Soto Micro Regulator Stove
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $60
One of the lightest, yet easy to use. Piezo ignitor lights every time.
- Built-in ignitor
I was looking for a small packable stove for getting lost on the weekends.
At the time, small and light was in my head, and this stove is one of the smallest and lightest.
On top of that, it has a handy piezo ignitor built in, and it works every time. (although you would be better off to have a back-up lighter).
The major gripe about this stove is that it absolutely needs to be on a flat, stable surface. Without much area to set the pot on, any imbalance will meet disaster. Also, the common problem with these types of stoves: windproofness. You can't put a screen around it for safety reasons.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $70 + $10 for the windscreen
Burns hotter with a better flame than the PocketRocket. Burns better in colder temps and at altitude than the PocketRocket. Burns with a full flame until the canister is completely empty... no weak flame for the last little remainder of fuel.
- Very light and compact
- Works well in colder temps and at altitude
- Uses up the last little bit of fuel in the canister with a FULL FLAME!
- Can get a real integrated wind screen
- None noticed yet
I've been using the PocketRocket for over 10 years now. I have several other stoves as well, but when I go lightweight I would always use my PocketRocket.
I recently bought the Soto Micro Regulator Stove with the Windscreen. In my opinion it is a much better stove for real world usage.
With the windscreen attached, the wind blocking is far better than the PocketRocket's little "wind clip", and it doubles its usefulness by reflecting heat upwards to the pot as well.
The flame of the Soto is much fuller, and more fully encompases the base of the pot to allow for a more even heating of the pot. This makes for lower boil times in the real world, and if you're simmering, it eliminates the burnt hot spot in the middle.
The Micro Regulator does what it is advertised to do. It makes for better flame in cooler temps, at higher altitudes, and when your canister is almost empty and is losing pressure, it still gives a full flame. With most canister stoves [including the PocketRocket] the flame will get very weak and not boil very well, but when you shake the cansiter, it still seems like there's a little liquid sloshing around in there.
The Soto, with its micro regulator eliminates this. It uses up ALL of the fuel with a FULL FLAME. So there's no tapering off of performance as the canister loses pressure.
I've had this stove for only a few months, but I've taken it on several multi-day trips here in the Canadian Rockies. So far I like this stove WAY better than the PocketRocket. The peizo-igniter is still working, but even if it quits, this stove is still superior.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $70
It doesn't get any better than this.
- light weight
- fast boil time even at altitude
- pot supports might be a little weak
I have tried them all from the MSR white gas models to the PocketRocket, Snow Peak GigaPower down to the ultralight alcohol stoves. Conclusion is this is the best of all these other stoves from ease of operation to compactness and fast boil time even in cold and altitude.
Price Paid: $65
Got the new Soto micro regulator this summer to try its stated ability to maintain output in cold/hot, and especially to maintain better heat output as canisters become low on fuel. I haven't had the opportunity to test it in cold yet, but have used it several times this summer.
So far, I am impressed.
It's very light and easy to operate, at low and full throttle. It's three fold-out pot supports are thin but adequate and lock into place easily. The igniter has worked 100% of the time.
I just returned from a week-long trip in the Trinity Alps in Northern California during which I was able to directly compare the performance of the Soto to a friend's Jetboil. Both stoves seemed to boil similar amounts of water equally fast. Most importantly, as advertised, the Soto maintained full heat/flame output as canisters became low on fuel.
This is a major advantage over the Jetboil, or other canister stoves I've used. Canisters that were essentially spent on the Jetboil, had sufficient fuel to burn at full flame for several minutes with the Soto. The relative effect seems like lithium batteries compared to traditional batteries... full output longer up to the end, at which the light (or in this case - flame/heat) drops to zero very quickly, rather than gradually.
For me, two rather minor downsides keep me from rating the Soto 5 stars:
(1) I would prefer four pot supports for a bit more stability (with heavy/large pots), and
(2) would like the option of inserting a wind screen for use in certain conditions (e.g, like is available for the Snowpeak Gigapower).
Note: the windscreen-less Soto did hold its own with the more wind-proof Jetboil on the No. CA trip, in the windier camps.
All in all the regulator seems to be a nice new innovation... I'd expect other stoves will want to add regulator technology in future iterations of their stoves, for similar benefits.
Upshot: I will be spending less time sitting around waiting for boils over weak flames when the gas gets low. In turn, I won't have canisters sitting around with small amounts of gas remaining in them.
Price Paid: $23 includes tax
I found this stove at a REI gear sale and decide to take it with me on a snow camping trip to Lassen Nat'l Park a few weeks ago as a backup.
I tested this stove mainly for making water from snow using 1.5 oz water at the base of the pot to start and keeping it consistent. I used a MSR 110 gram canister that I had kept warm ( 50-60 s)and Temp was 23-25 degrees in a covered (ditch) next to the snow cave.
I was able to bring to a slight rolling boil (small bubbles forming) 8 liters of water out of snow each taking 6-7 min from fresh powder. The stove was running at about 3 /4 full during that time. There was no changes in the flame / output during the whole time even when the canister was getting cold, we ran that stove for about 45-50 mins straight when we made our fresh water. We used a Primus Eta pot 1L with the lid (has heat fins at the base).
I tested that canister when we came home, ran another 3-4 mins before the stove went out
I also own a Pocket rocket , I think its going to be replaced.
This is a true 4 season stove, don't pass it up. my friend wants one of these stoves too after our trip.
Only drawback is the igniter, need to turn the stove valve pass half way to 3/4 to light it.
Price Paid: $60 at REI
Used the Micro Regulator primarily winter camping this past season and it was pretty flawless. Finally got to use up all my 1/4 full canisters! Heat output was consistent and efficient across a very broad spectrum of conditions.
When you need hot water at 15 below, your stove performance really matters and the Soto delivered. I have an old Peak 1 Xpert and a JetBoil, and the Soto is far better in really cold conditions.
My only complaint is that the pot supports are a slight pain to lock in place. One always seems to "un-click" and fall. It is also slightly cumbersome to unfold everything when you take it out to use it.
All in all, though, a really great lightweight and efficient stove that I'm looking forward to using on backpacking trips. I finally get to give my Esbit system the boot, as this was the first canister stove I considered a worthy replacement in my ultralight set-up.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $69.95
I think this is a great product. I used this stove in windy conditions with excellent results and fast boil times. The design is extremely lightweight and matches perfectly to my Snow Peak solo titanium cook set.
I highly recommend this stove to anyone looking for an ultralight dependable performer with good wind resistance, nice flame pattern, and fast boil time.
I read the Backpacker review and decided to get one.
When it arrived, I put the stove AND a fuel canister in my freezer for 4 days at -5F. It lit on the very first try so I am convinced that it works in cold weather.
I live at sea level and I haven't had the opportunity to try it at altitude yet, hence the 4.5 rating.
I highly recommend this stove for its small size, light weight, convenience of use,and cold weather performance. The only quirky thing is that the fuel valve needs to be opened 2.5 full turns to get it to light but I knew that before I lit it the first time.