in (0.25 m) X 7.9 in (0.2 m)
Stove height: 2 ft. (0.6 m)

Book also has a Cookstove Safety Ratings worksheet


This is short preview of article that takes a closer look emissions from camping stoves in a tent sized space

Stoves, Tents and Carbon Monoxide - Deadly or Not? Part 5: Laboratory Measurements for Solid Fuels - Backpacking Light

I don't expect any surprises smile
burning produces emissions,
too much fuel burns more dirty,
pot sitting in flames produces more emissions,
...
you need to ventilate

update:
Originally Posted By: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_monoxide_poisoning#Signs_and_symptoms

Concentration Symptoms
35 ppm (0.0035%) Headache and dizziness within six to eight hours of constant exposure
100 ppm (0.01%) Slight headache in two to three hours
200 ppm (0.02%) Slight headache within two to three hours; loss of judgment
400 ppm (0.04%) Frontal headache within one to two hours
800 ppm (0.08%) Dizziness, nausea, and convulsions within 45 min; insensible within 2 hours
1,600 ppm (0.16%) Headache, increased heart rate, dizziness, and nausea within 20 min; death in less than 2 hours
3,200 ppm (0.32%) Headache, dizziness and nausea in five to ten minutes. Death within 30 minutes.
6,400 ppm (0.64%) Headache and dizziness in one to two minutes. Convulsions, respiratory arrest, and death in less than 20 minutes.
12,800 ppm (1.28%) Unconsciousness after 23 breaths. Death in less than three minutes.


Originally Posted By: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_monoxide_poisoning#Causes

Concentration Source
0.1 ppm Natural atmosphere level (MOPITT)
0.5 to 5 ppm Average level in homes
5 to 15 ppm Near properly adjusted gas stoves in homes
100 to 200 ppm Exhaust from automobiles in the Mexico City central area
5,000 ppm Exhaust from a home wood fire
7,000 ppm Undiluted warm car exhaust without a catalytic converter
30,000 ppm Afterdamp following an explosion in a coal mine







Thanks EMP. Agreed - there is always risk. I tipped my alcohol stove over on the trail the other day when I set my kettle on it. Could have been a forest fire if I hadn't taken precautions before lighting it. Because I did, the half ounce of fuel just burned out harmlessly on the muddy ground in a minute or so. Had that happened on the kitchen counter..... necessary precautions are important.
Posted by: Nomad

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/26/15 02:49 AM

It is my understanding that alcohol stoves are banned in US National Parks and forests because of the spill danger. You can't put it out and you can't easily see the flame.
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/26/15 03:13 AM

Originally Posted By: Nomad
It is my understanding that alcohol stoves are banned in US National Parks and forests because of the spill danger. You can't put it out and you can't easily see the flame.




That's true about the flames. It's hard to see unless it's dark. Alcohol stoves made me nervous for a long time, partially for this reason, and I haven't completely shaken that. (Probably why I'm still so attached to my Esbit stove.) They deserve respect, that's for sure.

EDIT: The Esbit stove and my new windscreen both work as pot holders for the alcohol stove, and after my tip-over last week, I intend to use one every time. (And I'm working on a more efficient stove for this reason.)
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/26/15 04:34 AM

Originally Posted By: Nomad
It is my understanding that alcohol stoves are banned in US National Parks and forests because of the spill danger. You can't put it out and you can't easily see the flame.


Are you sure about that? I am unaware of any such comprehensive ban and I have been working (and playing occasionally)in US National Parks since 1956 and I am unaware of any such blanket ban. During periods of high fire danger, a ban of this nature would be in effect but it would cover all open flame, not just alcohol.

You definitely do have to watch those flames, which are hard to see during the day....
Posted by: Chisel

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/26/15 05:31 PM

Quote:
That's true about the flames. It's hard to see unless it's dark.


Don't quote me on this , but I think that adding a little salt to the alcohol should give some yellow color to the flame.

