GSI Outdoors Pinnacle 4 Season Review
Cons: Slow, mediocre simmering
Manufacturer: GSI Outdoors
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|Pros||Packs down small, easy to use||Works in the wind, great for simmering, best of the best||Lightweight, works in the wind, great piezo lighter, very stable for small canister stove||Tiny, light, cheap||Good at simmering, simple operation|
|Cons||Slow, mediocre simmering||Unreliable piezo igniter||Not the most fuel efficient, pot supports pack up separately from stove||Small burner head, poor wind performance||No piezoelectric igniter, slow to boil|
|Bottom Line||If you need enhanced cold weather or high altitude performance, take a look at this stove||This simmering champ can also perform in the wind||Our favorite small canister stove, providing the best performance for most backpackers||A shockingly small and lightweight inexpensive model||This standard small canister stove is good for simmering but bulky in your pack|
|Rating Categories||GSI Outdoors Pinnac...||MSR PocketRocket De...||Soto Windmaster||BRS-3000T||Primus Essential Trail|
|Fuel Efficiency (25%)|
|Simmering Ability (20%)|
|Ease Of Use (20%)|
|Boil Time (10%)|
|Specs||GSI Outdoors Pinnac...||MSR PocketRocket De...||Soto Windmaster||BRS-3000T||Primus Essential Trail|
|Category||Remote Canister||Small Canister||Small Canister||Small Canister||Small Canister|
|Trail Weight||5.6 oz||3.0 oz||3.0 oz||0.9 oz||3.9 oz|
|Wind Boil Time (1 L, 2-4mph)||15 min||7:20 min:sec||7:24 min:sec||15 min||15 min|
|Boil Time (1 liter)||5:44 min:sec||3:39 min:sec||4:42 min:sec||4:43 min:sec||6:00 min:sec|
|Packed Weight||5.7 oz||3.5 oz||3.5 oz||1 oz||3.9 oz|
|Dimensions (inches)||2 x 1.8 x 3.2 in||3.3 x 2.2 x 1.8 in||4.7 x 3.9 x 3.6 in||1.97 x 1.2 x 1.3 in||4.3 x 2.4 in|
|Additional items included||Stuff sack||Stuff sack||Stuff sack, pot support||Stuff sack||None|
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. Though 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 winter.
The Pinnacle is fairly fuel-efficient if it can be kept out of the wind. It burned 0.4 ounces of fuel when boiling a liter of water in calm conditions. This is an above-average score. However, it failed to boil water in front of our testing fan and burned 1.3 ounces of fuel in the attempt. We average those numbers for the score in this metric, so the windy performance brought it down.
Because this is a remote canister stove, 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 GSI does not ship the Pinnacle with a windscreen, it does approve their use with this stove. The remote canister design means that wrapping the stove in a windscreen can'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 a one for this stove and suspect that using one would make a noticeable boost in fuel efficiency.
The Pinnacle weighs 5.6 ounces (about 158 grams). This is on the lighter side for a remote canister stove, though slightly heavy when compared to the 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 posts a so-so score when it comes to simmering. It's pretty easy to turn the flame way down, which is good. However, 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 be good about stirring when you're cooking 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 happily 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 a bit bigger than on most of the 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 a bunch of days of use before we got good at 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 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 only for hikers who will be taking advantage of the improved cold or high altitude performance offered by the option to invert the canister.
Remote canister stoves offer a few advantages for specific situations, and we think that 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.
— Ian McEleney
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