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Reviews > Cook Gear > Stoves > GSI Halulite Minimalist Complete stove > Test Report by Theresa Lawrence
GSI HALULITE MINIMALIST STOVE
Test Series by Theresa Lawrence
Initial Report - May 24, 2016
I have more than 15 years of backpacking experience. Day hikes and 2-3 day backpacking trips take place on most weekends throughout the year while longer trips are only occasional. I backpack predominantly in mountain terrain (Coast Range, Cascades and Canadian Rockies) with the goal of summiting peaks. Activities I use my gear with include mountaineering, ski touring, rock climbing, kayaking, biking, trail running, Search and Rescue and overseas travel. I like my gear to be reasonably light, convenient and simple to use though I would not claim to be a lightweight hiker.
DESCRIPTIONThe GSI halulite minimalist stove as its name suggests is truly a lightweight compact stove with cookware, making it a real contender for ultralight backpacking. It hooks up to two different sizes of mixed butane/propane fuel canisters (see above table) and is intended to cook for one person. The cooking pot and lid double as a mug when housed in the neoprene sleeve and secured with the Sip-It lid. The silicone gripper has a magnetic attachment point that allows it to stick to the fuel canister. This makes it readily available when needed. Also included is a 'foon', which is a pronged spoon that can serve the needs of either a fork or a spoon. A windscreen is also supplied to help keep the stove efficient. All of these items including a 3.88 oz (110 g) fuel canister fit inside the 0.6 L (0.16 US gallons) pot with the lid closed to make a small and tidy package.
The stove arrived packaged inside a small box, which I thought was quite small and light for an entire stove and all its said included items. When I opened the box, inside was the pot and inside the pot was everything else. Ingenious! My immediate reaction was that this little stove will be perfect for my Search & Rescue ready pack. I was surprised that not only could this small pot hold all the included items, but it also fit everything along with a small fuel canister. My entire packed stove and fuel package weighs only 14 oz (397 g) and takes up the space of half a 1 L (0.26 L) Nalgene water bottle. Very impressive!
I did find it tricky to fit everything in at first, but once I found the combination to the puzzle, it worked perfectly. Observing attached pictures provided in the manual did serve to help with my success. The stove was quick to set up and I had it working within minutes. Some quick observations were that the thermal sleeve was a bit tricky to remove and I was tickled by the fact that the silicone gripper had a magnet in it that stuck to the fuel canister. The gripper fits nicely over my 2 fingers and a thumb for easy usability.
Over the past couple months this stove has been used on nine car camping nights, three base camping nights and two backpacking trips with 4 overnights. During this time weather had been mostly wet with rain and thunder storms and only a few dry blue sky days. Temperatures ranged from 9 to 30 C (48 to 86 F). Highest elevation for cooking was 2346 m (7697 ft).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELDMy first real use ended in a small tragedy for the wind screen. I removed the obvious plastic coating, however, there was a second not so obvious plastic coating that also should have been removed by me and wasn't. As a result it melted and became one with the wind screen as a blackened charred area. I salvaged some of it as soon as I noticed what was happening leaving only a section melted on the wind screen. Later on, when I had left my campsite, my partner decided that he was going to 'fix it' while I was gone. He thought he could melt the rest of it off by putting it into our fire pit. I don't think I need to detail how that went, but in summary it is now much more charred and a bit warped. I emphasize that this was in every way a 'user defect' and that the incident did not impair its ability to act as a wind screen. I reinforce and agree that one should follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to remove the plastic coating. In my defense, it was very difficult to see the plastic coating. Perhaps the manufacturer could in the future make the plastic coating larger than the wind screen as was the case with the side that I did take off. I would say this, however, where it fits on the stove doesn't allow it to cover much of the actual lit portion, so wind easily comes underneath the stove and puts it out. It does keep heat in and help heat the water more efficiently though.
After this experience all did go smoothly. I cooked water for two large coffee mugs fourteen times before the small 110 g (3.88 oz) fuel canister ran out. This is more than enough water for one person to live off for a multi-day backpacking trip. The stove is easy to use and light, but one of the things that always happens when the water starts to boil, is that it boils out of the pot, (lid on or not), and puts itself out. This is neither good or bad. To me it just means my water is boiled and ready to use. But, if I want to boil something else, I need to relight it.