Worth trying.
Posted by: Chisel

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/26/15 05:36 PM

OK. There goes

http://blog.markhamanderson.com/how-to-make-colored-flames/
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/27/15 12:10 AM

Great idea< Chisel! We do this at Scout campfires, but I never thought about trying it with the alcohol stove. Smart!
Posted by: Nomad

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/27/15 12:45 AM

Originally Posted By: hikermor

Are you sure about that? I am unaware of any such comprehensive ban and I have been working (and playing occasionally)in US National Parks <snip> [/quote]

You are correct. I hunted around through the regulations and see no such rule. However I also have worked for the NFS and others and was repeatedly told they were banned. I do see that alcohol stoves are banned in some specific forests but it appears randomly enforced.

Again I learn the lesson to check my sources before repeating what I am told. Even if it comes from a "reliable" source.
Thanks for the correction.

Nomad
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/27/15 04:53 PM

Before posting, I did a cursory online search and did find the following CFR language - 36 CFR 2.13 Fires (a) (2) Only chemical based camp stoves may be used.

I suppose alcohol is a chemical - perhaps a slightly modified can is not a "stove"??

I do recall seeing somewhere that permissible stoves had to have an on-off valve....

None of this bureaucratic twiddle will prevent some doofus from starting a fire in circumstances that are clearly inappropriate.
Posted by: Brangdon

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/30/15 03:26 PM

Originally Posted By: chaosmagnet

Esbit disadvantages:
  • once it's lit, you're not putting it out until it's used up
  • leaves yucky residue
I use Esbit-style stoves, but with Hexamine fuel that does not leave a residue. I've not had any problem blowing it out when I'm done. I think Esbit is easy to blow out too. Am I missing something here?

For me the main disadvantage is how hard solid fuel is to light. I generally use tindercard or similar to help get it going. Alcohol will ignite with a spark (at least, if it's reasonably warm - it's the vapour that ignites). And for me the main drawback of alcohol is my fear of spilling it while it's aflame.
Posted by: chaosmagnet

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/30/15 04:16 PM

Originally Posted By: Brangdon
I use Esbit-style stoves, but with Hexamine fuel that does not leave a residue. I've not had any problem blowing it out when I'm done. I think Esbit is easy to blow out too. Am I missing something here?


Weird. I haven't used Esbit much but I found it essentially impossible to blow out after burning for a few minutes. I also had no trouble getting it lit.
Posted by: M_a_x

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 12/30/15 08:40 PM

Originally Posted By: chaosmagnet
Originally Posted By: Brangdon
I use Esbit-style stoves, but with Hexamine fuel that does not leave a residue. I've not had any problem blowing it out when I'm done. I think Esbit is easy to blow out too. Am I missing something here?


Weird. I haven't used Esbit much but I found it essentially impossible to blow out after burning for a few minutes. I also had no trouble getting it lit.


It is fairly easy to put it out with a piece of wet cloth. It can be lit again after that. Its just not recommended because of the fumes.
Besides Esbit stoves are meant for heating a container of defined size. The tablets usually are burnt up by the time you are done anyway (or shortly before, if you failed to shield it from the wind).
If I can afford spillage, I take my Trangia burner.
Posted by: Jeanette_Isabelle

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/01/16 05:37 PM

Originally Posted By: bacpacjac
*Hygiene kit (maxi pads, tampons, pull-up diaper, toilet paper, soap, purelle, shami, bandana, extra ziplock bags)

No oral hygiene?

Jeanette Isabelle
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/02/16 03:46 PM

I did have some oral hygiene in this kit for a long time, Jeanette - tooth brush, paste and some dental floss. It is one of the components I debate adding again, along with deodorant. Dental is easy to add, but at the expense of space and weight.

Suggestions?

Although my cook kit would say I'm a fibber, I'm trying to save weight. Right now, the pack probably weighs close to 25 pounds, including water and food. I don't have a gear budget right now, so I'm working with what I have, and slowly upgrading over the next couple of years in prep for a big trail hike.
Posted by: Jeanette_Isabelle

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/02/16 04:21 PM

Originally Posted By: bacpacjac
I did have some oral hygiene in this kit for a long time, Jeanette - tooth brush, paste and some dental floss. It is one of the components I debate adding again, along with deodorant. Dental is easy to add, but at the expense of space and weight.

Suggestions?

