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OWNER REVIEW (revised)- Esbit Alcohol Stove and Trekking Cookset

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  • Clyde Tant
    Esbit Alcohol Stove and Trekking Cookset Name: Ray Tant Age: 43 Gender: Male Height: 5 ‘ 9” Weight: 185 lbs Email address: crtant3@yahoo.com City, State,
    Message 1 of 5 , Nov 20, 2012
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      Esbit Alcohol Stove and Trekking Cookset
      Name: Ray Tant
      Age: 43
      Gender: Male
      Height: 5 ‘ 9”
      Weight: 185 lbs
      Email address: crtant3@...
      City, State, Country: Knoxville, TN USA
      Date: 11/11/2012
      Backpacking Background: I always had an interest in the outdoors and I began backpacking when I was in college. Having the Great Smoky Mountain National Park at my disposal made it very easy to fall in love with the trail. After several years of backpacking my focus shifted to caving, marriage and then kids. I recently rediscovered my love for backpacking and camping. Since most of my gear was purchased in the early 90’s I have had to do a lot of updating. I currently spilt time backpacking with friends, car camping with my family and my son’s scout den. I try to do some kind of trip each month. I primarily stay within a 4 hour radius of Knoxville, TN but have limited experience in Utah, Arizona, California and Oregon.
      Product Information

      Manufacturer:  Esbit  
      Year of Manufacture: 2012   
      URL: http://www.esbit.net/
      Listed weight: 14.71 Ounces (417 Grams)    
      Weight as delivered:  15.10 Ounces  (428 Grams)
      Total Pack size: height 147 mm / 5.5'',
      Diameter 128 mm / 5''
      Volume of the pots: 985 ml (33 oz)and
      470 ml (15 oz)
      Burning period of the spirit-burner:
      Maximum of 30 minutes
      Burning period of a 14 g (0.5 oz) solid-fuel
      tablet approx. 10-15 minutes 
      MSRP: $49.99
      Fuel Type: Alcohol (various) and Solid Fuel (various)
       The Esbit alcohol stove arrived in a cardboard box bearing the images and technical data for the new stove. Out of the box the stove is contained in a black mesh bag. The cooking kit breaks down into a small (470 ml) Frying pan/drinking cup, a 985 ml cooking pot, a cooking stand, a solid fuel stand, and alcohol stove. The alcohol stove breaks down further into a stove, sealed screw on lid and put out lid. The sealed lid has a rubber gasket that makes the stove leak proof and eliminates the need to empty the fuel between usage and transport.
      The system can use either the alcohol stove or Esbit solid fuels using the adapter.
      The two pots conform to one another allowing the smaller pot to be used as a lid to help water boil faster or its own cooking pan as a miniature skillet. Although the small skillet is a nice notion, it seems to add bulk when a good lid would do. Every time I repack the kit I always find myself looking into the pots and all the empty space wishing I had a flat lid. Both pots have handles.
       
