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Reviews > Cook Gear > Stoves > Soto OD-1R Micro Regulator Stove > Test Report by Cheryl McMurray

SOTO OD-1R STOVE
TEST SERIES BY CHERYL MCMURRAY
INITIAL REPORT: March 22, 2010
FIELD REPORT: June 1, 2010
LONG TERM REPORT: August 3, 2010

TESTER INFORMATION

Name:  Cheryl McMurray
Age:  51
Gender:  Female
Height:  5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Weight:  145 lb (66.6 kg)
Email Address:  cherylmcmurray2ATgmailDOTcom
City, State, Country:  Garden Grove, California, U.S.

BACKPACKING BACKGROUND


I've been backpacking and hiking for four years, mostly on weekends year around.  Overnight trips are usually long weekend trips in the Eastern Sierras with 32 lb to 40 lb (15 kg to 18 kg) loads depending on the season.  One class two rock climb with a day pack is common.   Day hikes are 10-15 mi (16 km to 24 km) in the San Gabriel Mountains with loads of 15 lb to 20 lb (7 kg to 9 kg).  I'm a tent style camper and have experienced snow, sub-freezing temperatures, winds (once was gale force), light rain, but mostly fair weather.


INITIAL REPORT


PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: Soto Outdoors
Year of manufacture:  2009
URL:  www. sotooutdoors.com
Product:  SOTO OD-1R Stove
Listed weight:  2.6 oz (73 g)
Weight as delivered: 2.4 oz (68 g), 3 oz (85 g) with stuff sack
Dimensions in use:  3.8 in x 3.7 in x 3.4 in (9.6 cm x 9.4 cm x 8.6 cm)
Dimensions when stowed:  2.0 in x 2.0 in x 3.2 in (5.2 cm x 5.2 cm x 8.1 cm)
Fuel type:  Isobutane canister
Approximate burn time:  1.5 hours with 250 g canister
MSRP: n/a
Warranty:  1 year

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION


The SOTO OD-1R stove is a compact, lightweight, single burner stove.  It has a convex burner that distributes the flame over a larger area of the pot and a stealth igniter installed inside the burner post for increased simplicity and improved ignition making it shock resistant.  It's designed for screw on type canister fuel and features slide and lock pot supports that extend approximately 4 in (10 cm) in diameter when fully extended.  The Micro-Regulator controls the gas flow and is supposed to improve the stove's ability to maintain consistent power output in cold and hot weather.

SOTO OD-1R Stove (taken from website)Stove compacted (taken from website)
SOTO OD-1R Stove (taken from website)
Stove compacted (taken from website)

INITIAL IMPRESSION

I received the stove in a bubble wrap envelope and when I picked it up was impressed with how light the package was.  It came in a box that contained the stove, sack, and instructions.  The box also has the stove features and statistics printed on the back along with a data reference and gas consumption guide on an inside flap accesssed at the back of the box.  The advertised weight is 2.6 oz (73 g) but tipped the scale at 2.4 oz (68 g) with a total packing weight (including the stuff sack) of 3 oz (85 g).  The stuff sack appears to be quite durable considering its weight, is cylindrical in shape and measures 4.5 in (11 cm) tall and 2.2 in (5.6 com) in diameter.  The stove is easy to insert into the stuff sack but seems to be more challenging to take out.  The stove stands 3 in (8 cm) tall and 2 in (5 cm) in diameter when the pot supports are not extended. 

The burner surface is 1.8 in (4.6 cm) in diameter and appears to create a large flame surface that the manufacturer claims will provide a more even cooking area beneath the pot.  The pot support arms secure at an angle downward when storing.  To extend them for cooking, slide them up, rotate the arm so that the teeth on the support arm is facing up, and then slide down to lock in place. (reverse for storage).  The stealth igniter is located to the side under the flame control knob and is operated by pushing in the red igniter button.  When returning the stove to a storage position I have found that the flame control knob needs to be turned about a 1/4 turn to the left in order for it to be securely stowed.  If turned off all the way to the right it will hit the support arm and bouce back.

INSTRUCTIONS

The instructions that come with the SOTO OD-1R stove include operation cautions, specifications, operating procedure, maintenance and care, troubleshooting, and registration/warranty information.  The instruction sheet is in English only but there are numerous diagrams.  The manufacturer states that the SOTO OD-1R is a compact stove and using pots larger than 6.2 in (16cm) in diameter may cause damage to the stove itself as well as potential heat build-up risking a possible fuel canister explosion.  One other instruction that the manufacturer notes worth mentioning is how to ignite the stove.  The flame control knob needs to be turned counter clockwise 1-1.5 times to begin releasing the gas due to the design of the valve system that SOTO uses.