Peppermint liquid castile soap is versatile as soap, shampoo and toothpaste. It tastes like soap when using it as toothpaste but it works.

https://www.drbronner.com/DBMS/PEPPERMINT/OLPE02.html

I never tried Flosscard; I can't think of a reason why it wouldn't work. It's the same size as a regular business card.

http://www.flosscard.com/gallery-retail/

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with either company.

Jeanette Isabelle
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/02/16 05:09 PM

Originally Posted By: Jeanette_Isabelle
Originally Posted By: bacpacjac
I did have some oral hygiene in this kit for a long time, Jeanette - tooth brush, paste and some dental floss. It is one of the components I debate adding again, along with deodorant. Dental is easy to add, but at the expense of space and weight.

Suggestions?

Peppermint liquid castile soap is versatile as soap, shampoo and toothpaste. It tastes like soap when using it as toothpaste but it works.

https://www.drbronner.com/DBMS/PEPPERMINT/OLPE02.html

I never tried Flosscard; I can't think of a reason why it wouldn't work. It's the same size as a regular business card.

http://www.flosscard.com/gallery-retail/

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with either company.

Jeanette Isabelle


Great suggestions, Jeanette. Thanks! I haven't seen liquid castile soap, but know there are many fans of it on this forum. If I can use it for soap, shampoo AND toothpaste, I'm sold. Do you know if it works for dishes too?
Posted by: Treeseeker

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/02/16 06:23 PM

You can get many of the items you mention in single use packets. Search for "travel size toiletries."

Deodorant and dental floss are available in single use packets.

I haven't seen toothpaste in a single use packet, but you can get it in very small tubes. Here is a 0.6oz tube:

http://www.traveltoiletrykits.com/mm5/me...tegory_Code=ORL

Since you are looking to stock a GHB, you should only need enough for 1-3 days. Single use packets will be much lighter than regular travel size packages. The toothbrush will be the heaviest item. Some people cut off half the handle to make them lighter.
Posted by: Russ

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/02/16 07:30 PM

Longish thread -- Is it too cold in the far North for an IsoPro canister stove like the MSR MicroRocket? That is the stove in my GHB along with a small IsoPro canister.
Posted by: Jeanette_Isabelle

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/02/16 08:47 PM

Originally Posted By: bacpacjac
Great suggestions, Jeanette. Thanks! I haven't seen liquid castile soap, but know there are many fans of it on this forum. If I can use it for soap, shampoo AND toothpaste, I'm sold. Do you know if it works for dishes too?

Yes, it works on dishes too.

Jeanette Isabelle
Posted by: Jeanette_Isabelle

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/02/16 09:08 PM

Originally Posted By: Treeseeker
You can get many of the items you mention in single use packets. Search for "travel size toiletries."

Deodorant and dental floss are available in single use packets.

Given she's hiking on a trail and the space and weight, deodorant may be more a luxury item. It's her call. The Flosscard I linked may work better.

Originally Posted By: Treeseeker
I haven't seen toothpaste in a single use packet, but you can get it in very small tubes. Here is a 0.6oz tube:

http://www.traveltoiletrykits.com/mm5/me...tegory_Code=ORL

The peppermint liquid castile soap will work as toothpaste and so much more. Given the space and weight, a multi purpose product would work better.

Jeanette Isabelle
Posted by: Mark_F

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/04/16 04:09 PM

There's the waterless/disposable toothbrushes

http://www.colgateopticwhite.com/toothbrushes/wisp

standard disclaimers apply
Posted by: Teslinhiker

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/04/16 09:57 PM

Back to the original topic of a GHB stove.

I see one very crucial point that has been missed by all in regards to alcohol stoves in cold weather. Before I get into that, Bacpacjac mentioned that the temps where she is (southern Ontario?) can drop down to -40C. Given that this area is one of the most densely populated areas of Canada, I really question why any person would be wanting to get home in -20C temps, let downwards to -40C. If you have never been out walking or ever holed up a tent or even in a car for any length of time at either of these temps, you don't have any idea of how cold it really is. For those metrically challenged, -40C is the same as -40F.

That aside, the crucial point with alcohol stoves is the very possible of severe risk of frostbite if you spill alcohol on your skin at these temperatures. Like gas or many other flammable liquids, alcohol does not freeze as water does. In fact, alcohol does not freeze until well past -80C. Chances are when using any small stove, you may have to fuel up the stove. If you spill alcohol directly on exposed skin you will get frostbite as that liquid alcohol is far below the freezing point. If you have gloves on and the it seeps through, you still have a very good chance of frostbite. The only thing that may save your skin is to keep that alcohol as warm as you possible in your packsack or in an inner coat pocket.

