Stoves–think small; think simple

Backpacking stovesHiking stovesStoves for Long-distance hikingThe Esbit Pocket Stove continues to be a well-kept secret. I have no idea why hikers who try to shave every fraction of an ounce from their pack, ignore the mighty little Esbit. This dependable tiny stove, which can fit in your pocket, has been used around the world since WW II.

TIP: To reduce pack weight and increase pack space, get a tiny stove.

I’ve used the larger, quick-firing stoves that require liquid fuel. I admit those stoves probably work better for serving several people, especially if you are in a hurry. Their “simmer” advantage is also convenient. However, the Esbit is always reliable, and it will never clog. Most of all, it’s small and light!

I remember on the A.T. having to clean and maintain my high-end stove; having to watch my fuel–hoping it lasted until the next supply stop, then over-supplying and hauling extra, bulky canisters. Yes, stoves have gotten smaller and better. But the Esbit is one of the simplest, easiest, most reliable stoves out there. What’s more, the fuel for the Esbit is portion controlled; it uses little fuel tabs that you unwrap and place on the floor of the stove. One tab will cook your meal. I sometimes light two and re-use them the next time, as shown in the picture. 

The Esbit provides a foolproof system for cooking in the wilds. Check it out.

Published by Ray Anderson

Hiker and writer. Have hiked the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, The Long Trail (Vermont), and some of the Continental Divide Trail. My trail name is "HAMLET." Have written three hiking novels (thrillers). The first one, "THE TRAIL," was traditionally published in 2015. My second hiking thriller, "SIERRA," released Oct 2016. Book three in my AWOL hiking-thriller series, "THE DIVIDE" releases from Turner Publishing 8/18/2020.

4 thoughts on “Stoves–think small; think simple

  1. Interesting. I hadn’t heard of the Esbit, but I’ll keep it in mind.

    The Trangia always seemed the simplest to me, though it doesn’t burn as hot as gas. I haven’t backpacked for some time, but recently dug out my old Svea 123 — the ancient, all-brass, NOT-made-in-China model — because we needed to cut weight for an island camping trip. After something like 25 years sitting in the basement, and one thorough disassembly and cleaning, it fired right up.

    Reliability is almost as important as weight 🙂

    1. I’ve always heard good things about Svea, and I’m familiar with Trangia. An ultra-lite backpacker got me hooked on the Esbit. I switched to it after only 100 miles on the A.T., and it’s all I’ve used ever since—eight years and counting.

  2. Me and my husband have only used the Esbit and once we got the hang of it, it has never failed to give us a well cooked, hot meal. We have an alcohol stove on order right now that we’ll use for longer trips, but for weekends or when I go solo, it will be the esbit all the way! The problem with canister stoves is, no matter how small and light they make the stoves there is absolutely nothing they can do to change how heavy and bulky the fuel is. Until they find a way to make canisters lighter and smaller, alcohol and tablet stoves will rule the UL market.

Leave a Reply to Mike CooperCancel reply

%d bloggers like this: