Mar 23, 2010 at 11:49 am #1256849
Companion forum thread to:Mar 23, 2010 at 1:21 pm #1589928
@windwardLocale: NE Tennessee
Another fine review, Roger, as always.
I have been looking at the stove and was concerned that the pot supports flip down rather readily when pans are moved. I did like the size, weight and igniter.
Apart from CO levels, nothing to recommend against it except for the hoopla and expense? I do not now cook in my tent, but all things being equal I'd like the option without the asphyxiation hazard.
Boiling times, which you don't list, are interesting, but much like sleeping bag temperature ratings in that there are enough variables to render them almost meaningless.
Did you happen to measure fuel consumption per 500 ml boiled under some standard conditions? Swine of a Jetboiler that I am, I can count on using about .2 oz / pt under a broad range of field conditions.Mar 23, 2010 at 6:09 pm #1590049
Jeff, Roger's out walking. I expect you'll be hearing from him when he's back in range!Mar 23, 2010 at 6:40 pm #1590062
@windwardLocale: NE Tennessee
How dare he go do what we all spend lots of time just discussing! Sigh. I suppose we'll just get on until he returns. ;^)Mar 24, 2010 at 3:33 am #1590167
> Did you happen to measure fuel consumption per 500 ml boiled under some standard conditions? Swine of a Jetboiler that I am, I can count on using about .2 oz / pt under a broad range of field conditions
Fuel consumption has more to do with the pot than the stove
What matters is the thermal coupling between the combustion gasses and the pot.
The main factors are the size of the flame, the diameter of the pot, whether it has heat exchanger fins and external factors such as wind.
Your figures for the jetboil indicate a thermal efficiency of 68%
The jetboil pot on another stove will yield a similar value, change the pot or the flame size and you will get a different value.
I get 50-60% efficiency in the field on several gas stoves (not Soto) with a non-heat exchanger pot, 5" dia but it can drop below 50% with the flame at max or windy conditions.
As a guide, 50% efficiency is 8g gas per 500ml water with 90C temperature increaseMar 24, 2010 at 4:59 am #1590180
Regarding the comment about a canister stove with a pizo igniter maybe not working above 8K feet. I've used two different titanium stoves with pizo igniter with various brands of gas canisters on both the Pacific Crest Trail and Colorado Trail at altitudes well above 11K feet on numerous occasions and have had no difficulty igniting the gas. Still carry waterproof matches and small butane lighter just in case, however. Thanks for great articles.Mar 24, 2010 at 11:11 am #1590338
I used the Soto for a 5-day trip in the Beartooths last year with no problems at over 10k.
Several others in my group have other cannister stoves and I have seen less apparent problems with temperature and cannister issues with the Soto. On my last trip, someone with a Snow Peak Lite Max had to borrow my Soto because their stove wasnt staying lit with their mostly empty cannister. The Soto worked just fine with that cannister.
TimMar 24, 2010 at 11:37 am #1590353
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
Some will and others will not. The variables seem to be the spark's strength and location, and the stove's ability to throttle the air:fuel ratio precisely to the point where it will ignite. To work, the piezo spark has to occur within an air:fuel zone between the lower and upper explosive limits and some stoves simply don't make this possible. An external flame or sparking device has a much easier task in accessing the ignition zone.
I've used canister stoves that refuse to self-light at altitude, due to bad design. Others work reliably, even over 10k. FWIW I've never owned a piezo lighter that works much above 6k or 7k feet, and have given up on them completely.
RickMar 24, 2010 at 4:40 pm #1590474
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"FWIW I've never owned a piezo lighter that works much above 6k or 7k feet, and have given up on them completely."
+1Mar 24, 2010 at 4:52 pm #1590478
– -K.T.- –Participant
Dead weight if you carry other firestarting equipment. Marketing at work.Mar 24, 2010 at 6:52 pm #1590508
@jameslantzLocale: North Georgia
It seems to me that the Soto stove should be tested against its competitors in cold conditions at altitude or in a controlled environment to simulate these conditions to see if the manufacturers claims are true or false. Only with controlled testing could the piezo function & heat output be tested with canisters in various states of full vs. empty. Anecdotally, the Soto stove seems to work much better in cold than a Primus Technotrail or MSR Pocketrocket even with a near empty fuel canister but what "seems to be" & "what is" can be different.Mar 24, 2010 at 10:59 pm #1590594
The claims regarding the low temperature performance of this stove have perplexed me since it came out. But I would like to see the definitive control test to put the issue to rest. So how about one of you MYOG specialists draw up some plans for a hypobaric freezer for Roger to test in? This should also solve the spark ignition question. And if possible it should be big enough to be cross utilized for garment and sleeping bag/quilt reviews, allowing for control of temperature AND air pressure (simulated altitude)!
Just kidding of course – I am very satisfied with the answer given in the article a previous posters messages! Thanks for another great review!!Mar 25, 2010 at 12:57 am #1590621
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
First, we should test Roger inside the hypobaric freezer!
