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Military Trioxane bars really suck...

Discussion in 'Wilderness & Survival Skills' started by MelancholyMutt, Dec 19, 2002.

  1. MelancholyMutt

    MelancholyMutt Doggy Style

    Apr 13, 2002
    I was walking the puppy in the park here in NYC, when it got very cold and I figured I would make myself a cup a hot chocolate. I usually keep a little mess kit in my daypack if I'm gonna be out all day, so I break out my canteen cup some water and a little field made tin can stove made out of a K Ration cracker can. It's about 20 degrees out, and a very slight breeze was blowing so I found a nice windless niche, poured about a pint of water in the cup and started up my brew. I began with half a bar and about 5 minutes later, nothing. I added another bar and waited another 5 or 6 minutes. After three half-bars and 15 minutes, the water was warm but nowhere near what a good hot beverage should be. It wasn't even warm enough to be bath water.

    Disgusted, I threw the water away, packed up my gear and walked the 5 blocks to the nearest deli and bought some hot chocolate which only took about 5 minutes.

    In retrospect, an Esbit stove probably performed the same or a little better, but my Coleman white gas stoves at full blast would have boiled a pint of water in about 45 seconds. Overall, I'm seriously disappointed in the capacities of the solid cooking fuels, especially trioxane which is not efficient, and is toxic to use and handle.

    Anyone have experience with Esbit in cold weather?
  2. mtnbkr


    Aug 17, 2000
    Maybe your bars were bad? I've been using them for years and they've never failed to get a pint of water to the near boiling point with only one bar (bubbles start forming in the canteen). Then again, 20degrees is pretty cold out.

  3. longbow50


    Jul 12, 2002
    First, I have no experience using the fuel in temperatures lower than freezing. It rarely gets that cold where I live.

    My first experience with military surplus trioxane bars was similar to yours. Guess they're old and that's why they are surplus. I got some trioxane from a friend that was recent issue and they worked great with my Esbit stove. That is, as long as I placed a wind shield around the stove. Any breeze limited the effectiveness of the fuel, as does distance between fuel and cooking cup. I prefer the Esbit solid fuel bars used by NATO for my cooking and now I use the trioxane fuel strictly as a fire starter.
  4. MelancholyMutt

    MelancholyMutt Doggy Style

    Apr 13, 2002
    50's tomorrow with rain in NYC...

    As soon as the temperature dips below freezing, I'm gonna try the Esbit.

    I mean, after all, it's not that important to have a hot beverage when it's warm out... it's when the temperature drops below freezing when it's important.
  5. logansan


    Nov 30, 1999
    Hey bro,

    You may have had a very old batch of bars because every single time I have ever used the issued Trioxine bars I have been able to get a full canteen cup of water to boil so that I can make some Ramen in it. I used one full oval shaped bar, which would last at least ten minutes. I once had my commander come out with me on the trail and I cooked him up some as well, he loved it. I specifically remember doing this in the winter months with snow on the ground and the temp being in the 20's to 30's. I don't know what happened but my guess is that if you bought them surplus the shelf life was expired and something in them had degraded to where they were not very good anymore. Good luck and enjoy the cocoa;) .

    Take care, God bless and Merry Christmas!
  6. Angus McGunnigl

    Angus McGunnigl

    May 22, 2002

    Some of the surplus bars will not work as well as the new ones.

    I switched to ESBIT after active duty and am pretty satisfied.

    It seems MSR Whisperlight stove could boil titanuim if I asked it to, but I use my Esbit with ESbit bars almost exclusively now. It's quiet and pretty simple. I have boiled water(12 oz.) in very cold weather many times while on winter dayhikes in the cascade foothils and in the Olympic Coast of Washington. I have a simple windscreen I use and a 16oz. stainless mug I got at Wal-Mart for 5 bux. I went to a thrift store and found a very small amuminum pot lid that fits perfectly for $.25. I'm set up and cooking silently in about a minute.


