SNOWPEAK GIGAPOWER TI STOVE
TEST SERIES BY DAVID BRADISH
September 26, 2007
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Huntington Beach California USA
6' 2" (1.88 m)
170 lb (77.10 kg)
I started hiking in my teens in Arizona and New Mexico, primarily focusing on winter hiking. Since 1991 I have hiked a lot with my brother-in-law Ray mostly in California's Sierra Nevada range, and the southern mountains. In winter I bring as much gear as necessary to be safe and comfortable. For 3-season hiking I try to follow the principles of ultra light.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Snow Peak
Web site: www.snowpeak.com
Product: Giga Power Auto stove
Year manufactured: 2007
MSRP: $ 49.95 (US).
Weight listed: 3.7 oz/105 g
Weight by me: same
Listed dimensions: 4-1/8" x 2-5/8"/105 x 66 mm
Dimensions by me: same
Closed dimensions: 1.75" x 3.25"/83 x 45 mm
The Snow Peak Giga Power Auto is a very small, compact self igniting canister stove. It came to me in the retail box containing the stove packed inside of its storage case and manuals printed in English and Japanese. The instructions are very thorough. The web site does not give much information about the stove, but it looked just like the picture. The stove has a claimed 10,000 BTU heat output and a boil time of 3 minutes and 48 seconds for 1 liter/quart of water to come to 95 C/203 F.
The stove is constructed from stainless steel aluminum and brass. A brass sleeved aluminum collar has a black gasket to help seal the unit to the fuel canister. Above it is the brass fuel valve that is controlled by a steel wire handle. This handle folds up for storage. When the handle is in the stored placement it is not in the off position. It needs to be fully closed before attaching to the canister.
Above the valve is the fuel air mixing chamber and then the mesh covered steel burner. Four 9 gauge steel pot supports fold away from the burner to make the cooking surface. The supports each have five grooves pressed into the ends of them to help keep pots from slipping. The stove appears to have been tested at the factory as the supports all have burn marks on the ends of them already.
Attached to the side of the stove is a self ignition unit. A grey plastic plunger activates the peizio electric generator which shoots an electric spark from the top of the electrode that sits next to the burner.
The stove fits inside of a cream colored hard plastic case. The 0.8 oz/23 g case closes with a snap on lid. It feels sturdy and seems like it will do a good job of protecting the stove in my pack. Time will tell.
The stove attaches to the fuel canister by simply screwing on. I have three kinds of fuel canisters including a couple of Snow Peak's own brand. The stove attaches to them all.
I timed a boil at near sea level inside of our offices to check the manufacturer's claims. I used 1 quart/liter of 65 F/18 C water in a titanium pot. It took 4 minutes to start boiling and 47 seconds more to come to a full rolling boil. I weighed the canister before and after to determine that it used 0.5 oz/14 g of fuel for the boil.
I will see how it performs in the field next week on a long trip in the high Sierra Nevada. This concludes my Initial Report.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I took the Giga Power stove on a three night backpacking trip in Sequioa Kings Canyon National Park (SEKI). I also used it the night before in a campground by the trail head to make dinner and breakfast before the hike. The elevations it was used at ranged from 5100'/ m to 10500'/3200 m. The temperatures during use were from 40 F/5 C to 60 F/16 C. It was used a total of 11 times by me and my brother in law during the trip.
I took it on a two day backpacking trip to the eastern Sierra Nevada, and used it the evening before at the trailhead too. Elevations when used were both around 10000'/3050 m. The temperatures during use were from 40 F/5 C to 70 F/21 C
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
On the day before the trip that we were going on I used the Giga Power to make dinner and breakfast at a campground called Sentinel in Cedar Grove of the Sequoia forest. Ray used it also as we were sharing the weight of it on our hike. This was the first use in the field and it worked great. There was a squirrel that decided to get a closer look at the Snow Peak stove.
