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Solid fuel cooking.

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Solid fuel cooking.

Postby Rockchucker » Sat Dec 21, 2013 10:28 am

I've always used a canister stove. They are light and easy to use. But for the last three year I've been making alcohol stoves, they mostly work pretty darn good. This is with the exception of cold temps and high altitude. Then they fall short, it takes heat to build enough pressure in order for the jets to work properly. When it's cold it takes twice as long and sometimes I can't get the water to boil for anything. So I decided to start experimenting with Esbit. At first the smell kind of bothered me, but I've gotten use to it. The next hurdle was containing the liquid that comes off the tablets in order to increase the efficiency of the fuel. I started with a Ti Vargo alcohol/ solid burner unit. While the solid fuel did ok, none of my pots sat very well on the legs, it was a balancing act for sure. http://www.vargooutdoors.com/titanium-t ... rXLo3i9LCQ

Next I started using a lite trail stove. http://litetrail.com/shop/litetrail-titanium-wing-stove
This tiny, weighs nothing, and works great! With my home made cone wind screen I can bring two cups of cold water to a rolling boil in five minutes. Last night I did this in 30* temps. This time I was using coghlans fuel tablets http://www.coghlans.com/products/fuel-tablets-9565
These are pretty common, even at Von's. $2.79 pretty cheap too. The two tablets I used burned for twelve mins start to finish. Simmering is a bit more difficult but feel it could be accomplished with a modified simmer ring. For now I adjust tempature by raising and lowering the pot.( not very easy or scientific!)

How many of you are using esbit or some other solid fuel for your backpacking cooking? Obviously this point is mute when you have a dry year like last year where fire bands don't allow you to use these type of fuels. For me that's when the canister stove comes back out! Please post your experiences. Thanks! Tyson
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Re: Solid fuel cooking.

Postby kd6swa » Tue Dec 24, 2013 8:00 am

I didn't know about esbit so I looked up some info:

Esbit's Material Safety Data Sheet states combustion can create formaldehyde, ammonia, nitrogen oxide, hydrogen cyanide and ingestion may cause nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal disturbances, and kidney damage. [1] When burned, the chemical oxidation of the fuel yields noxious fumes, requiring foods being cooked to be contained in a receptacle such as a pot or pan, and burned tablets will leave a sticky dark residue on the bottom of pots. If they are stored or used under damp conditions then they can break up while burning and shed burning fragments, although this claim is hard to verify or reproduce.

I guess with anything care should be taken.

73
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Re: Solid fuel cooking.

Postby Rockchucker » Tue Dec 24, 2013 9:32 am

It's definitely not for indoor cooking! And yes it does leave a residue on the bottom of the pot, it washes off easily with a bit of soap and water at home after a trip. I don't like to wash it off while camping as it could contaminate the water, an insignificant amount I'm sure but would rather be cautious. It is very light weight and stays contained( can't spill like alcohol or white gas). I feel it poses a much reduced risk of starting a fire if you whole cook set up takes the plunge off the rock your cooking on. It is also easy to calculate just how much you will need on a trip, reducing waste.
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Solid fuel cooking.

Postby Bluewater » Thu Dec 26, 2013 8:19 pm

Hi Tyson. I use Esbit whenever possible, which is usually throughout the summer and shoulder season as long as it is allowed. I use a BGET (Brian Green Esbit Tray) stove made out of titanium foil and it really boosts the amount of burn time. Half of a 14 gram cube is all that I need each day. At 1/4 oz per day it's the lightest fuel I have found. Trail Designs was offering a setup recently for Esbit and it's been the best overall 'kitchen' I've found so far. It includes an Evernew 400ml Ti mug, c/f lid, Ti windscreen/potholder cone and an Esbit holder. The whole thing weighs 2.5 ozs including a small bic. It's much smaller and packable than the Caldera Cone. In the winter I use a canister stove for melting snow but otherwise the little esbit system is all I need. I just use it to boil water to rehydrate meals and to make coffee.


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Re: Solid fuel cooking.

Postby Rockchucker » Thu Dec 26, 2013 9:13 pm

Thanks Bluewater! Very interesting read.

http://briangreen.net/2011/11/titanium- ... stove.html
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Re: Solid fuel cooking.

Postby The hermit » Thu Dec 26, 2013 10:29 pm

That seems like the lightest cook system around.the list of chemicals that it puts out is unsettling if accurate.alcohol may be much less toxic.why risk your health to save an ounce or two?
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Solid fuel cooking.

Postby Bluewater » Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:21 pm

I agree that the health risk of inhaling the fumes from Esbit is definitely not worth the weight savings. To avoid the fumes I cook outside when camping and sit upwind from the stove.

Although the Evernew 400 ml Ti Tri bundle seems to focus on using the lightest possible options it can also be used with an alcohol stove or just wood (http://www.traildesigns.com/stoves/ever ... tri-bundle). Trail Designs also offers some more traditional 3 fuel systems (http://www.traildesigns.com/stoves/caldera-ti-tri), bit I just can't imagine searching around for really small sticks for fuel at the end of a long day:)


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Re: Solid fuel cooking.

Postby AlmostThere » Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:35 am

Alcohol stoves work fine at high elevation, and if you put down a sheet of foil on the ground, they work fine in very low temperatures. I have boiled water for Jetboil users in the cold with my White Box on a number of occasions when their stoves failed.

I always insulate stoves, canister or alcohol, when day temps drop below freezing. A dish of cold water to set the canister in does the trick for a sputtering canister stove.
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