–B.G.–Mar 25, 2010 at 1:13 pm #1590818
Mike In SocalParticipant
I like the review but would have wanted to see comparison data on performance against other stoves in its category as was done here: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/lightweight_canister_stoves_test_report.htmlMar 29, 2010 at 5:50 am #1591844
I'd never heard of, or seen, either this stove or this brand and as you may know I've lived in and been in and out of Japan for the last 19 years (including this January when I spent several days wandering around Tokyo's gear stores) so I was a bit curious about it.
I searched on Yahoo Japan and found their website:
If you click on the "Close up" tab on the top you get some nice photos of the stove in question.
And this is an expensive gas lamp that they have
It's interesting that they are now being stocked by stores in Tokyo – either these guys are a re-brand of an older company or someone has invested a lot of money in expanding a brand. Their website says that the Soto brand has been around since March 1992, but as I say, I've never seen them. That may simply be because they're based in Aichi prefecture which is several hundred k's to the south of Tokyo. It just goes to show that Japan is a big place and is very regionalised. And I'm willing to bet that the reason they're now available in Tokyo is as a result of them cracking the US market through REI – odd and circular as that may seem.Mar 30, 2010 at 12:41 am #1592292
Yes, I would say that the CO emission is the primary negative – apart from the somewhat ridiculous marketing spin :-)
Sorry, I didn't measure the fuel consumption for this stove. As others have said, there is no reason to believe it will be any different from any other small upright canister stove of similar dimensions. It will of course depend hugely on the pot diameter, the effectiveness of the windshield, the power setting used – excatly the same as for any other similar stove.
Don't get me wrong: it IS a well-made stove. But it should be judged just the same as any other upright stove. The use of a pressure regulator does not change anything – awards from other magazines (of lesser technical knowledge) not-withstanding.
CheersMar 30, 2010 at 1:52 am #1592304
> First, we should test Roger inside the hypobaric freezer!
It's called ski-touring…
CheersMar 30, 2010 at 9:16 pm #1592684
Roger, nice experimental science, I look forward to more quality research.
Your theory is extremely biased. You prove your point by essentially saying "all else being equal, all is equal" Then you imply a couple times that the jet diameter of the Soto is larger. (So you can bash Soto for high CO) Do you know how much bigger diameter the Soto jet is compared to other stoves? Obviously, for a given jet pressure P, the jet with a larger diameter hole will at least partially live up to the marketing hype (of being hotter).
You also say: "The pressure regulator will only work while the canister pressure is high enough: it has to be a fair bit above P to be able to regulate."
How much is "fair" in your opinion. Does a needle valve need more than "fair" or less than "fair" to deliver the same flow with and outlet of P?
Did you "basically" blow into the Soto stove fitting and a needle valve stove fitting with both set for max flow? Maybe, I'm not the experimentalist you are, but I have more respect for the "face of basic physics".
btw, I would not be surprised if the Soto has a slightly less than a 2x advantage at cold temperatures, but slandering new people, Backpacker Magazine?, is not additional data. Also, Soto only claims a specific advantage between 0 C and -5C, so the advantage probably drops off rapidly outside this range. Although the range is small, many of us would like a prompt warm dinner in these conditions.
CheersMar 30, 2010 at 11:33 pm #1592710
Perhaps I should start by explaining I have been testing canister stoves for many years, and in addition I have been designing and building canister stoves from scratch for a couple of years. By 'from scratch' I mean starting with sheet titanium, aluminium rod and brass rod; not by converting parts from other bought stoves.
So it may be that sometimes I will make a statement which is perfectly obvious to me but which is presented without full explanation or justification. Sorry about that, but it does make the articles shorter!
"The pressure regulator will only work while the canister pressure is high enough: it has to be a fair bit above P to be able to regulate."
Yes, this is correct. The extra pressure is what gives enough energy to the regulator for it to be able to work, or provide regulation. You can't get something for nothing here. A needle valve does not need this extra pressure drop as it does not 'regulate'. How much extra pressure drop? I have not measured that.
> you imply a couple times that the jet diameter of the Soto is larger
This follows from the basic physics of wanting the regulator to work down to quite low pressures. The intermediate pressure between the regulator and the jet will normally be lower than is found in a needle-valve stove. The higher CO emission follows from the lower-speed jet having more trouble sucking in enough air. I have spent a lot of time working on that aspect of stove design. Please remember that the higher CO levels are measured facts: real basic physics.
> Soto only claims a specific advantage between 0 C and -5C,
Actually, you can get exactly the same performance from an ordinary upright stove if you use the same canister. It's the gas in the canister which determines how well it performs at sub-zero temperatures, not the stove. The SOTO stove might have better 'regulation', but who needs precise regulation?
I will repeat two things here: the stove is well-made, and the marketing spin which I attacked comes almost entirely from the distributors, not from SOTO. SOTO themselves are quite careful in their claims. As far as I can see, the distributor marketing departments are the ones who have twisted the SOTO message into something they want to hype.
> many of us would like a prompt warm dinner in these conditions.
