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Reviews > Cook Gear > Stoves > Backpacking Light Titanium Esbit Stove > Owner Review by Pamela Wyant

Owner Review:  FireLite Titanium Esbit Wing Stove

Reviewed October 2007


Opened stove top view
Open stove side view

Owner Information:
 
Name:  Pam Wyant
Age:  50
Gender:  Female
Height:  5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight:  165 lb (77 kg)
Shoe size:  U.S. women's 9 M
E-mail address:  pamwyant(at)yahoo(dot)com
Location:  Western West Virginia, U.S.A.

Backpacking Background: 

Pursuing a long-time interest, I started backpacking four years ago, beginning with day-hiking and single overnights.  Currently I’m mostly a ‘weekend warrior’ and mainly hike and backpack in the hills and valleys of West Virginia, but have section hiked longer parts of the southern portion of the Appalachian Trail (AT) the past two years.  My usual shelter is a hammock but I sometimes use a tent. In general my backpacking style is lightweight and minimalist, and I try to cut as much pack weight as I can without sacrificing warmth, comfort, or safety.


Product Information:

Manufacturer:  BackpackingLight
Manufacturer Website:  www.backpackinglight.com
Year of manufacture:  2006
MSRP:  $19.99

Stated weight:  0.38 oz (10.8 g)
Measured weight:  0.4 oz (11.3 g); measured on scales accurate to 0.1 oz

Stated open size:  1.85 x 4.2 in (4.7 x 11 cm)
Measured size:  open size consistent with stated size; folded size approx. 2 x 3 in (5 x 8 cm)

Closed stove side viewProduct Description:

The FireLite Titanium Esbit Wing Stove is a simply designed folding stove for burning solid fuel tablets such as Esbit.  The stove is made from titanium, and is configured with three 'legs' that fold and unfold around a small square receptacle in the center sized to hold a normal size Esbit tablet (approx. 1 x 1.5 in or 2.5 x 4 cm).  The legs are connected to the tablet holder with a small rivet.  They have a unique twisted shape at the base, which changes the vertically oriented 'pot holder' part of the leg into the horizontally oriented segment that fits flat under the tablet holder.  The top of the legs are sloped and have small serrations.  This configuration is designed to allow the stove to be used with different sized cups and pots.  Larger pots can rest on the top of the legs, and smaller cups can rest on the serrated edges.  The words BackpackingLight.com and Titanium are etched into the side of one leg.

Field Information:

I received the stove as a Christmas gift from my family in 2006 and have used it on several weekend backpacking trips during 2007, mainly in the Monongahela National Forest in eastern West Virginia, along with a few overnight and weekend trips in western or central West Virginia.  Elevations have ranged from approximately 700 to 4000 ft (200 to 1200 m); temperatures from 40 to 80 F (4 to 27 C).  Weather conditions have included light rain and light wind, but it has mainly been used in clear, calm conditions.

Use:

Closed stove top viewI have used the FireLite stove with FireLite 14 g (0.48 oz) size solid fuel tablets.  Originally I was interested in using it with a pot I made from a Foster's beer can, but I found the shape of the stove and the shape of the beer can did not get along.  This was disappointing to me since the main reason I was interested in the FireLite stove was for weight savings, and the beer can pot is the lightest pot I have been able to find.

I tried using it with the smaller pot from my GSI Hard Anodized Boiler Cookset, but I found the design of the bottom of this pot did not work very well, and the pot seemed very unstable.  In fact, I had it slide off the stove a few times and spill my water as it was heating.

I then purchased an AntiGravityGear 3 Cup Hard Anodized Cook Pot, thinking the handle less design would keep the pot better balanced on the stove.  It did help slightly, but I have still had trouble with the pot tending to slide off the stove if it is not perfectly level.  Even clamping a lifter to the pot has been enough to knock it off balance, so I have to be very careful while lifting the pot off the stove not to jar it with the lifter.

So far, I have not really found a pot that I feel confident in using on the stove in the types of areas I camp in.  Level ground is really hard to come by in West Virginia, and not having the stove level makes it very difficult to keep a pot balanced on the top of the legs.  Due to the sloped design of the legs, a smaller mug style pot might be easier to keep balanced, but so fair I haven't persuaded myself to spend the extra dollars necessary to buy a titanium cup.  My $2 beer can pot is still lighter!  Unfortunately it will not work with this stove.

The FireLite tablets fit very well inside the tablet holder.  The stove does seem optimally configured to keep the fuel tablet at the right distance from the bottom of the pot, based on the fact that one tablet has always worked to bring 2 cups (1/2 liter) of water to a boil (using a lid on the pot), and that most of the flame is concentrated under the pot with very little spilling up the sides.  Usually it takes from 4-7 minutes to boil a pot full of water, depending on weather conditions.  I have often used the stove without a windscreen in calmer conditions, using a light foil windscreen if it is a little windy.

When I use the stove I usually place a small scrap of foil around the fuel tablet forming sort of a tray to fit inside the tablet holder on the stove.  This prevents a lot of residue from being left on the stove, and I can just wad the foil up and drop it into my bag of trash to pack out.  This does make it a little harder to light the tablet, so I try to flair the foil away from the tablet a bit at the top.  The routine I've more or less settled into is to find a spot for the stove, test the pot balance on it, remove the pot, lift the stove and light one edge of the fuel tablet with a lighter, replace the stove, add the pot, and loosely wrap a piece of foil around the pot for the windscreen if needed.  Alternately, I can use a match to light the fuel tablet while the stove is sitting on the ground with the pot already in place, but this is sometimes a little trickier.  If I'm not careful, I can knock the pot of water off the stove easily when I light it this way, or the match can blow out.  I am just not coordinated enough to manage to light the fuel tablet with a lighter when it is near ground level, at least not without burning a finger in the process.

To store the stove in my pack, I simply swing the three legs together.  They are shaped so they fit nest neatly together on one side, and the rectangular tablet holder sits on the opposite side.  I usually wrap the stove in a piece of a Handi-Wipe (to prevent scratching) and stow it inside my cook pot with a small cup, lighter, matches, and pot lifter.  The folded stove takes up very little room.

The stove seems to be of good quality.  Other than some slight discoloration of the metal from heat, no changes in the stove are evident after several months of use.

Summary:

I have to say that I am rather disappointed in this stove - not really in the way it works, but in the trouble I have had finding a pot that is stable on it.  My cook gear philosophy is to be as light, simple, and inexpensive as possible.  The cost of the stove itself seems reasonable given the materials and workmanship, but I am disappointed that it cannot be used with beer can pots, which are both very light and very cheap.  I'm also disappointed that it is not very stable with my other small, light pots.

Although the stove is very light, I would not purchase the FireLite Titanium Esbit Wing Stove again, since there are options out there for homemade pots and Esbit tab holders that are not only cheaper, but lighter, when the whole system is considered together.


Read more reviews of BackpackingLight.com gear
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Reviews > Cook Gear > Stoves > Backpacking Light Titanium Esbit Stove > Owner Review by Pamela Wyant



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