"Esbit Stove & Stormproof Matches: one of life's perfect combos."


What can I say about the Esbit Stove? When I first opened the box and saw the small box that the Esbit Stove comes in, I thought maybe a mistake had been made. It was much smaller than I had anticipated, but to be clear, that is not a bad thing. Like many Operators, I try hard to travel as light as I can. As they say...ounces equal pounds and pounds equal pain. So, the Esbit Stove was smaller than I thought, but still not a bad thing. I took it out and had a look at it, and being a former metal fabricator, I was immediately impressed by the construction of the Stoves metal parts. I was further impressed by the hard anodized surface finish on each part as well. With its Aluminum construction and including all of the pieces the Esbit Solid Fuel Stove is barely 7 oz. yes, that's right... Just 7 ounces. Can you say "Perfect Bug Out Bag Stove"? You could literally outfit a family of four with these stoves for less than two pounds. The savings in weight versus a military issue mess kit and even many commercial mess kits is substantial.

The Esbit Stove actually stows into an easily carried little bag that comes with it. The main pot has handles that fold up and out of the way, and the pedestal that goes under the pot easily stows inside the pot and then the pots lid goes on top. One small, simple, easy to carry and easy to use package.

The stove is fueled by Solid Fuel Tabs. Each solid fuel tab will burn for around twelve minutes. And each tablet will light very easily using a match, lighter, torch, or even a fire steel. Whether wet or dry, in the cold or heat, it doesn't matter. At 1400F degrees when lit, the tablets will cook most foods whenever they're called upon to do so, as long as the food that needs to be cooked can fit in the pot. The tablets come in blister packs with 12 in each box. the tablets themselves weigh just 0.5 ounces. Together with the 7oz Stove and one 6 oz box of tablets, you can carry your cooking gear for less than one pound. The solid fuel tabs can also be extinguished and re-lit later to use them again. Plus the tabs are useful for other purposes as well, like lighting a larger campfire.

Another hugely important factor to people like myself is the way the solid fuel tabs burn. They do not liquefy when burned down, they have no odor, and they give off no smoke. They are a "covert cooks" best friend. HAHAHAHAHA. Back in Vietnam, LRRPs, Snipers, SEALs and MAC-V-SOG would use C4 as a solid fuel source for cooking food quickly and covertly. Of course now soldiers have the MRE Heaters that are 'Flameless' and don't need anything added to them but water... But these are limited in certain ways, and are meant to be used its MRE's only. You can't really make and cook a small pot of stew with the 'flameless' heaters. But with the Esbit Solid Fuel Stove, you can, and you should. (And no we will not be burning any C4 to demonstrate the way it was done, but if you dont believe me, do your research.)

To test out this stove and the solid fuel tabs, I decided to use another product that was sent to us by Industrial
revolution, the Stormproof Matches. Needed to light the fuel tabs somehow, why not? So I struck one of the Stormproof matches and lit the tablet... But I did it with a twist... I ran the match under the faucet first to simulate being in the rain. After all, "Stormproof" should mean just that, right? Well, the match lit right up and lit the fuel tablet without any issues.

I proceeded to begin to make a simple pot of Ramen Noodles. As a simple, general testing format that could be done anywhere. After all, in a survival situation, Ramen and similar foods are going to be around and likely more abundant than other types of food. the Esbit Stove and fuel tabs cooked the Ramen like a champ, and I got an opportunity to use another couple of fine products sent to us by Industrial Revolution, a TI-Spork and a Polymer Spork from Light-My-Fire. Both were great and performed as expected. Again, I was impressed by the construction and fit & finish of these products. Light-My-Fire did really well, and their Sporks are much more lightweight than the previous model I was using. Smooth.

To date, I have seen at least 5 of these kinds of "mini stoves" that are for backpacking and such, and I can say this is one of the nicest ones yet. I have seen numerous Sporks, and plenty of survival matches and containers, but really, few companies and very few items I have held and used match up to the quality of these items. I don't buy something to use it a few times, I buy it to use it for life.... Esbit, and Industrial Revolution have designed, built, and fielded products that are built to be used again and again. Quality is clearly a major factor in their design and production process. And their attention to detail is obvious to any consumer who fields their products.

Next Up, Normally we wouldnt include another product in the same review unless it was part of the use of that product. Well we decided to include the UCO Stormproof Matches in this write up because we used them to light the Solid Fuel Tabs, and because we honestly wanted to see if their claims they had on the front of the box were really true. Being that there are other "Stormproof" matches on the market, I have tried others. So I was naturally skeptical of the compound UCo uses for their matches, and the match actually staying lit when wet, or when in stormy conditions. There are even some other match companies that claim theirs stay lit underwater like UCO... but do UCOs matches actually stay lit underwater?? One way to find out. 

After so many let downs by other companies and other gear when I was a young Boy Scout just getting into the world of Survival and Gear, I have become quite skeptical. But this match really can lite when wet, and really IS StormProof! Let me demonstrate what I mean. Here is proof that these matches really do what they say.

Here you see me dipping one of the matches into a small bucket of water. when testing any product or feature, you always start slow. Would you like to guess what happened next?

Correct, it lit up with no problems. Even when soaking wet. Very very cool. Now, some of you may want to start explaining to the people around you about oxidizing agents and how they create oxygen to keep the flame burning when wet, but anyone with basic knowledge knows this...the real test was yet to come.

Would the Match continue to burn when its actually submerged? If not, why, or if so, what are the properties of the compound in the UCO Stormproof Matches? Well UCO isnt telling what the specific compound is that they use, but it it patented and much more complicated than just a few oxidizing agents. So after burning the soaking wet match, we moved on to the submerged matches. Check this out.

I took out another match, struck it on the striking surface... and it lit up, of course. But then I held the match underwater in the bucket... it bubbled alot (oxidizing agent or agents)... And then....

Yep...I pulled it back out, the flame returned, and lit right back up...just like it was never under water at all. I was floored, but mostly I was impressed. Granted, there are similar items that can stay lit underwater like Lifeboat flares and so on, but those arent nearly as affordable as the UCO StormProof Matches. In my opinion, the need is self-explanatory.   

As always, we want to link all products you see here so all our readers can find the great gear we review. Everything we used in this article can be found on the Industrial Revolution Website. They have great customer service, a smart well thought out website, and a vast product base. Here are the items we used.

Industrial Rev: http://www.industrialrev.com/

UCO StormProof Matches: http://www.industrialrev.com/stormproof-match-kit.html

Esbit Solid Fuel Stove: http://www.industrialrev.com/solid-fuel-stove-and-cookset.html

Esbit Solid Fuel Tabs: http://www.industrialrev.com/solid-fuel-cubes,-20-x-4g.html

LMF Sporks: http://www.industrialrev.com/spork-original.html

LMF Titanium Sporks: http://www.industrialrev.com/spork-titanium.html

We want to extend a big Thank You to the Esbit Team, the UCO Team, the Light-My-Fire Team, and a Special Thanks to Candice Randall at Industrial Revolution who made this all possible. Keep up the great work, and we are looking forward to working with you more in the future. Thank you.