User Review: Soto Micro Regulator Stove
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.