Quick and Dirty
Gear Type: Stove/Cook System
Fuel Type: Esbit Solid Fuel Cubes
Trail weight: 3.50 oz
Link: LiteTrail Titanium Cook System (2013)
Pros: Light, Compact, Simple, Reliable, and Versatile.
Cons: Esbit stinks, leaves residue on your pot, line locks snap.
I have always been interested in Esbit Solid Fuel Cubes cook systems. The fact that there is a very small chance of failure (in comparison to canister or liquid fuel stoves) makes it a very great choice for backcountry campers. However, the problem with solid fuel has always been the fact that they take forever to boil water…and they stink.
I saw LiteTrails Titanium Cook System back in 2012 when I was trying to find a cook system to take the place of my Jetboil Sol Titanium on solo trips. The older model required a paper clip to hold the heatshield together and didn’t have pot handles. For that reason, I never made the jump over to the their unit. When LiteTrail released their 2013 model, they tack welded the heatshield and added a insulated pot handle to the pot – I knew I had to have it. At 3.4 ozs, it is one of the lightest (if not the lightest) complete cook system you can buy on the market. In addition, I could always use the pot as a cup on my group backcountry trips.
I purchased the unit on “special.” It included the pot/cup, lid, stove, lower and side heat shields, a spoon, cuben fiber stuff sack, silnylon stuff sacks, and three 14 gram Esbit fuel tabs. Quite a deal considering Esbit fuel tabs are about $7 dollars for a pack of 12.
The pot is a single layer titanium 550 ml cup with insulated folding handles made by Toaks. The pot and lid weigh about 2.5 ozs. The wing stove folds and fits into a stuff sack, weighing in at 0.5 ozs. The two piece titanium heatshield come in at about 0.2 ozs. The stuff sacks make up the remaining weight, with the cuben fiber stuff sack coming in at less than 0.2 ozs. All items roll up and fit inside the pot, with plenty of room to accommodate for 3 – 5 Esbit 14 gram tabs. With everything packed away, the pot is half the size of the Jetboil Sol Titanium, and about 1/3rd of the size of the Jetboil Flash.
All the pieces are durable and seem to be fairly dent resistent. The only exception is the stuff sack line locks. I have broken all of my line locks from one use (maybe I have Hulk fingers?). Regardless, the line locks are not absolutely necessary. Another issue I discovered is pot placement – it matters. I burned my insulation on my pot handle because it didn’t center the pot well – no biggie – it still works.
In our test, we were able to bring 2 cups of water to a rolling boil at 9 minutes 40 seconds in 75 degree weather on top of a glass surface. The water began to bubble at around 8 minutes 30 seconds. I have seen the system boil water within 8 minutes. The Esbit tab should boil at least 4 cups of water before running out of fuel (approximately 15 – 16 minutes), which is plenty for solo backpackers and some two-man/woman backpacking groups.
Overall, I really like this cook system. It is very versatile, compact, and extremely light. I haven’t seen many cook systems that come in close to this weight category that include a pot. What I don’t like about the cook system is really at the fault of the fuel. Esbit just plain out stinks. It leaves a nasty black residue on anything it comes in contact with. However, for the weight, it is worth it – for the price of a titanium pot from other manufacturers, you can get a full cook system from LiteTrail. I plan to use the LiteTrail Titanium Cook System on my solo trips – BUT I will be using the pot/cup on ALL my trips (hot coco anyone?).
Left over residue from cooking.
Find our YouTube video below:
Great review. I have the older version (w/ the handle-less pot and the windscreen that is held together by paperclips) and like it as well. One of my favorite features of the LliteTrail set-up is that he notched out the folding stove so that this particular pot will fit on the stove perfectly. This was my biggest hangup with my other folding stoves like this… using narrow pots proved to be unstable on them. But, he has resolved this, and this pot is now very stable on this stove.
Also, just curious about your comment “The Esbit tab should boil at least 4 cups of water before running out of fuel…” IME, I have not found this to be the case, even when using multiple systems that are very fuel efficient. Granted, I have gotten 4 cups of water to boil (using a different system) with a single 14 g Esbit tablet, however, this was in a very controlled environment. I have tried repeating this process outside using the same kit, however, it only resulted in small bubble formation at the bottom & sides of the pot, not a true boil.
For me, I have been able to get 3 cups of water to boil using the LiteTrail set-up (in outside conditions). This is by first bringing 2 cups to a boil in the pot, then quickly pouring that off, and adding in 1 more cup and placing it back over the stove. More times than not, the 1 additional cup would come to at least a small boil before going out, which is just fine for a hot drink while my food is re-hydrating.
I watched your video and it looks like your kit performs the same as mine, but I was wondering if you were managing to squeeze a little more out of a single 14 g tablet somehow to get a full 4 cups to boil each time?
Thanks for sharing and enjoy your kit!
You are absolutely correct. The Esbit tabs used in the Litetrail stove can only push 3 cups of water in ideal conditions. 4 cups theoretically, should not be impossible as Esbit does rate that one 14g tab should burn for up to 15 – 16 minutes and I was basing my number off of their claimed results. In other tests, I have seen people push 7 to 8 minutes per 2 cup boil – I suspect this is due to using a better thermal conducting surface like clay/tile or using warmer water. In our test we used a glass surface top because in most cases, the surface in areas we backpack won’t be as warm as our back yard. Also, titanium itself is not a good metal for heat exchanging and far less efficient than aluminum or copper. I haven’t tried this, but I assume using a aluminum or copper will increase the efficiency of Esbit, but that would make the unit much heavier. I’ll run some tests will MSR aluminum sheet metals and different pots to see if I can pull the 4 cup boil off.
On the trail I usually let my water heat up or warm up to a light boil. High rolling boils in my opinion are a waste of fuel (since I filter or purify my water, there is no need to kill any bacteria or viruses with boiling).
I will do more follow up with the set up when I get more trail time with it. For now, it is my solo / back up stove – I enjoy using the cup way too much to let it go.
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Thanks for the review. I was wondering if the Jetboil-Sol can fit inside the TOAKS Titanium 550ml Pot?
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