Esbit Alcohol Burner
Owner Review by Kathryn Montovan
August 24, 2015
I have been backpacking, climbing,
kayaking, canoeing and winter camping for over 15 years. My excursions
are mostly weekend and occasionally weeklong backpacking and kayaking
trips in the wooded and often wet, mountainous terrain of eastern New York, and western Vermont.
I usually tent camp with my family and love to cook fun
and delicious foods on my trips. In general, I strive for a compact and
light pack and value well-made and durable gear.
||Bennington, Vermont USA
||5' 5" (1.65 m)
||150 lb (68 kg)
Product Information and Specifications:
||3.25 oz (92 g)
||3.4 oz (97.4 g)
|1.8 in (4.6 cm)
|2.9 in (7.4 cm)
|1.75" (4.4 cm)
|3" (7.6 cm)
|Burner, flame regulator, and screw cap
|The Esbit Alcohol Burner with the flame regulator partially open.
Esbit Alcohol Burner is a simple little stove that burns alcohol. It
has a brass body, an adjustable flame regulator, and a screw cap with a
rubber seal. The main body of the stove is constructed from 3 pieces of
metal with seams a little below the threads on the outside
and just inside the burner holes on the inside. There is a bit of a gap
at the bottom of the stove on the inside between the inner wall and
outer wall of the stove.
Alcohol is poured into a large opening in the center of the stove and
the fuel vapors are lit on fire. This heats the stove walls and the
fuel and causes more fuel to vaporize. Before long vapor pressure
builds up in the outer chamber and the pressurized fuel vapor shoots
out of the jets and burns. The flames of burning alcohol are
generally not visible during the day.
have been using this stove for about 3 years and have used it on dozens
of backpacking, canoe camping, kayak camping and car camping trips to
cook for myself and up to 3 other people. I have used it in
temperatures ranging from 40 F to 100 F (5 C to 38 C), weather that
included both rain and sunshine, and elevations ranging from sea level
to 2000 ft (610 m).
How to use the stove:
The following are the directions from the packaging I received with my stove.
I have only used denatured alcohol from the paint store (95% denatured
alcohol) as my fuel and
bring it along in a small well-marked plastic bottle. As noted in the
directions, 2.5 oz (74 mL) is typically enough to cook for about 30
we bring an appropriate amount for the cooking we plan to do. I have
never mixed water with the fuel to reduce soot, but I also have never
had a problem with the stove leaving soot on my pans. Sometimes my pot
is slightly discolored but it does not rub off on my other gear so it
hasn't really been a problem.
the burner, I take off both the flame regulator and the storage cap,
fill the stove about 2/3 full, place it within the framework I use as a
pot stand and use a steal flint striker to light the stove. I am very
careful to pay attention when lighting the stove as the flames of
alcohol are not visible and it is easy to not notice/forget that it is
burning. I often hold a blade of grass over the stove to see if it is
lit. If the grass burns then the burner is lit.
When I heard about alcohol stoves I loved the idea of a simple stove
that you could even make yourself if you wanted to. I made several
versions of alcohol stoves and loved the way they burned but didn't
love how fragile they were and I could not find or make a sturdy and
transportable pot-stand. Then I tested a wood burning stove (the solo
stove) which worked beautifully as a pot stand and I discovered the
Esbit Alcohol Burner which is much sturdier than all of my homemade
alcohol stoves. It was the perfect combination that allowed me to
switch over to mostly using an alcohol stove. I love this stove and I
am willing to carry the extra weight of the wood stove to have a
reliable and sturdy stand and a backup option of cooking with wood if necessary.
Using the Flame Regulator:
I frequently use the flame regulator to lower the cooking temperature.
I have found that it is very difficult to adjust once it is on the
burner, but that I can use my pot grip to get it off the stove, let it
cool for a few seconds, adjust it with my hands, and use the pot grip
to put it back on the burner. The folding handle makes it easy to grab
off the stove and to replace without burning myself. It can be adjusted
to a wide range of temperatures and has made the alcohol burner my
chosen stove for cooking pancakes. When cooking is done, I take the
regulator off, close it all the way and put it back on the stove to
snuff out the flame. I then let it cool for a minute and screw on the
storage cap to save the left-over fuel for later. I have had no
problems with leaks from the screw-on cap with the rubber gasket, but
have started to have some problems with the rubber gasket falling out
of the cap and getting lost.
have used this burner in a range of conditions and
have not run into any problems with it. In the rain it is nice that it
is so easy and quick to start. Also, since you can mix water with the
alcohol according to the directions there is no harm if a little
rain makes it into the stove before the pot is there to shield it. I
have not noticed any effect of heat, humidity, or elevation on the
performance of this burner in the conditions I have used it. I have
not used it in below-freezing temperatures or above 2000 ft (610 m) so
I cannot comment on the performance under these somewhat more
challenging conditions. I have used it to boil water in my small
titanium cup as well as a large pot. It takes longer to boil a large
pot of water, but quickly boils a titanium mug full of water
(approximately 400 mL). I have also used this burner to cook all sorts
of things including pancakes, cinnamon rolls, pizza, pasta, couscous
and soup and have always been pleased by its performance.
What I like:
- Small Size
- Easy to start and use
- Adjustable cooking heat
- Clean burning
- Simple design
- Sturdy construction
What I didn't like:
- Didn't come with a pot stand and sturdy pot stands are somewhat hard to purchase separately or make.
- Invisible flame
During my extended use of this stove I have found that the Esbit
Alcohol Burner is reliable, adjustable, and easy to use. It has become
my favorite stove over many of the fancier options in my camping bin.
It is sturdier, burns longer, is hotter, and generally less fussy
than the pop-can alcohol stove I made years ago. It is easier to use
than my white-gas stove, and I don't miss any of the pumping. It is
cleaner and much easier than my wood stove. It takes longer
than the Jetboil, but can be used with any pan I want, is smaller, and
doesn't require the bulky and pricey fuel canisters. Overall I would
that it compares most closely to our Jetboil in that it is a stove
I can set up and light it effortlessly, and when heating water I can
it for several minutes while I prepare other things, and when I come
back the water is boiling. Also, after having a student get burned
severely by a malfunctioning pressurized white gas stove, I really
appreciate the simplicity and predictable nature of this burner. It has
become my stove of choice and I rarely use another stove from our
collection unless I have run out of denatured alcohol.