Name: Mark Verber
Height/Weight: 5'10" (1.8m) / 180lb (82kg)
Region: San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Date: April 11, 2003 (minor updates Oct 2007)
Review Item: 2001 Snow Peak GigaPower Auto Stove, [GS-100a]
Manufacture: Snow Peak
Listed weight: 3.75 oz (105 g)
Weight as delivered: 3.7 oz (115 g) + .8 oz (24 g) for hard plastic case
I am reviewing the stove with a stainless steel burner and with a piezo-electric starter. Snow Peak makes a family of four stoves which are extremely similar to each other. The related models are: GS-100 which is exactly like mine except that it lacks the piezo-electric starter, GST-100 which has a titanium burner without a starter, and the GST-100a which has a titanium burner with piezo-electric starter.
This is a tiny stove which folds up into the vendor-supplied hard plastic case 3.25 x 1.75 x 1.5 inches (8 x 4 x 3 cm). Neither a windshield nor a heat reflector are provided. The stove attaches to a Lindahl valve canister which is used as the base of the stove. More on canisters later. Just above the base is the control valve which appears to housed in brass. The valve handle is a wire triangle which extend approximately 2 inches (5 cm) from the stove. The attachment points for the wire are slightly offset from each other, so the handle naturally springs out. When you put the stove away, the handle can be easily folded up against the stove. While the wire can get warm, I have never found it too hot to briefly handle, even after running the stove for 40 minutes. One minor flaw in the valve handle design is that to fold the handle snug against the stove requires you to partially open the valve. You need to remember to tighten the valve between the time you remove the stove from it's case and attaching the stove to the canister. Stoves with the piezo-electric starter have a small plastic button which is next to the fuel valve. There is a small insulated wire which reaches from the piezo-electric button assembly up to the burner where the spark is generated. The starter assembly is held on by a screw and can be removed.
Just above the valve assembly the four arms attach to the stove body which provide support for a pot. These arms are approximately 2.5 in (6 cm) in length and shaped a bit like an upside down "J" which fold up for storage and extend down and out for cooking. The tops of the arms are an inch long and have five scores which provide enough grip to keep pots securely seated. Even when the stove was at an approximately 10% angle the pot stayed put. When deployed, the pot supports are 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter. The first few times I tried to pack this stove up I thought I was making a mistake because the arms didn't interlock as closely as I thought they should, but I eventually figured out that they were compact enough to fit in the case.
As noted, this stove attaches to any butane/propane canister with a screw-on Lindahl valve. Snow Peak, Primus, MSR, and Coleman make compatible canisters. The instructions state that the warranty is void if you attach the stove to anything but a Snow Peak canister, but when I talked with someone from customer service at Snow Peak, I was told that the "Snow Peak canisters are superior" to other canisters, but the stove would function properly with the others if I was unable to locate Snow Peak canisters. They also offered to ship me genuine Snow Peak canisters. The Snow Peak canister is 3.5 inches (9 cm) in diameter, and 2.5 inches (6 cm) high. It weights 7 oz (218g) full, 3 oz (93 g) empty, with 4 oz (125 g) of fuel. I have found the Snow Peak canister provides a stable base for a 4.75 inch (12 cm) diameter Snow Peak Trek 900 titanium cooking set asn well as the Evernew .9L and 1.3L pots. I have found it adequately stable with the 2 l (64 oz) pot from the MSR Alpine Cookset which is 7 inches (18 cm) in diameter. I have never tipped the stove over, but the few times that I placed a full pot of water off-center I was concerned the slightest bump might knock the stove over. I have had no concerns when using a MSR canister which is 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter since these canisters seems to provide a significantly more stable base.
I have used this stove numerous times in my backyard, along the Lost Coast, in the Santa Cruz mountains, and in the Sierras at elevations of sea level, 200 ft (60 m), 2000 ft (600 m), and 7000-12000 ft (2100-3600 m). Temperatures have varied from 25 F to 80 F (-4 C to 27 C). I found the stove had issues when faced with serious >20 mph (32 kmh) wind. I use the stove with either an old Whisperlite windscreen, or with a windscreen made from heavy duty foil. So far, the stove has functioned flawlessly (except for the starter).
Lighting this stove is extremely easy. It takes me less than a minute to get the stove cooking. Take the stove out of the case, close the valve, screw it on to the top of the canister, fold out the pot supports, open the fuel valve, click the starter, deploy the windscreen, and start cooking. No pre-heating, no flare-ups, just a clean burning flame. The only problem I have ever had is that the piezo-electric starter doesn't work consistently. I see a spark but the fuel doesn't catch, even when I have the gas flow set as low as possible. I still haven't figured out why I am having this problem. In these cases I have to turn off the gas, light a match, and then turn the gas on again.
On maximum burn in 55 F (13 C) air temp at sea level 16oz (474 ml) of 50F (10 C) water reached a rolling boil in approximately 3 minutes 20 seconds, during which time approximately 0.35 oz (11 g) of fuel were used. If the water is boiled under a slightly lower setting it took approximately a minute longer to boil, but only 0.25-0.3 oz (7-10 g) of fuel was used. I found that 32 oz (947 ml) of water typically reached a rolling boiling in 5 minutes 30 seconds, using approximately 0.5 oz (15.5 g) of fuel. This stove is very efficient. Better yet, this stove is actually capable of simmering and uses significantly less fuel when simmering. When traveling solo I typically only cook dinner and don't drink a lot of hot beverages. This allows me to use a single 7 oz (217 g) Snow Peak canister for up to 8 days. I found that the stove was a bit under powered when cooking for larger groups (>4 folks) when I wanted to boil 4L at a time.
One issue with this stove is cold weather performance. Snow Peak claims this stove functions down to 17 F (-8 C). I found that the stove performed flawlessly down to ~25 F (-3 C) without my taking any special measures other than warming it up a bit in my pocket before using it. At lower temperatures, care needs to be taken to keep the fuel warm enough for the butane to boil.
The GS-100 produces less carbon monoxide than many other stoves according the the Stoves, Tents, Carbon Monoxide: Canister Stoves testing. If you have to cook in a somewhat confined space, you won't do much better.
I have found that the stove cools down enough to handle after approximately 5 minutes.
Small, light, easy to use, fuel efficient, doesn't blacken pots. I would recommend skipping the piezo-electric starter to save the money and weight. The three minor down sides of this stove are cost, spotty availability of canisters in smaller towns, and that the canisters can sometimes be difficult to recycle (a number of REI locations will take the fuel canisters and arrange for the metal to be recycled.)
I did a lot of backpacking from 1972 through the '80s. I started by going to various destinations in Ohio, West Virgina, and Red River Gorge in Kentucky. Destinations expanded to include sections of the AT, the PCT, the Rockies (Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone, Tetons), The Big Horns, and various destinations in Canada. In the '90s my outdoor activities slowed down to make room for other aspects of life. Nearly all my backpacking was heavy-weight style. In 2001 I started seriously backpacking again... mostly in the Sierras. Over the next three years I switch from a heavyweight to ultralight to lightweight style. My three season base weight is now 8-11 lb (3.5-5 kg). Full carry weight including food and water is typically 15-25 lb (7-11 kg) depending on the length of the trip. Winter trips run a bit heavier.