Ultralight and Inexpensive: Backpacking Canister Camp Stove

"Orange" Ultralight Canister Camping Stove by JOGR

“Orange” Ultralight Backpacking Canister Camping Stove by JOGR

I’ve been testing a very inexpensive canister stove with piezo ignition that I found on Amazon.com for the past 2 weeks. It only costs $9.95 and doesn’t even have a name except Ultralight Backpacking Canister Camp Stove.

But still, that’s more than 80% less expensive than a comparable ($50) Snow Peak Gigapower Auto, so I thought I’d check it out. At that price, I figured it (the Orange Amazon stove) would be a good buy for a beginner backpacker or boy scout that wants good gear at a bargain price. The question in my mind was what you have to sacrifice for the price break and what kind of value the Orange stove would provide.

Gear Weight

Weight-wise, the Orange stove weighs 3.3 ounces and comes with with a protective orange plastic carrying case weighing 0.6 ounces. In comparison my Titanium Gigapower weighs 3.0 ounces and comes with a 0.8 ounce plastic carrying case, so the two stoves are pretty comparable in terms of weight.

Collapsible Pot Stand

Collapsible Pot Stand

Pot Stability

The Orange stove comes with a collapsible pot stand that folds away accordion style for storage. The stand has tiny feet at the end of each support member that rotate out to help hold a wider pot.

Unfortunately, I found that the stability of a narrow pot filled with water isn’t ‘t that good, and you can’t take the lid off the top of the pot, without worrying about whether it will tip over. In fact, the bottom of a narrow pot doesn’t even come into contact with the feet and instead rests on top of the metal rivet that fastens them to the vertical support member.

Wide pot stability is much better however, and the bottom of wider pot has complete contact with the feet, so you can open the lid and peak inside without having to worry about your dinner spilling out. This is a consideration for younger campers who might be a little less coordinated than adults in such matters.

Brings 600ml of water to a roiling boil in about 5:30

Brings 600ml of water in a narrow pot to a roiling boil in 4:45

Boil Times

With a narrow pot, the Orange Ultralight Backpacking Stove boils 600 ml of water in 4:45 and in 3:00 in a wider pot. As a point of comparison, the much more expensive Titanium Snow Peak Gigapower takes 5:30 to boil 600 ml in a narrow pot and 8:45 in the wider pot. That was an eye opener for me!

Brings 600ml of water in a wide pot to a roiling boil in 3:00

Brings 600ml of water in a wide pot to a roiling boil in 3:00

I attribute the difference in the boil times to the size of the stove burner on the Orange Amazon stove, which is much flatter and wider than on the Snow Peak. This also explains why the Orange stove’s boil time on the wider pot is much faster than on the narrower pot, because less heat escapes up the outside of the pot.

Overall Recommendation

I’m very impressed with the performance of the “Orange” Ultralight Backpacking Canister Camp Stove.

At $14.95, it’s a great value for any backpacker. However, to take advantage of it’s speedy boil times, I do recommend that you use a wide pot like the Titanium Non-Stick 1.3L I used for testing this stove,¬† to take advantage of the stove’s larger burner surface area and improve it’s efficiency.

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35 Responses to Ultralight and Inexpensive: Backpacking Canister Camp Stove

  1. James D Marco October 25, 2011 at 1:55 am #

    Phil, the boil time is good, but this really only measures the output of the stove. The Snow Peak has a smaller burner, and likely a smaller jet, hence burns slower. The Orange stove likely has a larger jet and burns faster as you surmise. But the fuel consumption is probably quite a bit higher, too.

    As an intro stove to camping, it looks great, though. Well within the means of most beginners and scouts. For $30 they could have a complete stove + canister set up. Add a spoon, a grease pot and plastic cup and they would have a light kitchen set for less than $50.

    Good catch!

  2. Mike October 25, 2011 at 5:06 am #

    These look great but the canisters they use for fuel aren't refillable, are they? Doesn't that just add to our already growing trash problem? I'm looking at buying my first stove this winter and am pretty sure I want to avoid adding to a landfill any more than I need to.

    I tried the MSR WhisperLite and found it pretty darn useful (though I did pack way too much fuel).

    Do you prefer canister stoves generally? And why?

    • kevin December 8, 2013 at 10:39 am #

      I have had a whisper lite for years works great but you have to carry a big tank, also you still have to fill your tank somehow and once your canister is empty u can crush and recycle it any way.

