View Full Version : New Trioxane vs Esbit fuel test

2004-04-19, 15:15
My name is Adam, I'm from BC, Canada. I'm an avid mountaineer with numerous years experience. Mountaineering is quite different from backpacking/hiking, but when I found this site I was quite interested. Some things on here I agree with, some I don't. My type of hiking is the mountaineering kind where I hike only to get to the mountain. I'm the guy the wears the 300 dollar Gore-Tex jacket.

Anyway, when I read Sgt Rock's post on Esbit fuel vs Trioxane, I decided to do my own little test with my Esbit stove to see how they compare. Here is what I did:

Okay I didn't have much Trioxane left, only a third of a bar left. So I used half of a 4gram Esbit tab (the little ones that come with 20 to a pack) First off I burnt each tab without water to see how long it would burn, the Trioxane 1/3rd tab burnt for 3 mins, and Esbit 1/2 3mins as well. So, the numbers:

Ambient Air Temperature: 12 degrees Celcius
Water temp to begin with 9degrees celcius
Wind: None
Altitude: 80meters above sea level.
Cup: stainless steel Canadian Army issue canteen cup

Trioxane tab (1/3rd bar)
Burntime: 3mins
Water temp after burn: 38degrees celcius

Esbit tab: 1/2 4gram bar
Burntime: 3mins
Water Temp after burn: 29degrees celcius
.................................................. ....................

I admit, my test was not a well done as Sgt Rocks, I didn't boil the water. But from testing trioxane on my esbit stove I've come to this conclusion:

Trioxane burns hotter than Esbit, but when using a full tab does not have the burn time of Esbit. Therefore it is ideally suited for boiling/heating water for rations/hot drinks as it suggests on the box. Trioixane burns with a blue flame and does not soot up the bottom of the canteen cup.

Esbit burns slightly cooler, but when using a full tab burns for much longer than the Trioxane. Therefore it is suited for full-out cooking, although it takes a little longer. Also soots and smudges up bottom of canteen cup.
.................................................. ....................

I don't know what you guys are going to say about this, these are completely different results than Sgt Rock came up with. But Trioxane is a hell of a lot cheaper than Esbit. (2bucks a box from local Army Surplus store vs 9.99 a box of Esbit)

SGT Rock
2004-04-19, 18:12
Good test. My reccomendations would be to compare the amount of fuel (in weight) required of esbit against the amount of fuel needed in Trioxane to see how much weight in fuel it would take over time to achive similar results. I also didn't see what the exact volume of water you were heating, I have noticed that this can affect the tests a lot. When I use Triox to heat a cup of water (8 ounces) then it works pretty well, getting the water up to about 190-200 degrees - good for coffee. But it rarely can achive boil on much more than that unless you use a lot of it.

2004-04-19, 23:24
I had one and 3/4 cups of water in a canteen cup, about 3/4 of the cup. The way I see, the Trioxane is great for just boiling water, not cooking. Just like in your reviews, Esbit burns longer, so is ideally suited for cooking. Trioxane is IMHO better if you just want a quick cup of coffee or if you're heating IMP's. (Canadian versions of MRE's, same stuff) Hell, even on the US Army Trioxane box it says "for heating water or rations." So yeah, I've been using it for what it's for.

Esbit is much more expensive than Trioxane, but it's worth it I think. You'd be spending more on Esbit to carry less weight than if you were spending less on Trioxane to carry more. But I don't think grams of weight make that much of a difference. Hell, I usually carry an MSR Whisperlite when I climb, and white gas is definately a dead-weight in your pack if you're going out for a week or more.

I've never carried Fuel Tabs on anything more than a day hike, I don't trust them enough to use in the weather I've been in. For day hikes I carry them in my day pack to heat water for tea or coffee.

Just my two cents.

SGT Rock
2004-04-20, 08:52
And I think that is exactly why the test results I put out are as in depth as I can make them, so people can se the data and decide what works best for the packing style. Triox still has a place inm my gear too ;)