In extreme cold, your body and thinking is impaired to a degree and one slight second of inattention and could really compound an already tough, extreme cold situation. So for me, an alcohol stove is not worth the risk, but then again at those temps and in an urban environment, I would not be trying to make it home and would be seeking warm shelter in any numerable buildings in an urban area.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/04/16 10:13 PM

I will quote my brother in Bemidji, MN - "There is no bad weather, only bad clothes" - or equipment (my addition). In -40C, I, too, would seek warm shelter, roasting chestnuts on an open fire along with agreeable company, etc. If circumstances dictated that I travel, I would. I would probably go with a liquid petroleum stove. You just have to have the right stuff (and knowledge/skills/capabilities)for the environment in which you are operating.. In other words, you must be equipped to survive.
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/05/16 12:04 AM

Originally Posted By: Teslinhiker
Back to the original topic of a GHB stove.

I see one very crucial point that has been missed by all in regards to alcohol stoves in cold weather. Before I get into that, Bacpacjac mentioned that the temps where she is (southern Ontario?) can drop down to -40C. Given that this area is one of the most densely populated areas of Canada, I really question why any person would be wanting to get home in -20C temps, let downwards to -40C. If you have never been out walking or ever holed up a tent or even in a car for any length of time at either of these temps, you don't have any idea of how cold it really is. For those metrically challenged, -40C is the same as -40F.

That aside, the crucial point with alcohol stoves is the very possible of severe risk of frostbite if you spill alcohol on your skin at these temperatures. Like gas or many other flammable liquids, alcohol does not freeze as water does. In fact, alcohol does not freeze until well past -80C. Chances are when using any small stove, you may have to fuel up the stove. If you spill alcohol directly on exposed skin you will get frostbite as that liquid alcohol is far below the freezing point. If you have gloves on and the it seeps through, you still have a very good chance of frostbite. The only thing that may save your skin is to keep that alcohol as warm as you possible in your packsack or in an inner coat pocket.

In extreme cold, your body and thinking is impaired to a degree and one slight second of inattention and could really compound an already tough, extreme cold situation. So for me, an alcohol stove is not worth the risk, but then again at those temps and in an urban environment, I would not be trying to make it home and would be seeking warm shelter in any numerable buildings in an urban area.


Agreed. Shelter. Shelter. Shelter.

We have hit -30C with windchill today, and you just tipped me over to the Esbit side of the argument. Thanks!
Posted by: Teslinhiker

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/05/16 04:39 AM


One of the best, stark and almost brutal portrayals of a person almost freezing to death is the seminal Outside Online article with the sub title of The cold hard facts of freezing to death.. This was written just over 10 years ago but still very relevant and should be considered as required reading for anyone who ventures outdoors during the winter. Although I have read this many times over the years, it still hits me as a stark and graphic lesson of what can so easily happen.
Posted by: Byrd_Huntr

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/05/16 12:25 PM

This story, as with several others by Jack London, really had an affect on me as a boy. http://www.jacklondons.net/buildafire.html

I prefer a Coleman white gas one burner stove in really cold weather. I carry fire paste to put on the generator to get it to fire up. I do have an Esbit stove and a pot to melt snow in my trunk, but Esbit smells bad. Bic lighters are problematic in the cold, so matches and a ferro rod are a must.
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/05/16 12:48 PM

Originally Posted By: Teslinhiker

One of the best, stark and almost brutal portrayals of a person almost freezing to death is the seminal Outside Online article with the sub title of The cold hard facts of freezing to death.. This was written just over 10 years ago but still very relevant and should be considered as required reading for anyone who ventures outdoors during the winter. Although I have read this many times over the years, it still hits me as a stark and graphic lesson of what can so easily happen.



