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UPDATED OR: Snow Peak GS-200D - Roger Caffin

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  • Roger Caffin
    My original OR on this stove was a bit brief and colourless. Seemed like a good idea to refresh it and add some pics. Herewith the text version, and html in
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 3, 2005
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      My original OR on this stove was a bit brief and colourless. Seemed like a good idea to refresh it and add some pics.
      Herewith the text version, and html in the Test folder at
      http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/OWNER%20REVIEWS/Snow%20Peak%20GS-200D,%20UPDATED%20-%20Roger%20Caffin/

      Um - I have kept the original date. Hum?

      Cheers
      Roger Caffin
      ----------------------------
      Snow Peak Giga Power GS-200D Stove
      Roger Caffin
      4-April-2003

      Product information
      Manufacturer: Snow Peak
      Year of manufacture: ~2000
      Manufacturer URL: <http://www.snowpeak.com>www.snowpeak.com
      Listed weight: 287 gm (10.1 oz)
      Weight as delivered: 284 gm (10.0 oz)
      Weight in protective case: 383 gm (13.5 oz )
      Dimensions (folded up): 112 * 105 * 70 mm (4.4 * 4.1 * 2.8 ")

      Product description:

      This is a rather expensive stove for standard screw-on butane/propane gas cartridges with the Lindal valve. It differs
      from the very small stoves which screw directly onto the cartridge: this one has a 300 mm (12") long thin flexible hose
      so the cartridge can be located some distance away. It also has a pre-heat or 'generator' tube just before the jet.
      There is a single valve, located on the coupling which attaches to the gas cartridge. The construction appears to be
      aluminium, brass and stainless steel. The model I have comes with a piezo ignition attachment: one click, the gas is
      lit, and I'm cooking.

      The stove has three wire arms with serrations on them. These rotate together to fold up for packing. Opened out they
      give a support diameter of 150 mm (6"). The serrations serve to prevent pots from sliding off, and are quite effective.
      The control of the gas flow is done by a conventional needle valve in the coupling, and is actuated by a fold-out spring
      wire handle. The valve stem appears identical to that on the
      <http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Cook%20Gear/Stoves/Snow%20Peak%20GigaPower%20Titanium%20GST-100/Owner%20Review%
      20by%20Roger%20Caffin/>Snow Peak GS(T)-100 stove, which I have also reviewed.

      A strong plastic case is provided with the stove. This weighs 99 gm (3.5 oz). It is just slightly larger than the folded
      stove, such that the stove just fits inside when folded. Some jiggling may be needed to get the stove inside it. The
      weight of the case is such that I hesitate to carry it always.

      On the side of the box the manufacturer specifies the stove as having a "heat output" of 13,888 BTU or 3,500 kcal/hr.
      The BTU part is not a meaningful specification: I suspect it should be BTU/hr. The kcal/h specification translates to
      4.1 kW.

      The instructions which came with the stove were entirely in Japanese: I have no idea what they said, but there seemed to
      be a lot of warnings against doing silly things, if I can judge by the pictures.

      Update on availability, 2004
      The <http://www.snowpeak.com>Snow Peak web site now shows a GS-300 stove in place of the GS-200. The 300 has four legs
      instead of three and a small (genuine) windshield ring around the burner. Otherwise it appears to be pretty much the
      same.

      Field information

      I was given this stove while writing a stove review for a walking magazine: it is unlikely that I would have bought it
      given the price it was selling for in Australia at the time. It was in fact being marketed as a very 'up-market' unit
      (that means the price was very high!). Looking at the Snow Peak web site I found that current USA price is way below the
      Australian price of the time, and is now quite reasonable.

      However, it has turned out to be very convenient to use, and is now one of my two standard stoves for winter ski
      touring. It's a bit heavy for summer use compared with the
      <http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Cook%20Gear/Stoves/Snow%20Peak%20GigaPower%20Titanium%20GST-100/Owner%20Review%
      20by%20Roger%20Caffin/>Snow Peak GS(T)-100 stove. Sometimes I carry it in the plastic case provided, but the weight of
      the case is a bit high. Other times I wrap it up and carry it inside my cooking pot. To use it, I first check that the
      valve is shut, then I screw it on the gas cartridge, open the three pot-stands supports, turn the gas on, click the
      piezo igniter and it's running. It can be turned up to a good roar for boiling water, and it can also be turned down to
      a very slow simmer. The pot stand radius of 75 mm (3") translates to a support diameter of 150 mm (6"): this is large.
      My Trangia kettle is 150 mm (6") in diameter and my normal 180 mm (7") cooking pot (for the two if us) is 180 mm (7").
      The stove supports both the kettle and the pot very well.

      Much is made of peak power output or boiling time by some manufacturers. This stove matches any of them, but is so much
      easier to set up than the liquid fuel stoves. NO priming is needed. It's up and running in less than a minute.

      Snow use

      Since I use this stove in the snow I should explain how and why. Ordinary upright gas stoves have a real problem in the
      cold, as many people have found. The problem is that butane boils at -0.5 C (31 F), while propane boils at -40 C (-40
      F). A typical cartridge contains 70% butane and 30% propane, although there are variations. On a very cold day - say
      around -10 C (14 F), the propane can still boil off but the butane will sit there in the bottom of the cartridge doing
      relatively little. Carried too far, the propane gets all used up and the cartridge is left with lots of butane but not
      giving any gas out. This is why some people think gas stoves don't work in the snow. They simply haven't managed their
      stove properly.

      I use this stove successfully in the snow despite the low-temperature problem, but I change how I use the cartridge. I
      should caution here that, while what I am about to describe is done by many users, it is not authorised by the Snow Peak
      company and does require a bit of care. On the other hand, the designers of the stove have included a generator tube
      (blue line) in this stove, so they must have had some idea in mind. The responsibility is all yours.

      To make it work, I simply tip the whole cartridge upside down as shown to the right, so the liquified gas inside is fed
      into the flexible tube to the stove. Now I have a stove just like a petrol stove such as a Whisperlite or Simmerlight,
      except that the fuel is slightly different and I don't have to either prime or pump. The propane boiling inside the
      cartridge provides the pressure to drive the mixed liquified gases to the stove. The mixture stays essentially constant
      right to the end. (Actually, the physics is a shade more complex, but this explanation will do here.) Once the liquid
      fuel reaches the generator tube it is vaporised, mixed with air and burnt. This is absolutely the same process as with a
      petrol or kerosene stove. Doing this does not subject the stove to any exceptional conditions.

      The big problem with tipping the cartridge upside down is that it makes adjusting the valve (green line) more difficult.
      I find I need two hands to do it safely. Changes at the valve do take a little longer to take effect at the stove than
      with a conventional gas stove, so I have to do the changes slowly. Otherwise the stove operates just as one would
      expect.

      Other gas stoves designed to work in the snow (such as the Coleman PowerMax series) have modified the gas intake from
      the cartridge to draw liquid fuel from the base of the cartridge, rather than drawing vaporised fuel from the top. This
      leaves the valve more accessible. But the PowerMax uses a special cartridge, while the GS-200 can use the ordianry
      screw-threead cartridge.

      Precautions

      Several points are noted in my Owner Review for the
      <http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Cook%20Gear/Stoves/Snow%20Peak%20GigaPower%20Titanium%20GST-100/Owner%20Review%
      20by%20Roger%20Caffin/>Snow Peak GS(T)-100 stove which also apply to some extent here. I have to be careful to ensure
      the control valve is shut before attaching it to the cartridge. The O-rings need periodic attention to ensure they
      stayed greased to reduce any hysteresis in the setting, although this does not have to be done very often. Adjusting the
      valve in the snow means I have to hold the cartridge in one hand (upside down still) while turning the valve with the
      other.

      Summary
      Likes Dislikes
      Light weight Balancing the cartridge upside down
      Ease of assembly Heavy (optional) case
      Large pot stand Expensive
      Piezo-igniter

      Would we buy another? I would probably stay with my Coleman PowerMax stove since the PowerMax cartridges are even
      lighter and a little more convenient. However, the PowerMax cartridges are harder to find.



      Biographical information
      Name: Roger Caffin Age: 57
      Gender: M
      Height: 1.66 m (5' 5")
      Weight: 63 kg (138 lb)
      Email address: r dot caffin at acm dot org
      Home: Sydney, Australia
      Date: 4-Apr-03

      Backpacking Background:

      I started bushwalking (the Australian term) when I was about 14 yrs old, took up rock climbing and remote exploration
      walking at University, later on took up ski touring and canyoning. These days I do all my trips with just my wife. Our
      preferred walking trips in Australia are long ones: about a week in the general Blue Mts (east coast of Australia) and
      Snowy Mts (alpine) regions, and up to two months long in Europe and the UK. We favour fairly hard technical trips and
      prefer to travel fast and light. Our ski touring trips are usually 5-7 days long as well, with full packs and tents. In
      between we still do fairly long day trips: it's a form of relaxation. Having discovered that a 20 kg pack (44 lb) is no
      longer fun, I have become a believer in ultra-lightweight walking. Typically I carry an ultra-lightweight tent (we need
      full insect proofing here), a Thermarest (10 hours asleep on it!), a lightweight sleeping bag, a lightweight
      butane/propane stove (the subject of this review), a lightweight pack, light climbing rope (frequently used) and a very
      light parka. I would carry about 12-13 kg (26-29 lb) total for a week (more when skiing of course).

      I am also the maintainer of the aus.bushwalking FAQ web site
      <http://www.bushwalking.org.au/FAQ/>www.bushwalking.org.au/FAQ/.
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