Jul 14, 2009 at 5:33 pm #1237756
Companion forum thread to:Jul 14, 2009 at 10:58 pm #1513960
Love this series Roger – another great supplemental edition. I remain convinced that my GST-100 Giga Titanium at 1/2 ounce heavier is still the better option.
But I have been curious about a new stove that REI has started carrying – the Soto Micro Regulator Stove. So can I petition for Supplement 6?
I would hypothesize that the Soto Micro Regulator (aka Soto OD-1R ?) would be good for small pots and mugs since it directs the flame almost straight up. But I am concerned that the small distance between flame and pot would bode poorly for CO concerns (premature quenching?).
As you so elequently proved in this article, these things don't always follow our presuppositions (Lite Max quenching by pot supports – who would have suspected?). So it would be great if you could put the Soto through the test!
Some links for reference:
Soto OD-1R flame shape:
Keep up the good work!Jul 15, 2009 at 1:40 am #1513972
@adrianbLocale: Auckland, New Zealand
This is a geat write-up Roger.
One thing that I like about the Lite Max that wasn't mentioned is that when packed it's nice and small and flat, compared to the GST-100. It fits nicely at the bottom of my Firelite 550 with a half size canister on top.
My impression has been that there's something about the way you need to unfold the valve which seems to make it less likely (compared to the GST-100) that you'll forget to tighten the valve.
Something I do find irritating over the GST-100 are the flip-out pot stands, one of mine often slips down over the bolt, requiring a bit of levering with fingernails to get it back out. I once had a Brunton stove (Crux?) with similar style supports which was a bit fiddly too.
…it's a real pity about that CO2 output, esp at low levels. I might just go back to my 'bulky' and 'luxury' auto-ignition GST-100.Jul 15, 2009 at 5:46 am #1513987
So why is it that when I read the summary it never mentions CO levels? Isn't that what the article is about? Not mesh and steel inserts. I'm sorry, but every English teacher or professor I have had would give failing marks for this.
Now having to put the pieces together for myself I have come up with this. It looks like it is safe according to the chart in part 2. It may be on the higher side than some others, but it never reaches the 200 ppm mark for 15 min to make it a health and safety concern in the UK.Jul 15, 2009 at 6:31 am #1513991
This a situation where less is better:
"At low concentrations, fatigue in healthy people and chest pain in people with heart disease. … At moderate concentrations, angina, impaired vision, and reduced brain function may result. At higher concentrations, CO exposure can be fatal." "The U.S. National Ambient Air Quality Standards for outdoor air are 9 ppm (40,000 micrograms per meter cubed) for 8 hours, and 35 ppm for 1 hour." http://www.epa.gov/iaq/co.html
For camping stoves, the higher the level of CO put out by the stove, the more important ventilation becomes. It certainly seems unwise to use stoves with higher CO output in a tent or enclosed structure.
While fatigue is a minor health problem, it is not something you want to induce on a hike.Jul 22, 2009 at 5:48 pm #1515765
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Nice to hear that my Jet-Ti burner is a low CO2 emitter. I've seldom had to cook under a vestibule but if I did I'm happy to know the Jet-Ti is one of the safest to use.
I wonder how well my Brunton Flex will test on CO2 emissions. It's an improved version of the Primus Crux.
EricJul 23, 2009 at 11:36 pm #1516121
Roger – thanks for all your excellent work and reports on the stoves here and elsewhere! It's really very much appreciated. Changes my whole perspective on stoves.
Oh, and Jason – nice picture of the burner and flame!Aug 28, 2009 at 10:06 pm #1523579
I am back from 6 weeks in Switzerland – sort of. :-)
I have a SOTO stove for testing. Nothing spectacularly different about it. I have no idea right now exactly what the results were (brain still at 30,000') but I do remember that some of the marketing claims by some vendors were very misleading. It's a stove, like the rest.
More later when brain arrives.
CheersAug 28, 2009 at 10:12 pm #1523580
> So why is it that when I read the summary it never mentions CO levels? Isn't that what the article is about?
