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#220301 - 03/26/11 09:38 PM Snow Peak Gigapower & GSI Soloist
Denis Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 631
Loc: Calgary, AB
With the stove love being shown here lately, I thought I'd share my new stove setup: a Snow Peak GigaPower stove coupled with a GSI Pinnacle Soloist.



First some background, this is my first backpacking stove. Stoves I've owned and used in the past, at least in my adult life, have been those geared towards car & family camping. I'm just getting into backpacking this year, but I also wanted something to use for camping with my son's Scout group (not nesessarily backpacking, but having all my gear in one bag is an advantage).

I was originally going to go for a white gas stove for a few reasons including cold temperature performance, past experience and the ability to refill the fuel bottle.

But in the end due to both price and compactness I ended up with this LPG stove; the cost for both the stove and cook set was $83 - a little less than just the white gas stove I was considering (MSR Simmerlite) and this combination also offered a much more compact set up than I could accomplish with the other stove. I also decided the performance of the LPG down to -10 C should be good enough for the situations I was currently planning for (the GigaPower Gold fuel I'm using is a 15% propane / 85% iso-butane mix).

I used this setup for the first time a few weeks back during a campout with my son's Scout group and I found it worked well for what I need and performed pretty much how I expected. The temperatures ranged from about -13 to +6 C over the course of the weekend and I really didn't experience any problems; though the coldest morning was the first so I was starting with a fresh canister and, just to ensure it worked okay, I had it sitting in a shallow dish of water.

It did get really windy at one point, but I just made a small wall out of firewood to block the wind while I was using the stove.

For packing and storage, the whole setup nests inside the 1.1 litre pot:



Here is a look at everything when the pot is unpacked:



The complete list of contents is:
  • 1.1 litre pot
  • 590ml insulated polypropylene cup
  • lid with an integrated strainer which doubles as a sip-it lid for the mug (it snaps on); I found the sip-it hole also works well for pouring hot water
  • telescoping foon
  • stuff sack (which is waterproof, doubling as a small wash basin)
  • Snow Peaks Gigapower stove & stove bag (the bag came with the cookset, the plastic box the stove came with was a bit too big to fit)
  • 220g fuel canister

The telescoping foon actually worked pretty good for eating most of the food I made (mostly dehydrated meals), with the exception for the campfire steak we had one night.

For packing, the canister fits in the bottom of the pot and the stove & foon fit in the cup which is placed upside down on the fuel canister. The lid then tops everything off.



So far, this combination has performed well for me and I am very happy with the purchase.
_________________________
Victory awaits him who has everything in order luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck. Roald Amundsen

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#220302 - 03/26/11 10:00 PM Re: Snow Peak Gigapower & GSI Soloist [Re: Denis]
jzmtl Offline
Addict

Registered: 03/18/10
Posts: 530
Loc: Montreal Canada
Nice, quite similar to mine. I wish I had gone with gigapower though since it's burner is lower and easier to pack. But I did pick up the pocket rocket on half off sale so...

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#220353 - 03/28/11 01:06 AM Re: Snow Peak Gigapower & GSI Soloist [Re: jzmtl]
Denis Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 631
Loc: Calgary, AB
Thanks. I had actually purchased a PocketRocket originally since it seemed like MSR had the best fuel, but I just wasn't able to get it to work with this set-up; I found it was just a little too big to fit well with the rest of this cook set and the 220g fuel cannister.

It turns out that the GigaPower Gold fuel is pretty close to MSR's mixture so it really didn't matter (I had decided I'd stick with the stove manufacture's fuel, at least to start with, since that's what MEC recommends).
_________________________
Victory awaits him who has everything in order luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck. Roald Amundsen

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#220386 - 03/28/11 03:55 PM Re: Snow Peak Gigapower & GSI Soloist [Re: Denis]
comms Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/23/08
Posts: 1502
Loc: Mesa, AZ
Hey welcome to the forums and that is a great addition to your gear. I like GSI products. I busted my foon pretty quick but the Halulite minimalist set itself is tight. I just drank my morning coffee from it.

FWIW, The Halulite cup perfectly nests a 1L nalgene bottle.
_________________________
Don't just survive. Thrive.

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#220390 - 03/28/11 04:39 PM Re: Snow Peak Gigapower & GSI Soloist [Re: Denis]
Hikin_Jim Offline
Sheriff
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 10/12/07
Posts: 1804
Loc: Southern California
Looks like a nice set up although I'm not fan of sporks/foons. I like that it can accommodate a 227g class canister.