    • California Hiker November 4, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

      Yeah, thos 110 and 220g resealable “butane” canisters are refillable. I’ve done it with a temperature differential driving the butane from the donor can into the empty, receiving can via 1/8″ tubing and that butane lighter refill adapter.

      But it was more of a fun, technical stunt than a realistic solution.

      If you put too many grams of butane into your concave bottomed canister, it violently pops out convex when it warms up. By “too many” grams, I refer to putting more grams of butane into the canister than it is rated for.

      Doable, but a moderately large pain in the neck.

  3. Earlylite October 25, 2011 at 5:13 am #

    I pack canisters because they're convenient and fast to cook with. But they don't work in sub 20 degrees (F) in winter when, like you, I have to lug a much heavier liquid fuel stove around.

    • Sean Moore October 28, 2013 at 7:51 am #

      they do work in sub 20 degree weather. just make sure you are using the right canister for the temperature i.e Propane, butane, iso-butane, mitures of all of these.

      • Philip Werner October 28, 2013 at 7:55 am #

        Isobutane? You must live on a different planet or a place that measures degrees in centigrade.

  4. Matt Lacuesta October 25, 2011 at 6:06 am #

    Did you happen to weigh the canister before and after each use to see how much fuel was consumed by each stove?

  5. Earlylite October 25, 2011 at 6:22 am #

    No Matt – I didn't bother. I don't feel qualified to perform such tests and I don't think much of the pseudo-scientific results on fuel consumption published by certain retailers, online publications, and other bloggers. Not to be overly critical, but I think those efforts fall short when it comes to statistical sampling, accurate measurements, and experimental controls, and I'd rather be incomplete than publish something that's fraught with errors.

    It's a pretty good, cheap stove.

  6. TinCanFury October 25, 2011 at 8:35 am #

    I prefer my Optimus Crux:

    2.92oz (crux lite at 2.54oz)

    sure it's more expensive ($40 according to Google, but I've seen it on sale for as low as $20), but it is lighter, and with my Terra pot's diffuser is able to boil 1l in 3mins (or less depending on conditions). After weight, it's all about efficient use of fuel.

  7. Earlylite October 25, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    I was pretty impressed with your stove too Steve. That Crux is definitely worth a look and also seems like a great value.

  8. Guthook October 25, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

    Mike, speaking of the trash problem with canisters, canisters can be recycled now, as long as you puncture them like with that new jetboil tool. I kind of wish I could go back and recycle all the canisters I threw away when I used to use that kind of stove.

    • Sean Moore October 28, 2013 at 7:56 am #

      they are 100% recyclable just like the steel gal cans white gas comes in. I own about 6 backpacking stoves and have sold at least 10 others. I recamend this type of stove to anyone.

  9. TinCanFury October 25, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

    Phil, how do you feel the piezo would work in various conditions? it does negate the need for a ligher/matches/etc which can be nice, but only if I can trust it.

  10. Guthook October 26, 2011 at 2:49 am #

    Steve, I've heard piezos are unreliable, but when I hiked the AT, I used a Snow Peak canister stove with a piezo and it worked fine the whole time. And it still works today, as infrequently as I use that stove. Maybe carrying a few spare matches in an emergency kit would be worth the extra weight, though.

  11. Earlylite October 26, 2011 at 3:59 am #

    Piezo's break and don't work in cold temperatures. The one on my expensive snow peak doesn't work anymore. Best thing to do is to always carry a fire steel – even better then matches although a little less convenient.

  12. James D Marco October 26, 2011 at 6:22 am #

    Piezo-electric starters are problematic. Some seem to be fairly bulletproof. Others fail at a look. It doesn't seem to matter what manufacturor-JetBoil, Snow Peak, etc. Soo, I would simply remove it. It will largly offset the 5/8 ounce(18g) of a butane lighter.

    Off hand, on the Orange stove, it looks to be one that will fail or break easily. It sets well above the burner and is highly exposed…and easily broken. Subject to corosion in the spring, dirt in the mechanism, etc., it will likely not last long on the trail. But, sometimes these things have a way of persisting well beyond what would be considered reasonable lifetimes. Not sure I would take the chance, though.

    Canister "topper" stoves are about the easiest for a beginner to use. However, they ae not very efficient at lower temps and start failing about 40F, and fail completely about 20F. Fuel efficiency is more a product of pot surface area, and wind deflection. A pot top, similar to a Caldera cone, hanging down from the pot and around the stove does about the best for heating efficiency.

