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Reviews > Cook and Food Storage Gear > Cook Sets > GSI Outdoors Explorer Stove Kit > Test Report by Marina Batzke

GSI OUTDOORS GLACIER CAMP STOVE
TEST SERIES BY MARINA BATZKE
LONG-TERM REPORT
July 22, 2019

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

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Marina Batzke
EMAIL: mbbp2013 (at) yahoo (dot) com
AGE: 59
LOCATION: Los Angeles County, California, USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 5" (1.65 m)
WEIGHT: 132 lb (60.00 kg)

I converted from day hiking and car camping to backpacking in 2013. My backpacking trips are one or two weekend excursions per month in Southern California. The locations range from Joshua Tree National Park desert areas in the cooler months to mountainous elevations in the summer months. I always hike with a group and like the gear talk in camp. While I am looking for ways to lighten my pack, I am not an ultra-lighter: I like sleeping in a tent with a sleeping bag on a comfortable pad. In January 2017, I added snowshoeing to my winter activities.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: GSI Outdoors, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2019
Made in China.
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.GSIoutdoors.com
MSRP: US$ not yet known
Listed Weight: N/K
Measured Weight:
Pot: 9.7 oz (274 g)
Lid: 2.2 oz (62 g)
Stove: 6.2 oz (175 g)
Folding Spoon: 0.6 oz (17 g)

Dimensions:
Stove: 5 in (12.7 cm) side-to-side at pot supports.
3 in (7.6 cm) tall
Pot: 4.75 in (12 cm) diameter x 4.6 in (11.7 cm) tall
Folding Spoon: 3.6 in (9 cm) folded. 6 in (15.2 cm) extended. Spoon 1.75 in (4.45 cm) wide.

This GSI Outdoors Explorer Stove kit - designed for outdoor use for boiling water and cooking food - is not yet shown on the manufacturer's website.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

IMAGE 1
The stove kit

IMAGE 2
size comparison to 32 fl oz bottle


The GSI Outdoors Explorer Stove Kit arrived as a handy, compact set inside a black mesh bag. I opened the pull string to access the black see-through mesh bag and to pull out the Glacier Pot. The lid on top was protected inside a clear plastic bag. Inside the Glacier Pot, I found
one booklet of instructions in English
one booklet of instructions in French
a folded spoon
a black welded stuff sack (mesh on outside/ solid fabric on inside) with the camp stove inside.

The cook pot and its lid are made from stainless steel. The cook pot has a 5 in (12.7 cm) folding handle that locks into place for cooking, yet also secures the entire set (without gas canister) for transport, when the handle is folded up and over the opening, thereby holding the lid in place. The pot has 'GSI outdoors' imprinted in black on its outside. Underneath the folding handle, the pot has 'Glacier Stainless BOILER 1.1 L' imprinted. On the inside, the cook pot has firmly embossed 4 volume marks: 8 oz (250 ml), 16 oz (500 ml), 24 oz (750 ml), 32 oz (1000 ml).

The stove has 4 non-foldable, firmly extended pot supports on its top. Below is the burner head with the valve body underneath from which the flame adjuster valve and the flame adjuster stick out.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The stove shall only be used outside since it can produce deadly carbon monoxide. I shall not use this stove with a windscreen. Since this is a gas stove, there is the risk of an ignition hazard, heat, explosion and fire dangers.

WARRANTY:
Free from manufacturer's defects for the life of the product.

TRYING IT OUT

While unpacking and inspecting all kit components, I noticed how sturdy all pieces are.

The pot has easily readable metric and imperial markings for fill size. I extended the folding handle by pressing together the two metal bars. Once extended, the handle is firm and secure. I filled in a liter of water and the handle still felt secure.
IMAGE 3
The volume measure showing

IMAGE 4
The lid lifter fell off


The lid fits securely on the pot. The lid has a small lifter that fell off: I tried to re-attach it and press it together with pliers but I have not been successful with that self-repair so far.

