I’ve experimented with a few different cooking methods when camping. I can’t do campfires since they are hard to tame and generate a ton of smoke, and fuel canister stoves tend to give out sometimes. I’ve always found that alcohol stoves are ideal, as they work under any weather condition, and create minimal smoke and soot.
Things to Consider Before Buying an Alcohol Stove
As with all products, everyone has their personal preferences regarding what they are seeking. Before you decide that alcohol is a way to go, make sure to take a few factors into consideration.
If you are looking for something that is cheap, lightweight, and simple to use, these may be the perfect way to go. Alcohol burners are simple by design (you can even make your own, although the quality may suffer) and run on easily accessible fuel. Keep in mind that high-quality alcohol stoves are hard to find in most camping supplies stores. Your best bet would be to buy one online.
Since these stoves typically take longer to heat up, you will need to be patient if you decide on purchasing one. The simplest and least expensive products aren’t without their compromises after all. Still, alcohol might seem all the more appealing if you want to take your sweet time cooking in nature.
A Look at the Esbit Alcohol Stove
By nature, most are very light and have some means of retaining fuel in the burner for future use. The Esbit alcohol stove has both crucial characteristics for a high-quality burner. Its self-explanatory design and leak-proof cap prevent some of the most common problems that often come with many portable stoves.
The Esbit will be an ideal choice if you decide on packing an alcohol stove for your next trek. It is designed to withstand high levels of heat and comes with additional features that some stoves don’t. Considering that alcohol burners are such simplistic pieces of equipment, added features that make the Esbit efficient and user-friendly are what help it stand out.
- Fuel is cheap and can be bought at many retailers.
- Fuel is more stable and less prone to explosions and unwanted smoke.
- The Esbit is easy to clean and reuse.
- The stove unit is lightweight and reasonably priced.
- Alcoholic fuel takes a few extra minutes to cook with.
- The Esbit can only be used as a secondary option with compatible stove units.
- It can be difficult to tell whether the fuel has been ignited since the flame is virtually invisible in daylight.
Benefits and Features
Lightweight Design and Easy Setup
Weighing only four ounces, the Esbit stove is so small that you can hold it in the palm of your hand. When it comes to efficiently carrying your camp cooking equipment, size truly does matter. The brass frame, flame regulating lid and spill-proof don’t compromise the stove’s size for quality in the least.
To start cooking, all you need is the Esbit stove, a source of fire, some fuel, and a pot support. Even though the setup of the entire stove system has a couple of extra components than a standard butane stove would, the difference in weight is not that significant. If anything, the inexpensive fuel and setup should make up for the extra minute or two that you’ll need to set up the stove.
Keep in mind that this stove only includes the burner itself. As long as you use any compatible pot supporter, you should be able to easily access the handle for the flame regulator. Since alcohol stoves typically take a bit longer to cook with, this is a great bonus feature to speed up boiling and cooking times if you’re in a hurry.
Efficient and easy to use
Provided that you have all of the necessary equipment to make your stove work, the Esbit is easy enough for just about anyone to pick up and start using. Simply take off the sealed cap, remove the regulator, dispense fuel into the canister, and replace the fuel regulator.
As soon as your stove has fuel in it, you can place it in your pot supporter and place a flame near the small hole on top of the flame regulator. If you don’t see any flame coming up from the regulator, don’t worry; alcohol has an invisible flame in well-lit areas.
From here on, all you need to do is place your cooking equipment on top of the pot supporter and cook as if you were cooking on your stove at home. Remember that alcohol takes a little bit longer to heat up, so your cooking times might be slower than what you are used to. The nice thing about the Esibit stove is that the flame regulator lets you adjust the intensity of your fire as needed.
To increase the heat underneath your pot or pan, all you need to do is pull the metal handle on the regulator to increase the size of your flame. This cap allows you to adjust the amount of exposed alcohol in the canister. While this shouldn’t be a detrimental issue, keep in mind that using stronger heat while cooking will naturally result in higher fuel consumption.
Fuel is Incredibly Cheap and Environmentally Friendly
The Esbit runs on denatured alcohol. This type of fuel is less volatile and is easier to extinguish than propane or kerosene. This type of fuel can be found at gas stations, sports supplies stores, or even liquor stores in some states if you decide to use Everclear.
While it takes a little bit longer to cook with, it is an extremely cheap and clean fuel option for cooking. The fuel practically cleans the inside of the canister for you and doesn’t require any maintenance beyond changing fuel and wiping down the inside of the canister. Many toxins present in smoke from other fuels don’t exist in alcohol since it is created naturally through fermentation.
Aside from the fuel aspect, in general they have many benefits that don’t come with portable stoves that run on traditional fuel. Still, choosing this option for cooking your food on camping trips will be more worthwhile if you use a higher-quality alcohol stove with added features. The nice thing about the Esbit stove is that it includes some of these features without charging a ridiculous price.
Esbit Alcohol Stove vs. Trangia
The Trangia alcohol stove is a little heavier than the Esbit and costs less at most retailers. However, the burner only comes a screw cap with a metal gasket on the bottom edge as well as a small metal flame regulator. Unlike the Esbit, the flame regulator does not have a securing clip or handle to control the flame with ease.
- The Trangia stove costs less at most retailers.
- The Trangia stove costs less.
- Easy to assemble and figure out
- The Trangia Stove is bulkier.
- Does not come with a rubber-sealed cap.
- Very hard-to-grip regulator cap.
Esbit Alcohol Stove vs. Solo
In essence, the Solo alcohol stove is very similar to the Esbit. The only significant difference (if you can call it significant) is the slight difference in size. When it comes to high-quality products, portable versions are always ideal if they include the same features.
The price range of the two products is another tiny factor to consider between the two stoves. The Solo Stove costs a few dollars more than the Esbit, depending on where you look. If a smaller product is what you’re after, though, the extra money spent may be worth it.
- Both Products are made of brass material.
- Both products come with a metal fuel regulator cap as well as a rubber-sealed brass cap for storing unused fuel.
- The Solo weighs in at .3 ounces while the Esbit Weighs 4 ounces.
If saving money and space are important to you on camping trips, consider using an alcohol stove for cooking next time. The Esbit alcohol stove is a cost-efficient burner made of materials that can be used repeatedly without spending money unnecessarily. Unlike cheaper stove models, the already-inexpensive burner comes with features that make cooking with this fuel just a little bit easier.