My association with the Snow Peak Titanium stove came through a circuitous route that was more the result of an Alaskan Caribou hunt than a high alpine backpacking trip. I was planning a drop camp hunt for my partner and I, for a week amongst Alaska's Mulchatna Caribou herd. Because the Super Cub was going to drop us off onto the open muskeg, where we would take care of ourselves for a week, we had to provide everything from tents to food and everything in between. This sounded pretty good to us, right up until the point where the outfitter informed us that we could only bring 50 pounds of supplies apiece.
All of a sudden, weight became a premium. Heavy pack frames were exchanged for lighter models, my Alaskan Guide tent, which was perfect for this trip, was replaced by a smaller, lighter backpacker model, which was not as roomy but only weighed about half of the Alaskan guide. As we cut our weight to the barest minimums, we reviewed all of our equipment. I had a backpack stove, complete with white gas bottles, but it was a few years old and I figured there had to be lighter alternatives available today. When I started looking, it became an obsession in weight savings, until I located the ultimate; the Snow Peak Titanium.
At 3.75 ounces, for the deluxe model, it is pretty hard to deny that this ultra compact, titanium stove is the smallest, lightest gas stove in its class. If you really want to split hairs over weight, they even make another model without the auto ignite starter that weighs only 2.5-oz. While I was trying to save weight, I felt that the convenience of the automatic ignition was worth the extra ounce. Unlike my old stove, that had a hose connecting it to a white gas bottle, this three-legged stove attached directly to the top of a compressed isobutane bottle that can be purchased from many retailers.
Still being obsessed with saving weight, I also purchased the Snow Peak 2 piece, 28 ounce, titanium, matching cookware set and was pleased to discover that, properly stored, it can hold one bottle of isobutane and the collapsed stove. The entire unit weighed 16 ounces, with a full canister, and compacted to 4.5" x 5" inside its included mesh stuff sack.
Since I had already bought a new stove and matching cookware, I decided a single element lantern that operated off the same isobutane canister as the stove, would be the perfect addition to my kit. The lantern is about the same overall size as the stove and weighs 4.5 ounces. It comes complete with a molded, palm-sized, hard case that snuggly protects it from bumps and breakage.
I decided that I would need to use the light while cooking, so opted to pack a second container of isobutane, so I could run the stove and lantern simultaneously. Each isobutane canister weighs 7.5 ounces when full and can be purchased for under four dollars.
Not wanting to be dropped off for a week in the wilds of Alaska without first running all of the Snow Peak products through some preliminary tests, I loaded up my backpack and headed to the mountains of Wyoming for a weekend of backpacking and fishing.
Upon arrival at my chosen campsite, I set up my tent, drew some water from a nearby stream and got out my Snow Peak cook set. Filling the cook pot with a cup of water, I set it aside and broke out the stove. Installing the stove onto the bottle was a simple enough affair (much like screwing on a standard propane bottle). Now I really appreciated the convenience of the auto ignite starting system. While I keep a good supply of waterproof matches and even a couple of lighters in my pack, it would have involved digging to the bottom of my pack to find them. With the integral starter, it was as simple as lighting a commercial BBQ. A couple clicks of the button was all it took to get the stove going. While the weather was perfect, with no wind, I had to think how convenient the auto-ignite starter would be if the weather was foul and the wind was whipping - it would be a lot more convenient then matches for sure.
Setting the pot on top of the stove, I started warming the water up to a boil for the instant dehydrated meal I brought along. Within three minutes, the Snow Peak's 10,000 BTU of heat brought the water to a boil.
In addition to the great performance of the unit, two other features immediately stood out that any serious outdoorsman would appreciate in a stove. First, a simple feature, but one which makes you wonder why someone didn't think of it before. The support legs on the stove, that hold the cooking container above the heat, are minutely scored to prevent the vessel from slipping off while cooking. It is so simple, but I can't count the number of times, I have had a pot of almost boiling water, slip off the legs of my old stove only to dump on the ground. The other nice feature I appreciated was the solid base the isobutane bottles made for a sturdy cooking platform. On freestanding stoves, where the stove is attached to a refillable white gas bottle, finding a flat, stable surface to get them to stay put is sometimes a daunting task, but the large surface diameter of the bottles, makes cooking secure and easy.
As darkness fell, I dug the lantern from my pack and like the stove, with a push of the button, there was light. I was amazed at how much light the lantern put out, as it was more then enough for camp chores and reading.
Both the lantern and the stove have an output control lever to vary the degree of either heat or light. The bottles are rated for 45 minutes of constant uses, at maximum output, however I found by using the units at less than maximum fuel consumption, I was able to double this duration. For general cooking and lighting needs, one bottle is more than enough for a three day trip, per unit.
Field tested and proven in the lower 48, I have confidently stowed them in my pack for the trip up north, and believe both the lantern and stove will work perfectly under any and all conditions presented to them and will save some precious weight in the process.
Click here for more information about Snow Peak Titanium Cookware And Stoves.