Looking for something to please that outdoors person on your shopping list? Maybe you’re just in the market to upgrade your camping stove arsenal.
With the Soto Micro Regulator OD-1R canister stove you’d looking in the right direction. In fact, it could replace just about any stove you might have for most single or two-person outings and camping trips. This is especially true for those looking to shave ounces and conserve valuable packing space.
At 2.6 ounces and a folded size about the diameter of a toilet paper core and three quarters as long, the stove will fit anywhere. With the three pot supports deployed and the burner threaded onto a typical 8 ounce isobutane gas canister, the stove easily supports a 7-inch diameter cooking pot. I found that the smaller the diameter of the pot, the more heat was “spilled” up the sides. A 3¾-inch titanium pot, for example, took 2 minutes, 40 seconds to boil versus 2:20 for a GSI anodized aluminum pot that is 4¾-inches in diameter.
The Soto is a picture of simplicity to operate. Unfold the pot supports, screw it onto a gas canister, turn the fuel valve 1½-2 turns and push the red Piezoelectric igniter button and poof — every time — the stove jumps to life with 11,000 BTUs of heat that will last about 1.5 hours on high using an 8-ounce canister. The fuel valve allows for variable output right down to a simmer.
While many stoves can match the Soto to this point, they begin to fall off the map when the temperature outside begins to drop. This where the Soto shines. It maintains pretty much a constant output despite the drop in outside temperature, the canister’s thermal drop that occurs when gas pressure is released, and the drop in pres-sure within the canister as it is used, right down to empty.
Thus you get pretty consistent boil times whether the temperature outside is 68 degrees or 25 degrees. As mentioned above, it boiled 2 cups of water at 65 degrees outside temperature in 2:40 and it took 2:45 outside at 25 degrees last Sunday morning.
Tests with other cook pots gave similar results. Boil times for 2 cups of water using the Jetboil GCS 1.5 liter pot (with flux ring heat-grabbing coils) at 62 degrees were 1:21 and at 25 degrees 1:34. This was the quickest boil time combination of stove and cook pot. Warm temperature boil times for the Jetboil Helios, touted as a good cold weather canister stove, were 1:34 at 62 degrees and a disappointing 3:55 at 25 degrees.
In fact, no matter what cook pot I used with the Soto, it turned in the fastest boil times compared to the MSR Pocket Rocket, the Jetboil PCS, the Jetboil Helios, the Primus Micron and my home gas range (longest boil time of 4:15 at 62 degrees). The quickest I could get 2 cups of water boiling was 1:16 using the MSR WindPro and the Jetboil GCS pot at 62 degrees, but its time for 25 degrees dropped to 3:18.
My suggestion for cooler weather performance, light weight and compactness is the Soto OD-1R. It’s no wonder Backpacker Magazine picked it for their Editor’s Choice Award this year.
For information or to find a dealer, visit www.sotooutdoors.com.