       The alcohol stove is very similar to a Trangia style of cooking stove and utilizes approximately 2-3 ounces of alcohol fuel. I usually can boil 4 to 6 – two cup rounds of water. There are many types of alcohol to use, but I have found denatured alcohol to burn the cleanest.
      After placing the stove in the cooking frame and lighting, the stove takes less than a minute to warm up and begin to push vaporized fuel through the jets located along the outer rim. I have always used the larger pan to cook with. To date I have used the stove on several occasions and the average boil time is approximately 6 to 8 minutes. The time to boil is very contingent on the ambient temperature as well as wind conditions. Although not included I did purchase a small lightweight aluminum windscreen to increase cook times. I have not experienced it, but there are cold temperature limitations on alcohol stoves. Most people recommend to only use alcohol stoves above 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
      The esbit solid fuel attachment can be used in replacement of the alcohol stove and inserted in the same position. A single solid fuel tablet takes approximately 10 minutes to achieve the boil for 2 cups of water versus the 6 to 8 minutes of the alcohol fuel.
      The construction of the pans and stove are impressive and appear to be the high quality. The pots are made of lightweight anodized aluminum. The alcohol stove is made of what appears to be a brass material. As with most alcohol stoves, the base of the system is narrow and could be unstable, I have yet to experience this. Additionally, you are using a liquid fuel that after lit when spilled can be a very dangerous situation.
      Field information
      The unit has been tested both in ideal conditions in my kitchen, my back porch as well as on the trail. I have conducted three tests in my kitchen to test the boil time of 2 cups of water. I tested it on the back porch once to show my son.
      The first use in the field was in the great Smoky Mountain National Park backcountry campsites 21 and 24 off the Little River Trail. I used the stove to boil water while preparing meals (dinner and breakfast) and tea for myself, son and nephew over a 2 night, 3 day trip. I typically boiled 3 – two cup rounds of water for each of our meals, 3 – one cup rounds for tea and one 2 cup round for a dessert. I would guess I used the stove between 18 – 20 times that weekend. Campsite 21 is a sloping backcountry site that is heavily wooded. Campsite 24 is a relatively flat, heavily wooded back country campsite set between a large stream, and as many as two small creeks at an approximate elevation of 2640' feet of elevation. The weather setting was a temperature of approximately 65 degrees and raining both nights.
      The second time the unit was tested was at Naked Ground campsite at the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest at an elevation of approximately 5200 feet. I used the stove to boil water while preparing meals (dinner and breakfast) and tea for myself, on a 1 night, 2 day trip. I typically boiled 1 – two cup round of water for each meals, a one cup round for tea and one 2 cup round for a dessert. I would guess I used the stove between 5 to 6 times that weekend. The temperature was about 80 agrees and windy. Dry.
      I typically use this stove for boiling water for freeze dried meals and making hot drinks. I also like the quiet nature of the stove. In addition, the fuel was relatively lightweight and compared to other cooking systems such as a jet boil, primus or whisper light it is total serenity. Although slower to boil, the fuel efficiency and time is excellent.
      I have only used the solid fuel in controlled conditions and carry it for emergencies. I did not buy the system for this purpose.
      Summary
      Overall the Esbit Trekking Cook Set is a great compact and lightweight alcohol stove system. Although the top lid/ fry pan is somewhat redundant and seems to make it bulkier than necessary, the extra space is very good for storing a second stove system such as a Brunton Optimus Crux and fuel canister.
      Things I like
      1)      Lightweight
      2)      Efficient (cooking to fuel use)
      3)      Quiet
      4)      Alternative fuel sources (both alcohol and solid fuel)
      5)      Extra space in container allows storage of additional backup stove systems
      Things I don't like
      1)      Bulkier than needs to be
      2)      Doesn't cook as fast as other systems
      3)      Noisy in backpack clanking around
      4)      No auto light, need matches or lighter
    • Jamie D.
      Hi Ray, Thank you for providing more details about your field use with this stove, unfortunately 3 nights/5 days isn t quite enough field use to meet our
      Message 2 of 5 , Nov 23, 2012
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        Hi Ray,

        Thank you for providing more details about your field use with this stove, unfortunately 3 nights/5 days isn't quite enough field use to meet our standards for Owner Reviews. I know writing an OR takes time and thought and I don't want you to be discouraged. Please shelve this review, give yourself at least another seasons use with it and then revise the report and repost it. By that time you will hopefully have enough use.

        For first reviews we suggest writing about simple gear with which you've had lots of use. This helps you as the writer and helps your editor get you through the OR process more easily.

        It is not uncommon for new writers to need a bit more help before their first OR is ready for the editing process. If you'd like more help we have a Mentoring Program – This program teams new reviewers with experienced veterans to help get them through their first two reviews. If you'd like more assistance or guidance with the process you can request a mentor by sending an email to Mentor(at)backpackgeartest.org - Please use MENTOR REQUEST in the subject line.

        I would also suggest taking a second look at our Owner Review requirements spelled out in the How to Become a Tester section of our webpage (link below). In addition to this material we suggest reading some recently approved owner reviews to get a feel for what the BGT standards are.
        http://www.backpackgeartest.org/lesson.php?lesson=BecomeTester&page=1

        Regardless of which option you take, we certainly hope you will give it another go. Our standards are high but that benefits us all. We look forward to seeing your review again in the near future.

