Monatauk Gnat Stove Review

A big burner head, simple design, minimal use of materials, and light weight (1.7 oz) put the Monatauk Gnat at the head of the pack for ultralight canister stoves.

Recommended

Overall Rating: Recommended

A big burner head, simple design, minimal use of materials, and light weight (1.7 oz) puts the Monatauk Gnat at the head of the pack for ultralight canister stoves. Only folding legs that are a bit wobbly gets it downgraded from our highest rating.

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by Ryan Jordan |

Little ultralight stoves that screw into compressed gas canisters were a pretty exciting market when Snow Peak introduced the three-ounce GigaPower eleven years ago.

Since then, improvements have been incremental at best, and reviewers have spent many nights with furrowed brows monitoring the temperatures of water in titanium pots trying to measure differences between the products in this niche, which now number into the dozens.

It's pretty safe to say that there is precious little difference in these stoves. They are all just about durable enough, light enough, fuel efficient enough, hot enough, stable enough, and stowable enough for even those of us that are most discriminating with their gear. I've received so many review samples through the years that I've collected them all into a single bin. When I want to use a canister stove, I just reach in and grab whatever is on top, paying almost no attention to what it is.

In other words, they all pretty much work well enough, and I probably have better uses of my time than trying to sort out what I perceive as pretty meaningless little differences between them.

So when I received the latest titanium incarnation of canister stoves from Monatauk Gear, I let out an audible yawn at what was undoubtedly another copycat stove from the same Asian manufacturer that makes the easily-recognizable burner heads and fold up legs that appear on other stoves.

Monatauk Gnat Stove Review - 1
The little Monatauk Gnat balances a wide burner head with an ultra-simple design that is bare enough to evoke real beauty in design.

However, I do appreciate what Monatauk has tried to accomplish with the Gnat, and I think it's something that is aesthetically powerful from a design standpoint:

  1. There's lots of titanium in it, and what's not titanium is aluminum. There are only tiny bits of other (heavier) materials in it - fasteners and the jet.
  2. The jet housing, air intake, and valve housing are all stripped down to the very barest of essentials, which means the weight has been spent well on a large burner head and pot supports that collapse and grab the pot to prevent it from sliding off.

The result is a canister stove that the manufacturer claims weighs 1.6 ounces. I verified it on my scale to weigh 1.69 ounces, and yes, that irks me. The manufacturer should have claimed a 1.7 oz weight. The Gnat is 0.2 ounce or so lighter than the next-lightest stove on the market, the Snow Peak Lite Max.

Monatauk Gnat Stove Review - 2
It would be a stretch in responsible journalism to try to compare the “compactness” of the dozens of little canister stoves on the market, but the Gnat at least meets the minimum standards that an ultralight backpacker is most interested in - which means it has to collapse as much as possible to fit into a tiny little cup.

My only complaint about the Gnat is that the folding joints for the pot legs are loose and wiggly. A little tighter riveting would have inspired a bit more confidence in manufacturing quality.

Other than that, it's awfully hard to be critical of the little Gnat, and for its weight and beautiful design aesthetic, I'm going to make sure it resides at the top of my little pile of canister stoves, within easy reach.

Monatauk Gnat Stove Review - 3
Paired with a single 8-ounce (net) canister of fuel, a Backpacking Light 550 pot and lid, and a sleeping pad rolled around it for a windbreak, the expedition-conscious ultralighter can turn down the fuel power and eke out thirty-six to forty boils (at 12 oz/boil) without much difficulty, making this sort of setup an extremely attractive option to both alcohol and solid fuel.


Citation

"Monatauk Gnat Stove Review," by Ryan Jordan. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/monatauk_gnat_stove_review.html, 2010-06-22 00:00:00-06.

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Monatauk Gnat Stove Review
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Monatauk Gnat Stove Review on 06/22/2010 14:55:08 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Monatauk Gnat Stove Review

John Brown
(johnbrown2005) - F

Locale: Portland, OR
Performance? on 06/22/2010 16:30:11 MDT Print View

Ok, it looked nice, how did it work?

Lyan Jordan
(redmonk)

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Monatauk Gnat Stove Review on 06/22/2010 16:59:42 MDT Print View

it's pretty safe to say that there is precious little difference in these stoves

Enno Kunze
(heidelberger) - F

Locale: Germany
Short Video on 06/23/2010 02:15:25 MDT Print View

I have the Gnat for some months and on my website you can see a short video of it... (It's in German, but I think that's okay for video)

http://qbloggt.blogspot.com/2010/03/monatauk-gnat-das-video.html

Edited by heidelberger on 06/23/2010 02:16:05 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
actual test results? on 06/23/2010 02:21:27 MDT Print View

numbers ...

Roger B
(rogerb) - MLife

Locale: Here and there
Re: actual test results? on 06/23/2010 02:52:01 MDT Print View

Actual usage figures for the Monatauk Gnat and its twin brother the Go System Fly can be found at

Gnat

Gosystem Fly

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Re: Re: actual test results? on 06/23/2010 05:51:54 MDT Print View

How does it simmer?

John Coyle
(Bigsac)

Locale: NorCal
Monatauk Gnat on 06/23/2010 08:29:57 MDT Print View

I normally use alcohol stoves, but I do have a 10 year old Gigapower in my closet which I use occasionally. My major complaint with the original Gigapower is the slippery pot supports. One time my tall pot slid off the Gigapower supports and scalded my hand with boiling water. Not fun in the backcountry.

