COOKWARE

Esbit Alcohol Stove: Camp Cooking Made Easy, Time after Time after Time

Esbit Brass Alcohol Burner on a wooden table
Henry Silva
Written by Henry Silva

Every year, thousands of hikers and backpackers head into the back country and wilderness to enjoy the beauty of nature. If you are one of those happy campers you know the need for a small, lightweight, reliable stove that heats warm nutritious delicious meals time after time. One of the best ways of cooking in the outdoors is with an alcohol burner stove because of their simple, no moving part design and readily available fuel.

So simple, in fact, that there are D.I.Y versions, but if you want a durable, well made, quality burner, with a design that stands the test of time, you cannot choose better than the Esbit Brass. These awesome little stoves have been tried and true, world favorites for decades.

Product Specifications

  • This alcohol burner is the ideal companion for adventure trips and expeditions
  • It can be used in connection with different equipment and has a leak-proof screw top with rubber seal, as well as a flame regulator with a fold-away handle for easy use
  • Brass body; Flame regulator with practical fold-away handle
  • With rubber seal, leak-proof, for safe transport
  • Works with denatured alcohol only

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With all its qualities the Esbit Brass Alcohol Burner Camping Stove with Variable Temperature Control is the perfect companion for any outdoor adventure or expedition, whether you are making a short day trip, a long weekend or a week of back country trekking. Kayakers, mountain bikers, as well as any others who want to enjoy nature, will find this little stove a welcome addition to their pack.

Review

Packaging

This alcohol burner will ship in a box just a little bigger than the product dimensions, which are 6.8 x 6 x 2 inches. The product weighs 3.2 oz and when shipped will weigh 4 oz. It will come already put together, including a leak proof rubber seal.

Durability and Design

The Esbit stove is made under German quality assurance systems in high quality, corrosive free brass that can take a few knocks without showing any signs of damage, not that dropping it down the side of a mountain is a recommended test for durability. The actual stove has no moving parts and there are no burners to break or wear out so they are not as susceptible to damage as some other types of cookers.

Esbit Brass Alcohol Burner next to other cooking gears

It is robust enough to cram into a small space in your pack and takes up minimal space. This durability ensures that you won’t find yourself with a broken cooker when you arrive at your remote campsite after 8 hours hiking.

Flame Regulator

The Esbit Alcohol Stove has a flame regulator so you can choose to cook with fully open heat, partly open for simmering or close it to extinguish the flame. The regulator has a unique and practical fold away handle that allows you to adjust the flame without getting your fingers close to the hot burner. Esbit was the first to introduce this design feature.

It essentially will not fail to work so long as you have fuel and it can be placed in a wind sheltered spot. The secure, sealed lid means you can close any unused fuel in the stove rather than decant it back into a fiddle bottle or worse, have to waste.

Esbit alcohol stove and trekking cookset

Fuel for alcohol stoves is relatively easy to find and inexpensive to buy at many universal retailers. It is cheaper than most fuels for alternative stoves. The stove has a low profile so there is less likelihood of accidental tipping over while cooking, although caution should always be taken with any naked flame.

Fuel

The required fuel is relatively lightweight and you only need to pack the amount you need for the estimated meals so no unnecessary weight. Fuel is always on hand; just fill the stove and light it. You don’t need to scramble around looking for dry firewood when it has been raining all day.

Ultralight hikers can buy fuel in larger quantities and decant into suitable smaller bottles to pack. These are advantageous for carrying smaller quantities, but should be unbreakable, leak proof, and the better ones, have pouring measurements and flip-top caps for ease of use.

Close-up of Esbit Brass Alcohol Burner

You can use the Esbit Alcohol Stove with alternative purpose made equipment, for instance the Esbit Pot Stand. The latter is designed for easy placement and removal of the stove, as well as for easy adjustment of the simmer regulator when in use.

Manufacturer Recommendations

For simple, delicious meals, it is best to plan for one pot cooking that is water based. Each meal should take about 20-30 minutes to cook and use about 2/3ounce of fuel with 2 cups of water for two normal servings or one large serving.

Cook meals to a basic recipe with 2 cups of water. Always cover with a lid to be more efficient and bring to the boil. When boiling, stir in the chosen ingredients and bring to boil again with lid. Either turn down to simmer and let the fuel run out. Leave the meal to sit covered for another 5 – 10 minutes.

Esbit Alcohol Stove on the ground

Use easily transportable foods like rice, small shape pasta, noodles, whole or rolled grains, dehydrated vegetables and fruit, dried meat, fish, and eggs (if you can carry safely).  If weight is not so much an issue you can take fresh vegetables, cans of beans, fish, etc. Use first, those ingredients that may deteriorate or break.

All stoves can be dangerous, so a list of precautions:

  • Always consider the weather conditions before lighting
  • Do not cook on any inflammable surface
  • Remove all flammable materials close by
  • Have an extinguisher of some description on hand
  • Never leave a fire unattended

Value for the Money

This product is generally beloved by those who have used it and they state that this product is definitely worth the money. Moderately priced, you are getting a product that works, and is leak proof. While there are some more pricey, and less pricey, this alcohol burner is worth the price you pay.

Similar Models/Competitors

Now, we are going to look into similar products that you can compare to the Esbit Alcohol Burner. Here, you can see what other items are on the market, their features, and see how they stack up to the product we are reviewing. See below for three product reviews of items that may or may not be better choices than the Esbit.

