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#250616 - 09/05/12 02:50 AM Looking for "secondary fuel" for Esbit stove
Chisel Offline

Registered: 12/05/05
Posts: 1266
Esbit stoves are not available in our markets, neither their esbit fuel. Most campers here use gas stoves and gas burners in their car camping trips. I do that too but tsill need the esbit for backup and the GHB.

"By accident" esbit fuel cubes have been found in some store ( imported by mistake as BBQ fire starters). So, I may not be able to buy them again for another few years. This is when I thought of using some "secondary fuel" to stretch my stock.

First I thought of charcoal which is cheap and available
Then I thought of charcoal tablets like these

The first is cheap and available in bags of several pounds/kilos, but needs to be broken into small pieces for the esbit stove. The charcoal tablets are already ade in rectangular tablets of about 1 x 1.5 inches tabs and their size and price are similar to esbit fuel tabs.

So, the idea is that every time I need to cook something on the esbit , I would use one esbit cube plus one charoal tablet . This will extend the cooking time from 10 min to about 20-25 min and also stretch my stock of esbit fuel for some time.

Do you guys have any better ideas ???
I thought of using the BBQ firestarters (with the esbit cubes) but they give lots of smoke. Same for other homemade fire starter like cotton/pj or wax in carton egg tray as seen on You Tube.

#250618 - 09/05/12 03:00 AM Re: Looking for "secondary fuel" for Esbit stove [Re: Chisel]
chaosmagnet Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3349
Loc: USA
Fire gel? If it's easy to find you could use those with the charcoal tablets you mentioned.

#250621 - 09/05/12 03:45 AM Re: Looking for "secondary fuel" for Esbit stove [Re: Chisel]
LesSnyder Offline

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 1607
Loc: New Port Richey, Fla
how about a lightweight "rocket stove" for the GHB...vertical fire box, with a horizontal feed at the base..the feed has an elevated grate that allows most any fuel to be fed in as it is consumed, and allows a good flow of oxygen underneath to feed the fire chamber... a stationary one is easily constructed of a couple of concrete blocks and half blocks...many vids on YouTube

I use a Swiss Ranger Volcano stove that I opened up the feed hole so that it can be fed with a Trangia alcohol burner, or Sterno gelled alcohol can

I have isoproply alcohol (70%) available, and most DIY alcohol stoves don't work well on it... through a little trial and error you can get a pretty good flame if you supply a lot of air, and have a red glowing preheater available.....if you have access to some 1/4" hardware cloth... a double thickness around the inside of a cola (cut 2" from bottom) can's circumference will support a pot...so that two 1/4" layer (1/2") is above the rim...use a hand paper punch to make a circumference series of holes around the can for additional air supply...start 1" from the bottom and 3 rings of holes..., and an additional single cylinder of the mesh (1/4" below the rim to make up for the dome at the bottom of the can)...somewhat concentric to act as a vaporizing column...hold in place with a piece of mesh in the bottom of the can is its position is relatively important...

paraffin and cotton rope wick stoves work well for emergency, but they are pretty sooty in the Swiss stove

it is hard to beat the Trangia if you have a supply of denatured alcohol

#250626 - 09/05/12 11:46 AM Re: Looking for "secondary fuel" for Esbit stove [Re: LesSnyder]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7261
Loc: southern Cal
I think I would switch to denatured alcohol if Esbit is not available - either the Trangia or something like the CAT stove, madd from a cat food can. CAT stoves are quite effective and hot, and are much lighter than the Esbit stove
Geezer in Chief

#250627 - 09/05/12 12:28 PM Re: Looking for "secondary fuel" for Esbit stove [Re: hikermor]
Chisel Offline

Registered: 12/05/05
Posts: 1266
Thanks guys

I have been playing around with tuna cans and powedered milk cans to make cat stoves and rocket stoves. But I live in a desert country where wood is not very abundant. So, I will limit that to inside the house where I will burn even old furbiture or dead branches from the garden if it is SHTF situation.

Liquid fuels are not popular around here. Alcohol will not be easy to find , although I will keep looking. We do not have the (HEET) brand of fuel additives, which are explained in these forums as methanol and propanol. We have the STP fuel additives so I don't know what they are made of.