Adding this to my day's reading list. Thanks John!
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/05/16 01:22 PM

Originally Posted By: Byrd_Huntr
This story, as with several others by Jack London, really had an affect on me as a boy. http://www.jacklondons.net/buildafire.html

I prefer a Coleman white gas one burner stove in really cold weather. I carry fire paste to put on the generator to get it to fire up. I do have an Esbit stove and a pot to melt snow in my trunk, but Esbit smells bad. Bic lighters are problematic in the cold, so matches and a ferro rod are a must.


Build a Fire is one of my all-time favourites, Byrd. My grandparents had a copy on their shelf, along with more London and other classics, and they really fired my imagination as a kid.

I do use a gas stove for camping - especially during the winter. We have dug out the camp stoves at home during power failures before. It's seems like the best solution - but I just can't see carrying one around on a daily basis, for just in case.

This bag is for urban-suburban adventures. It is used for quick planned lunches and snack breaks on local trails, emergency snow melting, etc. This isn't a middle of nowhere bag, unless I throw it in the trunk for a long road trip, but I'd update a lot more than just my stove if that was the case. wink

I started using a simple alcohol stove a year or two ago, and I do like it, but I think I'm going to stick to ESBIT for my primary stove in this kit. Honestly, as silly as it sounded until I read John's reminder above about the risk of a spill freezing your skin, carrying liquid or gas fuel has always made me nervous. Personally, I think the convenience and cost are outweighed by the weight, the hassel of keeping the fuel warm, and risks of leakage, frostbite, tipovers, etc.

I've used my ESBIT and US GI canteen stoves almost exclusively for the last few years. With a windscreen, the only problems I've ever had were stubborn old fuel tabs that weren't sealed well and wouldn't burn well, and frozen hands that couldn't work a BIC lighter. (FYI - You can light hexi/triox cubes with a ferro rod if you break them up a bit. Adding a little dab of hand sanitizer will help speed up the process if you're really cold.)

So, I've decided to ditch the alchy stove in this kit. An alcohol stove is so easy to improvise in an urban emergency, if we really needed one. Instead, I'm working on a little mod to turn my ESBIT stove into a little firebox-type stove, so it'll work better with wood if we do get caught on the trail.

Thanks for all your help and advice on this guys. I appreciate the guidance!
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/05/16 01:41 PM

Originally Posted By: Jeanette_Isabelle
Originally Posted By: Treeseeker
You can get many of the items you mention in single use packets. Search for "travel size toiletries."

Deodorant and dental floss are available in single use packets.

Given she's hiking on a trail and the space and weight, deodorant may be more a luxury item. It's her call. The Flosscard I linked may work better.

Originally Posted By: Treeseeker
I haven't seen toothpaste in a single use packet, but you can get it in very small tubes. Here is a 0.6oz tube:

http://www.traveltoiletrykits.com/mm5/me...tegory_Code=ORL

The peppermint liquid castile soap will work as toothpaste and so much more. Given the space and weight, a multi purpose product would work better.

Jeanette Isabelle


No luck finding better stuff yet, but I did add a tiny tube of toothpaste, a travel toothbrush and a small stick of deodarant. Thanks for the reminders and suggestions! I remain on the hunt for better products on the shelves around here. wink
Posted by: Jeanette_Isabelle

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/05/16 02:28 PM

Originally Posted By: bacpacjac
No luck finding better stuff yet, but I did add a tiny tube of toothpaste, a travel toothbrush and a small stick of deodarant. Thanks for the reminders and suggestions! I remain on the hunt for better products on the shelves around here. wink

I doubt you will find Flosscard on any shelf. You may have to order it unless you know of another source, such as a dentist. Also their web site is currently down.

I don't know what stores are in your area. I would Google "Dr. Bronner Castile Soap," click on "Shopping" and "Available nearby."

Jeanette Isabelle
Posted by: bws48

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/05/16 03:51 PM

Originally Posted By: Jeanette_Isabelle

I don't know what stores are in your area. I would Google "Dr. Bronner Castile Soap," click on "Shopping" and "Available nearby."
Jeanette Isabelle


In my area, it is never sold in the big chain stores, but I frequently see in the local health/vitamin stores. You might try there, and if they don't carry it, I'll bet they know where you can get it locally.
Posted by: Mark_F

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/05/16 05:14 PM

Yes, Jack London's To Build a Fire, combined with an early childhood failure with a one match fire-starting challenge is probably why I'm such a fire bug today
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/05/16 05:26 PM

Originally Posted By: bws48
Originally Posted By: Jeanette_Isabelle

I don't know what stores are in your area. I would Google "Dr. Bronner Castile Soap," click on "Shopping" and "Available nearby."
Jeanette Isabelle


In my area, it is never sold in the big chain stores, but I frequently see in the local health/vitamin stores. You might try there, and if they don't carry it, I'll bet they know where you can get it locally.