The fork-spoon hybrid unfolds and locks easily. The spoon has a well-sized 1.75 in (4.45 cm) wide shallow scoop.

The welded stuff sack has a nice dual purpose: it holds the kit together while traveling and it doubles as a sink or wash basin.

SUMMARY

The GSI Outdoors Explorer Stove kit is a sturdy stainless steel cooking set. I am looking forward to taking it out into nature and doing some nice cooking.

LIKES:
Sturdy
Pot has clearly visible fill markings
Lid sits tight on pot
Compact: all components EXCEPT gas canister fit in pot
Welded stuff sack doubles as wash basin
Spoon-fork hybrid is of good size

DISLIKES:
small lid lifter fell off - I have to re-attach / tighten it


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA
2 day/ 1 night backpack
Elevation: 4000 - 5600 ft (1200 - 1700 m)
Pleasant daytime hiking temperature but freezing cold night
Temperature: 60 - 32 F (16 - 0 C)

Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA
2 day/ 1 night backpack
Elevation: 1550 - 3300 ft (470 - 1000 m)
Nice weekend with beautiful wildflowers
Temperature: 65 - 40 F (18 - 4 C)

Mission Creek Preserve, Southern California, USA
3 day/ 2 night car camp
Elevation: 2450 - 3600 ft (750 - 1100 m)
Sunny and pleasant with just a light wind on Sunday
Temperature: 69 - 45 F (21 - 7 C)

Henninger Flats, Angeles National Forest, USA
3 day/ 2 night backpack
Elevation: 2600 - 4400 ft (790 - 1340 m)
Cool and foggy
Temperature: 65 - 48 F (18 - 9 C)

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

When I originally received the stove kit, the small lid lifter had fallen off. My attempts at pressing together the metal ends with pliers were not successful. In the end, I used a hammer and smacked hard onto the metal multiple times, while having the metal on a firm surface. That did the trick: the hard impact pressed together the two metal ends and the lid lifter is now firmly attached.

I am quite set with my backpacking meals. For breakfast, I heat up 16 fl oz (500 ml) water and pour some of that water into a cup over cappuccino powder for a hot morning drink. I stir a pack of cereal into the remaining hot water and add some dried fruit, like raisins or cranberries for added flavor. On a cold Mission Creek morning, it took the GSI stove slow 10+ minutes to get to a boil. The steel pot and the water were really cold, it was windy and the stove just kept trying hard to get the water to boil at snail speed.

Dinner is usually ramen soup, for which I heat up about 10 fl oz (300 ml) water. To spice up the soup, I often add sliced jalapeno chicken sausage. It takes about 3 min for the GSI stove to heat up this amount of water.

Most of the times I have felt it is easy to screw on straight the stove onto the gas fuel canister. I turn the flame adjuster a few times to the left and I ignite the gas with a lighter. I pour water into the pot and place the pot on the stove. Due to the 5 in (12.7 cm) side-to-side measuring pot-supporting metal arms and the slight uplift at the arm ends, the 4.75 in (12 cm) diameter pot fits well on the stove.

I had one incident where it seems the stove did not that easily screw onto the gas canister. When I lit the stove burner, gas was escaping out of the canister opening as well and caught fire. Flames aplenty!! I got a major fright. Panicked I tried desperately to turn the flimsy wire flame adjuster to off while trying not to burn my hand on all the flashing flames. I did not get a good hold of the thin wire flame adjuster and in the end, I think the gas canister simply ran out of gas. I am grateful it was a near empty canister when this scary incident happened but it left me shaken. I want to mention that all the GSI Outdoors Explorer Stove Kit components are sturdy, firm metal that seems impossible to ever break but the flame adjuster is truly a thin, flimsy wire.
IMAGE 1
Mission Creek breakfast

An advantage of the stove is that I can adjust the intensity level. In order to get water to a boil, I turn the flame adjuster to a high setting to get the water hot quickly. Once the water for my ramen soup is boiling, I add the noodles and they have to simmer for 3 minutes. I can down-adjust the stove accordingly, just shy of being turned off. That is the right amount of heat to let the noodles simmer.
IMAGE 3
Flames extend beyond the pot diameter

One of the disadvantages is that the flame blows beyond the pot. That is a waste of gas. The pot gets very hot, which means I have to handle it very carefully when I want to eat out of it. The pot lid gets very hot too, so I have to make sure to only touch the lid lifter and not contact the hot lid metal. Unfortunately, the pot handle also heats up and I have to make sure to lift and carry the pot while holding its handle at its outer half.

