Rating: 5 / 5
The Packafeather XL addresses stability issues some folks have with the Featherfire, while further reducing weight to 1.4 ounces. The stove’s claim to fame is its adjustable flame: from hot flame to simmering capacity, adjustable on-the-fly, with an adjustment screw controlled by a short cable. My stove is 5-1/2 rotations from full open to full closed. The stove operates very efficiently when throttled back.
Indoor testing shows it to boil 2 cups of 70-degree water in about 7.5 minutes, in an MSR Titan Kettle, full throttle. Stability of the 4.6” kettle is solid.
There’s a minor controversy about the time-lag of the adjustments. Some folks complain of a half-minute time lag between downward adjustment and flame change. The manufacturer states the adjustment is more “heat control” than “flame control,” and writes: “Be aware that as you’re turning the stove down, the heat output will decrease almost immediately even though it typically takes about 30 seconds for the flame size to fully decrease to a given setting. When turning the stove up, heat AND flame size respond almost immediately.” My experiences so far are in accord: On turndown, temperatures do seem to drop quickly, even though flame size takes awhile to adjust.
I confess I purchased the XL for the primary purpose of making pancakes on an alcohol stove. Works like a charm! After the stove heats up, I turn it down 3-4 rotations, and fry flapjacks successfully in a lightweight aluminum Imusa 6.5” fry pan. A ‘cake takes about a minute and a half on the first side, and half that on the second.
Even though the stove can fry a ‘cake evenly without hot-spots, its central updraft flame is ideal for efficiency with narrow pots.
Fuel recovery is excellent. Close the stove all the way down, then snuff it (with the supplied cap). Let the stove cool, then simply remove the outer stove to access the fuel cup. Pour unused alcohol back into your fuel container. I modified the edge of the fuel cup with a pair of round-nose pliers, to create a small pour spout.