You guys really do ROCK! Thanks so much for the help!
Posted by: Chisel

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/06/16 05:52 AM

Quote:
We have hit -30C with windchill today, and you just tipped me over to the Esbit side of the argument. Thanks!


Hehehe
I live at the other side of the temp spectrum and , like you, I was tipped over to the Esbit side of the argument.

In my corner of the world, alcohol can evaporate, or can spill in the car trunk ... in mid-day August... very scary !!
Posted by: wildman800

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/06/16 03:24 PM

I'm carrying a pack of Esbit tabs in my GHB and a Trangia alcohol stove in my BOB. I've been cutting out much of the redundancies in both but those are going to stay because sometimes it rains during a trip, otherwise, I'll use twigs and sticks to heat my food and water.
Posted by: Tom_L

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/06/16 06:35 PM

Originally Posted By: wildman800
I'm carrying a pack of Esbit tabs in my GHB and a Trangia alcohol stove in my BOB. I've been cutting out much of the redundancies in both but those are going to stay because sometimes it rains during a trip, otherwise, I'll use twigs and sticks to heat my food and water.


+1...
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/06/16 07:10 PM

Liquid castile soap with peppermint acquired! The health food store tip was the magic. Thanks so much for your help, Jeanette_Isabelle and bws48!

EDIT: I just went to swap out the camp soap and toothpaste for the liquid castile soap in my pack. The lid on the camp soap had cracked and leaked. Thank goodness it was in a ziplock bag - but that leaked too. frown Thankfully I found it be I lost more than a maxi pad in my hygiene kit. Phew! And double thanks guys!
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/06/16 07:10 PM

Originally Posted By: Tom_L
Originally Posted By: wildman800
I'm carrying a pack of Esbit tabs in my GHB and a Trangia alcohol stove in my BOB. I've been cutting out much of the redundancies in both but those are going to stay because sometimes it rains during a trip, otherwise, I'll use twigs and sticks to heat my food and water.


+1...


+2!
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/14/16 09:40 PM

Thank you, Alex! I haven't found carbon fiber yet but I did have fiberglass mesh and saw a You Tube video showing that it worked like carbon felt, so..... I built a fancy Fancy Feast stove last night. It works - no priming needed and it was -17C. Nice!

Here's a link to the video: My Fancy Fancy Feast Alcohol Stove

Thank you again!!
Posted by: Alex

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/14/16 10:45 PM

You are very welcome, Jacqui. I love that design too. Nice video as usual!
Posted by: dougwalkabout

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/15/16 05:23 PM

I like the addition of a ton of wicking material -- that makes a lot more sense than the alcohol stove designs I've seen before. Might actually produce enough BTU's to be practical in the field.

The fibreglass mesh is from where? Canoe or car repair material perhaps? Wonder if standard fibreglass insulation would work --might not be coarse enough to act as a wick.

I see the fuel is methyl hydrate (a.k.a. gas line antifreeze, up here). I might need to play with this stove design since I always carry some of the "fuel" in my car (it's first aid for a fuel line freeze-up, which can get you -- or somebody you come across -- in big trouble on a cold day).

Doing some field testing? Please report back.
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/15/16 06:06 PM

I think my husband bought the fiberglass mesh for a pick-up truck bed repair project a few years ago. It's been lying in wait for a new project. It was throwing a lot of warmth, and the one ounce of fuel I used seemed to last a little longer than it does in my old standard simple Fancy Feast stove. We have winter in the forecast again, so I hope to take it for a proper field test this weekend. I'll definitely report back.