        Regards
        Jamie DeBenedetto
        Editors Team Director
      • Ray Tant
        Thank you for your response. I am disappointed to hear my length of use was too short. I had actually used it again this weekend instead of one of 6 stoves i
        Message 3 of 5 , Nov 25, 2012
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          Thank you for your response. I am disappointed to hear my length of use was too short. I had actually used it again this weekend instead of one of 6 stoves i own to give it more use. However, you failed to mention the quality of the review and its technical content. This would have been very enlightening. Furthermore, considering almost all manufacturers replace or modify their gear on annual basis, how many seasons would you suggest? I would think reviewing gear still on the shelf would be very important.

          In addition, what would be a simple review that you can suggest? I have a Velcro strap that has been in service for several years, some aluminum tent stakes, 3 twenty year old thermarest sleeping pads, a metal cup, set of 20 year old metal cutlery, 15 year old rei plastic fork, 20 year old mesh bag, 27 year old Patagonia snap t synchylla, 20 year old msr whisperlite stove (although that one has been beaten to death) and many more seasoned pieces of gear. Thank you again for your input, I look forward to your response.:)

          Ray Tant
          865-271-7152

          On Nov 23, 2012, at 5:17 PM, "Jamie D." <jdeben@...> wrote:

          > Hi Ray,
          >
          > Thank you for providing more details about your field use with this stove, unfortunately 3 nights/5 days isn't quite enough field use to meet our standards for Owner Reviews. I know writing an OR takes time and thought and I don't want you to be discouraged. Please shelve this review, give yourself at least another seasons use with it and then revise the report and repost it. By that time you will hopefully have enough use.
          >
          > For first reviews we suggest writing about simple gear with which you've had lots of use. This helps you as the writer and helps your editor get you through the OR process more easily.
          >
          > It is not uncommon for new writers to need a bit more help before their first OR is ready for the editing process. If you'd like more help we have a Mentoring Program – This program teams new reviewers with experienced veterans to help get them through their first two reviews. If you'd like more assistance or guidance with the process you can request a mentor by sending an email to Mentor(at)backpackgeartest.org - Please use MENTOR REQUEST in the subject line.
          >
          > I would also suggest taking a second look at our Owner Review requirements spelled out in the How to Become a Tester section of our webpage (link below). In addition to this material we suggest reading some recently approved owner reviews to get a feel for what the BGT standards are.
          > http://www.backpackgeartest.org/lesson.php?lesson=BecomeTester&page=1
          >
          > Regardless of which option you take, we certainly hope you will give it another go. Our standards are high but that benefits us all. We look forward to seeing your review again in the near future.
          >
          > Regards
          > Jamie DeBenedetto
          > Editors Team Director
          >
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Jamie D.
          Hi Ray T, With your additional recent use you are getting very close to having enough use. We generally suggest at least 1 or 2 seasons use so you have a
          Message 4 of 5 , Nov 25, 2012
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            Hi Ray T,

            With your additional recent use you are getting very close to having enough use. We generally suggest at least 1 or 2 seasons use so you have a variety of weather conditions included in your field use section. We expect a minimum of 5 nights/10 days use for all items. Although, for ORs more is quite common because it's a piece of gear you've likely owned for a while.

            You are 100% correct, it is most important for BGT to have relevant reviews so items no longer sold, or as you put it, "still on the shelf" aren't eligible for ORs. That is definitely something to consider when choosing the gear you will write about.

            As for failing to comment on the quality and content of your review, that is not my function in the Edit Team. That more intensive job falls to the folks who have volunteered to be OR Editors. I'm simply the first set of eyes to scan the newly posted ORs. My job is to encourage new writers who have fallen a bit short of our requirements to get things shored up and repost or ask for a mentor. Furthermore, I save the editors from spending unnecessary time on an Owner Review that, even if well written, couldn't be accepted because of other misgivings.

            We all started out having to go thru the first 2 OR process, like you, so we all know it can be a little daunting at first. I truly hope you stick with it until you reach the goal of becoming a tester. The process is not meant to be a pain in the rump but it is meant to force some level of commitment and weed out those not willing to follow through.

