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|Backcountry Kitchen The Backcountry Kitchen forum is for the discussion of food and cooking gear related topics for backpacking trips (e.g. menus, recipes, stoves, fuel...).|
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Bleuet solid fuel cookset review
So, two christmas's ago, I got a neat little widget - an esbit stove.
well, an off-brand esbit stove. the bleuet stove/cookset, which is very similar in design to the esbit stove/pot combo, with a couple minor differences.
this weekend i finally got around to using it.
now, i've used the folding military-issue stove(made by esbit!) for years happily as an emergency backup. it and four tablets packed inside with a few matches have been a part of my kit so long that i occasionally have a 'oh... hey... the fuel in that thing is pretty old i should rotate it out for new stuff...' moment.
but this new one, it's something neat. nesting pot and stove combo in anodized aluminum, with lid and mesh bag. overall an attractive package.
the stove - this takes the form of an aluminum cup with plenty of vent holes top and bottom. it has a sliding door that is meant to control airflow, but i generally leave it shut to keep heat in. as you could burn duff/litter/sticks in the stove, i can see it having a use there as it keeps you from having to lift the pot when refueling. adding esbit tablets that way is a pain in the arse though. lighting them unless you use a long necked lighter(or a torch type), or matches, is awkward. i personally found that just lighting the tablet while it was in hand(very carefully, the opposite corner from my fingers) to be easier. windy conditions would be different. burn times are as normal with esbit, airflow is pretty good.
the pot - this is a stout little cylinder, with graduated markings for 8/12/16 ounces and metric markings out to 600ml. it has a notched base so that it mates quite securely to the stove, which holds it at the right height for esbit to burn efficiently. the lid is close fitting to an inner lip on the pot and has a lift-up ring, which stays up most of the time. fold-out handles are silicone wrapped(which does a pretty good job of keeping the handles cool to the touch), and there's a slight pour-notch on the rim of the pot. it's wide enough to eat directly out of as a bowl, but the straight sides and relative compact shape make it usable as a mug(mind you don't burn your lips).
the performance - i did fire this stove up a couple times at home last year, mostly to check its performance against various need conditions. assuming the water you start with is at a toasty 60-ish degrees, one tablet, door closed, will get you just to a rolling boil. certainly that tablet will get you over 200 degrees with a long enough time above 190 that you could fudge it with questionable water and still have good odds - but you'd be taking a risk.
in the field - hiking the carbon river trail this past weekend i finally had call to use this stove(and i'm glad i packed it) as my faithful brunton raptor decided it was going to start acting VERY fickle.
the real-world performance wasn't bad. it took more than one tablet to hit a good violent boil with a pint of water from the river, which, being april and glacier-melt fed, was somewhere between 'take my breath away' and 'try to cross by walking on it ninja style'. this was wickedly cold water.
approximately a tablet and a half to two tablets would get that water to a full violent boil though. best way to add extra tablets is either before lighting, or by lifting the pot and very gingerly putting the tablet in the right spot.
overall i'm pretty happy with the unit - it's a good backup and could even serve as a primary with a little work and some patience.
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