Tag Archives: Esbit

Stoves for your Bug Out Bags

The U.S. Military Natick stove and canteen cup

Here is a post from C.E. Harris on the U.S. Military Natick cookers and Alcohol stoves.  This time I have taken the liberty of addin a few comments at the end.

I have several of the US Army “Natick cookers” NSN 8465-01-250-3632, aka the “canteen cup warming stand” which nests with the US 1 qt. canteen and cup in the canteen cover. http://www.bestglide.com/canteen_cup_stove.html  I keep one of these sets in each car emergency kit.

I decided to do some impromptu testing to compare their heating efficiency with the Trangia alcohol burner I normally use.  The results are interesting.  I will describe my test methodology so that others can follow similar procedures to compare their cookers.  In earlier testing of my Trangia burner, I had started with a measured 16 ozs. (500ml), or about 2/3 of a US canteen cup full of water, the amount required to heat and hydrate one LRP-CW ration. http://www.freezedryguy.com/default.aspx?tabid=91&categoryid=31&pageindex=1&sortid=3&sortdir=asc

Canteen water was stabilized overnight, outdoors, at a temperature of 40 degs. F (~5 degs.C).  Using undiluted denatured alcohol fuel, a full tank in the Trangia set up in its Swedish issue windscreen burned a little over 15 minutes, bringing the water to a slow boil, using exactly the right amount of fuel with no waste.

I repeated the test using the “Natick” cooker on a colder morning when water in the canteen had started to freeze. I strained enough liquid water out of the canteen to fill a Nalgene bottle to the 500ml mark, then transferred this into the canteen cup, measuring its temperature at 33 degs. F (1 deg C).

Directions on the Trioxane fuel bar box say to “start with 1/3 of a bar”  (the bars come segmented that way).  The 1/3 bar recommendation must be for temperate weather, or to use a partial bar for fire starting.  The solid fuel is packed three bars to a box, the usual unit of issue, supposedly 1 box per day.  I have never had any success warming water in the field using less than a full bar. I placed a whole fuel bar under the windscreen and lit it with a match. Wind velocity, according to the nearby flight service weather station at the 167th Airlift Wing was 15 mph with gusts to 22 mph with temperature 31 degs F. and wind chill of 20 degs. F.

My Natick cooker was set up in the open with no other shelter. The trioxane bar and windscreen were being fanned noticeably by the wind, so the first bar was consumed quickly, in about 5 minutes.  The canteen cup water which had started at 33 degs. F was brought up only to a “comfortable washing temperature” of 102 degs. F, far short of boiling.  A second and a third bar were similarly consumed with alacrity.  After the entire 3-bar box was consumed, the water temperature in the canteen cup was 160 degs. F (70 degs.C), short of a boil, but “pleasantly warm and steamy,” adequate to make instant coffee, cocoa or tea, or to hydrate a freeze-dried LRP-CW ration to make hot chow.  Its design intent is met.

Trangia alcohol stove and windscreen

Because I wanted to know how much more heat it would take to actually get a boil, I started feeding sticks into the cooker, poking pencil and finger-sized sticks under my cup as my last trioxane bar was burning out. The little wood fire did the trick and boosted the temperature to a slow boil in a total elapsed time of 20 minutes, vs. 15 for the Trangia on another test day starting at 40 degs. F ambient water temperature with less wind.

So, there you have it.

C.E. Harris

 

As i said I want to add a few comments.  I agree with everything that is said in the above post.   I have and like both of these stoves and think they are great items to have in your bug out kit.  Both do not create odors from the burning fuel and smoke is almost nonexistent.  They also show very little light if used at night.

Here you can see the Trangia and the Esbit sitting side by side. The Trangia does not come with a pot. The Esbit comes with a pot and the wind screen and stove fit inside it for storage.

The other thing I wanted to mention is the Esbit Alcohol Stove.  After having spent a considerable amount of time with both the Esbit and the Trangia  stove.  I feel that the Esbit is a bit better and quicker to heat.  It is also smaller and takes less room in your pack.  It also comes with a simmer ring that lets you control the flames and makes it easier to extinguish.  But the difference is small enough that if you have a Trangia i would not run out and buy an Esbit, the difference is not that big.  But if you are a new buyer look at the Esbit.

Howard

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A Review of the Esbit Alcohol Stove and Cook Set

Esbit cook set heating water

 

In the past, I have written a blog on the Esbit Alcohol stove, today I have experimented with the alcohol cook set that is made by Esbit.  This consists of the alcohol stove, a windscreen and a cook pot and lid that hold about 3 and ½ cups.  The burner and screen fit inside of the cook pot for storage, with a bit of extra room that could hold a small bottle of alcohol.  The unit fits inside of a mesh bag that is included.  The whole unit weights 14.5 ounces.

