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#112802 - 11/18/07 08:09 AM Rationz Hexamine vs Vargo Titanium: mini review
Hacksaw
Unregistered


I bought a RationZ Hexamine stove a while ago...it's basically the Esbit style stove with Hexamine fuel cubes. I picked it up as the solid fuel seemed better than toting a bottle around for my alcohol stove.

I wanted to see what it could do on the stove top before I need to rely on it out there in the great unknown. I've done some testing with my Vargo Titanium Triad alcohol stove so this is all I really had to compare it to...but since the two were competing for space in my pack right now, it seemed fitting.

For the test I boiled just over 1 cup of water in my GSI stainless mug.

I first tried to light the fuel cube with a firesteel. This did not work at all. I soon found out why. I lit the cube with a Bic and had to keep my thumb down so long I nearly burned my fingers. Once lit it burned with a blue/yellow flame which sooted the bottom of my cup nicely...much like a big candle. At first the cube burned slowly and I was looking forward to the 15 minutes of burn time as advertised. It burned with some smoke at first but there was no smoke once the cube completely lit.

The cube burned for aproximately 8 minutes. In this time the water heated but did not boil beyond some bubbles forming on the bottom of the cup. Had I needed to sterilize water, I'd have run out of fuel cubes before I'd sterilized even a liter of water as the stove only holds four cubes and the kit came with 8. Seemed like a good deal for $11 at the time.

Just to be sure I dumped out the water and fired up the Vargo with Methyl Hydrate stove fuel. Just to add some insult to injury after the poor performance of the RationZ stove I lit the Vargo in a single flick from my Spark-Lite striker. I even let it warm up completely before putting the cup on the stove.

In 9 minutes the cup was at a full rolling boil. To test longevity I left the cup on the stove and just let it boil until it ran out of fuel. The flame wavered at 19 minutes and at 20 the flame puffed out.

While the Vargo cost me $30, it seems to have won this contest hands down. I could go on for hours about the pros and cons...wind protection (winner: RationZ), weight (winner: Vargo), and fuel cost/weight/efficiency (winner: ?) but personally the Vargo never ceases to amaze me (it weighs 1 oz.!!!) and the RationZ stove makes me want my 11 bucks back.

Two things I may test in the near future is using Esbit brand Hexamine fuel as well as other alcohol fuels in the Vargo...never know when you'll need to boil some water with gas line anti freeze.

http://www.militaryfoods.com/accessories.htm
http://vargooutdoors.safeshopper.com/181/1452.htm?952



Edited by Hacksaw (11/18/07 08:25 AM)
Edit Reason: fixed title

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#112803 - 11/18/07 08:12 AM Re: Rationz Hexamine vs Trangia Titanium: mini review [Re: ]
ame Offline
Member

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 162
Loc: Korea
Um, it has nothing to do with Trangia, does it?

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#112805 - 11/18/07 08:26 AM Re: Rationz Hexamine vs Trangia Titanium: mini review [Re: ame]
Hacksaw
Unregistered


LOL. Nice call out ame. My alcohol bottle is made by Trangia...oops!

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#112813 - 11/18/07 02:00 PM Re: Rationz Hexamine vs Trangia Titanium: mini review [Re: ]
sotto Offline
Addict

Registered: 06/04/03
Posts: 450
One way to light a fuel tab without wasting a lot of butane from a lighter (and perhaps burning the finger holding the button down) is to use your knife or a stone to chip off a corner of the tab and light that first. It will catch quickly and readily light the larger chunk of the tab.

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#112815 - 11/18/07 02:12 PM Re: Rationz Hexamine vs Trangia Titanium: mini review [Re: sotto]
raydarkhorse Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 510
Loc: on the road 10-11 months out o...
Here is a cross to another thread about why carry matches.
Matches work great for these too.
_________________________
Depend on yourself, help those who are not able, and teach those that are.

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#112820 - 11/18/07 03:55 PM Re: Rationz Hexamine vs Vargo Titanium: mini review [Re: ]
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3561
Loc: Spring, Texas
Thanks for the review on these stoves. I've been eyeballing the Vargo for a while. How does it seem quality-wise? Does it seem like it can handle day-to-day banging of trail life? I love how well my brass Swedish military Trianga alcohol stove works, but I swear it weighs a pound by itself.

Hexamine is only good for make booms.

-Blast
_________________________
Blogging the Borderlands
Wild Edibles Blog
I miss OBG.

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#112825 - 11/18/07 04:24 PM Re: Rationz Hexamine vs Vargo Titanium: mini review [Re: Blast]
TheSock Offline
Addict

Registered: 11/13/07
Posts: 471
Loc: London England
Those stoves with hexamine are standard issue in the british military, I used them for years with no complaints. One tablet will boil a gallon of water easily.
The first time I used an alcohol stove I thought it was a joke, it used so much fuel.
In fact there is a place for both. The difference was the Trianga works well in the wind. A hexamine sometimes doesn't work at all in it. A bit of foil and some tent pegs will make your hexamine stove good for most uses. They are also so cheap you can buy a few and throw them in the bottom of your bag or the car and forget them. And it's the only fuel you can fly with.
But if you are planning on cooking on the side of a mountain the Trianga will work better.
The Sock
_________________________
The world is in haste and nears its end Wulfstan II Archbishop of York 1014.

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#112828 - 11/18/07 04:50 PM Re: Rationz Hexamine vs Vargo Titanium: mini review [Re: TheSock]
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3561
Loc: Spring, Texas
Quote:
One tablet will boil a gallon of water easily.


One gallon? Interesting, according to the Esbit website one tablet will only bring 400mL of water to a boil.

Can we see pictures of your magic hexamine stove?

-Blast
_________________________
Blogging the Borderlands
Wild Edibles Blog
I miss OBG.

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#112829 - 11/18/07 05:13 PM Re: Rationz Hexamine vs Vargo Titanium: mini review [Re: ]
big_al Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 586
Loc: 20mi east of San Diego

I use Trioxane bars, they will boil a 8oz. cup of coffie and still have life left in them. I get them at the local surplus store real cheap smile
_________________________
Some people try to turn back their odometers.
Not me, I want people to know "why" I look this way
I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved

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#112830 - 11/18/07 05:17 PM Re: Rationz Hexamine vs Vargo Titanium: mini review [Re: Blast]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3077
Quote:

Quote:

One tablet will boil a gallon of water easily.


One gallon? Interesting, according to the Esbit website one tablet will only bring 400mL of water to a boil.

Can we see pictures of your magic hexamine stove?


The British army hexamine tab weighs 245 grams (actually there is 8 separate tablets in a waxed paper box)

Each Esbit weighs 14 grams and can boil 400ml, so taking into account the box, the tablets weigh around 200 grams

Therefore 200/14 * 400 = 5.7 litres or just over 1 gallon if we take into consideration that Esbits may have a slightly higher heat output.

The British army waxed cardboard Hexamine tablet is sized to fit perfectly into a folded up British Army Hexamine stove. This helps protect the fuel inside.

There is quite a good source of info on solid fuel stoves at http://zenstoves.net/SolidFuelBurner.htm

From the zenstoves website
Quote:
Not all fuel tabs are created equal. Although the many different brands of Hexamine share the same main ingredient, they vary in quality and may use different binding agents.




Edited by Am_Fear_Liath_Mor (11/18/07 05:37 PM)

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