Fedex stopped in the other day with an unexpected package for me from GSI Outdoors! WEBSITE Inside that very light box was the new GSI Pinnacle 4 Season Stove, fresh for me to review for y’all. From what I can tell, it is so new you can’t even find it on their website, but a Google search will bring it up at a couple retailers for around $80. I have had a number of GSI Outdoors products over the years and am always impressed with the innovation they bring to the outdoors.
Upon opening the well designed packaging, which is twice the size of the stove, I found directions in English, German, and French. I chose the English of course as my French is a little rusty and I really don’t know ANY German other than some lyrics to various songs from a heavy metal German band which basically say “I Hate You”, so fortunately they are German as I am not a very hateful person. So back to the directions. They are clear and concise with good pictures. This is NOT a complicated piece of gear, so not much is necessary.
Upon initial setup of the stove, what I liked is that the stove is remote from the canister. This makes it lower to the ground or table you are using it on, and easier to keep wind from effecting the flame. The thing that makes this stove unique to similar stoves that screw directly in to the Isobutane canisters (of which GSI has one also) is you can run it in normal vapor mode with canister upright, or if you are camping in the winter when it is cold, you can run the stove for 30 seconds to heat the coil up and then turn the canister on it’s side to run in liquid mode for a more reliable burn. I will try and do an extra review this winter while out ice fishing to try out this feature.
Packaging notes the travel dimensions of the stove as 2″x1.8″x3.2″ with a weight of 5.8oz. Output is 7829BTU/h and boil time is 3 min 55 sec in a controlled environment. I can verify the weight is correct. I will test the boil times this weekend while backpacking. This stove works with GSI’s nForm Ultralight cookware and integrated windscreens.
Setup of the stove to run is quite simple, but read the directions first as you need to do it in a certain order or legs get in the way of other legs and pot supports. The pot supports on this stove are very long and stable which I like very much over some other systems. Initially I had some difficulty getting the canister to engage the fitting properly to run in regular vapor mode, but after trying another canister and it working fine, I tried the original canister again and it seemed to work fine. Essentially, you should be able to attach a canister upright and the stove should run like a blow torch. If it only burns lightly, try another canister or brand but it’s possible it takes a little use to break things in concerning the threading of the fitting on. Different canisters are manufactured slightly differently, and the fitting screws on tightly, so just test canisters before you go out to hike to AT or something. I will say though that despite it not working in vapor mode, it DID work in liquid mode, then I figured out the canister issue and everything is fine now. I am confident this is not really an issue at all and would highly recommend this stove at this point.
One Month Update:
I have now used the GSI Pinnacle 4 Season Stove while out backpacking and/or hiking a number of times. I am very impressed with the speed at which it boils water for making backpacking food. I have also found it very easy to adjust it to simmer so long as you have a wind shield available, just like any other stove. Setup is very quick and the wide spread of the pot supports is much better than another stove I have. The biggest benefit of this stove is that it sits right on the ground as opposed to up on top of a fuel canister. This feature makes it much more stable and makes it easier to block the wind. I had purchased a wind break for my other canister top stove not thinking about the height of it and when I got it, first thing I noticed was all it did was block the wind from hitting the canister! No wind break for the flame. But it works PERFECT for the GSI Pinnacle stove reviewed here!
I think the only minor down side to this stove for super ultralight backpackers is that when you add that stainless mesh fuel line to the stove and the legs, it adds a bit of weight. It is certainly heavier than my other canister top stove, but I still prefer it’s low stable stance and will be fine with a little extra weight. It might be a bit until my next update as I would really like to use the stove in the COLD weather to test it’s liquid fuel mode of flipping the canister upside down. Additional pictures to follow of stove use and my daughter and her friend being goofballs during lunch at the top.
Update #3 10/29/2016
This will be my last update apart from a quick winter update to test the tastove’s liquid mode. I do not expect any issues with it though given how well the stove has performed so far. The below data was obtained by testing the stove with no wind baffle present, although the 60F test was in my shop so wasn’t at risk of wind anyways. I used 2.5cups/20oz as a water volume as one of the Mountain House food packets used that. The lasagne however used I believe 1.75cups and boiled quite a bit faster. I would note that the water in both tests below was hot enough to steep tea at the 2-2.5min mark. The full rolling boil took close to twice as long as shown. Simmering was very easy with this stove as well. The adjustment is quite easy to use and accurate. Water started as standard tap water temperature.
Ambient Temp: 60F
Water Volume: 20oz/2.5cups
Time to boil: 4:01min
Ambient Temp: 30F
Water Volume: 20oz/2.5cups
Time to boil: 4:30min
In closing, or rather until sometime this winter when it finally gets cold here in Maine, I will say that the Pinnacle 4 Season stove by GSI compares favorably with any other stoves I have used, PLUS it has the added benefit of working in liquid mode in extreme cold. This comes with a weight increase of course, given the addition of the legs, braided stainless hose, and fuel tank fitting. But if you need that ability to cook or heat water in the extreme cold, this stove can do it. I do like the fact that it has legs and therefore it sits lower to the ground or table and it is easier to break any wind passing by. (All breaking wind jokes are encouraged in the comment section. 🙂 ) Thank you for reading this review. Also, GSI has a 3 Season version of the same burner which screws to the top of a fuel cylinder, in case that’s your desire for 3 season backpacking!