The stove burns denatured alcohol or methanol.  Denatured Alcohol is easy to find and cheaper to use than methanol or high proof drinking alcohol.  Denatured alcohol can be purchased at most hardware stores.

I have used and like the automotive fuel line de-icer Heet.  It is pure methanol, burns clean with little soot and is available from automotive parts stores.  Prices range from around two and a half dollars for the 12 ounce bottle to as little as 80 cents each in quantity or on sale. According to the Heet website, it is available from Wal-Mart, AutoZone, Murray’s, Menard’s, Meijer’s, Kmart, NAPA, Walgreen’s, Pep Boys, ShopKo, Ace Hardware, True Value Hardware, Mills, Fleet Farm, Target, Carquest, O’Reilly’s, Fred Meyer, and Blain’s.

Warning, do not try to use gasoline, white gas or Coleman fluid in one of these stoves.

If you look close you can see the alcohol in the stove

I took the stove outside this afternoon and put it through its paces.  Today the outside temperature is about 55 degrees and sunny with no wind.  The cup was filled with 3 cups of cold water and placed on the already lit stove.  I timed how long it took the water to start boiling.  It took just a little over 4 minutes.  This surprised me and seems quite fast.  I think there are two factors that make it this efficient, the design of the heat shield and the heat exchangers on the bottom of the cup.

Anyway, after playing with it for a while I really like it.  It used only a small amount of fuel, is lightweight and quite compact.  The only change I would make, is I would like it in stainless steel, instead of anodized aluminum.

The stove is available with several configurations of the cook set.  The prices seem to vary from around $30 to $60.

I recommend It.  Howard

The stove comes with two tops for the burner, this one let you control the flames, the other screws on and preserves any left over fuel.

This is the heat exchanger on the bottom of the pot that increases the inefficiency of the unit.

This is the pot with the wind screen and burner inside, You have room inside for a small bottle of fuel. The handles fold flat against the side.

 

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Alcohol Stoves

The stove on the left is the Trangia and the one on the right the Esbit

I spent the morning playing with a couple of alcohol stoves.  They are the Esbit Alcohol Burner and the Swedish Army Trangia Stove.  Both burn denatured alcohol or methanol.  Denatured Alcohol is easy to find and cheaper to use than the alternatives.  Alcohol stoves are often used for ultralight and long-distance backpacking.  The Esbit stove weights 3.5 ounces, the Trangia 6 ounces.  There are no moving parts or burners to wear out or break.  Just fill them and light.  They can be used alone providing you have some sort of pot support with you.  Some ultralight hikers use tent stakes to support the pots to save weight. Do not try to use gasoline, white gas or Coleman fluid in one of these stoves.

The Trangia stove and stand

A good source of alcohol for stoves is the automotive fuel line de-icer Heet.  It is pure methanol, burns clean with little soot and is available from automotive parts stores.  Prices range from around two and a half dollars for the 12 ounce bottle to as little as 80 cents each in quantity or on sale. According to the Heet website, it is available from Wal-Mart, AutoZone, Murray’s, Menard’s, Meijer’s, Kmart, NAPA, Walgreen’s, Pep Boys, ShopKo, Ace Hardware, True Value Hardware, Mills, Fleet Farm, Target, Carquest, O’Reilly’s, Fred Meyer, and Blain’s. Denatured alcohol can be purchased at most hardware stores.

Both stoves worked well, although I preferred the Esbit stove because it is a little smaller and it has a second top with a sliding lid that lets you control the heat and stop the burning at any time.  This lets you save fuel.

This shows the three pieces of the Esbit stove, the body, the lid and the heat control

The Esbit stove is distributed in the US by Industrial Revolution; you can go on their website and find the location of a dealer.  The Trangia is available in surplus stores.  Trangia comes with a stand that I find a bit on the large size.  The Esbit stove will work with the stand that is design to fit into the US Army canteen cover.  The only problem is that you have to set the canteen cup on the top instead of inside.  A commercial stand is available for the Esbit.  See http://bit.ly/TTikrR for a description of the US Army canteen, stand and cup.  I have never tried it, but it is my belief that alcohol made on a home still would work if it is a high enough proof.

The Esbit stoves heat control in an open position

Howard

The Esbit stove inside a US Army canteen cup stand

 

The US canteen stand and cup will work with the Esbit stove if you set the cup on top of the stand. If you set the cup inside the stand it will put the fire out.

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