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Coleman Exponent F1 Ultralight Canister Stove REVIEW

Product performance review of the Coleman Exponent F1 Ultralight canister stove - a performance underdog among small stoves on the market.

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by Stuart Bilby | 2005-02-15 03:00:00-07

Overview

Coleman Outlander F1 Ultralight Canister Stove - 1
Coleman Ultralight expanded.

This stove is a little flame-thrower. Its phenomenal 16,400 BTU/hr output is 50% greater than most 3-ounce stoves. The power output on full throttle is spectacular. The stove boiled water faster than any of the others tested. It was the only stove besides the Jetboil to bring water to a boil in windy conditions without a windscreen. It is lightweight, well priced, and simple.

Specifications

• Stove ID

Coleman Exponent F1 Ultralight Butane Stove

• Accessories Included

Small stuff sack

• Dimensions

Height 3.2 in (8 cm); expanded width 3.6 in (9 cm); folded width 3.1 in (8 cm); folded thickness and burner diameter 1.5 in (4 cm); pot support radius 4.6 in (12 cm)

• Weight

Manufacturer specification is 2.7 oz (77 g); Backpacking Light measured weight is 2.7 oz (76 g) plus 0.4 oz (12 g) stuff sack

• MSRP

$39.99 US

Usable Features

Coleman F1 Ultralight Canister Stove REVIEW - 2
The Coleman F1 Ultralight collapsed. The burner and pot supports can be detached from the main body to make it even more compact.

The Coleman Ultralight is small, light, and simple. The stove folds down to 1.5 inches thick with the three pot-support arms swinging around to flatten against each other. This makes it easy to pack.

The stove is simple, with a functional no-fuss design. It does not have a piezoelectric ignition but is easy to light with a match or lighter, even with a pot sitting on top.

The stove is very light but rugged with solid steel construction.

The valve has a wire handle that, although not as long as on some stoves, is adequate and easy to reach. The Coleman has an effective and simple simmer control all the way from full-on roaring to delicate simmer. The flame pattern is even. At a minimum simmer the flame is the diameter of the center burner ring (1.5 inches). At full throttle the flame will spread right across a 10-inch diameter frying pan and be licking up the sides of any smaller pot.

The stove has no particular features for protecting the burner head from wind, however its very powerful flame partly compensates for this in windy conditions. It was the only stove besides the Jetboil to bring water to a boil in direct wind without a windscreen.

The pot supports are adequate; they support 2-liter pots and larger frying pans adequately. The serrations on the supports appear to increase friction between pot and stove. The stove is quite stable for this type of canister-mounted stove; when placed on sloping ground pots will usually slide before they topple.

Ease of Use

The Coleman Ultralight is simple to use. Partly unscrew the burner, spin the pot supports into position, tighten the burner, thread the stove onto the gas canister, open the valve, and light with a lighter. This stove is straightforward to use in cold conditions. I had no problem setting it up and lighting it even with mitts on.

Cooking Performance

Like most canister stoves the F1 Ultralight is easy to use for cooking. Simmering adjustment is simple and instant.

Balancing a large frying pan takes some care on the small pot supports. The relatively small flame area can lead to hot spots in the middle of the pan. The manufacturer claims an impressive maximum power output of 16,400 BTU/hr. The stove is great for melting snow or producing hot water in a hurry. However, for fuel efficiency the flame needs to be turned well down to prevent flames spilling up the sides of the pot.

The only occasion I found the Coleman F1 struggling was while melting snow and boiling 2 liters of water at around 15 °F in breezy conditions. The practical limit for using most canister stoves is 15 °F - which is why many folks use white gas stoves in these conditions! Even with the canister insulated from snow on a foam mat and using a homemade windshield around the burner head, the stove took a long time to bring water to a boil. With the long burn time, ice formed on the canister and the heat output dropped significantly. Eventually, and quite impressively, the stove did boil 2 liters of water.

The stove lights easily even in windy conditions. I did not experience the wind blowing the flame out during field-testing.

Making your own burner head windscreen for this stove is a little difficult. (Editor's note: manufacturers recommend against putting a windscreen around the canister since the canister may overheat and explode.) A windscreen made from oven tray aluminum foil as described here is a little difficult to sit on the arms below the burner head. At full flame the heat is so intense that it will melt the aluminum if it is touching the flame at any point. I found it necessary to throttle back the stove when using a windscreen.

Heating Efficiency

This was the most powerful of the stoves tested. It boiled water faster than any of the other stoves in optimal and windy conditions, both with a windscreen and without. For fuel efficiency it was one of the better stoves, but even with a windscreen it was not as efficient as the Jetboil.

As expected, reducing the flame improved the efficiency markedly. In windy conditions, a windscreen improved both efficiency and reduced boil times.

See Lightweight Canister Stoves Test Report for more detailed results of our heating efficiency tests on this stove, and all the canister stoves in our review suite.

Table 1. Summary of boil time and fuel consumption data for the Coleman F1 Ultralight
TestOptimal Conditions Full Flame 1 quart waterOptimal Conditions Moderate Flame 1 quart waterOptimal Conditions Full Flame 1/2 quart waterCold Conditions Full Flame 1 quart waterWindy Conditions Full Flame 1 quart waterWind + Wind screen Full Flame 1 quart water
F1 Ultralight Boil Time (min:sec) 3:14 3:29 2:00 6:19 129 degrees*4:10
Average Boil Time for all stoves tested (min:sec) 3:33 4:51 2:18 7:35 88 degrees**5:12
F1 Ultralight Fuel Consumption (g) 14.5 10.4 7.9 11.3 28.6 16.7
Average Fuel Consumption for all stoves tested (g) 16.1 11.7 8.1 11.5 30.0 18.6
F1 Ultralight: Water Boiled Per 4-ounce Fuel Canister (qt)7.810.97.210.04.06.8
Average Water Boiled per 4-ounce fuel canister for all stoves tested (qt)7.3 9.8 7.1 9.4 - 6.2

Optimal conditions are 70 °F air and water, no wind. Cold conditions were simulated by putting the stoves and canisters in a freezer overnight at 10 °F, then boiling 40 °F water. Windy conditions were simulated with a box fan providing a 12 mph wind; water and air temperatures were 70 °F.

* Degrees Fahrenheit water temperature was raised after 10 minutes. The Coleman F1 Ultralight reached the boiling temperature for the test altitude.

** Average amount water temperature was raised after 10 minutes. Of the eight stoves tested with 1 quart of water, only one stove (the F1 Ultralight) reached boiling within 10 minutes.

Durability

No maintenance is suggested in the instructions supplied. The stove is light and yet seems to be durable. No damage has occurred despite some rough handling during testing. The valve has become a little stiff with extended use.

Value

This is a top-performing stove at a reasonable price. Its heat output is spectacular and the stove is easy to use.

Tips and Tricks

When lighting, it pays to only open the valve a fraction at first. If turned on full it tends to blow out the flame and when it does light it can singe the hair off your hands.


Citation

"Coleman Exponent F1 Ultralight Canister Stove REVIEW," by Stuart Bilby. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/coleman_outlander_f1_ultralight_canister_stove_review.html, 2005-02-15 03:00:00-07.

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