With only a week left until I fly out to Morocco (I’m doing this race called the Marathon des Sables), I thought I better at least have a go at trying to use the Esbit titanium foldable solid fuel stove. After all, I’ll be relying on this tiny piece of kit to boil up water for my noodles and porridge.
I left it until now because I was secretly hoping that I would come up with an alternative solution such as somehow developing a 6th sense that meant I could ‘make fire’ in the desert. Then reality checked in and I soon realised that this is as likely as me winning the lottery (which I have never entered), I decided to give the tiny gas stove which I refer to as the Bunsen burner a whirl.
It was pretty straightforward to assemble but I will have to improvise and find a flat surface on the ground of the desert or a piece of cardboard from somewhere (don’t worry, I’m pretty resourceful). Then half expecting the 13.5g titanium structure to collapse when I placed the Esbit fuel tablet on it, imagine my surprise when It felt quite stable. Next I had to light the fuel tablet on the Esbit without burning my thumb. Failed miserably.
Lesson one: light the fuel tablet before you place it on the stove.
Once lit however it proved to be pretty powerful. I thought it would be a real mission to adequately boil the cup of water I placed on top of the stove but within five minutes it was boiling away furiously. In fact, the fuel tablet burned for around 10-15 minutes.
Now that’s not to say that it will be as easy to replicate the calm surroundings of my Hampstead Garden suburbs’ kitchen in the desert (complete with BBC Radio 4extra on the radio). I’m sure the wind will have me cursing to high heaven as I try to keep the ruddy fuel alight. But and it’s a big BUT, at least I know that I can boil water using my Bunsen burner and so dried noodles for dinner may not be the only option available.
One week to go now…