Your English teacher might have given failing marks to the summary, but that would be on THEIR set of criteria, not ours. What you call a summary is really designed to get you to read the article, and if you haven't yet subscribed, to do so!
As to whether anything under 200 ppm is 'safe' – I have to disagree on principle. The lower the CO level the better (obviously), and since some stove vendors can get emissions down to 5 pp, I don't see why I should have to put up with significantly higher levels. OK, in practice I tolerate up to 20-30 ppm, with adequate ventilation.
CheersOct 15, 2010 at 7:10 pm #1655019
can we have a proper comparison between the Soto OD-1R stove and the Snow Peak LiteMax. I have both stoves and I consider the Soto to be far superior.
Instead of saying they are hyping this stove lets get some facts. I have just tested the stoves in windy conditions with and without a wind shield. The Soto boils 550ml in 3 minutes 23 seconds and the Snow Peak in 5 minutes 20 seconds with a primitive wind shield (same on each). Without windshield the Soto was 4 minutes 30 seconds and the Snow Peak 6 minutes 45 seconds. The wind was 12.7 km/hr gusting to 24 km/hr and temperature here near Canberra was 5 degrees C. I used a MSR Titanal Pot (900ml). Both on new canisters.
Both stoves get to the "small bubbles in the base" boil quite quickly but the Snow Peak takes longer to get from there to a rolling boil.
I also noticed that near the end of the canister life the Soto will still light and boil water after the Snow Peak will not. Also look at the thread connecting to the canister, the Soto has a brass insert the Snow Peak is just tapped into the die casting(zinc?). So how about an unbiassed test of both stoves?
David Booth (Aussie Dave) Canberra AustraliaOct 15, 2010 at 8:18 pm #1655030
I was not as enthralled by the LiteMax as by the GST-100. They are quite different stoves.
Why your LiteMax takes longer to go from bubbles to boiling – I have no idea. Most strange.
> near the end of the canister life the Soto will still light and boil water
> after the Snow Peak will not
Odd. I have found that my Snow Peak GST-100 will very happily drain a canister completely, and I have never noticed any other stove not doing this. I have not done a fine test of residual gas pressure for any convenional stove, but with a conventional valve there is no reason why the stove should not be able to run all the way down to a hard empty. After all, without a pressure regulator in the way, there is a direct path between the inside of the canister and the outside of the jet.
> the Soto has a brass insert the Snow Peak is just tapped into the die casting(zinc?)
The metal is almost certainly either a pressure-casting aluminium alloy or a machining aluminium alloy. However, without digging a LiteMax out and checking the insides, I can't say absolutely whether the base is aluminium or brass. I have strong doubts about the claim that it is not-brass however: even the DES-116T or M Gnat has a slim brass insert for the thread. But I could be wrong.
> how about an unbiassed test of both stoves?
Well, bluntly, that is exactly what I have attempted to do with all the stove testing I have done. I have attempted to find the good points of every stove. I admit I do not test stoves without a windshield, but that is because I think trying to use a stove without one is just plain silly.
The SOTO is nicely made, and I think I emphasised that more than once. I also pointed out that both a needle valve and a pressure-regulator valve are just VALVES, to control the gas flow. No magic, no world-shattering technology. Most of my criticism was aimed at the spin doctors who attempted to claim far more than they were entitled to.
CheersOct 16, 2010 at 4:18 pm #1655197
Thanks for the reply Roger….
"I have strong doubts about the claim that it is not-brass however: even the DES-116T or M Gnat has a slim brass insert for the thread. But I could be wrong".
You should dig the Snow Peak LiteMax out. Mine is already showing signs of wear after around 30 loads to the canister, the stove has also lost a fibre (?) washer from under the rotating pot supports. Looking at the Lite Max the thread is tapped into the die casting.
By the way Roger all die castings are "pressure" castings as opposed to gravity castings.
The LiteMax thread shows a silver appearance as it would with a tapped thread in aluminium. The brass inserts (like the Soto) are a "brass" yellow colour. The older Snow Peak Gigapower has a robust brass insert.
The LiteMax is an elegant stove that is let down by its performance, especially in the wind.
