Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Prudent Prepping: Gear Test

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Now we concentrate on what to do in, and how to plan for, the long term via Prudent Prepping.

I plan to go on several trips this year, and some of my new gear needs to be tried out before using it in the field. This is the first test for some of it, and it's also a chance to mix new and old gear to see what works best together. Or not, as things sometimes happen.

In my first post of February, People Keep On Giving, I mentioned a birthday gift of a Sea-to-Summit XPot/Kettle and how it is NOT RECOMMENDED for use over an open flame. I said I'd like to see how it works on an Esbit stove. Here are the results:

Esbit Stove and XPot/Kettle
Since the XPot/Kettle is not to be used in the manner shown, everything possible was done to not ruin the pot while giving a fair test to the stove also. I haven't used an Esbit stove in forever, so to try to contain the flame, the pot supports were not opened as wide as normal.
Fuel tab is burning
Here is everything set and ready to test. Placing the stove on a flammable surface is not a good idea, as there is almost no gap between the bottom of the fuel tray and where it is sitting. The sun was too bright to see the flame of the burning fuel tab, but after it was lit I placed the pot with 3 cups of water on the stove and started my timer. Three cups is the maximum recommended amount of water to be used in the pot (and also more than is necessary to rehydrate trail meals), but I really wanted to stress everything to the maximum.

At three minutes over the flame, the water was warm.

After five minutes, it was almost too hot to put a finger in. At a guess, it was ~125° F. I do not have a thermometer suitable for cooking or baking. Sorry!

7 minutes, just starting to show bubbles
Right at 7 minutes, the pre-boiling bubbles started to form and the water was hot enough for my morning coffee or tea. This was also the point where the fuel tab started to burn down and make less flame and heat, so I do not have an accurate time to boil. Ten minutes after lighting the tab and starting the test, it burned out. I realize a second tab could have been lit at that point to find out the real boiling point but having found out what I wanted, I stopped.

While waiting for the water to boil, I kept a close watch on the flames coming off the burning tab, and I have to say the directions printed on the bottom of the XPot/Kettle should be followed exactly as written. 

With just a very light breeze today, flames were coming up the side of the pot, but fortunately not high enough or long enough to damage the silicone sides. Using this stove/pot combination together long enough will damage the pot, from what was seen during this test.

I have pictures of the pot on the stove, but due to the clean burning fuel and sunshine the flames can't be seen, so they are not included here. After letting everything cool and cleaning up, 99% of the small amount of soot on the bottom of the pot washed off, leaving the directions legible in all the languages shown.

The Takeaway
  • I really like the Esbit stove and how clean the tabs burn with low smoke and odor. Cooking inside a tent is not recommended, but this stove should be suitable for it as long as reasonable care is taken and a non-flammable base is found. 
  • Sea to Summit has another great product! I can recommend the XPot/Kettle to anyone needing a lightweight, minimal-space pot, as long as the limitations are understood and followed.

The Recap
  • Esbit stove with 6 fuel tabs: $10.99 from Amazon, with Prime shipping. 
  • Sea to Summit XPot/Kettle (likely purchased local to me from REI): $44.95 from Amazon.

    Just a reminder: if you plan on buying anything through Amazon, please consider using our referral link. When you do, a portion of the sale comes back here to help keep this site running! 

    If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

    NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

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