Earlier today a user commented on one of my other posts about using Esbit in a Caldera Cone and using a 1.3L cook pot to bring 4 cups of water to a boil. In short, I have managed to get 4 cups of water to a boil using a single Esbit in the Caldera Cone, however, this was in a somewhat controlled environment, and it didn’t boil for very long. So, to better answer this question, I grabbed up my kit, 4 cups of water and my camera and went to my backyard…
As can be seen in the video, in this instance, a single tablet did not manage a full boil in more of a real-life situation. But it came close, in my opinion. If it were me though, and I was using this in the field and actually depended on it, I would have set the system up in an area that was a little better shielded from the wind, unless there is no wind blowing. (And I don’t mean that as anything bad with this system, but I try to pick the best spot for any of my cooking systems, which is out of the wind and somewhere safe, especially with alcohol or Esbit.) Doing this, I believe, would have improved the performance somewhat, however, I would also have to consider that mountain water would likely be slightly cooler than out of my tap too.
Considering this simple test though, if I knew that I had to use this system and needed to boil 4 cups of water, then I would simply allot for slightly more Esbit. If it were during the summer, I would probably opt for 1.5 tablets per 4 cups, or if colder at least 2 tablets per 4 cups. Also, to keep from breaking the type of tablets I used in my video in half, I would seek out a source which sells the smaller Esbit tablets and use them in conjunction with the larger tablets. Although, I could simply stack up 2 of the larger (14 g) tablets, wait for the water to come to a boil and then blow the rest out. The remaining fuel could remain inside the stove since I store it in a plastic bag, however, to make stacking more uniform on the following boil, I would rather just let each tablet burn completely out. (That’s just my choice.)
So far, I have only used this set-up on one trip in which I used it in wood mode for my dinners each night, and Esbit for breakfast each morning. The system worked well for me in this combination. However, for my breakfast I would only boil slightly over 2 cups of water, but the system worked beautifully. The water came to a boil and stayed at a boil for some time (I did not time these boils though, instead I was busy packing up my gear). All in all though, I am very happy with the way that this system works and look forward to using it on lots of other trips! Granted, at 11.5 oz (counting everything, including 3 Esbit tablets) it may not be “UltraLight” for one, but for 2 people, I think that this is a very worthy “UL” system. (And to be honest, I would carry it all again on a solo hike, if the hike was like the recent one I went on…short miles and lots of at camp time…)
My thoughts on Esbit tablets and my personal expectations of them:
I expect a single 14 g tablet to fully boil 2.5 cups of water (at least). So far, these expectations have been well met. Getting 4 cups of water to a boil with a single Esbit tablet is a little different though. Generally, I think that boiling 4 cups of water is the max that a single Esbit tablet can achieve, and this being in optimal conditions. However, there are a number of different stoves out there that burn Esbit, not to mention all the different combinations of stoves, cook pots and windscreens… When considering all of these variables along with each and every situational environmental conditions, it’s hard to make a general assumption. So, what I mean is, I am not an expert in this! I have played around with a few different set-ups, and in my experiences, this is my own personal general assumption.
Thanks for reading!
Disclamier: I won this entire Caldera Cone/Cook Pot set-up in a giveaway hosted on TrailGroove a few months back. However, I am under no obligation to review this system. The statements within this post are based on my own opinions after using the set-up.