|Rating:||8.7 / 10|
|Value for Money||1.7 / 2|
|Weight||1.8 / 2|
|Ease of Use||1.7 / 2|
|Versatility||1.7 / 2|
|Boiling Speed||1.8 / 2|
I’ve never been a big fan of canister stoves however I’m in the minority on this – the overwhelming majority of hikers I come across on the trail use them. While there are a large number of models available on the Australian market and a huge number more available from overseas, there are a handful of well known brands and models that dominate – the Soto Windmaster is one of those.
First let’s start with the elephant in the room and that’s the price. At AUD$124.99 RRP this model sits at the upper end of the Australian price range for canister stoves along with the MSR Pocket Rocket 2 and are three times the price of the cheaper end of the range. Having said that there are good reasons for this. Firstly all stoves sold on the Australian market have to meet the requisite gas standards and this does add to the price but also increases the safety. The Soto Windmaster also has a large range of features and a high level of performance that many of the cheaper stoves lack. All this amounts to a more expensive stove but given the features it is very good value for money. So let’s look at the features on this great little stove unit.
Firstly, the main feature that is common to all canister stoves and that is light weight. At 89 grams for the stove unit itself and 100 grams including the small carry bag, this stove isn’t the lightest in the stove market but doesn’t weigh that much. To be fair when you compare this to other stove types, you do need to include other items such as a pot, gas canister and canister stabiliser which will increase the weight. Being able to buy this stove as a standalone unit allows hikers to mix and match to get the system they want and the opportunity to change the pot choice depending on needs.
This stove is called the ‘Windmaster’ for a reason and that’s because it copes very well in windy exposed conditions. The stove has a piezoelectric starter so it is a self contained unit and is easily started even when windy where matches or a lighter don’t work. This starter works a charm and one press is all you need to spark a flame.
The head on this stove is large as far as canister stoves go and and sits very, very close to the pot allowing just enough airflow to provide oxygen to the head but not so much to impact the flame. In fact the burner head is slightly recessed providing additional wind protection. Most canister stoves need a windshield to operate well in windy conditions and while this will benefit any canister stove, it is not essential in most conditions for the Windmaster. In fact we timed this stove to boil 500 ml of water and even with a light breeze it timed in at 2 minutes and 42 seconds which did work out slower than the integrated stoves but not by a great deal. If you are using this, or for that matter, any other stove during windy weather this boil time is going to be slower.
This unit is unique compared to most other canister stoves in that the pot stand is not attached but comes as a seperate unit. This does make it more fiddly to use because you have to attach it to the stem of the stove itself. It’s a reasonably wide pot support, larger than most, so will cope with larger pots and saucepans provided you have a canister stabiliser attached. One of the big benefits of canister stoves in general is that they simmer food really well so if you are going to be cooking rather just boiling water then they are a great option.
Overall the Soto Windmaster is a great stove with plenty of wonderful features and while on the upper end of the price range, it is well worth considering if you after a canister stove.
A very good option for those who like to cook and like a bit of versatility in their stove set ups
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Soto Windmaster in the box
Soto Windmaster attached to a small gas canister
Soto Windmaster storage bag
Close up of stove unit assembled with storage bag
Close up of the burner head
Close up of the electric starter
Close up of the burner head that is concave in shape and recessed to provide wind protection for the flame
Soto Windmaster stove in full flight
This review was done by product provided by the Australian distributor of Soto Stoves