Gear Box: Soto’s micro-windscreen

By Jeff Strout, BDN Staff
Posted Sept. 07, 2011, at 5:27 p.m.

Price: $9.95

Wind: Sailors love it, camping stoves hate it, some so much they go on strike.

The outdoor cook will turn into a stonewall mason trying to escape Mother Nature’s gusty breath during meal prep. Even if it’s not blowing a gale, a 5-10 mph breeze will play havoc with a backpacking stove. And you know you can’t put up a windscreen around a canister stove, right? (If you don’t know that such a move could cause canister overheating and explosion, you should. A canister explosion can be grenade-deadly.)

So how to combat the pesky breezes that rob BTUs from your stove and increase boil times?

Some manufacturers have built in burner windscreens in an X-pattern that basically shelters one or more of the sectors from a breeze. One sector may be extinguished temporarily, but the others burn on and reignite the other.

Soto, makers of the OD-1R, Backpacker’s Editor’s Choice winner in 2010, has just introduced a burner windscreen that fits over the three pot support arms and tames errant gusts of wind. (Hint: When putting it in place, it helps to partially fold the pot support arms.)

The stamped stainless steel accessory adds a minuscule 19 grams to the already featherweight 73-gram stove (total weight with supplied stove case is around 102 grams or just under 3.6 ounces).

I have no way of scientifically testing the stove’s performance with the screen in place. I can say that it appears to keep the stove’s hardy blue flame from wavering. Soto has a performance chart on its website showing how it does in a controlled environment. With a 5.4 mph wind, the time for a half-liter of water to reach 100 degrees in just over seven minutes whereas the stove without the windscreen and the same wind reached 194 degrees in the same time.

Just to give you a comparison in real-world conditions of what wind does to boil times, in my earlier tests of the OD-1R I did in my kitchen with no wind and no windscreen, the stove boiled the same amount of water in around 2 minutes 30 seconds to 2 minutes 45 seconds depending on which cook pot I used.

Locally, Epic Sports is carrying the OD-1R, but as of Tuesday the new windscreens were not in inventory and maybe back-ordered.

For more information check out http://www.sotooutdoors.com/.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/09/07/outdoors/gear-box/gear-box-soto%e2%80%99s-micro-windscreen/ printed on December 19, 2014