I bought my first canister stove about 2 months ago and finally tested it out this weekend. I bought the Snow Peak Gigapower Stove with auto ignition. It is simply mind blowing. I've been an alcohol stove user for a few years now and denatured alcohol is great because it's easy to resupply at any hardware store regardless of where you are. But alcohol stoves are very sensitive to wind and cold weather, which affects their reliability when you need it the most.
Before I bought the Snow Peak, I also considered the MSR Pocket Rocket and the MSR Superfly. The SuperFly has auto ignition which is a real important feature for me. Last year I had the hardest time keeping my matches dry and I was looking for a solution. In contrast the Pocket Rocket requires matches, but it is about 1.6 oz. less than the Superfly which weights 4.6 oz. Shaving ounces is important for me, so I got the Snow Peak which has auto ignition and weighs 3.0 oz, the same of the Pocket Rocket.
Canister compatibility was also an issue for me, but the Gigapower can use Snow Peak and MSR isobutane canisters which make it easier to resupply if required.
As you can see the Gigapower is tiny and folds up for storage in a protective plastic carrying vase. The case only weighs 1 oz and I stow it in a Snow Peak Titanium 700 cooking pot with my bear bag rope to keep it from rattling around while I'm hiking.
To use the stove, you open it up and turn the simmer control clockwise until it's closed so that when you screw the stove onto the isobutane container, you prevent any gas from leaking. Once the stove is attached to the canister you vent the tiniest amount of gas possible using the simmer control and push in the grey plastic button at the base of the stove to ignite the gas. It sparks and lights the gas immediately, but if you let out too much gas (you can hear it), you'll have a startling mini explosion when the gas ignites.
Next place your pot of water on the stove supports and adjust the simmer control to turn up the heat which will boil 1 Liter of water in a little over 3 minutes. As a point of comparison, it is very hard to adjust an alcohol stove flame, or even see it in daylight, and it takes an alcohol stove about 10 minutes to boil a pot of water. That is a long time on a cold morning!
In the picture above, there is glowing piece of wire next to the flame. This is used to automatically reignite the gas if the wind blows out the flame. It works great, eliminating the need to carry a windscreen.
A full Snow Peak Gigapower isobutane canister weighs 7oz and will burn for about 45 minutes at full power. The stove outputs 10,000 BTU and can operate down to temperatures of 14 degrees F. If temperatures at night are below freezing, it is best to sleep with the canister in your sleeping bag to help with fuel vaporization in the morning when you cook breakfast.
This is a really nice stove. I will to be going on my first backpack of the spring next weekend and I'm really looking forward to cooking with it, especially since night time temperatures are going to be in the 20's F.
Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.
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