GSI Outdoors Pinnacle 4 Season Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Packs down small, easy to use
Cons: Slow, mediocre simmering
Manufacturer: GSI Outdoors
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GSI Outdoors Pinnacle 4 Season
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|Pros||Packs down small, easy to use||Lightweight, works in the wind, great piezo igniter, fuel efficient, very stable for a small canister stove||Ultralight, fuel efficient, affordable, quick to boil even in wind||Good at simmering, simple operation||Tiny, light, cheap|
|Cons||Slow, mediocre simmering||Pot supports pack up separately from stove||A bit loud, possibly less durable pot stabilizers||No piezoelectric igniter, slow to boil, bulky, somewhat heavy||Small burner head, poor wind performance, not great fuel efficiency|
|Bottom Line||If you need enhanced cold weather or high altitude performance, this is a reasonable stove to consider||Our favorite small canister stove, providing the best performance for most backpackers||This affordable and fuel-efficient canister stove is also tiny and ultralight, perfect for your next backcountry adventure||This standard small canister stove is good for simmering but bulky and a bit heavy in your pack||A shockingly small, ultra lightweight, and straightforward backpacking stove at an impressively low price|
|Rating Categories||GSI Outdoors Pinnac...||Soto Windmaster||Soto Amicus||Primus Essential Trail||BRS-3000T|
|Fuel Efficiency (25%)|
|Simmering Ability (20%)|
|Ease Of Use (20%)|
|Boil Time (10%)|
|Specs||GSI Outdoors Pinnac...||Soto Windmaster||Soto Amicus||Primus Essential Trail||BRS-3000T|
|Category||Remote Canister||Small Canister||Small Canister||Small Canister||Small Canister|
|Essential Weight (stove or stove + integrated pot only)||6.0 oz||3.0 oz||2.79 oz||4.5 oz||0.9 oz|
|Trail Weight (stove, fuel, pot)||18.13 oz||15.63 oz||14.92 oz||16.63 oz||12.63 oz|
|Wind Boil Time (1 liter, 2-4mph)||7:57 min:sec||5:46 min:sec||6:30 min:sec||10:10 min||14:45 min:sec|
|Boil Time (1 liter)||5:56 min:sec||4 min:sec||3:52 min: sec||5:30 min:sec||5:13 min:sec|
|Packed Weight (stove + all accessories)||6.5 oz||3.5 oz||3.5 oz||4.5 oz||1 oz|
|Dimensions||2" x 1.8" x 3.2"||4.7" x 3.9" x 3.6"||3.9" × 0.7" × 6.5"||4.3" x 2.4"||2" x 1.2" x 1.3"|
|Additional Included Items||Stuff sack||Stuff sack, pot support||Stuff sack||None||Stuff sack|
Our Analysis and Test Results
There aren't a lot of remote canister stoves on the market, and we're excited to add another to our line-up. While the GSI Pinnacle 4 Season is nothing special under normal 3-season backpacking conditions, the ability to flip the canister over provides a big advantage to backpackers who are active in the shoulder seasons or plan to backpack in the winter.
Fuel efficiency is one metric where the Pinnacle does fairly well, however only if it can be kept out of the wind. In our windless garage lab at 5000 feet, it burned 0.46 ounces of fuel to boil one liter of water. This is an above-average score. In our 2-4 mph wind test, it boiled one liter of water in 7 minutes and 57 seconds and burned 0.81 ounces of fuel. In previous tests at 8000 feet, it failed to boil water in front of our testing fan and burned 1.3 ounces of fuel in the attempt. To determine fuel efficiency, we take the average of the percentage of fuel used in each test. It burned 14.6% of the fuel in a canister per boil test, which is a slightly above average score.
The Pinnacle is a remote canister stove, meaning that the canister can be flipped upside down for better performance when conditions are colder, when the canister is getting low, or when at a higher altitude. There's no included support for this, so in practice, we found that it took a bit of balancing on uneven ground.
While the Pinnacle does not include a windscreen, GSI does approve of their use with this stove. The remote canister design means that wrapping the stove in a windscreen won't dangerously heat up the canister. Since we test the stoves only with the parts and accessories they are supplied with, we didn't use a windscreen with this stove. Nevertheless, we strongly recommend making or buying one for this stove and suspect that using one would noticeably improve its fuel efficiency in windy environs.
The Pinnacle weighs 6.0 ounces (about 170 grams). This is on the lighter side for a remote canister stove, though it is nearly double the weight of most small canister stoves.
We also look at packability in this metric. This stove folds up surprisingly small for packing. Our testers were easily able to pack this in a 1-liter pot with plenty of room for a 4-ounce fuel can and other gear. The hose tends to flop around when the stove is folded up, but a rubber band can keep it nice and tight around the stove.
The Pinnacle is not our top pick for making fancy meals as it is only decent at simmering. It's pretty easy to turn the flame way down, but the burner head is on the smaller side, which keeps the heat focused on the center of the pot. This means that you'll need to actively stir your meal to avoid burning your food and to keep your food circulating evenly through the center of the pot.
We've observed that with stoves that have a hose connecting the fuel to the burner (liquid fuel and remote canister stoves), there is often a time lag between when a valve adjustment is made and when there is a change in the flame. This can make simmering harder. We did not experience that with this stove, though — flame response to valve adjustments was seemingly instant.
Ease Of Use
Remote canister stoves put the flame control on top of the can, as opposed to on the burner. The major advantage of that feature is that even if the pot is boiling over like Mount Vesuvius, you can turn the stove down or off with no damage to your hands.
The pot supports on the Pinnacle are somewhat bigger than on most small canister stoves, but it still packs down nice and small because the supports fold up quite well. However, the folding and unfolding procedure wasn't intuitive, and it took several days of use before we mastered it.
While we don't measure how loud each stove is in any accurate or precise way, our anecdotal observation is that the Pinnacle is loud! It seemed to be noticeably louder than all the small canister stoves. It also lacks a piezoelectric igniter.
The Pinnacle is nothing special when it comes to boil time. It took 5 minutes and 44 seconds to boil a liter of water in calm conditions, and it was unable to boil water in front of our tester fan. However, speedy boil times are not what this stove is built for.
We think that the Pinnacle 4 Season is a great value if you need a stove with an invertible remote canister for better performance in cold temperatures or at high altitudes but don't want to sacrifice packability or add a ton of weight to your pack.
Remote canister stoves offer a few advantages for specific situations, and we think the GSI Outdoors Pinnacle 4 Season is a good example of this type of stove. While it's not particularly light or fuel-efficient, it is reasonably easy to use, and it packs down nice and small. We strongly recommend using this stove with a windscreen, which you will have to purchase separately.
— Mary Witlacil and Ian McEleney
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