Snow Peak GigaPower Canister Stove REVIEW

Review of one of the smallest and lightest - and now classic - canister stoves on the outdoor market.

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by Will Rietveld | 2005-02-15 03:00:00-07

Overview

Snowpeak GigaPower Canister Stove - 1
Snow Peak GigaPower expanded

The Snow Peak GigaPower mini-canister stove is available in four configurations (with or without titanium components, and with or without auto-ignition) to meet most users' preferences. It collapses to a very compact size. The stove has four pot supports (rather than the usual three) that fold out to provide a stable, flat, grippy surface. Lighting the stove with the piezoelectric igniter on the auto-start model often requires several tries, and the igniter is cumbersome to operate with gloved hands. Although the burner provides good flame spread, it requires several re-adjustments to get the stove to the desired flame level. The GigaPower performs quite well under calm conditions, but I found it very sensitive to wind. Using a windscreen improved its performance, but there was still impairment by apparent turbulence within the windscreen used in laboratory testing. I found the stove quite capable of melting snow, cooking a complex meal, and frying pancakes. However, the stove's flame creep required several adjustments of the controller to obtain a constant flame. Overall, the GigaPower is a good value and a capable performer if used with wind protection.

Specifications

• Stove ID

Snow Peak GigaPower Stove, Titanium, Auto, GST-100A

• Accessories Included

Plastic case

• Dimensions

Expanded, 4.1 in wide x 2.6 in high (10 x 7 cm); collapsed, 2.6 wide x 3.1 high (7 x 8 cm)

• Weight

Manufacturer claimed weight 3.0 oz (85g); Backpacking Light measured weight 3.1 oz (87g)

• MSRP

$74.95 US

Usable Features

Snowpeak GigaPower Canister Stove - 2

Pot supports and flame controller collapse together for compact storage. The piezoelectric igniter is a push-button type.

Compactness - The four pot supports fold together and the long flame controller wing folds up to collapse the stove into a tiny volume that slips into a provided 2 x 1.2 x 3.5 inch plastic case. I rate this stove as very compact.

Weight - Titanium components reduce the weight of this stove by 0.75 ounce over the equivalent non-titanium stove. This weight savings more than offsets the weight of the piezoelectric igniter. However, the plastic storage case weighs 0.8 ounces.

Ignition - The piezoelectric igniter is a horizontal push button type.

Flame Control - The stove's flame controller is a long (2.2 inches) wing that places your hand well away from the burner. The burner is dome-shaped with flames emerging from the side and curving upward. The flame spreads evenly across the bottom of the pot.

Pot Support - The four pot supports are sturdy and lock into place with the weight of the pot. They create a 3-inch square area of support, and each arm has a 1-inch length of contact with the bottom of the pot. The serrations are fairly smooth. I was able to tilt the stove 30° or give it a solid bump without the pot sliding off.

Options - The stove is available with and without titanium components and with or without a piezoelectric igniter (four models). The manual stove (GS-100) weighs 3.25 ounces and costs $39.95, the auto ignition stove (GS-100S) weighs 3.75 ounces and costs $49.95, the titanium manual stove (GST-100) weighs 2.5 ounces and costs $64.95, and the titanium auto ignition stove (GST-100A) weighs 3 ounces and costs $74.95.

Ease of Use

Setup - Very easy. Simply extend the pot supports, screw on a fuel canister, and light the burner. A gripe: the flame controller wing must be opened one-quarter turn for it to collapse and fit into the plastic storage case. The next time I attach a fuel canister, I invariably forget to close the valve, and a rush of gas reminds me to do so.

Lighting - Under cool conditions it requires several tries with the piezoelectric igniter to light the stove, and sometimes I have to resort to using a match. When it's warm one flick usually does it.

Adjustment - The flame adjuster has two full turns lock to lock, but all of the adjustment is in the first quarter-turn. Within this short range the stove adjusts from a low simmer to full throttle. The flame adjuster has significant rebound, meaning it partially bounces back when you release it. It also has a problem with flame creep, requiring several re-adjustments before the flame level is constant.

Cold Weather Use - Wearing winter gloves, I find it easy to attach the stove to a canister, but a shield on the piezoelectric igniter button makes it hard to push with a gloved finger.

Cooking Performance

I took the Snow Peak GigaPower on backpacking trips in the Colorado Mountains in early June and camped on the alpine tundra surrounded by snowdrifts. Temperatures were in the high 40s °F when I cooked dinner and in the high 20s °F when I cooked breakfast.

Capacity - The GigaPower is small but capable. It can readily cook for one or a group of four. The stove will easily handle a 2-liter pot (or larger) but the pot must be carefully centered on the stove for stability.

Versatility - The stove had plenty of BTU's to melt snow for water. I cooked spaghetti for dinner using two pots, one for cooking the noodles and one for rehydrating the sauce. The stove accomplished all tasks just fine, although the flame adjuster required some fiddling to maintain a low flame for simmering. I cooked pancakes for breakfast, which required a low constant flame. Again, it took several adjustments to maintain the desired flame level.

Wind Effects - The GigaPower is particularly sensitive to wind, which blows the flames away from the pot. I was able to light the stove in wind, but its efficiency was greatly reduced. Without a windscreen I would have had a difficult time doing any cooking at all.

Heating Efficiency

In the Backpacking Light lab tests, the GigaPower stove had the lowest performance in direct wind, warming 1 quart of water only 27 °F in 10 minutes. Even with a windscreen, the stove's performance was impaired somewhat, apparently due to turbulence, with a boil time 3.5 minutes longer than the best performing stove. My observations in the field agree with these results. In contrast, under optimal conditions, the GigaPower had a fast boil time (4 minutes 19 seconds) and was among the four best stoves for fuel efficiency.

See Lightweight Canister Stoves Test Report for more detailed results of our heating efficiency tests on this stove, and all the canister stoves in our review suite.

Table 1. Summary of boil time and fuel consumption data for the Snow Peak GigaPower
TestOptimal Conditions Full Flame 1 quart waterOptimal Conditions Moderate Flame 1 quart waterOptimal Conditions Full Flame 1/2 quart waterCold Conditions Full Flame 1 quart waterWindy Conditions Full Flame 1 quart waterWind + Wind screen Full Flame 1 quart water
GigaPower Boil Time (min:sec) 4:19 4:55 2:35 8:55 27 degrees*7:43
Average Boil Time for all stoves tested (min:sec) 3:33 4:51 2:18 7:35 88 degrees**5:12
GigaPower Fuel Consumption (g)12.4 10.7 7.3 12.0 24.9 19.3
Average Fuel Consumption for all stoves tested (g) 16.1 11.7 8.1 11.5 30.0 18.6
GigaPower: Water Boiled Per 4-ounce Fuel Canister (qt)9.110.67.79.4-5.9
Average Water Boiled per 4-ounce fuel canister for all stoves tested (qt)7.3 9.8 7.1 9.4 - 6.2

Optimal conditions are 70 °F air and water, no wind. Cold conditions were simulated by putting the stoves and canisters in a freezer overnight at 10 °F, then boiling 40 °F water. Windy conditions were simulated with a box fan providing a 12 mph wind; water and air temperatures were 70 °F.

* Degrees Fahrenheit water temperature was raised after 10 minutes; water did not reach a boil.

** Average amount water temperature was raised after 10 minutes. Of the eight stoves tested with 1 quart of water, only one stove reached boiling within 10 minutes.

Durability

The GigaPower is sufficiently rugged and durable to withstand normal backpacking use. No maintenance was required, but it is very important to keep the fuel canister connection clean to avoid clogging the jet.

Value

The GigaPower is available in four configurations to meet most everyone's preferences. The titanium manual stove weighs only 2.5 ounces, which is the lightweight champ in the group of stoves reviewed. The basic non-titanium manual stove costs only $39.95. The GigaPower is lightweight, fuel efficient, compact, and durable. However, its lack of precise flame control and sensitivity to wind are serious drawbacks. Compared to the performance of other stoves we reviewed, the GigaPower is only a fair value, although with good wind protection, its value increases to "good."

Tips and Tricks

It is important to provide wind protection to obtain good performance and fuel economy from this stove. Read our companion article FAQs About Canister Stoves and Fuels regarding the safe use of a windscreen with a canister stove. Also, we are not fans of piezoelectric ignition for cold weather; they never seem to work when you need them most. Snowpeak might consider the cost and weight savings from skipping the piezoelectric ignition.

Recommendations for Improvement

I detected a significant amount of rebound and flame creep in the flame adjustor. A flame adjustment mechanism that provides more precise control of the burner would be a welcome change. Also, the stove's dome-shaped burner provides good flame spread, but it also seems to make the stove more sensitive to wind. Some re-configuration may be in order to improve wind resistance. I would also like to see the GigaPower redesigned so that the stove can be stowed with the valve closed.


Citation

"Snow Peak GigaPower Canister Stove REVIEW," by Will Rietveld. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/snowpeak_gigapower_canister_stove_review.html, 2005-02-15 03:00:00-07.

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