Rating: 5 / 5
Please note: My review is for the newer version of the Gram Weenie Pro that has the roll crimp design rather then the older riveted design.
I will start with some brief history to give the reader some context about my experience with alcohol stoves. I have been using alcohol stoves for three season backpacking for the past six years. My trips are mostly in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Typical three season temperatures range from over night lows of -5 degrees celcius with day time highs that can get up to 30 degrees celcius. When it comes to backcountry cooking with alcohol stoves I want a stove that will boil water for rehydrating meals/cooking pasta and making hot beverages for 1 to 2 people. I have used pot cozies at times to assist with this. I never boil more then 600 ml of water at a time. I value consistent performance, light weight, low bulk and simple operation over fast boil times in these conditions.
In my search for a light weight, reliable alcohol stove I have tried the following: 1) slimmed down Trangia burner, no simmer ring or cap, wire stand and foil wind screen (reliable, bomber, efficient, but heavy), 2) Minibulldesign Sith (Hot but fuel hungry, effected by cold pots), 3) homemade super cat stoves (made several with different hole configurations. Cheap and light but generally not the most efficient stove, seriously effected by placing pots with cold mountain water on them even after waiting for them to prime, I have found the flame to be very unstable in the slightest breeze even for an alcohol stove) 4) Minibulldesign BIOS 2.2 (light, sturdy design, burns hot, generally well thought out design but relatively inefficient).
Given my experiences with the stoves that I have listed above I think that I have finally found what I am looking for in the Gram Weenie Pro.
I stumbled upon the Gram Weenie Pro by accident. I purchased an Evernew Ultralight 0.9 l pot from End2End Trail Supply and received the stove with the pot at no extra cost as a part of a deal that was running at that time. I had pretty low expectations of the stove when I received it. I am pleased to say that the Gram Weenie Pro has really surprised me.
The following testing of this stove was performed on the bench in my garage. An example of a trial burn with the stove is as follows:
500 ml of 3 degree celcius water
Air temperature of 1 degree celcius
1 ounce of 99.9% methanol + a few drops on priming pan.
Time to Prime: 21 seconds
Time to Rolling Boil: 9 minutes 11 seconds
Total Burn time: 11 minutes 15 seconds
Under the same conditions I consistently achieved similar results (+/- 30 seconds for boil time and burn time). At first glance this may not seem that impressive, but I think one has to consider a few of the details to see the whole picture.
First of all the water temperature is very cold. I used ice cubes to bring the temperature down in order to simulate the cold water mountain water that I usually encounter. I notice that in many stove reviews the water temperature is often significantly warmer, but I have not found this to be consistent with the water temperature that I generally encounter in the backcountry. I can place the cold pot directly on the stove immediately after it has primed without it going out. I cannot say this for the Sith or Supercat stove.
Second: The stove is fairly efficient. Of the stoves that I mentioned above, only the Trangia would be able to match the efficiency. At this water and air temperature all of the other stoves would have required more then 1 ounce of fuel. One evening I attempted boiling 600 ml of cold water with a couple of ice cubes in it, in freezing temperatures on my deck, and the Gram Weenie pro still managed a full rolling boil on one ounce of fuel.
Third: Except for the super cat stove it is the lightest of the group.
Fourth: It takes up the least volume in my pack.
In conclusion, here is a summary of my likes and dislikes.
Likes: Efficient, consistent performance, very light, durable enough that I do not need to store it in my pot, simple to light, primes quickly, does not suffer from going out when in contact with cold pot, in side by side testing with other alchy stoves listed flame seems to be one of the most stable, quality craftsmanship.
Dislikes: Initially I was most concerned about the stability of a 900 ml pot on the stove. I have resolved this by using some hardware cloth as seen in the photo below. Note that the hardware cloth does not lift the pot off of the stove but rather only acts as a bit of extra security to prevent the pot from tipping in the event that it gets bumped. As such I have really cut the hardware cloth down as it does not bear any significant load. So I guess this is not really a dislike but rather an issue that I have found a simple solution to.
So in case you cannot already tell I really like this stove. I plan on using it as my primary three season alcohol stove for trips up to week long. In conclusion here are the weights for the stove and components as I use it. This is Backpackinglight after all. :)
Gram Weenie Pro and provided primer pan: 0.6 oz
Homemade hardware cloth support (Not provided with stove or required for use): 0.1 oz
(reynolds foil - not provided with stove): 0.6 oz
Total system: 1.3 oz