TRYING IT OUT

I decided to set the stove up in the backyard and try it out.  The data reference panel inside the back flap states that the stove will boil 33 oz (1 l) of water in 4 min 2 seconds at a temperature of 68 F (20 C).  The website states 3 min 54 sec with the same temperature.  The temperature in my back yard was 70 F (21 C) with light breezes but the stove was in an area that was mostly sheltered but not completely.  The elevation was 90 ft (27 m).  Per the instructions I screwed the stove onto a canister (full 100 g/3.5 oz fuel canister), tightening it slightly firm but not over-tightening it.  I then slid the pot support arms up, rotated them, then slid them down.  They locked into place very easily.  I rotated the flame control knob 1.5 turns to the left, pushed the red button on the stealth igniter and the stove immediately started up.  I used a 1.3 l (44 oz) titanium pot with lid measuring 6 in (15 cm) in diameter and added 33 oz (1 l) of tap water.  I turned the flame up with approximately 1 more full turn of the flame control knob.  It took 5 min 5 sec for the water to come to a boil.  The data panel did specify that they used a SOTO canister (size not specified) and conducted the test in their laboratory but did not state if they turned the control knob up past the original 1.5 turn to ignite the stove.  The data reference panel shows that the SOTO stove improves and closely maintains the same boil time down to 23 F (-5) due to the Micro-Regulator.  I look forward to testing that.

Stove, instructions, stuff sack
Flame under the pan using 1.5 turn of the flame control knob
Stove, instructions, stuff sack
Flame beneath pot using 1.5 turn of control knob


SUMMARY

The SOTO OD-1R stove is a compact lightweight canister stove that seems to pack a lot of nice features into a small package.  I like the stealth igniter that enables the stove to be lit without matches along with the large burner surface for greater more even flame distribution.  The pot support arms are very easy to set up and collapse, feel sturdy and extend long enough to enable a 6 in (15 cm) pot to sit confidently on top.  I like the sturdy stuff sack that comes with the stove and the instructions appear to be thorough.  I want to thank SOTO for this opportunity to test their stove.  Check back in a few months for my field testing report.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

The stove was used on five different trips which produced a total of 11 days of use.  All of the testing information is actual cooking elevation, temperatures, and conditions.  One common test I performed on most trips was to boil 33 oz (1 l) of water so see how long it took at different elevations, temperatures, and conditions.  The majority of my cooking was boiling water for coffee, just add water dishes, but also a few dinners that required cooking in a pot, one attempt at quesadillas and one egg brunch dish.

Trip #1
Location:  San Gabriel Mts, Southern California
Elevation:  10,000 ft (3,050 m)
Temperature:  48 F (9 C)
Conditions:  5 mph (8 kph) breeze

Trip #2
Location:  San Bernardino Mts, Southern California
Elevation:  7,200 ft (2,200 m)
Temperature:  20 F (-6 C) and 34 F to 38 F (1 C to 3 C)
Conditions:  Breezy

Trip#3
Location:  Eastern Sierras, near Lone Pine, California
Elevation:  11,500 ft (3,500 m)
Temperature:  17 F (-8 C) and 50 F (10 C)
Conditions:  Calm to breezy

Trip #4
Location:  San Jacinto Mts, Southern California
Elevation:  9,200 ft (2,800 m)
Temperature:  29 F (-2 C) and 50 F (10 C)
Conditions:  Calm to breezy

Trip #5
Location:  Joshua Tree National Park, Southern California
Elevation:  4,600 ft (1,400 m)
Temperature:  70 F (21 C) and 45 F (7 C)
Conditions:  Calm winds

STORAGE, SETUP, STABILITY

The stove is very compact and I'm able to store it in my 44 oz (1.3 l) cooking pan along with a few other items.  I use the cut off portion of a plastic water bottle for measuring that fits it very nicely.  Setup is so easy but I find that I need to take my gloves off to get it out of the stuff sack.  It helps to grab the top of the stove evenly so that nothing hooks coming out.  Once I get it screwed onto the fuel canister, I extend the control knob, completely shut it off (it has to be rotated slightly to the left to close or else it will hit the support arm and bounce back), extend the support arms, lock them in place and it's ready to go.  I've had the stove placed directly on the ground and also on a cardboard platform for snow and so long as my surface is level, I have had no problems with any pot instability while cooking.  I have only used my titanium pot that measures 6 in (15 cm) in diameter on the stove.

