By John Campbell
With the fire season getting ever closer in my area I wanted to test out another stove. I needed a stove that was solid fuel, meaning that when fire restrictions begin I could still have a way to cook and heat meals while in the field. These are awesome pieces of kit to carry not only in your survival kit but also your bug out bag, camping and backpacking kit, and even just for use at home. Over the course of using this stove I must have went through 20 or 30 tablets of fuel. I found myself cooking up everything from beef stew, chicken soup, vegetable rice, Mexican rice; the list goes on and on. The one thing I really wanted to try out was popping corn. I have done this several times over a fire in a Dutch oven, covered skillet, and my ranger cook pot. What I curious about was how would it work using an Esbit fuel tablet? This was something new to me and as of yet I have not yet read of anyone to my knowledge that had done this.
Above is a partially used Esbit tablet left over from the last time I cooked with this stove. I added a teaspoon of cooking oil, it doesn’t matter what kind use what you like. I then added enough popping corn to cover the bottom of the pot. After lighting the stove it took a few minutes to get the oil up to temp and the kernels to pop. Once they started I became very excited to say the least. I love popcorn, what can I say?
About every 5 to 10 seconds I would remove the pot from the heat to shake the loose unpopped kernels to the bottom where the heat was concentrated. After a few times of doing this the lid began to lift off the pot. It was done! Seeing how it was Mothers Day I made a few batches of this up and shared it with the wife. She too was very pleased with the outcome of the project.
In this photo you can see the lid being lifted off of the pot. Actually to be able to capture this I blew the remaining Esbit tablet out to prevent burning while I set my camera. So far I have gotten a tremendous amount of use from this little set. I am finding very beneficial for all kinds of reasons. Not only fire season like mentioned earlier but also for those that like the no impact or the leave no trace type of camping. I can also see this being amazing for slightly more tactical situations as well. There is no smoke produced by this unit making it ideal for staying concealed.
In the video I am cooking beef stew. I also go over the construction and durability of the stove itself.