As for fuel, it doesn't matter who makes the canister. All of the standard threaded canisters are interchangeable. The thing to look for is the best type of fuel. Above about 5C/40F (canister temperature, not air temperature), it doesn't really matter what type of fuel you use. Below about 5C/40F, avoid regular butane and get only isobutane-propane mixes.

Claims of good performance down to -10C/14F for this type of stove are misleading at best. Yes, your stove will work down to -10C/14F, with a new canister. But toward the end of the canister, not so. Propane has a higher vapor pressure than isobutane. The propane burns off at a faster rate than the isobutane. Toward the end of the canister, you've got only isobutane for all practical purposes. Isobutane vaporizes at -12C/11F. The canister on a typical upright canister stove needs to be about 5C/10F hotter than the vaporization point of the fuel in order for the stove to run properly. For your stove, assuming you don't have any regular butane in your fuel, a more dependable figure is -5C/23F. If you try to run it when the canister is colder than that, you will most likely have either an insipid flame or none at all.

Now, having said that, there are tricks that you can employ to keep the canister warmer. Remember that it's canister temperature not air temperature that matters. I've listed canister warming tips and tricks in this article.

HJ
_________________________
Adventures In Stoving

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#220430 - 03/28/11 11:30 PM Re: Snow Peak Gigapower & GSI Soloist [Re: Hikin_Jim]
Denis Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 631
Loc: Calgary, AB
Thanks for the extra information Jim.

Originally Posted By: Hikin_Jim
... although I'm not fan of sporks/foons.

I'm not completely sold on the spork thing either, but I figured I'd give it a shot. I do have a nice little fold-up steel fork & spoon I think will fit in this set if the need arises though.

Originally Posted By: Hikin_Jim
As for fuel, it doesn't matter who makes the canister. All of the standard threaded canisters are interchangeable. The thing to look for is the best type of fuel.

I didn't think it really mattered what canister I used but I wanted to follow the store's recommendation, at least initially, in case I ended up having to return it due to some issue or because I changed my mind and decided I really needed the Simmerlite instead.

As a side note, comparing the MSR IsoPro to the Snow Peak Gigapower Gold fuel mixture, would you expect a noticeable difference in performance? The MSR is 20/80 propane/iso-butane while the Gold is 15/85.

Originally Posted By: Hikin_Jim
Claims of good performance down to -10C/14F for this type of stove are misleading at best. Yes, your stove will work down to -10C/14F, with a new canister. But toward the end of the canister, not so. Propane has a higher vapor pressure than isobutane. The propane burns off at a faster rate than the isobutane. Toward the end of the canister, you've got only isobutane for all practical purposes. Isobutane vaporizes at -12C/11F. The canister on a typical upright canister stove needs to be about 5C/10F hotter than the vaporization point of the fuel in order for the stove to run properly. For your stove, assuming you don't have any regular butane in your fuel, a more dependable figure is -5C/23F. If you try to run it when the canister is colder than that, you will most likely have either an insipid flame or none at all.

From your articles and others I've read (like this one) I do understand I was operating at the low end of the recommended temperature for this type of stove (maybe even under), but all in all I can't really say I found the stove's performance disappointing.

I am guessing based on the weather records I found that the lowest temperature I cooked in would have been around -7 C or so, maybe a bit warmer. But I definitely had the advantage of a full canister.

For the last breakfast, it would have been warmer (maybe 0 C or a little more) and I finished up on a near empty tank; I just checked it and that canister only has 28g left in it. I can confidently say it was slowing down a bit near the end.

Reviewing this time-line along side your post it looks like I had a perfect set of conditions for the stove to work near its minimum possible temperature; a colder first morning (but nicely above -10 C) and a warmer second morning for when the tank was lower.

One of the other Dads was using his Whisperlite and he could get his water boiling a little faster than I could, but not an order of magnitude quicker. I could get mine started and going a bit quicker and with out the large flames & fireballs though; although his less than optimal priming was a nice source of warmth smile.

Originally Posted By: Hikin_Jim
Now, having said that, there are tricks that you can employ to keep the canister warmer. Remember that it's canister temperature not air temperature that matters. I've listed canister warming tips and tricks in this article.

It is nice to know that even if I find myself in lower temperatures that I'm not totally out of luck. That said, it seems like it would be a good idea to get myself the Simmerlite (or something like it) so I could confidently go colder than that weekend though.