    Fuel efficiency is another problem. As Phil says, it is difficult to measure accuratly without a lot of testing and average the results. The best I could manage was about 11L of water boiled from a single 3.9 (or there'bout) canister from a Coleman F1 (avereged over three tries. Is this what you are asking?) Adding the weight of the can (3.9oz) and the 2.4 oz for the stove (stripped and lightened) This gave me a total weight of 10.2oz. Since I use about 3L per day, 1 canister will last a long weekend. (All burned on the lowest setting I could get…~9-10 minutes per liter, starting at 40F water, 16oz per boil, boiling point was 211, but my thermometer was set to 210F to avoid phase changes.) Depending on your temps, winds, how you cook, how much coffee/cocoa, etc…YMMV.

    For comparison, A full SVEA weighs about 20.5oz and will boil about 13L of water.

    Since my trip length is usually between 1-2 weeks, I don't use the canister stoves for obvious weight reasons.

    As Phil said, finding canisters on the trail is difficult. I have also seen 4oz canisters going for as much as $12 each, when you *can* find them. For many of the longer distanced trails, hiking and canoe trails, your only choice is to carry everything at the start' cept food. Canister stoves are probably the single most expensive stoves out there. Only Esbits are more expensive, in terms of fuel usage.

  13. TheBrewGuy October 30, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    Nice to see you take a chance and review a piece of gear that could have been a piece of junk, or a decent inexpensive alternative. I'm curious how delicate you think you would have to be with this stove. I'm used to being delicate with more expensive pieces of ultralight gear, but at such a low price I'd probably just kick this thing around. If I had to recommend a stove to a beginner I would give them 3 options:

    #1: Colemand MAX canister stove. $25 6.5oz. Heavy but virtually indestructible, cheap, and burns like a you-know-what.

    #2 MSR Pocket Rocket. $40 3.3oz. Light, a little more expensive, but very reliable and durable with its plastic case.

    #3 Snow Peak Lite Max $60 2.1oz. This is what I currently use and I love this thing. Its the lightest canister stove on the market that I've found. They claim its 1.9oz but mine was slightly more. Its not as expensive as other ultralights that weigh more. And its sturdy and burns quickly.

    Those are my 3 favorites for canister stove choices, but thanks for the review, if I'm looking for a very cheap stove for a buddy just starting out, I will definitely recommend this.

  14. Earlylite October 30, 2011 at 6:59 pm #

    I take a lot of chances on gear, actually, but usually I do a lot of research before I buy something and rarely end up with a dud. This little stove really peaked my interest though because ti was so cheap. Plus I'm doing a lot of mentoring with the Boy Scouts these days and it helps if I can find inexpensive alternatives for them. Stay tuned – I'll be writing more about less expensive gear in the coming months – I've got a lot in the testing pipeline.

  15. Hikin' Jim March 13, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    Probably not a bad stove for Scouts where I would think there would be other boys and also adults around with other stoves in the event of a failure. I’d be a little more worried about solo use. “No name” stoves are inexpensive, but I’m a little afraid of failure in the back country.

    Thanks for the review,

    HJ

    • Joey September 16, 2012 at 3:19 am #

      I bought this stove because I’m a normal person who doesnt make a boatload of money. It was around 15 dollars compared to 50 to 80 for comparable units. I’ve used it during power outages, multiple hiking trips, fishing trips, even at work when in a pinch. It’s never failed me. I’m willing to claim that the more expensive ones are somewhat of a ripoff. You need 3 things to make fire….Oxygen, fuel, and a heat source. the oxygen is there in most situations, this unit allows you to control the fuel ( its really simple and inexpensive tech) and a heat source. The heat source is the only concern on this unit. Lets say since its cheap you cant depend on it….I carry a lighter everywhere I go….just a habit I have. For 15 bucks this is grade A equipment…

      • Earlylite September 16, 2012 at 10:38 am #

        It’s a good deal for what it is. I think that some of the commercial stoves like the Soto OD-1R are a bit more efficient so you can use less gas per cook on longer trips, but this little stove is perfect for the budget camper or boy scout. No need to spend more for a tiny little metal stove when you’re just paying for a brand name.

  16. river88 May 6, 2012 at 2:54 am #

    B U R N W O O D

    unless there is non

  17. Sam October 5, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    I got this same stove for under 10 dollars including shipping from Amazon recently, I love it!

  18. Mary Watson November 8, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

    Does anybody know how to disassemble this stove? I have another use in mind for it. But I need to take it apart without damaging any of the components.

