M Hot Stoves (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2008)
by Mike Martin and Will Rietveld
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New from Snow Peak is their GigaPower LiteMax Stove, which is claimed to be the lightest commercially available canister stove in the world with a weight of 1.9 ounces (55 grams). (One should note that savvy BackpackingLight.com readers have been driving product liability lawyers into a frenzy by fabricating their own and/or modifying commercial designs to make lighter stoves for some time.)
The LiteMax is an evolution of the older and heavier GigaPower Micro Max stove that weighs 3.3 ounces (94 grams) in the titanium version and boasts an integrated piezo igniter. Snow Peak has been working for more than a year with Kovea, the LiteMax manufacturer, to reduce the weight. Last summer we reported on the version we dubbed the Micro Giga that eliminated the igniter and substituted some lighter materials to bring the weight down to 2.15 ounces (60 grams). Snow Peak never brought that particular version to market, but instead concentrated on further refining the design to reduce the weight.
The LiteMax eliminates virtually all brass and stainless steel parts from prior versions, and makes extensive use of titanium for the burner and pot support and uses aluminum for the valve and mixing tube. The use of aluminum in the lower portions of the stove presented some engineering challenges, as its high thermal conductivity heated the valve seat excessively.
The solution was to incorporate an insulating gasket at the bottom of the burner to keep the aluminum parts cooler. Holes have even been drilled in the pot supports to further reduce weight. This last iteration of refinements has yielded a stove weighing only 1.9 ounces (55 grams) (which I have personally verified on our official scale), yet that still able to produce a claimed maximum output power of 11,200 BTU per hour. MSRP US$55.00. Available since spring 2008.
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