Stoves–think small; think simple

Backpacking stoves

Pocket-size collapsible cooker (Solid Fuel)
Pocket-size collapsible cooker (Solid Fuel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hiking 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.

5 thoughts on “Stoves–think small; think simple

  1. I’m all about a small stove but feel an alcohol stove ( is still the better choice mostly due to access to fule. In a pinch you can get gas additive (heat) at a gas station. I used one on the AT that weighed 1/2 oz (add another 2-3oz for the pot stand and wind screen that seem to come standard with the esbit stove) – no clogging, no cleaning and 1oz of fule would boil 4cups of water. – thanks Nimble ’03

    1. Guten Tag, Nimble. We met on the A.T. in ’03–right? Thanks for the comment; perhaps that’s why I don’t see many Esbits out there. Maybe it is just a preference, but I love my Esbit. Good to hear from you.

  2. Yes we met on the trail. We hiked a few days together down south. I think we were at the blueberry patch together. Nice site by the way. Enjoy your PCT hike.

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