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Markill Peak Ignition Canister Stove REVIEW

Compact and lightweight but sensitive to wind. Identical twin to the Kovea Camp 3, and sister to the Vargo Jet-Ti sold in the US.

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by Will Rietveld | 2005-11-15 03:00:00-07

Introduction

Markill Peak Ignition Canister Stove REVIEW - 1
The Markill Peak Ignition canister stove is made of titanium and comes with a piezo-electric ignition. It is manufactured by Kovea in South Korea, and is identical to the Kovea Camp 3.

Weighing only 3.3 ounces (94 grams), the Markill Peak Ignition is a titanium mini-canister stove with piezo-electric ignition. Markill is a subsidiary of Vaude, a German outdoor equipment manufacturer. When I requested the Markill Peak Ignition for review, I didn't realize that it is identical to the Kovea Camp 3. The Peak Ignition is, in fact, manufactured by Kovea of South Korea. This review (and the review of the identical Kovea Camp 3) will help untangle any confusion that readers may have about these stoves. Note: the Camp 3 and Peak Ignition are very similar to the Vargo Jet-Ti stove (not reviewed), which is made by Kovea of South Korea.

What's Good

  • Strong titanium construction
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Standard piezo-electric ignition
  • Precise flame control

What's Not So Good

  • Very sensitive to wind
  • Piezo-electric igniter does not work well in cold or wind
  • "Flame lift-off" at full throttle reduces heating efficiency

Specifications

  Manufacturer

Vaude (Markill is a subsidiary)

  Stove

Markill Peak Ignition top-mount canister stove (Markill Hot Rod in the US)

  Weight

3.4 oz (96 g) as measured; manufacturer's specification 3.1 oz (88 g)

  Size

Open 4 x 2.8 x 2.8 in (10 x 7 x 7 cm); closed 2.8 x 2.4 x 1.6 in (7 x 6 x 4 cm)

  Materials

Titanium and brass

  Features

Piezo-electric ignition, nylon carry case

  Heat Output

8,800 BTU/hr

  MSRP

EUR 50 (approximately $61 US)

Performance

Basically, if you purchase the Markill Peak Ignition (sold in the US as the Hot Rod) or the Kovea Camp 3, you are getting the same thing. The only discernable difference between the two stoves is that one has "Markill" stamped on the piezo-electric igniter and the other is stamped with "Kovea." As you will see from reading Performance Comparison Testing of Lightweight Canister Stoves Fall 2005: Controlled Data Evaluating Key Variables of Temperature, Wind, and Windscreen Use for Four More Canister Stoves, the performance of these two stoves is virtually identical.

Note: The Vargo Jet-Ti stove sold in the US is very similar to the Markill stove reviewed here and the Kovea Camp 3. The differences are that the Jet-Ti has solid (not hinged) pot supports and is manual ignition. These changes get the weight of the Vargo Jet-Ti down to 2.7 ounces. The burner head on the Vargo appears to be identical to the Peak Ignition.

The three pot supports are hinged so the ends flip out to provide a diameter of 4.75 inches. Contact with the bottom of a cookpot is mostly at the tips of the pot supports. I found this design to be stable for small to medium sized cookpots, but it depends on the bottom surface of your pot. Smooth pots are more stable, assuming they are centered properly, but indentations on the bottom of some pots may cause them to be tipsy. A fry pan had to be balanced off-center or hand held to stay in place.

The piezo-electric igniter on the Peak Ignition worked well at warm temperatures, but did not work well in cold temperatures or wind. At 50 °F I counted eleven tries with the piezo-electric igniter to light the stove. I tried different valve settings to no avail.

Flame control of the Peak Ignition is precise with no re-adjustment required. The flame adjusts from a fine simmer to full throttle in a little over one-fourth turn of the controller.

At full flame, performance is impaired by a phenomenon called "flame lift-off," which is explained in my test report referenced below. Basically, at full throttle the flames lift above the burner, and some lift high enough that they actually blow out. The blowout occurs erratically above the burner head, and is accentuated by wind. This situation results in less efficient combustion and heat transfer to a cookpot. The Kovea Camp 3 and X2 stoves I reviewed had the same problem. I have no information on whether this problem exists in the Vargo Jet-Ti stove.

