Gear Review – Zpacks Titanium Wing Stove for Esbit

One of the things I enjoy about backpacking is the never-ending quest to eliminate a few ounces from my kit! I remember Colin Fletcher writing about a moment of madness where he found himself tearing labels off his tea bags.

In 2018 I made my first stoveless hike. I loved not carrying the extra weight of a stove and fuel canister. My carefully researched food selections were spot on with one exception… COFFEE!

I still smile thinking about my friend and I standing in our camp site drinking cold instant coffee from a Smartwater Bottle saying over and over, “It’s not too bad!” Translation, “I can barely choke this down.”

Since that time, I have been on a quest to find a lightweight, efficient way to heat two cups of water in the morning. Enter the Zpacks Titanium Wing Stove for Esbit.

Titanium Wing Stove displayed on counter.

I bought this stove from Zpacks for $14.95 and received it in a couple days. The stove weighs in at less than one ounce (0.7), 0.8 with the  stuff sack.

How It Works

This stove burns Esbit Cubes which sell for about $8.00 for 12 cubes. Each cube weighs about 0.5 ounces. According to the product specifications, they burn at about 1,300 degrees.

The stove, four cubes and my titanium bowl give me a minimalist cook kit that weighs in at less than 5 ounces!

The stuff sack easily holds the stove and 4-6 cubes. Enough fuel for several days on the trail depending on how many meals you boil for.

Field Test

For my field test I took the stove on an overnight in a nearby wilderness area. I set the stove up on a small flat rock for some stability and to keep the heat away from dry leaves.

The Esbit cube ignited quickly and easily. One word of warning, the flame from the cube is difficult to see.

I placed my small cook pot on it with about 1 ½ cups of water. In a little over four minutes I had a rolling boil.

Titanium Wing Stove & pot on a rock.

A quick birthday candle blow and the Esbit was extinguished. Once cooled I stored the leftover portion of the cube in a baggie. I think it will be good for at least one more boil.

My field test took place under ideal conditions. I suspect if there were a strong breeze you would want to use a windscreen to protect the flame.

I don’t think I would depend on this setup in extreme conditions.

Two Negatives

I only found two negatives in using the stove. Neither had to do with the function or quality of the stove.

First, the Esbit cubes give off a strong chemical odor (probably because they are burning chemicals).

Second, the cubes leave a sticky residue on the bottom of the pot. The residue cleaned off easily, but has the potential to make a sticky mess in your bag.

Both of these issues are minor, and for my version of Starbucks in the woods – the Zpacks Titanium Wing Stove is a winner!

Do You Have The Frustrated Heart Of A Thru Hiker?

How many of us have the heart of a thru hiker, but reality (finances and responsibilities) force us to hike vicariously through others? And… the nearest National Scenic Trail is 600 miles away.

Truth is, we don’t have to hike 2,000 miles with $4,000 of ultralight gear to enjoy backpacking. Backpacking twenty miles on a weekend is a great opportunity! We just have five zero days to plan our next hike!

This is the story of my last hike.

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Kindness – Do Something Great That Costs You Nothing

Jelly Beans

Our church recently held a major Easter outreach. My self-appointed job was taking a large bag of candy and greeting people as they made their way across the parking lot.

As a family with two young girls decked out in their finest Easter dresses approached me, I knelt down to talk with the girls about the event. I told them my job was pre-candy. I was giving everyone a piece of candy to hold them over until they entered the event. A fun job to have!

They thanked me and as they walked away I heard one of the girls say, “Daddy, why was he so nice?” (Nailed it!)

Her words made me smile, but also convicted me. Why don’t we take more opportunities to be nice?

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