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Reviews > Cook Gear > Stoves > Snow Peak Giga Power SS Stove > Test Report by Josh Cormier

Snow Peak Giga Power Stove

Tester series by Josh Cormier

 

 

Initial report: 30-May-07

Field Report: 7-Aug-07

Long Term Report: 2-Oct-07

 


Personal biographical information:

·        Name:  Josh Cormier

·        Age: 27

·        Gender: Male

·        Height: 5’ 11” (1.80 m)

·        Weight: 162 lb (73 kg)

·        Email address:  swifteagle1 at hotmail dot com

·        City: Los Gatos, California

 

Backpacking background:

I joined the Boy Scouts when I was 11 and have been camping and backpacking ever since. I like to do challenging trips ranging from week long to weekend in mountainous areas. I would classify my gear as mid weight although now I am trying to move more toward lightweight. I now go backpacking at least once a year in the Sierra Nevada Mountains as well as monthly car camping trips with the Scouts.

 

Product Information: (information taken from Snow Peak website)

 

- Item Description: Snow Peak Giga Power, Stainless Steel, auto - Stove 

- Listed Stove weight: 3.75 oz (106 g)

- Measured Stove weight (no case): 3.8 oz (108 g)

- Measured Stove weight (with case): 4.6 oz (130 g)

- Listed Dimensions—4 1/8" d x 2 5/8" h (105 mm d x 67 mm h)

- Measured Dimensions—3 3/8" h x 1 3/4" w x 1 1/2” d (86 mm h x 44 mm w x 38 mm d)

- Listed Pack Size (Case)—1 3/4" d x 3 1/2" h (44 mm d x 89 mm h)

- Measured Size (Case)—3 1/2" h x 1 7/8" w x 1 5/8” d (89 mm h x 47 mm w x 41 mm d)

- Material: Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Brass

- Fuel used: Runs on Snow Peak Giga Power fuel canister

- Manufactures web site: http://www.snowpeak.com

- Year of Manufacture: 2007

- MSRP: $49.95

- Item Received: 17-May-07

- Initial Condition: The product arrived in new condition

- Item Completeness: The item came in retail packaging and included all required pieces.

- Package Includes: Stove, plastic stove case, and instructions.

 

Initial Report - 30-May-07

 

Packaging:

The stove arrived in a standard brown cardboard shipping box that was huge compared to the stove box inside. When I first saw the stove packaging, I thought “wow that’s small”. The stove came in the retail packaging and gives more information on the outside of the box than I found on the website. On opening the box I found a cream colored plastic case and an instruction manual.

 

Stove Packaging and Fuel

 

Initial Impressions:

The stove itself is smaller than any stove I have used to date. The pot supports are made of stainless and were already discolored by the company’s initial test firing before shipment.  The fuel valve is controlled by a wire turn key that has become the popular option on most stoves now-a-days. The design of the stove is pretty simple and straight forward, it folds compactly, has a fuel valve adjustment, a sparker unit, and a place to screw in the fuel canister. No windscreen is included with the stove and I wonder how it will perform with out one. The sparker unit is compact and feels sturdy; I will be watching to see if it loosens up over many uses.

 

 Trying to fold up the pot stand legs and fit the stove back in the original case was tougher that it looked. I finally figured out that I had to press all the pot stand legs in at the same time, then they would all fold correctly. The case is compact and durable, it has a top that presses on and is held on by a ridge running around the lower half of the case. There is a small hole in the bottom of the case. I’m not sure if this is to let air flow in and out of the case when packed or to allow debris to fall out of the case and into my backpack when it is put away. I went to the manufacturer’s website to look for information on this stove and all I could find was the price, weight, dimensions, and material that the stove is made of. I could not find any manuals or information on the care of the stove. Although the stove seems simple enough, it looks like I should be careful to never loose the manual that came with my stove.

Stove Top

 

First Time Setup:

The first time setup of his stove is almost ridiculously simple when I compare it to all the other stoves I have experience using (mostly white gas stoves). I opened the case, pulled the stove out, opened the pot stand legs, and screwed in the Snow Peak Giga Power canister. There is a rubber O-ring on the bottom of the stove that presses down on the lip of the canister fuel when I screw it in. I’m not sure if this is to trap any leaking gas or to absorb vibration from the upper unit to the canister. The whole first time setup took me just a couple of minutes. I did notice right away that when I screwed in the canister that gas started coming out of the burner. Turning the valve to the off position took care of that, the stove instructions actually say to turn the valve to the off position before connecting the canister. It turns out that when putting this stove away, the valve key usually gets turned partially into the on position so the next time I take it out the stove is on rather than off. I will need to be careful of this especially when connecting the canister when in camp with other people. The canister screwed on and off easily and I was not able to detect any leaking by listening while the canister was connected to the stove.

Stove off

 

First Time Cooking:

My first time using this stove was at a 2 day car camping trip in Hollister, CA. It was clear and cloudless with morning temperatures around 65 F (18 C) and a slight breeze all day. I wanted to warm up some coffee I had in a thermos from the previous day. I opened the case pulled out the stove, opened the pot stand legs, made sure the valve was closed, and screwed in the canister. I gave the valve a few tries to see how far I had to turn it to get the gas to start flowing.  Once I had a feel of how the stove worked, including a few test sparks, I fired it up. I gripped the sparker with my left hand and turned the fuel valve with my right. As soon as the fuel started hissing out I squeezed the sparker and the stove ignited on the first try. I placed my pot of coffee on the pot stand and turned the fuel valve one turn to the left which seems to be full on. The pot was stable on the stand and did not want to slide or tip when I nudged it. There was slight breeze, but even without a windscreen the flame did not go out. I did not measure how long it took to boil the coffee or how much I put in, or even the outside air temperature. My only excuse is I hadn’t even had my coffee yet. In my upcoming tests I will be recording this stove’s performance and the surrounding environment.

 

While the stove was on I played with the fuel valve to see how low the flame could be adjusted. It appeared to go pretty low so I will need to do some testing to see if it can simmer or cook pancakes with out burning them. When the coffee was done I turned the stove off and let it cool for a few minutes. When it was cool I took the canister off, folded the stove up, and placed it back in its case. The entire teardown took just a few minutes.

Stove on High

 

I enjoyed the brief use of this stove on this trip and look forward to more in depth testing on my next camping or backpacking trip.

 

 

 

Field Report - 7-Aug-07

 

 

Field Conditions:

I was able to use this stove on 3 day two night trip to Henry Coe State Park, in Morgan Hill California. The elevation ranged from 1000 – 2600 ft (305 – 792 m) and the temperature ranged from 60 – 95 F (16 – 35 C). It was nice weather with a little wind but warm with few clouds and no precipitation. The hills in the area a mostly grass covered with few oak trees interspersed here and there. Being the end of July all the grass was dead making the hills a kind of brown color, or what those around here call California Gold.

 

Field use:

The first time I used the stove on this trip I again made the mistake of putting the stove on the fuel canister without turning the wire key valve fully closed. This resulted in the stove releasing gas as soon as I started to screw the stove into the fuel canister. The wire key valve will always be open when the stove is initially taken out of the case because of how the stove must pack down to fit into the case. It is important to remember this fact especially if the stove will be set up near an open flame; like near other cook stoves, or a campfire.

 

After the gas dissipated I opened the valve again and lit the stove, it ignited of the first try and was ready to cook. Partially precooked sausage and hash browns were the fare of the morning and allowed me to try cooking on the stove using an 8 in (20.3 cm) frying pan. There were no stability issues with the pan setting on top of the stove’s pot stand.  I was able to leave the pan on the pot stand without fear of it sliding off even though the stove was on a slight incline. I was however, not comfortable flipping the hash browns without using my pot gripper for additional support. The heat was easily adjustable for the temperature that I wanted which was about halfway between high and off. I was able to finish cooking the hash browns without burning them. Once I was done I noticed two things: first the stove is high off the ground keeping it from getting as dirty from grease splashes or dirt kicked up from the ground and second, the stove is small enough that none of it extends beyond the edges of the pan, so if something does drip or fall out of the pan it should go on the ground rather than the stove. This is not always the case however as you will read below when I talk about making coffee.

 

Simmering Stove

 

For dinner I boiled some chipped up beef jerky then added some noodles to it when the jerky got soft. For this I used a 1 quart (1 liter) titanium pot that also set well on the pot stand even when it was full of water. Once the noodles were added I turned the stove down to try and simmer some of the water out of the pot. While I was trying to adjust the stove to the lowest setting I noticed that it is tricky to make fine adjustments on the lower settings. As I would turn the wire key to the right I would get the flame where I wanted it, but when I released the key the setting would change. The flame would either get higher or the go out, caused by me not releasing the wire key evenly. It took a few tries and a few reignites before I could get the setting low enough for a low simmer. I also noticed that when a slight wind would blow, the flame would continue to burn on the far side of the burner but the simmering would stop. As soon as the wind quit I could see the simmering start again. It was not so much the flame going out on the wind side of the stove as it was, the heat being swept away by the wind. Even though the stove did not come with a windscreen I would highly recommend using something to block the wind.

 

The next morning I was making cowboy coffee (minus the sock), because I had forgotten the French press. After dumping a handful of grounds into the pot of water I lit the stove and turned the flame up. Doing other things in the general area I forgot to turn the flame down when the water got hot which resulted in the coffee boiling over. The end result was coffee grounds and residue all over my stove. Once the stove had cooled I took a paper towel and started to clean the grounds of the stove and fuel canister. The canister came clean but there were some grounds and residue left in hard to get to spots on the stove. I dribbled some water over the stove and used a wet paper towel to rinse the rest of the mess off of the stove. I did not submerse the stove in water but rather gave it a light rinse. When it was clean I tried to start it to make sure no damage had been done but the igniter was not sparking. I shook the stove and blew in the igniter area to try to force any excess water out, after a few more tries the igniter started sparking again. When I tried to light the stove, it would start but would go out if I turned the flame adjustor up too high. I re-lit the stove and left it on low for a few minutes to dry out the water in the burner area. After a few minutes the burner started to make a different sound and I was able to fully adjust the flame again. After that the stove did not give me any other problems.

 

Stove Cooking

 

To date I have used the stove with the following brands of fuel canisters:

Snow Peak GP 250

Coleman’s Butane/Propane mix

 

The only difference that I immediately noticed between the different brand fuels was that the Coleman fuel canister had to be screwed on farther to get the rubber gasket to seal against the canister. I believe that this gasket is there to trap any gas that leaks from the canister to stove seal.

 

Overall this stove has performed extremely well. The sparker has never missed a beat (except when I got water on it), the pot stand continues to fold open and closed with ease, the fuel canister fitting does not leak, and the wire key flame adjustor still works just as it did out of the box. It is very easy to setup and teardown and cools down pretty quickly so I can pack it away. I enjoy using this stove because it is so easy to setup and light without needing matches.

 

 

 

Long Term Report - 2-Oct-07

 

 

Field Conditions:

I was able to use this stove on 3 day two night trip to Del Valle Regional Park, in Livermore California. The elevation ranged from 750 – 1100 ft (229 – 335 m) and the temperature ranged from 55 – 81 F (13 – 22 C). It was rainy the first evening but that cleared up the next day. For the rest of the trip it was clear with a slight breeze and never got to warm in the shade. The hills in the area a mostly grass covered with few oak trees interspersed here and there.

 

Long term use:

On my most recent trip I was able to use the stove to boil water for cooking, cleaning and hot drinks. With the temperature being down in the low 60’s F (15 C) in the morning, I did notice that the stove’s output seemed diminished from the usual flame output. I have heard that this is a common occurrence with propane/butane fueled stoves. However it did still boil the water I needed for that much needed first cup of coffee in the morning.

 

Throughout my uses of this stove, the one thing that stands out is not having a windscreen. This stove is efficient but I can’t help but think how much more efficient it would be if it had a wind screen. Every time a breeze would blow or the wind would shift, some heat would be carried away from the pot or whatever I was cooking with.

 

I am pleased with this stove, as it has performed well during the testing period under my many uses. The stove is still easy to pack and unpack from its folded position and fits nicely in its container. I have not forgotten that the stove needs to be turned off after unpacking it from the container. Several times I would start to screw in the fuel canister, and then remember to shut the valve all the way before continuing. The igniter has worked without fail and usually ignites the fuel in the first spark. The materials of the stove have held up well to the use that it has been put through. There are no signs of joints loosening or components breaking. I also enjoy not having to dig for matches in my pack to light the stove.

 

Below you will find the answers to the questions I wanted to answer by the end of this test.

 

What I liked:

The stove is small when packed and easy to stow

Instant light up, no matches required

 

What I did not like:

No windscreen

Wire key valve must be closed after unpacking each time prior to connecting the fuel canister

 

Dependability:

 

Does the stove consistently fire up without any repair or major adjustments?

- Throughout this test I have had no issues with the repeatability of the lighting the stove under normal circumstances.

Does the stove hold up well under use?

- The stove has not shown any adverse signs of wear from use during the testing period.

Will the stove be able to hold 1 quart (1 L) of water in the pot with stability?

- As long as I could find a good solid place to set the fuel canister on when I was cooking I has no issues with the stability of the stove when boiling water or frying food for that matter.

Is the stove easy to take apart and repair?

- I had no need to take any part of the stove apart during the testing period.

Does the stove work with the butane fuel in cold weather?

- In colder weather I did notice a decreased output of the flame level, but it still performed well.

Does the canister connection start to leak over time?

- I had no issues with the canister connection leaking at all even though I used several different types of fuel canisters.

Does the sparker consistently work time after time?

- Yes, unless I get water on it. But once I got the water out it started working again.

 

 

Efficiency:

 

Is the stoves flame fully adjustable to conserve fuel?

- Yes, the flame is very adjustable using the wire key.

Is the weight to dependability/usefulness ratio favorable?

- The stove is lightweight, packs up nice and small and has not let me down,

Does the stove cool down quickly so I can pack it away?

- The stove cools down in a matter of minutes depending on weather conditions. I can usually turn the stove off, take care of what I was cooking, then start pack the stove away.

Does the stove pack away easily into my backpack?

- Yes, the stove container is small enough to fit almost anywhere in my backpack.

Does the stove fire up and become ready for me to cook on right away?

- Yes, as soon as the stove is connected to the fuel bottle I can fire it up and start cooking right away.

 

 

Ease of Use:

 

Is the stove well thought out?

- The stove is simple and efficient in its design.

Is the stove easy to setup and takedown?

- Yes, all it takes is adding/removing the canister, and unfolding/folding the post stand to be ready to use. 

Is the stove easy to light?

- Yes, built in sparker worked the first time, every time.

Is the process of connecting the stove to the fuel source straight forward?

- Yes, the fuel needs to be screwed into the bottom of the stove until it is tight.

Does the sparker shock me if I’m not careful?

- I have had no “shocking” experiences.

Does anything on the stove need to be cleaned often?

- I have not had to perform any maintenance on this stove.

Is the stove easy to clean when I splash whatever I am cooking on it?

- To clean the stove I just splashed water over it, then wiped it down and blew the water out of the igniter.

Can I use other canisters besides Snow Peak’s as a fuel source?

- Yes, I have also used Coleman’s Butane/Propane mixed fuel with this stove with no problems.

 

This concludes my Long Term Report. Thank you to Snow Peak and BackpackGearTest for allowing me to test this item.

 



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