I saw a You Tube video where Hiram Cook used felted wool for one of these stoves, so I imagine that fiberglass insulation would work too. Here's a link to the wool stove build: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjIewnxgPHs

Methyl Hydrate seems fairly common around here and in all seasons. All our hardware stores and walmarts seem to carry it. It's cheap too, especially compared to Heet, which seems to only appear on the shelves in the winter.
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/19/16 02:20 PM

My new fancy Fancy Feast alcohol stove had first field test yesterday. It was about -10C, and pretty windy, so a good day to test it. It's hot, easy and it's efficient, but it's tippy. Too tippy for this girl. I'm sticking with my Esbit. smirk

Here's a link to the video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w45xSZpTOlU
Posted by: Chisel

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/20/16 08:33 AM

PBJ

You mentioned fibreglass mesh & fiberglass insulation

Something popped in my mind (GLASS WOOL) which is fiberous and some people may be tempted to use it for wicks or anything else.

Be cautious with this stuff. Steer away from it. Do not touch with bare hands, and wear a mask if you are around it. It can cause lung cancer.
Posted by: dougwalkabout

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/20/16 02:45 PM

Re glass wool / fibreglass insulation:

There was some concern in the past about carcinogenic properties, but I believe that has been laid to rest. It's now considered a mechanical irritant, nothing more.
Posted by: Chisel

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/21/16 08:43 AM

Thanks for the update

Anyways, here is the MSDS for glasswool
( Last Updated May 2013 )

http://www.sciencelab.com/msds.php?msdsId=9924141
Posted by: dougwalkabout

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/21/16 03:52 PM

Thanks for the link. I know that installers working with fibreglass insulation are required to wear N95 masks. Makes sense -- the stuff is silica and deep inhalation into the lungs or digestive tract can't be good for you, especially in the long term with occupational levels of contact. Casual contact hasn't killed me yet, but reasonable precautions are ... well, reasonable. grin
Posted by: Alex

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/22/16 07:46 PM

Wool and mesh are very different products. Wool is a really nasty stuff! The mesh on the other hand should definitely produce some silica dust, but in practice (repairing yacht hulls and windsurfing boards with it) I never noticed anything while storing and handling huge piles of it.
Posted by: dougwalkabout

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/23/16 01:10 AM

Hmm, puzzling. I wonder if we're talking about the same stuff? I was suggesting the ubiquitous fibreglass pink insulation batts that's in the walls of just about every home and has been since the 1970's.

The MSDS's I'm pulling up do not consider this material carcinogenic, only an irritant. An example for anyone who is interested:

http://www.owenscorning.eu/docs/products/Thermal_MSDS.pdf
Posted by: Alex

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/23/16 01:25 AM

dougwalkabout, I'm sure you are 100% correct that it's just an irritant, but a really nasty one if it gets on the skin or in the clothes. I recall from late 70s playing at a construction site that it was hard to get rid of it completely by usual means, so it was itching badly for a very long time smile I don't recall the natural remedies for that, but it was something rather simple.
Posted by: dougwalkabout

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/23/16 09:54 PM

Yeah, I hear you. I've worked with the fibreglass pink stuff and it can certainly be a nuisance if you don't cover up. Any projects I do now are with Rockwool, which is better insulation in many ways and much nicer to work with.
Posted by: Brangdon

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/24/16 12:55 PM

Originally Posted By: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor
There are also gels fuels, which are gelled Methanol. These are somewhat safer to use than liquid fuels.
I'm seriously thinking of switching to a gel fuel. Its properties are a good hybrid of alcohol and hexamine. It ignites with a spark, like alcohol, but has less spill danger than alcohol. To burn it you need a shallow container to hold it in place, which is almost as simple and compact as hexamine (which just needs a platform). The same burner could be used for both solid and gel.

Hexamine fuel is easier to carry. Gel is similar to alcohol: you can keep a small amount in the burner (which has a tight lid), and any more needs to be in a bottle.

I've seen reviews which say it is slow to boil, but in my first test it was faster than alcohol. Maybe it depends on the stove. I was testing Trangia versus Trangia and the gel seemed to burn over all its surface where the alcohol only burned in a ring. Both burners were with Trangia's stove.

There's no simmer. It's OK for boiling water for drinks, and heating up pre-cooked food, but probably not for much actual cooking.