    GET ONE!
  7. Ravenn


    Jan 19, 2001
    Wind, age of bars, and type of cooking pot material makes a big difference in boil times. Esbit fuel seems to work a bit better though.
  8. Robert H

    Robert H Premium Sheathmaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 24, 2001
    You may get better results with the canteen cup stand that comes with the U.S. canteen cup. They provide good clearance. Another option is the triox in an esbit stove. I like the esbit myself for the small size. But in a daypack the MSR superfly is great with the cartridge. Very fast, stable, and super hot.
  9. DanielL


    Jan 13, 2000
    If you have some old bars, use them as fire starters. That's really all I use them for - starting wood when things are a little wet.
  10. TACMAN


    Apr 16, 2000
    I REALLY like my stainless steel Thermos bottle. I boil the water up in the morning and then carry some Rammen, Cocoa, tea, oatmeal..... and just mix it up in a larger throw away bowl or cup. Works great and my thermos stays nice and clean!

    Happy Holidays!
  11. bladefixation


    May 20, 2002
    solid fuel isnt as effective as a good petrol/gas stove imho

    I keep a coleman unleaded petrol stove in my car, I remember the christmas before last I was out and thought I would make a drink, it was snowing, im guessing 1 or 2 degrees centigrade and all I had was a frying pan to boil some water in, no lid or anything so I poured maybe an inch or so of water into this pan, put it on the coleman and cranked it up full and within a few mins it was boiling over! even with the water having freezing snow falling into it all of the time.

    that stove is one hell of a heat-maker, excellent for about 30 GBP and it takes cheap(ish) unleaded petrol the same as my car :)
  12. backpacker


    Oct 2, 2000
    They are outstanding as a fire starter
  13. Hoodoo


    Aug 18, 1999
    I dunno. My experiments with Trioxane have led me to believe it's significantly inferior to Esbit fuel. But I agree with backpacker that it's good stuff for starting fires.

    Here's a little setup I use to burn Esbit that you might find useful.

  14. backpacker


    Oct 2, 2000
    By the way, Trioxane is the only solid fuel bar I know that a spark from a metal match will light. It burns hot, lights when wet and one bar can start about 30 - 40 fires. I do agree it is a poor source of heat for cooking food, but, every day pack should carry one bar for starting fires.
  15. sopmodm4


    May 12, 2000

    Is your packaging on your Trioxane bars all beatup?If they have been sitting unsealed they will degrade.I tested mine several years ago in 40 deg tempertaure with high humidity and wet ground and it boiled a dutch mess tin half full of water with no problem on a double burner Esbit style stove.

    I thought that was great but when I pulled one of the bars out of my pack to demonstrate it for someone it took two and a half bars to boil the same amount of water.

    The difference was that the packaging was wrinkled,loose and obviously had little pin-prick type holes in it.

    I have thought of buying some new ones and packaging them a little more carefully but after hearing some of you guys talk about the standard Esbit fuel I might gove that a try.

    BTW:Gas Stoves are for PACKMULES;)
  16. RokJok


    Oct 6, 2000
    Here's one of the many nice esbit stoves/windscreens I've bumped into while roaming the web:

    The ultra-lightweight stoves seem to be a popular item for shaving ounces from the backs of the weight-conscious groundpounders in the crowd. Given the weight of a stove and a spare bottle of white gas, I can see why. ;) The light weight of Esbit/Trioxane fuel (plus its cheap price) make these options look appealing.
  17. SteelDriver


    Jan 28, 2002
    Once I opened a Trioxane pack and the bar had crumbled to dust! It didn't look crushed but almost like it had decomposed or something.:confused:

    Hmmm those Esbit stoves look intruguing; how much does the stuff cost?
  18. RokJok


    Oct 6, 2000
  19. SteelDriver


    Jan 28, 2002
    Appreciate it, RJ! Maybe I'll try my hand at a DIY stove as well.
  20. johnniet


    Jul 12, 1999
    M2, you are a man after my own heart. Stopping to make a cup of hot chocolate using a solid fuel stove while out on a winter's day walk with the dog. What could be more perfect (except if the stove had worked:D)?

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