Stove stored inside a plastic water bottle bottom inside my pot
Stove stored inside a plastic water bottle bottom in the center of my pot

PERFORMANCE

The first trip I did with the stove was a brunch hike up to Mt Baldy.  Our elevation was 10,000 ft (3,050 m), the temperature was 48 F (9 C) and there was a slight breeze but the skies were sunny.  The stove lit right up on the first push of the igniter button but since there was a light breeze I could hear a flickering sound of the flame.  Since the sun was so bright, it was hard to see what flame was doing, however, it didn't blow out.  I cooked an egg scramble dish with diced potatoes and peppers and did have a challenge keeping it from burning in the center of the pan.  I tried to simmer the stove but found it difficult to get the flame low enough with this particular dish.  The area of the pan around the center had no issues with burning, only the center.  I pulled the pan off of the flame frequently to help while stirring and the eggs survived.  They were quite tasty and no hint of anything burnt.

Cooking egg dish
Cooking my egg, potato, pepper brunch


The next trip I took involved very breezy conditions and an elevation of 7,200 ft (2,200 m).  The cooking temperature for dinner was 38 F (3 C) and it dropped to 34 F (1 C) with breezy conditions.  The stove started up on the first try but then required two tries when the temperature dropped.  My first attempt at cooking was to make quesadillas.  I put the chicken, cheese and chiles inside the corn tortilla, folded it and then proceeded to watch it burn in the center.  Whatever attempt at simmering the stove to heat this was not successful so I gave up on making them.  I did however cook a noodle dinner that required a cup of water and some actual cooking.  As soon as the dish came to a boil I turned the flame down as much as possible (still breezy at this point) to finish cooking it.  All the while I continuously stirred it and had no burning issues at all.   The next morning I awoke to  20 F (-7 C) temperatures and breezy conditions again.  I kept the fuel in the tent but not the sleeping bag and it was out in the cold for about 15 min before I started to heat water.  This was a new canister and it took three attempts with the igniter and an extra 1/2 turn of the control knob to light the stove but it did light up.  I tried to shelter the stove a little from the winds but it was difficult as we were in a fairly exposed area.  I just heated water for coffee that morning but the stove lit every time I needed it without the use of a match.

Stove set up on snow
Flame in breezy conditions
Stove set up on snow with cardboard platform
Flame with approximate 5 mph (8 kph wind

The next trip took place up in the Eastern Sierras at an elevation of 11,500 ft (3,500 m) with calm to light breezes.  I heated up some water in the afternoon for a little hot chocolate and with the breeze coming through, required four attempts with the igniter and some extra turning of the control knob to light the stove.  There was quite a bit of sputtering coming from the flame but it never blew out once.  For dinner I cooked a rice dish that required 12 oz (350 ml) of water.  I stirred it frequently but never had any issues with burning.  The winds were calm during dinner with a temperature of 50 F (10 C) and the stove started right up.  The coldest temperature that I experienced with the stove was the next morning as I woke up to 17 F (-8 C) but there were no winds at all.  The fuel canister was once again kept inside the tent but not kept warm.  The stove started up on the first try and although it was very cold, the power output of the stove appeared consistent as I did not have to adjust the flame by increasing it.

Cooking breakfast in the morning
Cooking breakfast in the morning


My next trip was another snow camping experience at and elevation of 9,200 ft (2,800 m).  I had calm to breezy conditions and temperatures of 29 F (-2 C) in the morning and 50 F (10 C) for dinner time.  I was using a new fuel canister and like my previous trip using a fresh canister, the stove needed four attempts to light it.  Every time after that the stove started right up on the first attempt.  Dinner was quite breezy on the second night and I did my best to block what I could.  I was able to get the stove started without any issues and when the wind kicked up I kept looking under the pot to make sure the flame was still going and it was. I also paid attention to how low I could turn the stove down without putting it out and it did adjust down low enough to simmer my stroganoff dinner which turned out to be a total of a 3/4 turn to the left of the control knob from the off position.  The flame, of course, was more concentrated at the center of the pot in this position but even with some breeze did not blow out.  I also experimented on how many turns it took to ignite the stove and under calm conditions with temperatures in the 40s F (4 C) was able to ignite the stove with one full turn of the control knob.

FUEL USAGE

I weighed the fuel canister after the last trip that I took to see how much I used.  Here are my results.

Fri. Night
12 oz (350 m l) water (hot chocolate)
8 oz (230 ml) water (just add water dinner)
66 oz (2 l) water (two hot water bottles for bed)

Sat. Morning
24 oz (.7 l) water (coffee)
4 oz (100 ml) water (added to oatmeal)

Sat. Dinner
12 oz (350 ml) water to cook noodle stroganoff dinner
12 oz (350 ml) water (hot chocolate)
66 oz (2 l) water (hot water bottles for bed)

Sun. Morning
36 oz (1 l) water (for coffee)
8 oz (230 ml) water (eggs)

Total weight of the fuel I used is 4.75 oz (135 g).