But that'll have to wait until next year; I still need to get a good tent!
_________________________
Victory awaits him who has everything in order luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck. Roald Amundsen

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#220470 - 03/29/11 05:02 AM Re: Snow Peak Gigapower & GSI Soloist [Re: Denis]
Hikin_Jim Offline
Sheriff
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 10/12/07
Posts: 1804
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: Denis
As a side note, comparing the MSR IsoPro to the Snow Peak Gigapower Gold fuel mixture, would you expect a noticeable difference in performance? The MSR is 20/80 propane/iso-butane while the Gold is 15/85.
Honestly, I don't think it's going to make a lot of difference, although it will make some difference at the beginning of the canister. Toward the end of the canister, either brand will be effectively 100% isobutane, and there will be no material difference between the two.

Originally Posted By: Denis
From your articles and others I've read (like this one)
This article has a number of errors, including the idea that you can expect to run a propane-isobutane blend down to 15F/-9C. I'd say that about 20F/-7C is more realistic towards the end of the canister.

Also, the idea that you need to go to a liquid fueled stove if the temps get down into the single digits (Fahrenheit) is a bit off. Liquid fuel is a good choice, but remote canister gas stoves with a pre-heat loop will operate down to 0F/-18C pretty effectively with an 80/20 isobutane-propane mix if you invert the canister.

There are a number of other errors, although he's got a lot of things basically right. Just don't read some of his explanations which are not accurate.

Originally Posted By: Denis
I am guessing based on the weather records I found that the lowest temperature I cooked in would have been around -7 C or so, maybe a bit warmer. But I definitely had the advantage of a full canister.
-7C is no problem for a canister that contains no n-butane. You should be "good to go" at -7C even at the end of the canister.

Originally Posted By: Denis
It is nice to know that even if I find myself in lower temperatures that I'm not totally out of luck. That said, it seems like it would be a good idea to get myself the Simmerlite (or something like it) so I could confidently go colder than that weekend though.
I own a Simmerlite, and I like it; it's a good stove. Consider also the Windpro which is basically a Simmerlite with a gas connector. The Windpro has a pre-heat loop (generator), so it can be operated with the canister upside down (inverted). In inverted canister mode, the stove can be operated down to 0F/-18C. I've written an article on the subject of inverted canister gas stoves for Seattle Backpackers Magazine that will be published on Friday.

HJ
_________________________
Adventures In Stoving

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#220486 - 03/29/11 02:12 PM Re: Snow Peak Gigapower & GSI Soloist [Re: Denis]
comms Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/23/08
Posts: 1502
Loc: Mesa, AZ
As a gsi foon was a part of the kit, i don't feel i am hijacking for my two cents on utensils. My preferred weapon of choice is a long handled spoon like REI Ti long handled spoon Sea to Summit makes an similar model made from aircraft aluminum rather than titanium.

I originally went long handled as an homage to the spoon in MREs. Its a fine balance between length of handle to get into someones food bag and a large enough spoon bowl to get enough food to justify potentially getting my hand slapped.

I see they market them now as a means to hit the bottom of a Jet Boil. As I just bought one, sweet smile
_________________________
Don't just survive. Thrive.

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#220488 - 03/29/11 02:42 PM Re: Snow Peak Gigapower & GSI Soloist [Re: Hikin_Jim]
Denis Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 631
Loc: Calgary, AB
Thanks for even more good information, and corrections, Jim. It looks like I thought I understood canister stove operation in cold weather better than I really did!

Good information on the Windpro too; I had no idea that it could go that cold. It sounds like a good candidate should I do some more winter camping next year. I'll be looking forward to your upcoming article.

Thanks again.
_________________________
Victory awaits him who has everything in order luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck. Roald Amundsen

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#220492 - 03/29/11 03:29 PM Re: Snow Peak Gigapower & GSI Soloist [Re: comms]
Hikin_Jim Offline
Sheriff
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 10/12/07
Posts: 1804
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: comms
As a gsi foon was a part of the kit, i don't feel i am hijacking for my two cents on utensils. My preferred weapon of choice is a long handled spoon like REI Ti long handled spoon Sea to Summit makes an similar model made from aircraft aluminum rather than titanium.

I originally went long handled as an homage to the spoon in MREs. Its a fine balance between length of handle to get into someones food bag and a large enough spoon bowl to get enough food to justify potentially getting my hand slapped.

I see they market them now as a means to hit the bottom of a Jet Boil. As I just bought one, sweet smile
I've got a Sea-to-Summit aircraft aluminum spoon. It's light and durable. I'm very pleased with it.

HJ
_________________________
Adventures In Stoving

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