The lid works well to keep heat in when boiling water and it also does a great job as a lid for the converted mug. It does not leak. The pot with the neoprene cozy works well as a mug. One of my favourite features of this kit is the silicone gripper. It works well to grip the hot pot, protecting my fingers, and fits my fingers like a glove and is easy to use. I love that it magnetically sticks to the canister so I can't lose it. In fact, it was such a hit and advertised well at camp, that I think there will be some purchasers looking to buy it separately for their own cookset use. The telescoping foon did a fine job for anything that didn't give resistance. Where it collapsed under resistance was trying to stir a pot full of cous cous, vegetables and chicken. Once the food was mixed up to the final product, the foon worked well without collapsing for the same meal. Churning food in meal prep seems to be where its weakness lies. The foon works well as a spoon for soup and watery substances and did well for pasta and oatmeal as well. I have used the stove to cook all kinds of meals such as non-instant oatmeal, a variety of pastas, cous cous with fresh vegetables, taco mix with fresh vegetables and beef. But, I cooked these using a larger pot that didn't come with the set. I did it to show that the stove itself can be used for much more than with the little pot it comes with. So far, with the little pot, I've only used it to boil water. Which, for a single user cook set, only bringing 'add-water only' meals for myself, it worked brilliantly.
I found it very convenient that everything fit inside the little pot including the fuel canister. I've used a variety of fuel canister sizes with this stove and they all work just as well, though of course the bigger canisters do not fit inside the pot. I don't put the wind screen rolled up inside the pot with everything because the first time I tried to do this I scratched the inside coating of the pot and decided I didn't want to scratch the inside further. As such, my method is to wrap the wind screen around the fully packed pot instead and secure it with an elastic band. I also pack a lighter inside the pot and I am pleased that it fits and I don't have to look for this later.
SUMMARYI continue to be impressed and pleased with what this little stove has to offer. Everything that I need for personal use is included and ready to use in a small easily packable light package. The stove has proven to be efficient for multi-day use with just the use of a small fuel canister. The wind screen, barring user defects, is effective in holding in heat, but not so effective for preventing wind from blowing it out. I believe this could be fixed by deepening the slots that fit onto the stove. This would lower the wind screen so that it covered more of the fuel and fire source thus blocking it from wind. I am looking forward to more backpacking in the coming months and will be looking for how it performs in the long term. Check back in another couple months for more results.
- Small, compact, lightweight
- Everything I would need for personal use all included
- Silicone gripper works and magnetically sticks to canister
- Pot turns into mug with neoprene sleeve
- Lid does not leak and is easy to drink out of
- Wind screen doesn't prevent wind from blowing out the fuel/fire source
- When water boils it boils out of the pot and puts out the fuel/ fire source
- Telescoping foon collapses under small resistance during food prep
LONG TERM FIELD CONDITIONS
The last two months of this test included two more backpacking trips with 4 overnights. I had also intended to use it in Greece during my 3 week trip, but I wasn't able to use it as I could not find a fuel canister that was compatible.
LONG TERM PERFORMANCE AND DURABILITY
During the long term test period, this stove continued to perform to my expectations. Everything was still in good working order and leads me to believe it will for quite some time. This stove is very reliable, efficient and boils water rapidly at higher elevations. I can't say I've made any new observations that didn't come up in the field test. The foon has been successful for any of my dried water reconstituted meals. It only collapsed with my ambitious fresh fancy meal preparation mentioned in my field report. If I pay close attention I can shut off the fuel before the water boils over and puts out the stove itself, but I'm often not on the ball. This was really not a big deal. I just needed to make sure I turned off the fuel.I still really love using the silicone gripper and apparently so did a little alpine critter. Said critter grabbed it when I wasn't looking and now there are a few wee teeth marks in it. Unfortunately, the critter also managed to chew around the edges of the lid to the pot/mug, which now looks ragged and frayed, but still holds a seal for drinking. Despite the comedy of mishaps that have happened, all human faulted, this little stove and cookware set have stood up to some serious abuse and still function like new. Though they may no longer look so new.
I'd like to thank GSI Outdoors and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to take part in this test series.
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