Boiling Time Of 33 oz (1 l) water.  Unfortunately in the field I was not able to control wind conditions and water temperature so this chart only reflects my actual experiences for each trip given the current conditions.  SOTO claims that the stove will boil 33 oz (1 l) of water in just under 4 min at a temperature of 68 F (20 C), 41 F (5 C), and 23 F (-5 C) with only a few seconds more at the colder temperature.  Their test was in a controlled setting unlike my field conditions.

Temperature
Elevation
Conditions
Cooking Time
Water Temperature
70 F (21 C)
90 ft (27 m)
light breeze
5 min 5 sec
cool
50 F (10 C)
11,500 ft (3,500 m)
calm
8 min 30 sec
cold
48 F (9 C)
10,000 ft (3,050 m)
light breeze
5 min 43 sec
cool
38 F (3 C)
9,200 ft (2,800 m)
breezy
11 min 40 sec
cold
29 F (-2 C)
9,200 ft (2,800 m)
calm
8 min 40 sec
lukewarm
20 F (-7 C)
7,200 ft (2,200 m)
breezy
11 min 30 sec
lukewarm

OBSERVATIONS

The SOTO OD-1R stove is indeed a compact ultralight stove that works well at high altitude and cold temperatures.  Although the performance of the stove suffered a little when it was breezy, it never blew out and remained reliable.  I was impressed when it fired up on the first try at 17 F (-8 C) with no warming of the fuel canister before.  It cooks meals well that have water added to them but does not heat the pan evenly enough to avoid burning the egg dish and quesadilla attempt.  I was impressed with how well this stove handled all of the demands of winter camping and the ease of setup was a real pleasure.  I saw other canister stoves on my trips struggle under some of the field conditions but the SOTO remained reliable. 

THINGS I LIKE

Weight and size
Ease of setup
Operation in sub-freezing temperatures
Needs no matches to light

THINGS I DON'T LIKE

Unable to use a windscreen (heat warning from manufacturer)
6.2 in (16 cm) pot diameter limit
Does not cook waterless foods evenly.

Check back in a few months for my Long Term Report.

LONG TERM REPORT

The stove was used on four trips with temperatures ranging from 38 F to 75 F (3 C to 24 C) and conditions ranging from calm to breezy.  I have continued cooking dinners that require water added and boiling water for coffee and oatmeal.  I've used a smaller 30 oz (.9 l) pan for the long term testing.  All of the testing information below is for cooking elevation, temperature and conditions.


TESTING LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Trip #1
Location:  Eastern Sierra Mts near Olancha, California
Elevation:  9,600 ft (2,900 m)
Temperature:  49 F to 75 F (9 C to 24 C)
Conditions:  Light breeze to breezy

Trip #2
San Bernardino Mts, Southern California
Elevation:  7,200 ft (2,200 ft)
Temperature:  38 F to 65 F (3 C to 18 C)
Conditions:  Light breezes

Trip #3
Location:  Eastern Sierra Mts near Lone Pine, California
Elevation:  11,200 ft (3,400 m)
Temperature:  38 F to 65 F (3C to 18 C)
Conditions:  Calm

Trip #4
Location:  Eastern Sierra Mts near Lone Pine, California
Elevation:  9,600 ft (2,900 m)
Temperature:  48 F to 65 F (9 C to 18 C)
Conditions:  Calm

LONG TERM STOVE PERFORMANCE

The stove has performed very well in the long term testing with no mechanical failures at all.  The igniter has been reliable and I've never had to use a match to light the stove.  The support arms have been very stable never having an issue with the pan sliding around or off of the stove.  Dinners must still be watched carefully when the stove is turned down to a simmer as the heat output is still pretty strong.  The stove has had a consistent performance down to the last bit of fuel left in the canister without having to adjust the control knob to increase the output.

SUMMARY
.
The SOTO OD-1R has been a sturdy, reliable canister stove in temperatures ranging from 17 F to 75 F  (-8 C to 24 C).  It has handled breezy conditions without blowing out, however, the efficiency of the stove was compromised.  I love how compact the stove is and how easy it is to set up and use.  In the field, although it does not quite live up to the manufacturers claim for boiling time difference of 4 seconds at 68 F (20 C) down to 23 F (-5 C).  It is the first canister stove that I've used that will work reliably in sub-freezing temperatures without having to keep the fuel canister warm.  The stove has not been as versatile as I would have preferred.  I would like to being able to use my 8 in (20 cm) frypan or successfully cook an egg/potato dish or quesadillas without burning them.  However, for my frequently used backpacking meals, it has worked very well. 

 I will continue to use this SOTO OD-1R as an all weather stove and want to thank SOTO and BGT for the opportunity to test this product.


Read more reviews of Soto Outdoors gear
Read more gear reviews by Cheryl McMurray

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