But availability of liquid fuel is not the only consideration. Gas and liquid fuels are not safe to be stored in car trunk in July/August heat. So it defies the purpose of having a GHB standby in the trunk 365 days a year. Solid fuel seems the only safe choice for me.

BTW, I don't even have an esbit stove per se. I made my own from some cans ( same diameter and half height of a coffee can ) with holes around the botton and top. Other esbit stoves I made from an electrical outlet box after opening the side holes and using a raised cover on top. The cover screws are not tightened and the cover can be sled open. Inside the box, extra esbit cubes are stored (just like the real esbit stove).

So, if it appears the only choice for secondary fuel is the charcoal tabs, they will have the additional advantage of being almost same size and shape like esbit fuel. They will be conveniently stored in there too.

Homemade cubes of sawdust and wax can be made, but again, they will be smoky. I need something that can burn clean. BBQ charcoal and charcoal tabs produce ashes, but no smoke. This is why I considered them.

#250643 - 09/05/12 08:10 PM Re: Looking for "secondary fuel" for Esbit stove [Re: Chisel]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078
Carbon/charcoal/coke has a similar energy density to Hexamine, so charcoal brickets or coke make for a reasonable energy supply.

They will store easily and are essentially inert in a wide range of weather conditions and temperatures. For long term storage you could also vacuum seal the charcoal brickets.

Disposable BBQ trays with Charcoal brickets are widely available for a reasonable cost.



Getting the maximum heat from Charcoal or Coke for maximum thermal efficiency i.e. to heat water, would need a gasifier stove. These can be made from old tin cans for virtually no cost


Using smokeless fuel with a gasifier stove should produce very little smoke or carbonization of your pot bases.

Using a gasifier stove will also be safer than attempting to use charcoal brickets or tabs on an Esbit stove as well as it will burn the excess CO being introduced into the environment to produce CO2 at the top of the gasifier stove.

Edited by Am_Fear_Liath_Mor (09/05/12 08:25 PM)

#250645 - 09/05/12 09:57 PM Re: Looking for "secondary fuel" for Esbit stove [Re: Chisel]
jshannon Offline

Registered: 02/02/03
Posts: 585
Loc: North Texas
Esbit is just a brand name for hexamine tablets. Bleuet and Coghlan's are others.


You don't say where you live, but Academy Sports sells Bleuet for probably the best price available on hexamine tablets.

#250646 - 09/05/12 10:55 PM Re: Looking for "secondary fuel" for Esbit stove [Re: jshannon]
Teslinhiker Offline

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1407
Loc: Cranbrook BC (Finally)

I believe that the OP is in the Middle East - Saudi Arabia? So I would think that the regular supply sources (including online) available to most of us would not be available to the OP to order from.
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

#250660 - 09/06/12 05:35 AM Re: Looking for "secondary fuel" for Esbit stove [Re: Teslinhiker]
Chisel Offline

Registered: 12/05/05
Posts: 1266
Yes, I am in Saudi Arabia

I do buy a things online time to time, but when I subscribed to a mail forwarding company here ( for the U.S. companies that won't ship outside the U.S.) the list of no-no's included flammable stuff , which I guess would include stove fuels.

However, I do have esbit fuel now as I mentioned above. Someone imported it by mistake and I bought a few dozens. The purpose of this thread is to investigate the possibility of finding a secondary fuel to supplement what I have already in case I don't get another chance of finding it again.

Reading thru local forums, it seems that esbit stoves have been found around but at totally unexpected sources like one guy who found them at a propane gas supplier !!! He bought a few and told everyone on that forum. Why that propane gas supplier had them ?? No one knows. Where can they be found locally in the future ?? Maybe in a bicycle shop or a cosmetics shop, LOL.

As I said, the overwhelming majority of campers here use gas stoves , and wood off course, but no liquid fuels ( neither alcohol nor petroleum based) and no esbit type fuels. There is no demand for these , and this is why they are hard to find. My need for the esbit actually is not for camping, it is for prepping. We don't have many preppers around here, and this is why I found myself at ETS

#250665 - 09/06/12 10:14 AM Re: Looking for "secondary fuel" for Esbit stove [Re: Chisel]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7261
Loc: southern Cal
Can you get Purell hand sanitizer? It burns very well in my CAT stove and my Trangia. I mention that particular brand because not all similar brands will necessarily burn the same. Just another possibility.....
Geezer in Chief

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