FR - SOTO Windmaster stove - Jerry Adams
- <a name="FRPT">FIELD REPORT</a>
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
First I did a little test at home, putting it in and out of freezer to see if it leaked..Sept 10, 2013 - 5 night backpack and 2 night car camp on Three Sisters area in central Oregon. 40 to 70 F. I used 0.85 oz/day of butane to boil 2 liters (2 quarts) of water.October 2, 2013 - 4 night backpack and 1 night car camp in Trinity Alps in Northern California. 30 to 60 F. I used 1.00 oz/day of isobutane to boil 2 liters (2 quarts) of water.October 14 and 29, 2013 - did some cold weather testing on my patioNovember 1, 2013 - 5 night car camp and 1 night backpack on John Day and Deschutes rivers in North central Oregon. 35 to 55 F (2 to 13 C). Fairly windy.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I first tested this at home. I put the stove on a canister and weighed it. I then put it in the freezer and back out several times over a couple days and then weighed it again and it was the same. The stove did not leak any. I had a stove once that did this so I always check. I hate it when I wake up in the morning and the canister is empty because it leaked out overnight. Yeah, I could unscrew the stove, but that's a bit of a pain and there's opportunity for dirt to get in it. Also, extra screwing and unscrewing could damage the valve on the canister or the threads.I have heard confusing reports that the SOTO is better at cold temperatures, so I did some cold weather testing on my patio. I used some butane rather than the more common isobutane. Butane is only good down to about 35 F (2 C) which better matches the temperature on my patio. Isobutane is good down to about 25 F (-4 C) which is better for cold weather usage when I'm backpacking. My butane canister was mostly empty so the small amount of propane they put in it was probably gone.One day it was 39.5 F (4 C) with still air. I heated a pint (1/2 L) of water with both the SOTO and a conventional upright stove. They both worked just fine, except with the conventional stove it got cold after a while and the flame level got way low so I had to turn up the valve.Another day it was 32 F (0 C). I heated a pint (1/2 L) of water with both SOTO and conventional stove. As the canister evaporated fuel it cooled down, so the flame level went way down on both stoves, so they took longer but eventually boiled the water.I don't think the SOTO is any better at colder temperatures than a conventional upright stove, but I would like to repeat this with the temperature a few degrees colder which I'll probably be able to do during the Long Term Test period.I used the SOTO on several trips. 18 nights total. For each night I heated 2 liters (quarts) of water. I heated 1/4 liter (1 cup) in the evening for soup, 1/4 liter (1 cup) in the morning for oatmeal, and 1.5 liters (3 pints) of water in the morning for coffee and tea. With the oatmeal and soup, I boil the water, add the food and get it back up to boil and simmer for a portion of a minute, then let it sit for a few minutes to hydrate. For the tea and coffee, I bring the water almost to boil, turn it off, and add the coffee or tea. I used about 1 ounce per day of butane, which is about the same as a conventional stove, so the SOTO is no more or less efficient than a regular stove.One day, I didn't get the simmer level adjusted properly for the oatmeal and burned it a little. But, after this, I figured out how to adjust the simmer level properly and didn't have this problem, so it's not that the SOTO doesn't simmer, but it is different than a conventional stove so it takes a bit to figure it out. Basically, 1.5 turns is full on for lighting and boiling water. 1 turn or maybe 1.1 turns is good for simmering. Below about 1 turn, the flame goes out.SOTO talks about how good the regulator is because the flame level remains constant regardless of canister pressure. They have this video showing a SOTO and how the flame levels stays the same when the canister is put into ice water. With a conventional stove the flame level goes way down. I've always been skeptical of this because I never place a stove into ice water. I have to watch the stove anyway, so if the flame level goes down I can just turn it up.However, in actual use, I have found this characteristic useful. I don't put the stove into ice water but when I use it in cold weather, due to evaporative cooling inside the canister, it does get significantly colder after running a couple minutes. With a conventional stove, the flame level slowly goes down so I don't notice it until after a couple minutes it suddenly occurs to me that the stove is running very slowly so I have to turn it up. On the one hand, so what, I wasted a minute or two, I was an idiot for not noticing it earlier. But on the other hand, I hate it when I call myself an idiot. It's not a feature that by itself would effect my buying decision, but I'm liking it.I worry that the regulator is more complicated than a regular needle valve, and