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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Forum Index » Editor's Roundtable » Monatauk Gnat Stove Review


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Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: Re: What's wrong with my Gnat? on 08/19/2010 10:35:38 MDT Print View

Hi Roger

Thanks for taking the time to reproduce this and for your diagnosis.

"I think most of the carbon does get burnt up higher up."

Normally, formation of carbon/soot is associated with carbon monoxide which is not further oxidised, usually due to insufficient oxygen altering the reaction pathways, or flame quenching.

In the Gnat flame carbon is being formed, and the flame will be partially quenched by the cold surface of a pot.

That might be expected to lead to high CO levels. Your published measurements indicate that this is not the case, but despite this I can't help being just a little worried, as I often cook in the tent vestibule.

cheers

Edited by Scunnered on 08/22/2010 02:43:47 MDT.

Dennis Park
(dpark) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Carbon in flame on 09/04/2010 23:25:10 MDT Print View

If there is an increase in carbon in the flame, will it create soot on the bottom of pots?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Carbon in flame on 09/05/2010 03:59:08 MDT Print View

> If there is an increase in carbon in the flame, will it create soot on the bottom of pots?

I don't think the amount of free carbon is all that high. the orange glow is very faint compared to, say, a candle flame. And I have not seen any soot accumulate on the underside of my pot.

Cheers

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Monatauk Gnat Stove Review on 02/02/2011 14:10:36 MST Print View

Being a gear junkie, I was forced to purchase one.

I started a sea level test with everything at a temperature of 60 F. One 16-ounce aluminum kettle with 16 ounces of water in it. I had a full rolling boil in a hair over 3 minutes.

In the protective case, it is smaller than a Pocket Rocket. Out of the protective case, it is much smaller than a Pocket Rocket. Not bad.

--B.G.--

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: Tokyo, Japan
Heat Shield? on 04/25/2011 02:21:48 MDT Print View

I recently replace my Snowpeak GS-100 with this Gnat. FWIW, it also develops the orange flame. Just wondering if anyone has an idea for a canister heat shield like Snowpeak makes for the GS/GST-100?

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Monatauk Gnat Stove Maintenance on 09/08/2011 14:51:36 MDT Print View

On my last trip, I noticed that the flame one one side of the burner was bigger than on the other side. When I got home I took it apart. On the underside of the jet there is a little 'plug' made from lots of tiny balls sintered together to act as a filter, to stop the jet getting blocked by any bits I assume. Anyway this filter plug was loose - one tap and it fell out!

Reassembled without the plug and the stove was not happy at all - the flame was lifting off the burner and had big yellow tips. Clearly the filter must restrict the gas flow and the jet must be sized to account for this.
I disassembled, replaced the filter plug, pushing it in firmly with the shank of a 4mm drill bit, and reassembled the stove. Now it's running fine - a nice blue flame evenly distributed around the burner.

So if you have any problems with the flame on a Gnat, this filter plug is something to check!

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Monatauk Gnat Stove Review on 09/08/2011 15:51:52 MDT Print View

Did it look like this ?
fuel plug
This one is the one in that BuLin 153g stove...
Franco

Tony Beasley
(tbeasley) - MLife

Locale: Pigeon House Mt from the Castle
Re: Monatauk Gnat Stove Maintenance on 09/08/2011 17:01:05 MDT Print View

Hi Stuart,

Thanks for that advice, my Gnat stove (sold as Kathmandu Backpacker stove Titanium in Australia) has problems too, when the flame is turned up the flame goes very strange, it is interesting that the filter is required to slow the gas flow down. I will have to dismantle my Gnat to check the sintered bronze filter has not come out.

I have been trying to remove the sintered bronze filter out of my Bulin BL100-B5 stove jet, it is not budging.

Hi Franco,

Thanks for the high quality photo of jet filter, I know your photographic skills are better than mine.

Tony

Edited by tbeasley on 09/09/2011 04:41:24 MDT.

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: Monatauk Gnat Stove Maintenance on 09/09/2011 04:03:36 MDT Print View

Hi Franco

Similar, but not the same. It consists of lots of small brass balls packed together into a truncated cone shape which then press fits right inside the jet screw, whereas yours looks like it sits at the bottom surface of the screw.

Gnat jet filter

Edited by Scunnered on 09/10/2011 07:18:30 MDT.