The entire hike the stove fired up with the igniter every time. Even at 10500'/3200 m it fired with no problem. This made me happy as Ray is a lighter nut and has had so many peizio fired lighters that would not light once we were above 9000' or 10000'/3000 m. It is a good thing I always carry matches. I never needed them on this hike.
When I did the timed boil in our office I used a 2 l/qt titanium pot. The evening and morning before the hike I used a 2 l/qt MSR aluminum pot. But on the backpacking trip I used a 0.75 l/qt titanium kettle to cut weight and space. The first night it took forever to get the water to boil which was weird as it should boil faster at a higher elevation. I found the problem when I went to pick up the kettle and branded my fingers with the handle. I could not see the flame but it must have been going outside of the kettle and heating the handles instead of the pot.
The next night I was at the highest elevation and it fired up and burned well. I turned the flame down this time and it still seemed to take a long time to get to a boil but at least it was not going past the sides of the pot. I found out that because of all the humidity in the air, as we were surrounded by snow or water always it was not registering that it was boiling because I could not see steam coming out of the little hole in the kettle lid.
The next night I left the lid loose so I could check on it as it heated. This seems to be the ticket. It worked fine. I did a total of 10 water boils for instant type meals and one real cooking episode when Ray used it to cook some fancy meal at the trailhead. I used a brand new canister for the backpacking trip itself so that I could track usage. I used it a total of 6 times at an average temprature of 50 F/10 C and an average elevation of 9500'/2890 m with an average of 2.25 cups/0.53 l of water per boil. It used a total of 2.2 oz/62 g of fuel for the trip. This gives it an average of 0.35 oz/10 g of fuel per boil. Not bad to my mind.
The trip to the east side had no problems with the stove either. Again I used it the evening before the hike at the trail head and on the trail. It self-started every time on the first try. I used a bigger pot as can be seen above and that helped with the hot handles problem. It also made the water boil faster.
The wind can slow things down somewhat. At the trail head trying to make my veggie chili it was taking too long because of the breeze. Ray made a wind block for me seen below. It worked well.
I really like how small this packs down to. As I used a 33 liter/2000 cubic inch pack I did not have a lot of space to waste.
So far I have no complaints about the Giga Power stove. I think that my first canister stove is a winner. This concludes my field report.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I used the Giga Power on a 42 mile/68 km backpacking trip to Mount Whitney and the surrounding area. The temperature was from 36 F/2 C to 75 F/24 C and went from sunny to rain and back to sun. The rain had stopped when I cooked at our camp at 10700'/3261 m elevation.
I also used it on a two day trip with my daughter to San Jacinto State park. The weather was great. I did not have my brother-in-law Ray's weather station but guess that the temperature got up to 80 F/27 C. I used it at a camp in Round Valley at 9100'/2774 m elevation.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I am hooked on canister stoves now. This stove is so easy to use and takes so little room in my pack that I will never go back to white gas except in winter.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
The stove has kept working great. It has missed a few times with the starter not igniting right away but that could have something to do with the elevation I was at.
On the trip with my daughter we brought the makings for Texas Straw Hats. Chili, Fritos and shredded cheddar cheese. I was able to put the vegetarian chili on at a low flame to heat slowly so it did not burn. I could never do that with my XGK. We made hot coco after it started getting dark and oatmeal the next morning.
The fuel use is very good. I have used two of the 220g/7.76 oz canisters of fuel so far for all the trips and I was sharing the stove with Ray until he started testing a stove of his own. It has been used for close to 30 meals and water boils so far with an average of 10 g/1/3 oz fuel each. 2 cup/0.5 l water boils were always around 3 minutes but that was just about always above 8000'/2440 m elevation.
I have never had any problems with the stove clogging or burning weird. It also has stayed much cleaner over the test time than the stoves I am use to. This blended fuel must be pretty clean burning.
I can not find anything about the stove that I would change. I like everything to be as light as possible but know that they make this in a titanium version that weighs less. I may have to look at them.
This concludes my long term report. Thank you to Snow Peak and backpackgeartest.org for letting me test this stove.
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Read more gear reviews by David Bradish