At 13.1 ounces, the new Esbit Alcohol Cookset (CS985H-EX) is not the lightest weight single pot cook system available, but I really like the fact that it’s a complete out-of-the-box cooking system and has a 1 quart / 1 liter anodized aluminum pot with a heat exchanger included. I got hooked on pots with heat exchangers last year because they require 30-40% less fuel to cook with. That’s a huge benefit if you prefer using denatured alcohol as a fuel source and can really off-set the amount of fuel you need to carry on a multi-day trip.
The new Esbit Alcohol Cookset includes the following components:
- Anodized aluminum cookpot with built in heat exchanger (6.7 ounces / 192 grams)
- Pot lid (1.3 ounces / 38.9 grams)
- Brass alcohol stove and screw-on cover (2.6 ounces / 74 grams)
- Flame tamer for simmering (0.7 ounces / 20 grams)
- Pot stand (2.3 ounces / 64 grams)
- Mesh bag (0.5 ounces / 15 grams)
The Cook Pot
At 33 ounces of capacity, the pot that comes with this cookset is large enough for cooking more complex meals or for 1-2 people. Made out of hard anodized aluminum, it is stronger than steel and easy to clean even though it lacks a Teflon or non-stick coating. Anodized aluminum pots also distribute heat very evenly helping to eliminate scorching hot spots and burnt-on food.
If there’s a downside to pots anodized aluminum pots, it’s that the pot takes a little longer to cool off if you want to drink out of it. But you can get around this easily enough by adding cold water to your coffee or tea if you’re in a rush in the morning.
Heat exchanger fins on the bottom of the pot help reduce the amount of fuel needed for cooking by retaining more of the heat produced by the stove. It’s a wonder that more backpacking pot manufacturers don’t incorporate heat exchanger fins into their products because they are so much more efficient with all fuel types.
The inside of the 33 ounce Esbit cook pot has graduated volume marks, both in ounces and millileters, making it possible to measure out quantities of liquid for cooking without the need for a separate measuring cup. With insulated folding butterfly handles, it’s also easy to pick up the pot and to tranfer hot liquid into other containers using the pouring spout.
The Pot Lid
The pot lid is just that, a very simple pot lid with a recessed handle. I’m a little disappointed by this because it would have been so easy to stamp tiny collander holes or a steam escape hole in the lid. That would make a already fine product, that much better.
The brass stove included in the Esbit alcohol cookset is nearly identical to a Triangia alcohol stove, with a screw on cap that makes it possible to snuff out the flame and save any unused fuel for a future cooking session. The stove cap has a rubber gasket inside it that prevents remaining fuel from leaking when closed, a really handy feature if you’ve ever had extra fuel left over. Brass stoves are also more efficient in terms of heat transfer than say titanium or other materials, and are easier to light in colder temperatires.
The stove can hold up to 2.5 ounces of denatured alcohol which means you can fill it up at home if you only need to boil one or two pots of water on a short overnight trip. Burn time for 2.5 ounces of alcohol is about 30 minutes and it takes about 9-12 minutes to boil 2 cups of water (this varies depending on external temperature, water temperature and wind).
The Flame Tamer
The Esbit Alcohol Cookset includes a flame tamer than lets you regulate how much oxygen is getting to the stove and how hot the flame is. The flame tamer is a metal disk that covers the stove opening with a small metal handle that is cool enough to touch while the stove is burning. To turn up the heat, slide the disc to open the hole and let more oxygen in. To turn down the heat, shrink the size of the hole and reduce the amount of air it has available.
If your cooking style just requires the need to boil water, you probably don’t need the flame tamer. But if you like to cook more complex meals, bake hasty breads, or cook rice and pasta, having the ability to simmer is essential.
The Pot Stand
The alcohol stove rests in the middle of a pot stand and provides stable flat surface for the stove to rest on. Also made out of anodized aluminum with big side holes, the pot stand doesn’t provide an very effective wind screen but you can augment it easily enough by blocking the wind using a backpack, sleeping pad, or simply piling rocks around the side openings.
One of the great things about this stove set is it’s packability. All of components fit together like a Russian doll set and are completely self contained in the cook pot. A small mesh bag is convenienty provided to carry the cookset which simply disappears, even into a small backpack.
Aesthetically, this is a really nice cookset that’s high on function and fairly complete. Before you buy this cookset be sure to study the entire Esbit cookset product line. They manufacture quite a few alcohol and solid fuel cookset variants that may be a better fit for your needs. Amazon has a great selection of these, steeply discounted, including the Esbit Alcohol and Cookset reviewed here.
- 950 ml pot with heat exchanger provides higher cooking efficiency by improving boil times by 30% thereby reducing fuel usage. Includes volume indicator in ml / oz.
- Pot includes 2 hinged, stainless steel grips.
- Includes pot stand, 950 ml pot with heat exchanger, lid, and alcohol burner.
- Pot stand and alcohol burner nest inside big pot.
- Constructed from extremely light, hard-anodized aluminum.
- Alcohol burner constructed from brass with a screw top and rubber gasket.
- Alcohol burner has variable temperature control with a fold-away handle that helps to regulate or extinguish flame.
- Stores in included mesh bag.
- Dimensions-packed: 4.9″ x 4.9″ (12.5 cm x 12.5 cm)
- Weight: 10.9 oz. (310 g)
Disclosure: Industrial Revolution (Esbit) provided Philip Werner with a sample cookset for review.
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