User Review: GSI Pinnacle Soloist
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $29 on sale
This kit allows you to carry everything you need for summertime cooking without any wasted space inside your pack.
During the spring of 2011, I went through an exercise where I wanted to reduce the bulk of several pieces of gear. The ultimate goal was to ensure I could carry a 58L pack during a 5-day trip into the mountains and not be compelled to leave something at home that I otherwise normally carry.
Quite by accident, I stumbled across the GSI Outdoors website and started looking at their Pinnacle Soloist. After a few minutes of reading, I quickly realized this little kit would allow me to drop some serious weight and reduce a ton of bulk. Before I purchased the Pinnacle Soloist, I was carrying an MSR Whisperlite Internationale stove, an MSR 1.3L pot, an 11 ounce fuel bottle and a small coffee mug. The total weight of this setup was 40 ounces and since nothing fit inside one another, it took up lots of space in my pack.
The guys at GSI deliberately sized the pot to hold a fuel cylinder, a stove, a bowl/mug and a spoon (the fuel and the stove obviously come separately). Since I didn’t have a canister stove, I picked up an MSR PocketRocket at the same time I picked up the Soloist. When all is assembled from bottom to top, the fuel cylinder (4 oz), the stove, thebowl/mug (upside down so the stove is on the inside of the mug) and then the pot lid fit neatly together into one small package.
GSI also provides a seam sealed nylon sleeve that is intended to be used as a kitchen sink. While I have never used it as a sink, the nylon is thick enough to protect other items in my backpack from the pot. All together, everything weighs in at 20 ounces. Not only did I save a lot space, I lost 20 ounces.
Here is the whole package.
Here is everything spread out.
In addition to the pot and the mug, the Soloist comes with a spoon and a little synthetic pouch for the stove. The pouch saves the Teflon lining from being damaged by the stove. The spoon...personally I think it’s useless. It’s too flimsy and short to be effective while eating a mountain house meal (my typical dinner). I leave the provided spoon at home and carry a full size lexan one in my food bag.
The GSI website doesn’t exactly tell you what stoves fit inside the pot. Since I’m an MSR fan, the PocketRocket was a logical choice. The first time I tried to put everything together, I couldn’t quite make the stove fit. I ended up taking a Dremel Tool and cutting off about 1/4” from each of the 3 wings on the stove. Here is an unmodified picture from MSR’s website.
Here is what I did to it. A little blurry, but you get the idea.
This small change didn’t affect the stove since the pots outer diameter is still smaller than platform provided by the stove. Once I made the 3 cuts, everything fit together just as GSI had intended. With the stove fitting nicely on top of the canister, I also managed to pack away the windproof matches that I normally use.
For added protection, I have a little pack cloth towel that I wrap around the fuel canister before I put it into the pot. I would imagine over time, the metal on metal contact would wear away the Teflon coating on the pot. The towel thickness around the canister makes a snug fit inside the pot and also keeps everything from rattling around when hiking. Plus it’s nice to have a little towel when cooking.
The name says it’s a Soloist, but the 1.1L pot is well sized for 2 people. My typical day is coffee in the morning, graze during the day and then a hot dinner before it gets dark. I’ve used it dozens of times in the mountains and I’ve never wished the pot was any bigger. If you hike with more than 2, I think you will get frustrated with the size.
The GSI Pinnacle Soloist is by far my favorite piece of gear. It’s efficient, inexpensive and packs away everything I need for cooking. For summertime camping for 2, I don’t know how it could get any better.