Forfar Spirit Forfar Spirit 

The Forfar Spirit is not only compact and easy to take with you, but it barely weighs anything and it can be filled with liquid alcohol or other types of fuel that is liquid or solid.

Made of copper alloy and stainless steel, this product is best used for hiking, camping, and at home use. Included with this spirit stove, you get a sealed cap and an extinguished cap. Remember to use an alcohol concentration that is at least 95% with this product.

Users like that the rubber ring is made of high quality silicone so it will last for many uses, will not leak, or melt the stove. Users also like the fact that it works at higher altitudes, and it works fast, boiling 16 oz of water in just over 6 minutes, uncovered.

The only issue is that there is no included wind blocker for this, so you have to be careful in windy weather, as the heat will dissipate. Overall, using this stove is easy to set up and use, and it heats up quickly so you can eat faster. Users have enjoyed cooking with this product and plan to do so as it outlasts some other types of alcohol burners.

EZY Outdoor Spirit EZY Outdoor Spirit 

The Ezy Outdoor Spirit is an affordable little burner that is easy to take with you anywhere, and takes pellets to use, too. Best used for backpacking, camping, and even disaster relief, this item burns up to 30 minutes for each 2 oz fuel canister.

It can also boil 16 oz of water in about 6 minutes! Very light in weight, it can be used with many sizes of cookware and includes a lifetime warranty on the product. Users like how it worked great no matter where they were, and the full flame that comes from lighting it.

It is recommended that you use 91% or higher alcohol fuel for this and is super easy to set up and use. This product is reliable, can be used daily, and for extended trips like backpacking. Many have used it in emergency situations where they have no power or there was a natural disaster, and it has worked well for them each time.

For the high quality of this product, the price is just right, giving you a deal. Many users made pasta, breakfasts, meats and more with ease by using this! While it should be watched carefully in the wind, users have enjoyed many meals over this portable burner!

Solo Stove  Solo Stove  

The Solo Stove is quite affordable, and includes a simmer lid that has a handle on it, plus you can use it to put the flame out. The cap twists on and has an O Ring that seals the burner to prevent leaks and liquid from evaporating.

Small in size, you do not have to worry about extra weight in your gear pack. This spirit stove comes with the rubber O Ring and simmer ring, and is perfect for outdoor use, or even at home if you have no power. The air flow system is efficient, so your water will boil faster.

You can adjust the flame with the flame regulator and you can store fuel right in the burner! It takes 5 to 7 minutes to boil 32 fl oz of water or liquid, but the product is made of brass so you have high quality materials used for this burner.

The Solo Alcohol Burner is durable, simple to use and is nature friendly! Built to last a long time, you are covered in case of any malfunction.

Specially constructed, this item matches great with the Solo Stove Lite and Titan, and as a set, users say you can get a great meal from it! You should use denatured alcohol in a 3 oz canister, as that is the amount this holds. The canister should burn for 20 minutes roughly before it needs to be refilled.

Be sure to shut it off before you refill, as it can be dangerous to do so while it is hot. This process should take 15 to 20 minutes. Users say that this product heats quickly and boils water fast, too. You just need to make sure the flame is totally out when you are done using it. Otherwise, this burner has been a nice addition to many users’ trips around the world!

Overview

As a basic description, the Esbit Alcohol Stove looks like a small metal can with a series of holes around the rim. At first glance it may be easy to think such a simple looking stove should be easy to copy but Esbit stoves have a few extra important features that continue to make it a market leader.

Someone preparing to cook with Esbit Alcohol Stove

On closer inspection, you will see an inner cylinder wall which is one the reasons the Esbit Alcohol Stove is so efficient and reliable. When filled with suitable fuel, some of the fuel fills that compartment between inner and outer walls. When the fuel is lit, evaporation develops pressure gradients that ensure the flames burn forcefully through those specifically sized and placed perimeter holes for maximum heat and efficiency.

PROS:

  • Made from quality, corrosive free brass
  • Covered with a secure brass lid fitted with a durable rubber seal
  • Compact dimensions -2 x 6 x 6.75 inches
  • Lightweight – 0.2 lb
  • Has a low profile setup
  • Flame regulator for simmering and shut off
  • Flame regulator has a folding handle
  • Fuel can be carried in the stove
  • Manufactured to German design standards

CONS:

  • Small, easy to lose
  • Can develop cracks on the outside over time that will leak
  • Does not match all Esbit stove kits
  • Have to remove the Heat Control portion to adjust
  • The flame is orange instead of blue

There are various reports that the stove will operate efficiently over many altitudes from sea level up to 12,000 feet, although the higher altitudes may mean colder temperatures do make the stove more difficult to light. Again, however, reviewers have reported using the stove at below freezing levels and it is worth noting that Scandinavian military forces use alcohol stoves all year round when temperatures drop to below -30 F.

However, if you are planning an Arctic crossing, an alcohol stove is probably not the best cooking option as melting snow takes a lot of energy and would require a disproportionate amount of fuel for the amount of water produced.

Overall, this alcohol burner works very well. Do you use this product? If not, what product do you use? How does it compare to the Esbit? Leave us your thoughts or comments below! As always, thank you for reading!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Henry Silva
Henry Silva

Henry was hiking since he was 4. He was lucky enough to be born in Boulder, Colorado and enjoy Rocky Mountain National Park hikes growing up. His favourite is Longs Peak, which rises to 14,259 feet (4,346 m) above sea level. It is the highest point of the park. Henry likes to explore new hikes and spend his spare time in the wilderness.

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