cloudhiking - maps and adventure guides

Site Links


Contact Us









Friends' Links

Appalachia & Beyond

Family Wilds


Marking My Territory

Outcast Hikers


876 Esbit Solid Fuel Stove
and Cookset

Stove system with Esbit fuel tablets

Years ago, I heard Jerry from the Brentwood REI give an Appalachian Trail Thru Hike talk. He focused on gear and techniques. He said he used a small Esbit Stove on the trail because it was so lightweight.

Following up on his advice, I looked at the fuel tablets and stove (at that time it was really just a stand for the pot to sit above the tablet) but decided that when I really wanted to heat water, it wouldn't be the right stove for me. I really like coffee.

Then, before our 2013 summer trip, we saw a new Esbit Stove and Cookset at REI and again at Cumberland Transit (Nashville shop). We didn't purchase the stove in Tennessee, but then we saw it again in Colorado and you know how it is ... three times a charm. I still was not sold on the tablets, but the Cookset was compact and a pleasing design.

Our plans were to carry the compact stove on longer day hikes in the Rockies. We liked to think that we would stop and make hot beverages for lunch or breaks while on the trails. Well, that never happened! Stopping to boil water is sort of a romantic vision of hiking, but we don't hike that way! We carried the stove with us once and never even thought about using it. After that, the stove stayed in the vehicle.

Stove kit and box on a picnic table

A few Esbit Solid Fuel Stove and Cookset notes ...

The stove weighed 7.8 ounces on our scales. Each fuel tablet weighed a half of an ounce.

I recently used a stopwatch to test the boil time. In the backyard (about 400' elevation) with a bit of wind and 70 degree temperature, one tablet burned for just over 13 minutes, but never brought the two cups of water to a boil.

On try number two, I moved into the garage (simulating a trail shelter with the door open) the water boiled in 11.5 minutes.

In the Rockies, the water boiled more easily with the lower boiling point (temperature).

The fuel tablets give off an odd, chemical odor. I wouldn't want food stored near the tablets.

The bottom of the pot (outside) gets a sooty, oily, residue from the burning fuel tablets. The cookset comes with a small ditty bag that protects the rest of your gear from the blackened pot. Of course you could clean the residue off, but who would???

An alcohol burner (not included) may also be used with the stove. Because of the fuel tablet odor, I like cooking with the alcohol burner better.

We thought the fuel tablets were expensive, 12 tablets were $6.95. Then in a hardware store we found off brand fuel tablets that were only a fraction of the Esbit tablet's cost. The only problem was the off brand tablets didn't burn well and left a small mound of unburned residue.

The tablets make an excellent emergency fire starter (but they do still smell).

Another benefit of the tablets is they make a simple, hassle free, cooking source. Light the tablet with a match and that's it.

Lit Esbit stove

Overall we liked the Cookset but were not thrilled with the fuel tablets. The Cookset has an eye catching compact design and also makes a good little alcohol stove. It is perfect for heating a single cup of coffee or a bowl of soup. We will probably continue to carry the stove set on trips and use it when the special need arises.

Happy Esbit Cookset trails


Name (required):

Comment (required):

Please Introduce Secure Code: