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Reviews > Cook Gear > Stoves > Soto Amicus with Stealth Igniter > Test Report by Brian Hartman

SOTO AMICUS STOVE
TEST SERIES BY BRIAN HARTMAN
LONG-TERM REPORT
March 27, 2016

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Brian Hartman
EMAIL: bhart1426ATyahooDOT com
AGE: 48
LOCATION:
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 150 lb (68.00 kg)

I have been backpacking for over 20 years throughout Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and most recently in Western USA. In addition to backpacking I enjoy family camping with my wife and kids and being outdoors in general. I would describe myself as a mid-weight backpacker. I use fairly light weight equipment and gear but still like to bring more than the bare essentials with me while on the trail.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

IMAGE 1
Manufacturer: Soto USA Inc
Year of Manufacture: 2015
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.sotooutdoors.com/
Retail Price: N/A
Listed Weight: 2.9 oz (81 g)
Measured Weight: 2.9 oz (82 g)

Other details:
Technology: Gas Canister
Dimensions (w x d x h) when in use: 4.3 x 4.3 x 3.5 inches (10.9 x 10.9 x 8.8 cm)
Dimensions (w x d x h) when stowed: 1.5 x 1.5 x 2.8 inches (3.9 x 3.9 x 7.2 cm)
Output: 2600 kcal/h, 3030 W, 10,210 BTU
Duration: Burns approximately 1.5 hours with 8 oz (227 g) canister

The Amicus stove (hereafter called Amicus or stove) is a new lightweight gas stove by Soto that operates on Isobutane canisters containing a mix of 70% butane and 30% propane gas. Soto designed the Amicus as their first low cost stove with high-end performance. It features Soto's triple o-ring seals, Stealth igniter, and spring-loaded pot supports. Soto also claims that the Amicus has excellent shock resistance and performance in windy conditions due to its unique design.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Soto Amicus stove arrived in a small retail box with photos of the stove on the front and both sides of it. Product features were listed on the back of the box along with the stove's specs including weight, dimensions, burner output and run time. Inside the box was the stove, a small black storage bag with Soto's logo on it and an instruction manual that does a good job of describing setup, operation and maintenance of the stove. The picture on the left (below) shows everything that was included in the box.

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Upon removing the Amicus from its box I was immediately impressed by the stove's light weight and compact design. Upon examining it further, the Amicus felt quite rugged and appeared to be made of quality materials and meticulously built.

By way of description, the stove consists of a burner assembly, Stealth ignition system, control valve, and four pot supports (reference drawing above). The burner is stainless steel and measures 1.5" (3.8 cm) in diameter. The burner surface is concave while the burner head has a raised ledge around its crown to act as a sort of windshield, protecting the stove's flame from the wind. Soto does not provide or recommend the use of an actual windscreen with this stove as it can cause the fuel canister to get dangerously hot.

The Stealth ignition system consists of a Piezo ignition button and ignition unit along with a hidden electric line that extends up to an electrode built into the burner assembly. Pushing the ignition button creates a spark at the electrode that ignites the fuel to start the stove. Soto advises in their instruction manual that high atmospheric pressures above 10,000 ft (3,048 m) can affect the stove's ignition system and may make it difficult or impossible to light. For this reason they always recommend bringing matches or some other secondary lighting source. The Stealth ignition system is just one of the things I'm looking forward to testing on the Amicus.

The control valve assembly consists of a triple 0-ring sealed needle valve. The valve adjusts the flow of gas as the flame control handle is turned clockwise or counterclockwise. The handle requires one and a half turns to completely open or close the valve. It will be interesting to see how precisely the control valve and handle assembly allow me to regulate the amount of fuel flowing to the stove. Having precise control over fuel flow is very important when trying to simmer items without extinguishing the stove's flame.

IMAGE 5 Surrounding the burner are four pot supports on spring loaded hinges. The supports are 1.25 in (3.2 cm) long and swivel out from hinges that are affixed to the underside of the burner assembly. When in use, the pot supports can be quickly lifted into place and secured to hooks on the outer wall of the burner head. When not in use, the supports can be unhooked and rotated down for compact storage. The supports are also notched on top to help prevent pots from sliding around. Given the low profile of the Amicus at 3.5 in (8.8 cm) high, I suspect it will be plenty stable with the pots and pans I use on backpacking trips. Of note is that Soto advises against using any cookware that has a larger diameter than 5.5 in (14 cm).

The Amicus stove connects directly to the fuel canister via a threaded connection at the bottom of the valve body (see picture to right). The o-ring at this location is the only maintenance item on the stove that is also replaceable.

The storage bag is made of nylon and appears to provide adequate protection when the stove is in transit. The bag has a drawstring top and is approximately 4.5 x 3 in (11 x 7.6 cm), just large enough to hold the stove.

TRYING IT OUT

Using the Amicus stove is as simple as following the steps below:

1. Fold out control valve handle and make sure it is fully closed
2. Fold out the pot supports
3. Screw canister onto bottom of stove
4. Open control valve one turn counterclockwise and light the burner
5. Adjust control valve as needed for height of flame

Doing so I was able to unpack, setup and light the stove in my backyard in approximately 1 minute. I had 16 oz (0.5 L) of water to a rolling boil less than 2 minutes later.

SUMMARY

The Soto Amicus stove is well-engineered and very easy to use with lots of nice features. During Initial Testing, I was quickly able to set up the stove and boil two cups of water. I am anxious to see how well it simmers and look forward to putting it through its paces on the trail.

This concludes my Initial Report for the Soto Amicus stove.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

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During Field Testing I used the Soto Amicus stove on three backpacking trips and a day hike. My pack weight during these outings ranged from 34 lb (15 kg) while overnighting to 9 lb (4 kg) while day hiking and I used the stove to cook a variety of breakfasts, lunches and dinners while on the trail.

Hoosier National Forest, Indiana: I hiked approximately 16 miles (26 km) on this three day backpacking trip. Temperatures ranged from the upper 30's F (3.3 C) during the day to the mid 20's F (-4.4 C) at night and the terrain was rugged and heavily forested. I spent the majority of my time on-trail since the ground hadn't frozen over yet. I used the stove to cook all of my meals including oatmeal and eggs for breakfast, tuna and noodles for lunch, and soup for dinner.

Hoosier National Forest, Indiana: The weather was partly sunny on this two-day backpacking trip with highs in the mid 30's F (1.6 C) and lows in the upper 20's F (-2 C). This time around I hiked 14 miles (22.5 km) while splitting my time on and off-trail. I cooked hash browns, eggs and oatmeal for breakfast, had a hamburger for lunch, and made soup for dinner.

Oldenburg, Indiana: This was a two-day backpacking trip totaling 6 mi (9.6 km). Skies were overcast and temperatures were in the mid 30's (1 C) on this trip and there was 3-4 inches of snow on the ground from earlier in the week. My meals consisted of oatmeal, eggs and hash browns for breakfast, salmon for lunch and soup for dinner.

Devils River State Recreational Trail: I hiked 9 mi (14.5 km) on a hard packed gravel trail and stopped once to boil some water for hot tea in order to warm up. The weather was clear and breezy with temperatures in the mid 20's F (-4 C).


PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

One of many nice features of the Amicus stove is that it takes up so little room in my backpack. The fact that it weighs hardly anything is another big advantage. When packing for my trips, I simply tucked it beside my other cooking items and forgot about it till it was needed. It obviously didn't mind getting jostled around in my backpack as it always started up on the first try. Thanks to its rugged design I never worried about the stove failing to start or breaking.

IMAGE 2 IMAGE 3

Setting up the stove is quite simple and thankfully I was able to do so many times in the cold without removing my gloves. Of course having piezo-electric ignition meant that I was also able to light the stove without removing my gloves. On most trips I had the Amicus assembled, lit and was ready to cook within minutes of taking it out of my backpack. I really like not having to prime it, unlike my liquid fueled stove. I also had no problems using the Amicus without a windscreen, although my campsites were sheltered for the most part. On my second trip to the Hoosier National Forest, it was breezy for most of the afternoon and evening. Purposely I set up camp on the leeward side of a ridge and had no problems getting the stove lit and cooking soup on it.

IMAGE 4 One thing I don't like is having to keep track of how much fuel remains in my fuel canisters but that's just the way it is with canister stoves. On at least one occasion I found myself carrying three canisters because two of them were almost empty and I didn't want to chance running out of fuel.

I have three different size cooking pots that range in diameter from 4.5 in (12 cm) to 9 in (23 cm) and had no problems using any of them with this stove. The stove legs did a great job of holding the pots so that nothing slid off or tipped over. When heating water for tea on my hike along Devils River Trail I was able to boil 16 ounces (473 ml) of water in about 3 minutes in temperatures in the mid 20's F (-4 C).

Although I haven't sauteed vegetables, simmered spaghetti sauce, or made pancakes on this stove I am quite confident that given calm conditions and enough time the Amicus could easily handle these tasks.

Finally there's no real maintenance per se with the Amicus; I simply let it cool down and pack it away until the next time I need it.


SUMMARY

I really enjoyed using the Soto Amicus stove during this test period. It is well-designed with many nice features: it's small, lightweight, easy to set up, quick to light and it has great heat output. I had no problems controlling the heat output of the stove and could go from boiling water to cooking eggs by simply dialing down the fuel valve.

This concludes my Field Report. Please check back in two months for my final test results. In the meantime, thanks to Soto and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to test this stove.





LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

During this test period I used the Amicus stove on two weekend trips to the Hoosier National Forest totaling five days and four nights. Temperatures ranged from 26 F to 68 F (-3 C to 20 C) and wind conditions were calm to breezy. On both trips I used the stove to boil water as well as cook food.

Trip #1
Location: Hoosier National Forest, Indiana
Elevation: 860 ft (262 m)
Temperature: 26 F to 55 F (-3 C to 13 C)
Conditions: Light breeze to breezy

Trip #2
Location: Hoosier National Forest, Indiana
Elevation: 881 ft (269 ft)
Temperature: 54 F to 68 F (12 C to 20 C)
Conditions: Calm to light breeze

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Amicus stove performed wonderfully during Long Term testing. It has so much going for it, including its light weight design, compact size, robust build and zero maintenance construction that it has become my go-to stove.

Pot supports - The supports worked very well during Long Term testing. They were quite stable and I didn't have any issues with pots or pans sliding around or off the stove. So far the most weight I've put on the support arms has been roughly 2 lbs (0.9 kg), which included my 1.5L (51 oz) pot with 24 oz (0.7L) of water, and they held up just fine. The fact that the supports fold up right next to the stove body gives it an incredibly compact footprint for storage.

Heat Output - Although cooking times were slightly affected by temperature and wind, the Amicus still managed to boil water and cook meals incredibly fast. What was most impressive for me was the fact that it was as reliable in cold weather and windy conditions as it was on mild, calm days. The Amicus provided consistent heat output despite cold temperatures and the flame never went out due to wind gusts or even when my fuel canisters were low. I was able to adjust the heat output with some precision which allowed me to cook several items at lower temperatures, an added bonus. On both of my trips this test period I carried a wind screen although I chose not to use it. I'm fairly confident that the use of a windscreen would eliminate longer cooking times especially on windy days.

Igniter - The Stealth igniter has been very reliable and is definitely my favorite feature of this stove; I've had no mechanical issues whatsoever with it and the convenience and time savings of not having to use matches makes it the ideal stove in my mind. The igniter has been so reliable during my past five months of testing that I've never had to use a match to light the stove.

Efficiency - I tracked the usage of one of my fuel canisters during this test period and found that I was able to get approximately 4 days of use out of it, while cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. I estimate I got 2.5 hours of use out of the canister before it went empty, having boiled approximately 1.5 - 2 gallons (5.7 - 7.6 L) of water and cooked a half dozen meals. Although I didn't take temperature, wind and fuel settings into consideration, I still felt pretty good about the results I achieved and the fuel efficiency of this stove.

In review, the SOTO Amicus has been ultra-reliable throughout the past five months of testing. It has performed well in temperatures ranging from the upper 60's F (20 C) down to the mid 20's F (-4 C), and has always kept a steady flame even in windy conditions. I really like how compact and lightweight the stove is and how easy it is to set up and use in the field. It is the first canister stove I've used that has a Piezo igniter and it works exceptionally well, producing nice bright sparks that immediately ignite the fuel to light the stove. Just as important, the Amicus has been fuel efficient, even in cold and windy weather conditions so that I've been able to get multiple trips out of each canister. Finally I've had no problems dialing the temperature down to do slow cooking.

SUMMARY

The Soto Amicus is a great all-weather stove and unarguably the best canister stove I have used thus far. It has definitely earned a top spot in my gear closet.

I would like to thank SOTO USA and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Amicus stove. This concludes my Long Term report and this test series.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

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