Gear Review: Snow Peak Giga Power Stove
Weight: 3.75 oz (stove) + 2 oz (windshield) = 5.75 oz
Dimensions: 3.6 x 2.0 x 1.8 inches
Fuel Type: Canister
When it comes to backpacking stoves there seems to be endless options. Your choice will primarily be based on how you prioritize weight, function, and durability. For me while all three are important, I do not like flimsy gear and really do not like gear that does not function well - at least for my purposes. I have used a couple different stoves including the Vargo decagon alcohol stove, the MSR whisper light, and the SnowPeak Giga Power stove.
My evaluation of the GigaPower stove is made up of a few criteria. In order these are:
What is the stove capable of? Is it just an all or nothing flame that is only good for boiling water for dehydrated meals? Or is it something that you can actually adjust the flame, simmer, and accurately control the heat? How much heat does it provide, will it boil 2 cups of water within a reasonable amount of time i.e. less than 10 minutes?
How long will it last? How much weight will it support? Is it easily damaged, bent, or broken?
3) Weight, Size, & Fuel Consumption
Is it easily packable and a reasonable weight considering its functionality and durability?
Note: This article will not cover or try to prove or disprove certain myths, truths, or opinions related to fuel types and stove designs. It is my personal experience and belief that much of these myths and opinions are not true or are so exaggerated that they really do not apply in actual application. The most prevalent of these myths are related to altitude and temperature, but I have used alcohol, white gas, and canister fuel types as high as 12,000 feet and as low as sea level, as warm as 95° and as cold as 0° without any noticeable issues. While some of these stoves or fuel types may not function at their 100% efficiency in cold temperatures or at high elevation, they do not present any functional issues or any noticeable lack in performance compared to use at lower elevations in warm temperatures. Because of this, performance at elevation or temperatures will not be included in the review of stoves. Your mileage may vary.
One of the things that drew me to the SnowPeak GigaPower stove were reviews declaring its superiority when it comes to flame control. What I found with the MSR whisper light and obviously alcohol stoves is it greatly limited my cooking options to boiling water. Even the whisper light just did not give me any significant control over the flame and heat. I can attest to the Giga Power's excellent heat control from a raging furnace to a gentle simmer. The control is very easy and smooth giving you the ability to quickly boil pots of water or slowly simmer hashbrowns in a frypan. I only use the stove with the larger diameter gas cans as I tend to take more fuel than I need just in case. That being said with the large gas cans the stove is very stable even with larger pots full of water. The stove is very easy to use. From packed to cooking and packed again it takes almost no time or effort.
One thing that should be mentioned is that the 'sold separate' windshield should not be considered an option, but a necessity. While the stove works well even without the windshield in good weather, there is a significant advantage to to using it. Not only does it block the wind that seems to pick up every time you decide to make a meal, but it also reflects the heat up towards the pot instead of letting it escape toward the ground. Because of this, I always use the windshield even when there is no wind.
Another characteristic that drew me to the Giga Power was how sturdy the design and construction felt. There were no flimsy supports that looked like they could be bent and when you fully open the support arms it just feels solid. Many times I have boiled four cup pots of water with it and when setting the full pot onto the stove it doesn't even blink. The stove also comes with a small plastic housing for transportation although the stove is definitely sturdy enough to be packed without it without worry of damage. At one point when I was staying in the Rocky Mountains at 9,000 feet I used this stove as my soul source of cooking heat every day for over a month with absolutely zero issues - this thing is bombproof.
Weight, Size, and Fuel Consumption
The stove itself folds down into almost nothing; comparable to a D cell battery. The small size makes it very easy to pack in any mess kits or just tossed into the top pouch of the pack.It is also incredibly lightweight weighing in at 3.75 ounces. With such a small and lightweight stove you can easily take it with you on any camping trip. The windshield weighs 2 ounces, is about 4.5 inches in diameter, and 0.5 inch or so deep which makes it rather flat and easy to stuff into the top pouch of your pack.
The larger canisters, which I believe are around 8 ounces, last for about three days for two people for regular use. If you are using your stove to boil and purify your drinking water then you would need additional fuel, but for my wife and I we usually have a little bit left in the bottom of the can after a three day camping trip. And we are not shy about using our stove; we like to make tea and hot chocolate throughout the day as well as food.
Personal preferences and different priorities will make a big difference in your stove selection, but if you're open to canister stoves then this is one you need to check out. It's powerful, strong, easily adjustable, lightweight, and it's tiny. What more could you ask for in a backpacking stove? While there are many excellent canister stoves, I have not seen one that competes with the Giga Power, except for maybe the JetBoil, but that has it's own limitations that eliminate it as a possibility for my purposes.
I'd like to add some negative observations as well, but to be honest I can't think of anything they could've done better with this stove. I suppose the only negative thing I have to say is that the windshield is sold separately. With most other stoves some sort of windshield is included even if it is simply a bit of flexible sheet metal. If they included the windshield with the stove this would be a 5 star product.
I think that anyone purchasing this stove will be happy with their decision whether you are new to backpacking or an experienced outdoorsman.
April 30th, 2015← BackNext →
Camping in Buffalo Creek, CO
Gear Review: Snow Peak Giga Power Stove
Bear Track Lakes, Colorado (6/24/12 to 6/25/14)