By Dave Glenn, NOLS Instructor
Reprinted from The Leader, Summer 2000, Vol. 16, No. 3
Most stoves on the markets now a days require a priming. Isn't that a pain? When you're cold, tired and hungy, you want food, NOW! Forget the time and black silt of the priming process. Here are a couple of stoves I've checked out recently that are incredibly fast and easy to light and they both simmer!
Snowpeak: a great stove for the weekend warrior. This stove is so easy to use. Doug Lowry and I tested this out for a week this Spring with the NOLS alumni trip in the Everglades. One thing we did realize on this trip is that if you really want to test a stove test it in the saltwater and sand on a coastal kayaking trip.
Here's what we liked:
Eggs: They brag that it will fit in an egg . . . it will. It folds up so small that it was hard to find in the gear bags at times.
Feather: Incredibly light - Only 3.75 ounces (not including the butane tank)
Fire: Easy to light - This quick ignition system is slick. Screw the stove on the bottle, push the button and SHAZAM! The stove is cranking away at a simmer or on high.
What we didn't like:
Space: While the stove itself was small, the Butane containers can be bulky, and lasted about 45 minutes on average.
Tipsy: The butane bases were also a little tippy when cooking on sand.
Woops! Ouch! The cooking platform is small. Cooking with a 3 qt pot with a tippy base and small cooking platform could lead to hot pots falling over and get you some first aid training whether you want it or not.
Overall: It's easy to use, lightweight and small. Great for quick 1-3 day trips to the mountains and for an extra stove when car camping. Due to the bulkiness of the butane containers I wouldn't recommend it for a multi-day trip over 3 days. At a price of $63.00 It's a good stove, and the price is right.
More info? Check out www.snowpeak.net
Optimus Nova: This stove is HOT! It's an expedition stove designed to work easily under all conditions. I was fortunate enough to see and play with the prototype last week.
Here's what I liked:
Quickpriming: a new patented burner meant no black goo like the MSR stoves, and full output in seconds. Optimus spent a lot of time researching and testing this burner and it shows.
Simmer down: Great simmering capability. Cook on high or low. Good flame adjustment.
Shut up! Yes, it's incredibly quiet compared to the other stoves in its class.
Multi fuel - burns on white gas, gasoline, kerosene and diesel fuel. . .without having to change the jets.
Lighten up: Weight 15.5 ounces (stove and pump)
Anything I didn't like?
Not much. The only bummer is I didn't get to field test this stove. I just played with it in the parking lot and boiled water for a little while.
Overall: A great stove. A new design, with new technology. It worked great, primed easily, and simmered well on low. It's lightweight. This is a well built, reliable stove I'll take backpacking or canoeing for weeks at a time. The MSRP of around $150 is steep, however that's with a fuel bottle and repair kit so it's relatively comparable to other stoves in it's class. This stove won't be available until August. If you're interested in this stove you can contact Brunton and www.brunton.com.