You have failed to test the Soto claims about the pressure regulator advantages. You have also failed to explain whether the Soto actually boils water faster than the Snow peak. Perhaps it was the fact that my setup with pot and canister actually suited the Soto design better (eg the dimensions of the MSR Titanal Pot).
I find that the real purpose of the stove (ie how well it heats water in typical backpacking conditions) was not teated in your review.
I think it would be possible to also bench test each stove.
As a "stove afficionado" I purchased the Soto just to test it out myself and I was pleasantly surprised at how good it is, but was also surprised at how its obvious advantages were downplayed as hype in your articles. By the way, who cares about the carbon monoxoide in a windy outdoor typical operating environment? I would be more concerned if a stove actually works in these conditions. I have found that both stoves suffer severe loss of performance (and increased gas use) when used without a windscreen. In windy conditions, on an almost empty canister I could not reach a boil 600ml water with the Snow peak. On the same canister I took around 7 or 8 minutes to get a boil with the Soto, but it DID boil, a potential life saver IMHO.
Also you would know that the Soto igniter is a superior to any other I have used (eg Snow peak Giga Power). As you mention it is protected from damage, and it always fires.Oct 17, 2010 at 2:45 am #1655276
If it looks like aluminium, maybe it is. Bad choice imho. However, I know there was some experimenting with hard anodising of the aluminium threads for a while, as a cheaper and lighter substitute for the brass inserts. So, possible. However, I have stripped the threads out of a Snow Peak GST-100, so brass is not immune. The real problem is the very badly formed threads on the canisters: a very poor design choice.
> all die castings are "pressure" castings as opposed to gravity castings.
Ah … a friend of mine has been gravity-casting model train wheels for years. Maybe 'most' rather than 'all'?
> You have failed to test the Soto claims about the pressure regulator advantages.
But there are TWO sets of claims: some conservative ones made by SOTO themselves, and some far wilder ones made by various marketing people at various organisations. The ones made by marketing people often defied the laws of physics, so I could not see any reason to waste further time on them.
> I think it would be possible to also bench test each stove.
Have you read the CO series and the Winter Stove series? Have you looked at the detailed description given of the test apparatus used for monitoring CO emission, water temperature and canister mass during operation? A lot of $$$ has been poured into that gear.
> who cares about the carbon monoxoide in a windy outdoor typical operating environment?
Ah, but I never use a stove in the wind. I ALWAYS use it in a sheltered environment, often the vestibule of my tent. So, to answer your question **I care**.
> Soto igniter is a superior to any other I have used
The wire up the middle is more protected, and I said so. The problem many of us have had with piezo-ignitors is usually that the piezo bit falls to pieces. The jury is still out on whether the SOTO has a piezo-ignitor which is better-built than the rest. Perhaps you would care to give your opinion? (The more doubting among us usually carry a Bic lighter.)
I repeat: the SOTO is well built, but the marketing claims for amazing benefits had by substituting a pressure-regulator VALVE for a needle VALVE are pure marketing spin. Which is actually quite unfortunate.
CheersOct 18, 2010 at 2:15 pm #1655697
CO levels are absolutely important and BPL is one of the few sites that provides hard numbers
not everything is a nice and dandy grommed trail in 3 season conditions …
in snowstorms, on a mountain, raging rain storms, etc … you may have to cook in yr tent or vestibule sooner or laterJan 27, 2014 at 9:16 pm #2067045
Reviving an old thread, but has anyone tried out the newer version (GST-120R) lite max? It appears to have a different burner head with different mesh which could possibly fix the CO issue.Jan 27, 2014 at 10:27 pm #2067068
As I mentioned, the Snow Peak Litemax Titanium or GST-120R is simply a rebadged Kovea Titanium or KB 0101. And I don't think the KB 0101 has changed much. So I doubt the GST-120R is really much different from the GST-120 when you look closely at them both.
If the mesh has been changed to larger holes, that might improve things a bit, but given that the design of the heavy pot supports surrounding the burner head have not changed, I cannot see any likelihood that adding an R to the part number will change the CO levels sufficiently. A bit maybe.
Eh, it's an OK stove compared to some. Just check the ventilation.
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