The spork - a combination of fork and spoon - is 3.6 in (9 cm) short when folded for easy packing. To use, I fold over the metal handle and slide a yellow plastic against the grey spork head and by locking the yellow plastic in place, the spork is firmly extended to 6 in (15.2 cm) length. The spork works well for stirring and eating firm foods. The spork head is a bit shallow to scoop up the broth, since some of the liquid flows out through the fork tine front. When I am trying to scoop up the last bits and pieces from the bottom of the 4.6 in (11.7 cm) tall pot, it is a bit difficult to reach all the way down into the angled pot.
IMAGE 2
The handle folded up over the pot
IMAGE 4
When I am trying to pack the stove and the gas canister into the cook pot, unfortunately it does not all fit inside, as this image shows. If I do not put the gas canister into the pot - just the stove - and put the lid on top, then I can fold the handle over for a tight close. Too bad the gas canister does not fit inside as well!

SUMMARY

The GSI Outdoors Explorer Stove Kit is a handy cooking set.

LIKES:
durable, sturdy
pot fits well on stove
possible to adjust gas from low simmer to high blast
spork is fine

DISLIKES:
flame adjuster is made from thin, not so sturdy wire
handle can get really hot, allowing me to only touch its end for lifting
pot and lid get very hot
flames easily extend well beyond pot diameter


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Lake Skinner, Southern California, USA
2 day/ 1 night car camp
Elevation: 1500 ft (460 m)
Morning and evening fog.
Temperature: 72 - 50 F (22 - 10 C)

Mt. Pinos, Los Padres National Forest, USA
2 day/ 1 night car camp
Elevation: 8850 ft (2700 m)
Pleasant temperatures. Blue skies.
Temperature: 65 - 47 F (18 - 8 C)

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I was out in nature each weekend the last couple of months but I chose to only take the GSI Outdoors Glacier Camp Stove kit along when it was a car camp where kit weight and space did not matter. The shock of the gas canister flare up has been lingering with me and I have been extra cautious and somewhat hesitant with the GSI stove ever since.

On my car camp outings, I used the stove in the mornings to boil hot water. I poured some water over my cappuccino powder. One drawback is that this stove set does not come with a cup, so I have to bring a plastic coffee mug along. I poured a package of oatmeal into the remaining hot water, let it soak for five minutes and ate out of the stainless steel pot. Since I was at a car camp, I brought a long metal spoon along that easily reached all the way down to the pot bottom.

One afternoon, I boiled hot water and poured it over hot cider powder in my plastic mug.
In the evenings, I boiled hot water and filled in ramen soup.

Once I had eaten the food and scraped the last remnants out of the pot, I swirled some fresh water around and drank the remnants. Then I cleaned the pot with a tissue.

The GSI Kit is not as compact as and is heavier than my own stove/pot set. The boiling times with the GSI stove can far exceed the water boiling times of my own stove, if the outside temperature is cold.

While the spork is fine, I usually simply take a plastic fork, spoon and knife set along. No need to fold the utensils in half.

I do like the welded stuff sack and will take that on future backpacking outings.

SUMMARY

The GSI Outdoors Glacier Camp Stove kit is a sturdy stainless steel cooking set. While it is durable and strong, I will go back to my own stove set for my backpacking outings.

My LIKES and DISLIKES from the IR and FR remain valid.

Thank you for GSI Outdoors, Inc. and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this GSI Outdoors Explorer Stove kit.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.

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