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GSI Outdoors Pinnacle 4 Season Review

If you need enhanced cold weather or high altitude performance, this is a reasonable stove to consider
GSI Outdoors Pinnacle 4 Season
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Price:  $80 List | Check Price at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Packs down small, easy to use
Cons:  Slow, mediocre simmering
Manufacturer:   GSI Outdoors
By Mary Witlacil and Ian McEleney  ⋅  May 9, 2022
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57
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 20
  • Fuel Efficiency - 25% 6.0
  • Weight - 25% 6.0
  • Simmering Ability - 20% 5.0
  • Ease Of Use - 20% 6.0
  • Boil Time - 10% 5.0

Our Verdict

The GSI Pinnacle 4 Season is a remote canister stove that does well in the sort of situations it's named for: cold climates or higher altitudes. In these contexts (or when the fuel canister is low), the canister can be inverted for improved performance. In normal spring-summer-fall backpacking situations, it's about average. The remote design means that it's nearly impossible to burn your fingers if you're adjusting the valve while the pot is boiling over, and the overall height of the stove and cookware is low and more stable. We think the fuel efficiency would be considerably improved with the addition of a windscreen.

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Pros Packs down small, easy to useLightweight, works in the wind, great piezo igniter, fuel efficient, very stable for a small canister stoveUltralight, fuel efficient, affordable, quick to boil even in windGood at simmering, simple operationTiny, light, cheap
Cons Slow, mediocre simmeringPot supports pack up separately from stoveA bit loud, possibly less durable pot stabilizersNo piezoelectric igniter, slow to boil, bulky, somewhat heavySmall 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 considerOur favorite small canister stove, providing the best performance for most backpackersThis affordable and fuel-efficient canister stove is also tiny and ultralight, perfect for your next backcountry adventureThis standard small canister stove is good for simmering but bulky and a bit heavy in your packA 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%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
2.0
Weight (25%)
6.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
10.0
Simmering Ability (20%)
5.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Ease Of Use (20%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
Boil Time (10%)
5.0
7.0
7.0
4.0
3.0
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"
Fuel Type Isobutane Isobutane Isobutane Isobutane Isobutane
Additional Included Items Stuff sack Stuff sack, pot support Stuff sack None Stuff sack
Piezo Igniter? No Yes Yes No No

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.

Performance Comparison


Getting psyched for dinner with the Pinnacle.
Getting psyched for dinner with the Pinnacle.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Fuel Efficiency


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 vs the fan (out of frame to the left). Flame (and heat)...
The Pinnacle vs the fan (out of frame to the left). Flame (and heat) can be seen blowing away to the right. An aftermarket windscreen would reduce this.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Weight


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 plays nicely with other gear in a 1-liter pot with room...
The Pinnacle plays nicely with other gear in a 1-liter pot with room to spare.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Simmering Ability


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.

The Pinnacle turned down super low (left) which helped it simmer...
The Pinnacle turned down super low (left) which helped it simmer. However, when turned up (right) the flame is still concentrated in the center of the pot.
Credit: Ian McEleney

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.

No danger of scalding your hands here.
No danger of scalding your hands here.
Credit: Ian McEleney

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.

Boil Time


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.

Once the stove is warmed up, flipping the canister over will lead to...
Once the stove is warmed up, flipping the canister over will lead to better boil times when it's really cold.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

This is a good choice to fire up for shoulder season trips.
This is a good choice to fire up for shoulder season trips.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Mary Witlacil and Ian McEleney
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