    MW

  19. Joe December 13, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

    I have one of these and I love it. It fits inside my Stoic 900ml ti pot/cup (which I think has been discontinued) along with a small gas canister; a super small, sweet set. I made a wind screen from aluminum flashing with a floor to protect the canister from heat. This also fits in the pot and definitely makes a difference in even a slight breeze. You just can’t beat the price. The one downside I found is that the lighter is not dependable and I just use a Bic now.

  20. abprime January 15, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    I had been eyeing one of these, and had thrown it on an amazon wishlist. My fianc√© bought it for me for Christmas, and I’m looking forward to giving it a shot on a backpacking trip, soon. Up to this point, I’ve been using a Jetboil Sol, and have been very happy with it, but thought having a backup stove and/or something for a bug-out bag wouldn’t be a bad idea. Plus, the idea of scoring a second stove that uses the same canisters I already have for less than $10, seemed like a no-brainer. Thanks for the info presented in the review! Nice to see what I have to look forward to.

  21. Paul Aydt August 26, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

    I have a MSR 8oz. fuel canister. The JOGR stove doesn’t screw on to the canister enough to release the fuel. Do the small canisters have a shorter fitting on them?

    • Philip Werner August 26, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

      It’s an industry standard fitting and should fit. Did you take the plastic cap off? :-) I don’t know what to tell you.

      • Philip Werner August 26, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

        In fact, that’s an MSR canister shown in the photo above (it’s red)

    • Hikin' Jim August 26, 2013 at 11:24 pm #

      Paul, the fitting should have a 7/16ths UNEF threaded connector. That’s the standard. What isn’t standardized is the length of the pin that opens the Lindal valve within the canister (and the offset of the valve from the top of the valve assembly). It sounds like the pin isn’t long enough to open the valve.

      First, make sure you’ve tightened the stove firmly (but not excessively). I’ve seen stoves work fine once I gave them 1/16 more of a turn onto the canister.

      If the stove is firmly screwed on, you could try a different brand of gas, but I’d probably just exchange it. Most of these Orange Stoves are working (like Philip’s) right out of the box. If yours isn’t working, it’s probably not quite to spec. You don’t want a stove that works with some canisters and not others. Exchange it or just junk it and buy another. It’s cheap enough.

      HJ

  22. Marco August 26, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

    There was some ambiquity in the older standard. About 3 years ago this was resolved, but I believe that only the Coleman canisters (in the USA) were slightly different. Something with the inner and outer diameter of the outside ring. If you happen to have an older model canister, try removing the rubber seal on the bottom of the stove, NOT on the valve release stem. This will let you screw it down another ~1/32 of an inch and may activate the Lindal valve, OK. The seal at the top of the lindal valve should be left. This forms the primary sealing. The one on the stove base is more for stability and is not strictly necessary. Worth a try.

  23. Jimmy Childs November 14, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

    Recently read an article with photos on making an ultralight alcohol stove using 2 pop or beer cans and a handful of fiberglass insulation. It only uses the bottom 1 inch of each can and one is crimped to fit inside another with the insulation inside. Then, 8 pushpin holes are made in the rop edge on the inverted can with one hole in the divoted center. Allow a little alcohol to soak through the center hole into the insulation in the inside and then light. You can place your pot right on top of it and the blue flames from the 8 holes heat a pot quickly. Works with medicinal alcohol.

  24. Grandpa November 15, 2013 at 12:28 am #

    I bought this orange stove for our trip to the Whites this summer. Although it was cheap (about $7.00), neither my wife or I was too impressed with it. To make it work, I had to screw the stove onto the canister so tightly that I was afraid I was going to break it. We found the flame too concentrated to cook evenly, but it did boil water very nicely in the Olicamp pot and fit that well. We used a White Box alcohol stove for our major cooking on that trip. The White Box has a nice wide flame which suited my wife’s cooking style. Since the trip, I bought an Optimus Crux stove because it has a wider flame pattern and is compact for our fly and drive trips.

  25. Bob November 17, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

    I have 3 sizes of MSR white-gas fuel bottles for my Whisperlight stove: 11 oz, 22 oz (found on trail), and 33 oz (I have also used a ~8 oz Sigg bottle). With the right size pot, I am all set for a day hike, weekend, or winter camping trip with a great reliable stove. Tank is always full at the start and good cold weather performance. A propane stove like the one in this article might be an inexpensive alternative for occasional use in a mild climate, and is simple to start. However, I’m not so sure I would like to rely on it for extended use or all-season camping. My philosophy for camping gear you have to rely on: Buy the best you can afford. It also provides the longest service.

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