An ordinary upright stove will give you this at exactly the same speed as the SOTO OD-1R. Note however: there will be cases where neither will succeed!
CheersMar 31, 2010 at 7:30 am #1592766
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
Nice review as always, Roger.
On the Soto website they have a video showing how the stove maintains flow when you put the canister into ice water.
This seems like marketing hype to me.
You would never encounter this in real life.
It might get colder, slowly, but you should be watching the stove and if it gets too slow, just open up the needle valve.
I worry about the long term reliability of the regulator. It might get clogged or something. This is new technology (?)
On the other hand, it's nice that it's well built.
And the Piezo lighter is nice.
It costs a little bit more than conventional stoves.
I think a MSR Pocket Rocket would be a better buy – more available, cheaper, and long history of people using it.Mar 31, 2010 at 10:10 am #1592833
Thanks for the prompt response. I still think we do not know enough about the Soto. Let me add a few points.
1) On the stove box, Soto makes 2 comparisons to needle valve stoves.
a) Soto reports 1 L boil times for regulated vs un regulated (needle valve) stoves for 3 temperatures (regulated first): 20C = 4:02/3:54
5C = 4:01/7:42
-5C = 4:16/8:16 (min:sec) So, if you do not think Soto has not made any exaggerated claims, Soto should be the go to stove when ambient conditions are between 5C and -5C. Note, I made a mistake above, stating Soto only reported an advantage over a 5C temperature range. I can believe a 5C range but would like to see independent data to support the 10 C range. So, if Roger supports Soto's claims, I guess many of us will want to get the Soto.
b) Soto also claims a 25% decrease in gas flow for an unregulated stove over 8 minutes. I agree with Roger that this is an insignificant advantage. Soto says you will have boiled 2 L by then, and you probably should have started the stove at a 25% lower level to conserve fuel, and finally, you might be able to narrow the difference by opening the needle valve more. On the other hand, with a nearly empty can, the fuel cooling effect may put you in the low canister pressure situation where the bigger Soto jet is significant.
2) I just bought the Soto. The orifice looks much bigger than the 0.3mm jet on my Primus. It looks more than twice as big, but the Soto orifice does not look bigger than my 0.5mm pencil lead. Also, Primus makes other models with a jet diameter up to 0.45 mm. So, I can't say if the jet open area is more than 2.5 times a needle valve stove, or only a little bigger. If Roger is a good stove mechanic, he should be able to measure the Soto jet diameter.
3) I do not expect Roger to admit to blowing into the stove, I'm not going to admit it. None-the-less, I'm sure a clever guy like Roger could hook a balloon to the stove and get a general idea of gas flow rates at very low upstream pressure. I'm sure he will find that it takes very little pressure to lift the regulator valve, i.e. a "fair" pressure is insignificant, <0.1 atmosphere above ambient. I'm not sure about the pressure drop across the fully open needle valve at reasonable flow rates. You could easily extrapolate very low pressure flow rates up to cold cylinder pressures.
4) The composition in the cylinder gas mix does not have large effect on the advantage of the regulator stove over the needle valve stove. You could take off the cylinder that produced the faster boil times in Soto's tests and replace it with a high propane cylinder that gives the needle valve stove equivalent performance to the regulator stove from 5C to -5C. However, if you lowered the test temperatures to another range, say -7C to -17C, you would see the same relative performance difference, because the cylinder pressures are equivalent. Again, although Roger supports Soto's claims, I want to see the data.
p.s. I have not bought a cylinder for my stove and do not expect to see a 0C ambient temperature for a long time. So, I can't do burn tests.Apr 1, 2010 at 12:03 am #1593100
@bumperLocale: Coffs Harbour
Nice review, as always. Just spent my first night camping in Wollomi – never knew it was such a top spot. I'll be there again.
KerriApr 1, 2010 at 3:52 am #1593115
> On the Soto website they have a video showing how the stove maintains flow
> when you put the canister into ice water.
> This seems like marketing hype to me.
First of all, the claim that the stove maintains the flow is certainly wrong. The flow is driven by the gas pressure inside the canister.
That said, the video is quite possible – with the right canister. You see, ice water sits at 0 C, while iso-butane boils below -10 C. So a canister of isobutane sitting in ice water will contain gas above the boiling point, and it will work. Just don't try it with pure n-butane, which boils at 0 C.
> I think a MSR Pocket Rocket would be a better buy
Sorry, but I regard that stove as one of the least reliable ones. The pot supports are very bendy, and the flame is far too focused. Now the Snow Peak uprights and the Vargo Jet-Ti – they are reliable.
CheersApr 2, 2010 at 6:42 pm #1593697
Great review as usual. Timely too.
Their marketing is interesting. Recently got an email and then reread your article. Glad we have you to review CO2 for those of us that live 'dangerously' out of the weather : )
Thanks for enlightening us!Apr 2, 2010 at 7:12 pm #1593708
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
I think Roger gets more interested in Carbon Monoxide rather than Carbon Dioxide.
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