Backpacking stoves have come a long way over the years. Kits have become lighter, smaller, and less expensive while still offering hikers and adventurers plenty of features to make compact cook sets more convenient and practical. We have had the GSI Soloist set for about six months now and have a few things to say about it.
GSI Outdoors is no stranger to outdoor gear and equipment. The company originated in 1985 from Canadian siblings who had moved to California. The company originally started by selling the old school blue enamel cups (which are still part of their product line to this day) and grew to an outdoor cookware powerhouse. Fortunately for us, the consumers, this is a company built around their own love for food. The company culture is one of food being the glue that holds people together and we tend to agree that gathering around for a meal is one of the best places for human interaction. We will say however, it isn’t lost on us that this is a review for a “soloist” cook set. GSI Outdoors is still a family company, which lends well to making quality products that they stand behind.
GSI Pinnacle Soloist
Having an all-in-one kit that nests inside itself saves weight and space during your travels and this kit checks that box. Breaking it down the kit includes:
- 1L Pot
- Pinnacle stove
- Windscreen Baseplate
- Pot top/ Strainer
- Insulated Mug
- Telescoping Foon
- Carry bag
The only thing this kit does not come with is a fuel canister. Those can be purchased at practically any outdoor shop and even most grocery stores that have a camping section (in the United States, at least). Choosing the right size canister does affect how the items fit inside the bag, so be aware of this when purchasing.
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The 1.1L pot features a locking, folding handle which acts as a lock for the lid and contents when being stored. The handle also has a rubber coating, presumably to insulate from the heat when you pick it up, this is brightly colored which is always a bonus when using dark-colored items in the woods or low light conditions. The stove is advertised at 9,629 BTU/h, which is comparable to competitor models and weighs practically nothing at 2 ounces. All told, the kit weighs just over one pound, including the telescoping foon and fuel canister.
The Pinnacle Soloist backpacking stove has an intuitive design. Screw the stove onto a fuel canister, open the valve, light the gas (with a lighter or similar). The valve is adjustable to allow you to control the flame size. Boiling 2 cups of water with this kit took approximately 4 minutes with the outside air temperature around 60° F with the windscreen installed.
GSI Soloist Pros and Cons
The benefit of this kit is apparent. It is an all in one, totally contained unit that is easy to assemble and easy to use. The bag doubling as a sink for easy cleanup and water collection is a big bonus.
The windscreen is a handy piece of kit. However, in our experience, it was not the easiest piece of the puzzle. Notches are obviously present, but the windscreen did not want to line up the way it was intended. It still worked but was not rock solid the way we would have wanted. It is important to set up the stove on a level surface, whether the windscreen is used or not. Clear the area of flammable debris in the event the unit is knocked over.
Ideal Backpacking Stove
As the title lends this is a kit ideal for one person. GSI Outdoors does make the Pinnacle Dualist Set, which is similar in design and features but better suited for two folks. Adding a water container and a few days’ worth of mountain house meals or other “just add boiling water” type rations make this the ideal backpacking stove kit for a get home bag or just to keep in the trunk of your car for a rainy day.
Read more Breach-Bang-Clear articles by Alexander Crown.
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