Recently I have been considering getting another canister stove, but ingrained in my memory is the sight of my beet red scalded hand, so pot supports are a major concern of mine. The Monatauk Gnat appears to have good pot supports, but judging from pictures on the company websites, I prefer the pot supports of the Gigapower LiteMax, at least for a tall tippy pot.

According to the Monatauk website, the Gnat costs $60.00 American

chris kersten
(xanadu) - F

Locale: here
how much? on 06/23/2010 12:14:41 MDT Print View

Price?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Monatauk Gnat Stove Review on 06/23/2010 16:41:43 MDT Print View

The unit Ryan got was from Monatauk, but my information is that it was actually designed and made by Fire Maple in China (where else). It is available from several sources around the world under various numbers or names, but sometimes with '116T' in the part number.

Specifications:
Dimensions: 55 x 75 x 32 mm
Weight: 48 g
Rated Power: 12,000 BTU / 3,500 W
The measured CO emission is around 10 to 20 ppm, which is pretty good.

I can verify that it does punch out a lot of power, consistent with the claimed figure, and considerably more than any white gas stove (so there!). I can also confirm that it does simmer very nicely, and that the valve action is smooth.

Pricing varies depending on the supplier. Someone else mentioned $60 from Monatauk, but I have not verified that myself. It is available for ~$35 +P/P from Shanghai, at
http://www.de-maritime.com/titanium-camping-stove

Disclosure: I received a review sample from DE-Maritime as well, but Ryan beat me to the punch in submitting the Spotlite.

Cheers

Ron Bell
(mountainlaureldesigns) - F - M

Locale: USA
Re: Re: Monatauk Gnat Stove Review on 06/23/2010 20:03:52 MDT Print View

I like this review - it is concise.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Wobbly pot holder on 06/23/2010 23:18:10 MDT Print View

The pot stand legs of the Gnat are similar to my Brunton FLEX stove in design. I fixed the wobbliness of the legs by drilling out the rivits and replacing them with tiny nuts, lock washers and bolts. The lock washers held the pot supports snug enough to prevent wobble but not to tight to make folding difficult.

As is often the case many backpacking products can be improved upon with a little thought.

Edited by Danepacker on 06/23/2010 23:21:36 MDT.

carlos fernandez rivas
(pitagorin) - MLife

Locale: Galicia -Spain
review ???? on 06/24/2010 01:33:36 MDT Print View

"""I like this review - it is concise"""

Agree with Ron

May be too much concise..........:-/

James Patsalides
(james@patsalides.com) - MLife

Locale: New England
re: Monatauk Gnat Stove Review on 06/24/2010 08:37:04 MDT Print View

+1 on the concise review.

Could just use a set of those plastic jetboil legs with it... they clip really nicely onto the bottom of a small canister and are pretty solid. Just a thought!

E J
(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
what about CO emissions? on 06/24/2010 15:11:37 MDT Print View

Roger, thanks for the verification and extra info. How is it in terms of CO emissions?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: what about CO emissions? on 06/24/2010 15:29:48 MDT Print View

Hi EJ

> How is it in terms of CO emissions?
Fourth line in the specs I posted! 10 - 20 ppm. That's fairly low.

Cheers

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Gnat Review Conciseness on 06/25/2010 09:52:23 MDT Print View

The review was concise because there just isn't a lot to say about a product that seems to work as well as anything else.

The real appeal of this stove to me was its aesthetics, which are superb. In terms of "lightweight philosophy in design" this stove hits the nail on the head.

"It works well enough" - and I do mean that.

The differences in field performance between all these little canister stoves is so infinitesimally small that it's almost ludicrous trying to figure out how they compare to each other based on performance - boil times, fuel efficiency, etc.

It keeps both big and little pots stable, it hasn't failed yet, and it makes hot water. "I guess it works, eh?" I know, I'm being a little tongue in cheek here, but seriously, there just isn't a lot of room left in this product market and I just wanted to point out something aesthetically unique in a pretty crowded field.

What's remarkable to me is this:

Bushbuddy Ultra - 5 oz
Gnat Stove - 1.7 oz
Cat Food Can Stove - 0.5 oz
Esbit Ti Stove - 0.3 oz

i.e., today, I can cook on wood, gas, alcohol, and solid fuel on the same trip (if I wanted to, but I wouldn't, except when on a teaching trip) for 7.5 oz! How cool is that?

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Gnat Review Conciseness on 06/25/2010 10:55:46 MDT Print View

Good review. I would always wish for complete specs to include stove measurements folded and in use, stove weight, case weight, case size and maybe even burner diameter. We are still missing the case weight. A few more specs are

stove weight: 1.6 oz (48 grams)
stove size (folded): 2.25" x 2.25" x 2.5"
stove size (in use): ?
case weight: 1.4 oz (hard side)
case size: 3" x 3" x 3.25"

Edited by jshann on 07/30/2010 08:12:13 MDT.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
more gnat on 06/27/2010 23:05:43 MDT Print View

John,

Toss the case. Thus, case weight = 0.

Seriously, though, I can't see any compelling reason to bring a "stove case" on a trek.

I know it's there to protect the stove, but wrapping in a viscose towel does it for a lot less weight and rattling.

Ryan

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Monatauk Gnat Stove Review on 06/28/2010 00:03:29 MDT Print View

The stove case is dual purpose.

It protects the stove from breakage, and it protects the other gear in your pack from the sharp points on the stove.

If I wrapped a viscose towel around my stove, it would be full of holes in a week's time. But then, I suppose that is why I carry duct tape.

--B.G.--