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Reviews > Cook Gear > Stoves > GSI Pinnacle 4 Season Stove > Test Report by Andrea Murland
I began hiking frequently in 2006 and have since hiked in Western Canada, Australia, and spent 2 months backpacking in the Alps. I spend most weekends either day-hiking or on 2-3 day backpacking trips, with some longer trips when I can manage them. I also snowshoe and ski in the winter, but don’t have a lot of experience with winter in the backcountry yet. Elevation is typically 500-3,000 m (1,600-10,000 ft), in the Canadian Rockies and the Selkirk, Purcell, and Monashee ranges. I try for a light pack, but I don’t consider myself a lightweight backpacker.
Description & Initial Impressions
When unfolded, the stove support legs make a base 14 cm (5.5 in) in diameter. The serrated pot support arms also make a circle with a 14 cm (5.5 in) diameter (compared to the manufacturer’s specified 13.8 cm (5.4 in) diameter). The pot support arms are angled slightly towards the centre of the burner. The stainless steel braided fuel line leading to the canister is 32.5 cm (12.8 in) long. At the canister end of the fuel line is the Flame Adjuster Valve, which has a handle made from a stiff loop of wire for adjusting the flame. When packed in its storage bag, the stove measures approximately 10 x 8 x 6 cm (3.9 x 3.1 x 2.4 in).
The stove came with a manual in English and French (also available on the website) and a variety of warning cards. The warnings cover a variety of topics, but focus on not using the stove in an enclosed space due to carbon monoxide, not getting the canister hot, not lighting anything nearby on fire, and that the stove will get hot. There are also warnings to only use a GSI Pinnacle Windscreen (sold separately) and GSI Outdoors brand isoButane fuel canisters certified to EN417. Only cookware less than 9.5 in (24.2 cm) in diameter and less than 6 in (15.2 cm) high should be used with the stove.
Trying It OutMy first thought upon receiving the stove was how small it was. I took it out of its carrying bag and discovered that I had some set up to do. Each of the three pot support/leg assemblies have to be unfolded and rotated. The instructions that came with the stove were clear, telling me to rotate the stove legs down until they stop, then rotate the pot supports until they’re horizontal, and then fold the legs/arms out from the burner head. I did find that I couldn’t rotate the stove legs all the way to their final position or they would interfere with the unfolding of the others. I adopted a method of rotating them all down to a vertical position and then completing the rotation of all of them. I then discovered that if I complete all three steps on one leg at a time, there is no interference. I later watched the video on the website and it makes it quite clear to do them one at a time.
There was some resistance to rotating the stove legs and the whole assemblies, but not to rotating the pot support arms. They are very loose and easily flop out of position if the stove is inverted at all. However, once in position to support a pot they seem stable unless knocked slightly from below, in which case they flip up. I put a couple of pots on top of the stove and they seemed stable. I don’t have any cookware larger than the maximum size so that’s not a concern for me.
Next, I attached a canister to the stove. Naturally, I didn’t have a GSI canister at home, so I used a different brand of canister that complies with EN417. The canister screwed on easily. The flame adjuster valve handle was easy to turn and the stove easy to light. When I was finished taking pictures, removing the canister was easy with only a small release of gas.
SummaryThis small, lightweight canister stove looks like a great addition to my gear. With the liquid fuel option it offers possibilities to extend use into winter. I look forward to getting it out in the field to cook. Other than being a bit fiddly to set up and the somewhat floppy (in one direction) pot supports, everything looks good!
Field ConditionsI have used the GSI Pinnacle Stove on two trips over the past two months.
The first was a two-night snowshoe into a backcountry shelter. Temperatures overnight were about -5 C (23 F), but I was cooking inside the shelter, so things were a bit warmer in there. The days hiking in and out where I was carrying the stove were 14 km (8.7 mi) long and the elevation at the shelter was at 1865 m (6120 ft). During this trip I melted snow for water and cooked oatmeal, soup, and shepherd’s pie with the stove.
The second trip was a Search & Rescue (SAR) training exercise. I used the stove to heat water for a freeze-dried meal as well as tea. I also cooked my team-mate’s soup. In the morning I made hot chocolate for us on the stove. Temperatures were just above freezing and it was damp, at an elevation of 1320 m (4330 ft). The hike was 5.5 km (3.4 mi) each day.
I also used the stove at home for some tests, detailed below. My home is at 1300 m (4265 ft).
I carried the Pinnacle in its pouch and tucked into my pot. It fit nicely in there with some matches and my salt & pepper shaker.
The stove performed very well on the trips I took it on. It melted snow in an acceptable amount of time, and boiled water rapidly. While making soup and heating up re-hydrated shepherd’s pie, I was able to turn the stove down to something around a high simmer. I ran out of fuel on the last morning of the trip, and as the stove was starting to dim, I turned the canister upside down in liquid fuel mode. This got me a rush of more powerful flame and then the stove carried on with running out of fuel.