Because of the "flame lift-off" problem, the Peak Ignition performs better at less than full throttle and in calm conditions. Fortunately, for cooking control and fuel efficiency reasons, it is advisable to use a canister stove at less than full throttle. Using a low or moderate flame level, the Peak Ignition cooks well. With its precise flame control, the Peak Ignition easily cooked an omelet and fried pancakes in a fry pan, and sautéed onions and green peppers in a titanium cookpot. Because of the small burner, it works best to use a low flame and take more time for sautéing or frying. Using a moderate flame creates a hot spot (and burning) in the middle of a pot or pan.

On one snowshoe outing I tested three canister stoves' ability to melt snow by melting 2 pounds of snow plus 1 pound of water in a 1.5-liter titanium pot and boiling the resulting 1.4 quarts of water. The results for the Peak Ignition are shown in comparison to the other stoves in Table 1. First note that the boil times are very long - three times longer than optimal conditions. Also note that it requires twice as much fuel to melt snow and boil the water than it does to boil water under optimal conditions. Furthermore, about the same amount of fuel is consumed to melt snow and boil the water as boiling the same amount of water unprotected in a direct wind. Finally, note that the data for the Peak Ignition and its twin the Camp 3 are very close but not identical; each stove was tested only once, and this is normal variation between test runs.

Table 1: Comparative time and fuel consumption for three canister stoves to melt 2 pounds of snow plus 1 pound of water and boil the resulting 1.4 quarts of water. Air and water temperatures were 40 °F.
StoveBoil Time (minutes:seconds)Fuel Consumption (grams)
Kovea Camp 313:5636.9
Markill Peak Ignition13:2731.2
Brunton Raptor14.0628.4

The heating efficiency of the Peak Ignition is summarized in Table 2, in comparison to the averaged performance of 13 canister stoves tested to date. For more detailed information see Performance Comparison Testing of Lightweight Canister Stoves Fall 2005: Controlled Data Evaluating Key Variables of Temperature, Wind, and Windscreen Use for Four More Canister Stoves. Overall, the Peak Ignition is slower to boil water, is more sensitive to wind, and is less fuel-efficient than average. Since the majority of these tests were performed using a full throttle setting, I believe the Peak Ignition's lower performance is due to its "flame lift-off" problem. In my opinion the Peak Ignition should provide good performance at low to moderate flame settings.

Table 2. Summary of boil time and fuel consumption data for the Markill Peak Ignition
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
Peak Ignition Boil Time (min:sec) 4:275:372:318:0359 degrees*9:11
Average Boil Time for all stoves tested (min:sec) 3:345:122:218:0277 degrees**6:31
Peak Ignition Fuel Consumption (g) 16.312.98.913.229.426.1
Average Fuel Consumption for all stoves tested (g) 15.411.88.212.230.320.2
Peak Ignition: Water Boiled Per 4-ounce Fuel Canister (qt)6.98.86.38.6-4.3
Average Water Boiled per 4-ounce fuel canister for all stoves tested (qt)7.69.77.09.3-5.9

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 at full throttle. The Brunton Raptor did not boil the water.

**Average amount water temperature was raised after 10 minutes. Of the twelve stoves tested with 1 quart of water, only two stoves (the Coleman F1 Ultralight and Brunton Crux) reached boiling within 10 minutes.

What's Unique

The Peak Ignition is nicely designed. The pot supports are hinged and slide to one side, making it one of the most compact canister stoves we have tested.

Recommendations for Improvement

If it were not for its problem with "flame lift-off," the Peak Ignition would be one of our favorite canister stoves. The Peak Ignition's flame lift-off problem definitely requires some attention. Also the piezo-electric igniter could stand some improvement to make it work better.


Citation

"Markill Peak Ignition Canister Stove REVIEW," by Will Rietveld. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/markill_peak_ignition_canister_stove_review.html, 2005-11-15 03:00:00-07.

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