            I look forward to seeing you succeed.
            Regards,
            Jamie DeBenedetto
            Editors Team Director


            --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, Ray Tant <crtant3@...> wrote:
            >
            > Thank you for your response. I am disappointed to hear my length of use was too short. I had actually used it again this weekend instead of one of 6 stoves i own to give it more use. However, you failed to mention the quality of the review and its technical content. This would have been very enlightening. Furthermore, considering almost all manufacturers replace or modify their gear on annual basis, how many seasons would you suggest? I would think reviewing gear still on the shelf would be very important.
            >
            > In addition, what would be a simple review that you can suggest? I have a Velcro strap that has been in service for several years, some aluminum tent stakes, 3 twenty year old thermarest sleeping pads, a metal cup, set of 20 year old metal cutlery, 15 year old rei plastic fork, 20 year old mesh bag, 27 year old Patagonia snap t synchylla, 20 year old msr whisperlite stove (although that one has been beaten to death) and many more seasoned pieces of gear. Thank you again for your input, I look forward to your response.:)
            >
            > Ray Tant
            > 865-271-7152
            >
          • richardglyon@att.net
            Ray, I m another editor here and let me echo two things Jamie and Ray Estrella have said. As for choice of gear to be the subject of an Owner Review, you
            Message 5 of 5 , Nov 27, 2012
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              Ray,

              I'm another editor here and let me echo two things Jamie and Ray Estrella have said. As for choice of gear to be the subject of an Owner Review, you apparently get out often, and I'm certain that you have some gear that has seen a season's field use. There's often a misconception that an OR needs to be a major piece of gear such as a tent or sleeping bag. Not so - BGT values Reviews of basic items equally, often encouraging them with monthly calls. Perhaps a pair of socks you particularly like? A favorite fleece sweater? Water bottle? Any counts just as much as a state-of-the-art tent toward your qualifying to test gear.

              Second, do consider a Mentor. Under our mentor program an experienced tester will work with you to get you familiar with the Owner Review process and BGT's rules. There's no stigma attached; many of our veteran testers are former mentees. You can request a mentor by sending an email to mentor@...

              We're all pleased you've come to BGT. Let us know if we can help you keep this process moving forward.

              Cheers, Richard

              --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "Jamie D." <jdeben@...> wrote:
              >
              > Hi Ray T,
              >
              > With your additional recent use you are getting very close to having enough use. We generally suggest at least 1 or 2 seasons use so you have a variety of weather conditions included in your field use section. We expect a minimum of 5 nights/10 days use for all items. Although, for ORs more is quite common because it's a piece of gear you've likely owned for a while.
              >
              > You are 100% correct, it is most important for BGT to have relevant reviews so items no longer sold, or as you put it, "still on the shelf" aren't eligible for ORs. That is definitely something to consider when choosing the gear you will write about.
              >
              > As for failing to comment on the quality and content of your review, that is not my function in the Edit Team. That more intensive job falls to the folks who have volunteered to be OR Editors. I'm simply the first set of eyes to scan the newly posted ORs. My job is to encourage new writers who have fallen a bit short of our requirements to get things shored up and repost or ask for a mentor. Furthermore, I save the editors from spending unnecessary time on an Owner Review that, even if well written, couldn't be accepted because of other misgivings.
              >
              > We all started out having to go thru the first 2 OR process, like you, so we all know it can be a little daunting at first. I truly hope you stick with it until you reach the goal of becoming a tester. The process is not meant to be a pain in the rump but it is meant to force some level of commitment and weed out those not willing to follow through.
              >
              > I look forward to seeing you succeed.
              > Regards,
              > Jamie DeBenedetto
              > Editors Team Director
              >
              >
              > --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, Ray Tant <crtant3@> wrote:
              > >
              > > Thank you for your response. I am disappointed to hear my length of use was too short. I had actually used it again this weekend instead of one of 6 stoves i own to give it more use. However, you failed to mention the quality of the review and its technical content. This would have been very enlightening. Furthermore, considering almost all manufacturers replace or modify their gear on annual basis, how many seasons would you suggest? I would think reviewing gear still on the shelf would be very important.
              > >
              > > In addition, what would be a simple review that you can suggest? I have a Velcro strap that has been in service for several years, some aluminum tent stakes, 3 twenty year old thermarest sleeping pads, a metal cup, set of 20 year old metal cutlery, 15 year old rei plastic fork, 20 year old mesh bag, 27 year old Patagonia snap t synchylla, 20 year old msr whisperlite stove (although that one has been beaten to death) and many more seasoned pieces of gear. Thank you again for your input, I look forward to your response.:)
              > >
              > > Ray Tant
              > > 865-271-7152
              > >
              >
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