thus subject to failure, but over the course of my testing I had no problems. I'll further verify this during the Long Term Test. I'd probably have to test a number of stoves over an extended period to determine this reliability so I won't be able to verify this very good during my limited testing.One time the pot tipped over and spilled all the water. It tipped away from the handle. The pot supports don't stick out very far so my Evernew pot is just barely stable enough. This is the tradeoff for it being so lightweight. I could use the 4 flex support instead but that weighs more. But, using the standard 3 arm support, if I position the pot so the handle is halfway between supports as in the picture below, it's not so bad. Also, when I put the pot on, I tip it a bit just to make sure it's centered and maximally stable. After that one time, it hasn't happened again.Handle half way between supports:<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 1">>During my usage, I operated it without a windscreen. It was somewhat windy but I tried to place it behind a rock or whatever to shield it. It operated fine. I would normally use a windscreen. So, maybe the burner recessed below the rim actually provided some wind protection. I want to test this a little better during the Long Term Test period.I used the piezo starter without problem. The only negative was that I put the pot on, turned on the butane, and then clicked the starter. Sometimes there was a little flash of flame. Maybe it singed some hairs on my hand. It startles me a bit. No big deal though. It's probably worse on a regular stove when I use a lighter to light it.
I am really liking the SOTO Windmaster stove.Mostly, canister stoves are pretty generic in my opinion and no stove is much better than any other.The SOTO is maybe a little better and lighter weight than other canister stoves. If I had to buy a new stove, I'd probably buy one, but I don't think it's enough better that I'd buy one if I already had a perfectly good stove.It seems like it's really high quality made.It weighs a fraction of an ounce less than most other stoves.It seems like it operated fine in the wind. It saves an ounce or so not to have to use a windscreen like I normally do. If I don't have to use a windscreen, compared to other canister stoves that do, the SOTO is the lightest upright canister stove available (although there are many stoves within a couple ounces if I use the lightest windscreen).The piezo lighter worked good.The regulator valve worked fine. It's a bit useful not to have to adjust it if the canister pressure goes down as happens when it's cold and after a minute evaporative cooling cools it some.The only negative, is the standard pot support doesn't stick out very far so my pot is marginally stable enough. After it tipped over once so I was aware of this, I've been a little more careful so this hasn't happened again. I think this is a good tradeoff for weighing a little less.Thanks to SOTO and BackpackGearTest.org for letting me test this.Look forward to my Long Term Report in about two months
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.
Sorry for the delay in getting your edits to you. Life has been quite hectic for me as of late. Nice report.
Just some minor things to address and you are free to post your report in the appropriate folder. Please remember to delete your file from the TESTS folder.
EDIT: <They have this video showing a SOTO and how the flame levels stays the same when the canister is put into ice water.> for subject/verb agreement, I believe "levels" should be "level" -- please correct as you see fit
EDIT: <I worry that the regulator is more complicated than a regular needle valve, and thus subject to failure, but over the course of my testing I had no problems.> - I believe "worry that" should be "worried because" -- please correct as you see fit
See you in a couple months. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.
- Thanks for the editsedited, uploaded, deletedsee you in two monthsFrom: "bigdawgryan@..." <bigdawgryan@...>
Sent: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 8:03 PM
Subject: [backpackgeartesters] EDIT: FR - SOTO Windmaster stove - Jerry AdamsJerry,Sorry for the delay in getting your edits to you. Life has been quite hectic for me as of late. Nice report.Just some minor things to address and you are free to post your report in the appropriate folder. Please remember to delete your file from the TESTS folder.EDIT: <They have this video showing a SOTO and how the flame levels stays the same when the canister is put into ice water.> for subject/verb agreement, I believe "levels" should be "level" -- please correct as you see fitEDIT: <I worry that the regulator is more complicated than a regular needle valve, and thus subject to failure, but over the course of my testing I had no problems.> - I believe "worry that" should be "worried because" -- please correct as you see fitSee you in a couple months. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.Ryan