The stove definitely puts out a lot of heat. While melting snow, I stopped paying attention to the stove and an air pocket formed in the bottom of my pot. When I looked back again, the pot was glowing red-hot. You can see it just starting again in the picture above. I quickly pushed snow down in the pot to cool it off, but the bottom of my pot is discoloured and warped now. Oops!
I wanted to do some timed, though still highly non-scientific tests at home to see how the stove performs. For the first test, I had the stove and canister at room temperature, and the canister (a 450 g (15.9 oz) one) was about 2/3 full. I turned the stove on high and boiled 250 mL (8.5 fl oz) of cold tap water in 1.3 minutes. Then, I put the canister in the freezer for 20 minutes to simulate winter. When I lit the stove the next time, the flame was noticeably weaker, but the stove stayed lit. I turned the canister upside down into liquid fuel mode, and if there was a difference in flame it was marginal. With a cold canister the stove took 2.5 minutes to bring my cold tap water to a boil.
The stove has been easy to light. Granted, I haven’t tried to light it in anything more than a light breeze yet, so I can’t really comment on much in that respect yet!
Ease of Use:
The GSI Pinnacle 4 Season Stove has proved easy to use so far. I find setup of the stove a bit fiddly, but not problematic overall. It always takes me a couple of tries to get all of the legs and pot supports unfolded in the right order without interfering with each other. I do find the pot supports a bit floppy. I would fold them out into position on the first leg, and by the time I had the other pot supports unfolded the pot supports would be flipped in all sorts of positions. However, I never had any trouble once the stove was unfolded and set on the ground, and no issues at all with pot stability.
I like that the stove is close to the ground. On my SAR training, I was setup on some bumpy ground and having the stove next to the canister rather than on top of the canister made it more stable than I am used to with canister stoves.
I have not used a windscreen with this stove. I did go into a retailer and try the windscreen designated for this stove, though. It’s an interesting design and would certainly work, but I found that it didn’t pack up very small and so chose not to purchase it.
So far the stove is as good as new. There is some discolouration on the burner, but other than that it’s still shiny!
SummarySo far my test of the GSI Pinnacle 4 Season Stove has been successful. I didn’t have deep winter conditions to test it in, but it has performed well and I have no major concerns presently. I look forward to continuing to use it on my summer backpacking adventures. Thanks to GSI Outdoors and BackpackGearTest.org for the chance to test this stove.
Field ConditionsDuring the final two months of this test, I have used the GSI Pinnacle 4 Season Stove on a further four nights while backpacking, as well as five nights of car camping. I used the stove to cook dinner and breakfast on all occasions. All of the weather has been hot and dry, with afternoon temperatures around 30 C (85 F) and cooling to about 10 C (50 F) overnight. I have used the stove at elevations ranging from 700 m to 2120 m (2300-6950 ft).
The stove continued to work well over the final two months of this test. I was able to boil water quickly and turn the stove down low enough to be called a high simmer. I had hot weather so didn’t gain any new insight into the 4-season functions of the stove.
I had some windy conditions on one of the car camping trips. Two days in a row, it was very breezy in the morning. I still found the stove relatively easy to light, once I got my lighter to stay lit for long enough. However, it took a very long time to boil my pot of water in the wind. I’ll definitely have to look at a windscreen for future use.
Although I didn’t track detailed fuel consumption over the course of this test, I had no concerns over fuel consumption. The stove didn’t seem to burn more fuel than I expected. Fuel consumption was higher in windy conditions, which is no surprise.
Ease of Use:
I have gotten used to the setup of the Pinnacle Stove and now get it set up with a minimum of fiddling. I seem to be able to remember the unfolding sequence now. I still find the support legs to be quite floppy, but I’ve gotten used to checking that they’re in the right position before I try to put my pot on the stove.
One of my favourite things about this stove is that it’s very stable. I’ve had it set up on both uneven grassy ground and rocky ground, and haven’t had any worries about it tipping. I have never hesitated to let go of my pot handles and leave things to cook.
The durability of the stove has been good; there have been no issues with it at all. There is a bit more discolouration than at the Field Report, but it’s certainly not affecting the stove’s function at all!
SummaryI enjoyed my test of the GSI Pinnacle 4 Season Stove. Unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate and provide any late-season deep freeze temperatures to truly test the winter capability. I found the stove easy to use and very functional.
Easy to set up
Good flame control
Liquid fuel option
Floppy pot supports
Thanks to GSI Outdoors and BackpackGearTest.org for the chance to test this stove.
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Reviews > Cook Gear > Stoves > GSI Pinnacle 4 Season Stove > Test Report by Andrea Murland
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