I'd be interested in other people's opinions. I've seen mixed reviews. Some people hate it, others get on fine. My intended use is single-night camping (although my camping kit is now small and light enough to live in my car boot as a get home bag). I would not expect to cook for three during a power cut with this; that seems a lot more ambitious to me.
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/24/16 03:05 PM

Good idea, Brangdon. I'm going to try the gel too. That may alleviate some of my worry about spilling. It dawned on me last night that my old simple cat can stove will work better if I use my GI canteen stove as a windscreen and pot holder. It lowers the risk of the alcohol stove tipping over, and also removes any risk there may be from the burning of fiberglass. wink
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/24/16 03:58 PM

When you say "gels", I think "Sterno" which has a reputation for slow heating. This stuff looks like it is different. Any details?
Posted by: Brangdon

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/26/16 09:18 PM

Originally Posted By: hikermor
When you say "gels", I think "Sterno" which has a reputation for slow heating. This stuff looks like it is different. Any details?
The gel I've been using has the Vanga brand, but I don't have any reason to think it is better than Sterno. I just repeated my kitchen table test, this time measuring the weight of fuel. The gel was 10% faster, but only because it used 50% more fuel, so it is not more efficient. Also, this burner lasted about 15 minutes from full. I'm not sure that would be enough for two hot drinks and porridge that I would want over a single night/morning.

On the positive side, the gel didn't make the pan sooty. It did leave some residue in the burner, but not so as to be a problem for me.
Posted by: Chisel

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/28/16 06:00 AM

Question here about Sterno stuff

If weight & bulk are not a factor, does using two cans of sterno help speed up heating and cooking ??
I mean using BOTH sterno cans under the pot simultaneously. Think of a long-ish pot like the canteen cup with 2 sterno cans underneath.
Posted by: EMPnotImplyNuclear

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 01/28/16 08:19 AM

Originally Posted By: Chisel
Question here about Sterno stuff

If weight & bulk are not a factor, does using two cans of sterno help speed up heating and cooking ??
I mean using BOTH sterno cans under the pot simultaneously. Think of a long-ish pot like the canteen cup with 2 sterno cans underneath.


Yes, doubling the firepower speeds up heating and cooking

Increasing diameter of fire burns fuel faster.

A 2 hour burn time can of sterno (~7oz can) has about 5,500 BTU
So about 45 BTU per minute

If it takes 15-25 minutes using existing sterno opening to boil some water (half liter or two cups ) , that is some 675BTU - 1125BTU

By doubling the hole size, increasing the burn rate to 90 BTU per minute, it should take half the time, or 7-13 minutes

See these links and the links they link smile
sterno can boil in ~12 minutes
Chaffing Fuel
maximum stove performance , super easy super cheap turn any pot into a super pot
Posted by: merwin

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 02/12/16 04:24 PM

I'm jumping into this way late but here we go with my .02

I've found a compromise solution that encompasses both a duel fuel Esbit. Take a standard Esbit folding stove and make some windscreen sides for it. I dont have pics of mine but if you Google it youll find where others have done the same thing. This greatly assists the efficiency of the standard Esbit stove. Added to that, Ive taken an Altoids mini tin and filled it with carbon felt to serve as a pretty decent alcohol burner (unhinging the lid made for a better fit inside the Esbit during use). I also switched to a rectangular Trangia mess tin which takes better advantage of the rectangular footprint of the Esbit stove.
Posted by: wildman800

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 02/12/16 05:11 PM

I think the currently manufactured sterno stove would be a viable option. It has windscreens on 3 sides, is large enough to accommodate large or small cans of sterno, trangia alcohol stoves, a twig fire, esbit tabs, etc. the frame & grill is steel and the windscreens are aluminum. It may be suitable for many peoples' needs.
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 02/12/16 10:29 PM

I made a little mod for my Esbit stove - a windscreen that also works as a pot rest. I made out of a couple aluminum siding paint chips. Just punched some holes in them using a paper hole punch. (Warning: I'm not sure the hole punch was as happy abou the project as I was.) I tested it yesterday, on a darned cold and windy day and it worked really well.

Posted by: dougwalkabout

Re: Esbit or Alcohol Stove for GHB - 02/13/16 06:55 PM

I find myself secretly longing for the Colin Furze thermite kettle:

https://youtu.be/mg3bFxdAZsY

cool