Snow Peak LiteMax Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Lightweight!, small, sturdy pot supports
Cons: No piezo, small pot supports
Manufacturer: Snow Peak
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Our Analysis and Test Results
If you're the kind of backcountry traveler who values low weight over all else, stop reading right now, the LightMax Titanium is the stove for you. If weight is pretty important, but you'd like to have some of the features that modern backpackers have come to expect, read on to learn what you give up to save weight with this model.
When kept away from the wind, the LiteMax used 0.7 ounces of fuel to bring one liter of water to boil. In our 2 - 4 mph fan test, that efficiency evaporated. In that test, this stove burned through 1.2 ounces of fuel over 15 minutes and failed to bring the water to boil. It was able to generate bubbles on the bottom of the pot and bring the water temperature into the 170's F. You should only use this stove when shelter from the wind is available.
Small canister stoves have been dropping in weight, approaching the weight of alcohol or solid fuel stoves. The LiteMax Titanium continues this trend, tipping the scale at just 1.9 ounces, or 53 grams. Yes, you read that correctly. In the outdoor gear market, many companies play fast and loose with terms like "ultralight" and "superlight." When it comes to this stove, those labels are accurate.
With folding pot supports and wire handle, this stove folds down to an almost two-dimensional shape when it's time to pack up camp. The included velvety storage sack adds 0.2 ounces.
The LiteMax offers good valve control; it's sensitive enough at the low end that the stove can run at an almost-but-not-quite-out level. However, this does little to make up for the narrow burner head, which focuses the heat in the middle of the pot regardless of how low the stove is running. Not a problem with smaller cookware, but our testers found that this stove was not well suited to pots much larger than 1 liter, or any but the smallest of frying pans.
Ease Of Use
This model is pretty average when it comes to ease of use. The control valve wire is easy to find and use when your pot is about to boil over. The pot supports are not wobbly at all. The LiteMax does sacrifices a couple of features that are becoming common in backpacking stoves to save weight though. These are a piezoelectric ignitor and wider pot supports. Backpackers looking for a stove with more creature comforts should be prepared to carry a few more ounces.
Like most of the small canister stoves we've tested over the years, the LiteMax puts in a decent performance in calm conditions but withers in the wind. We boiled a liter of water in 5 minutes and 06 seconds with no wind. Once lit in front of a fan, however, we weren't able to achieve a full boil in 15 minutes.
The LiteMax is only a little cheaper than our top-performing (though slightly heavier) small canister stoves. We think it's an average value.
The 2-ounce weight and small size of this stove are impressive. Our testers had a hard time imagining how a small canister stove could be much lighter or smaller. While we're glad that the backpacking stove market has a place for models like this, we think many backpackers will be happier with a model that has more features.
— Ian McEleney