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I was on a group trip this weekend where a fellow hiker brought an Esbit stove which uses hexamine fuel tabs. The temperature was not what I would consider extreme. Temperatures in the high 30s to low 40s Fahrenheit (3 to 7 Celcius) with high wind gusts.

The Esbit tablets would not light with matches at all. Eventually we got it to light by using a hot burning coal from the fire. In the end the Esbit would not provide enough heat and the fellow hiker had to cook with my Pocket Rocket.

What are the operating parameters of an Esbit? From reading I'd always thought they were all weather but I'd like to hear from other experienced hikers on their experience.

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

I have used hexamine fuel in sub-freezing temperatures before, and my experience is that it works reasonably well if you keep your stove protected from the wind. In cold weather it will take several cubes to get your water boiling.

You really need to keep the stove protected from wind, though, even in warm weather, the flame gets blown off pretty easily.

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