GSI Outdoors Selkirk 540 Review
Cons: Cooks hot, ignitor is sometimes finicky
Manufacturer: GSI Outdoors
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The GSI Selkirk 540 scored high across nearly all of our metrics, nabbing top honors. This stove boils fast, provides great wind protection, is easy to clean, stows away effortlessly, and looks good — all for a super reasonable price.
Time to Boil
The Selkirk boiled a quart of water on a non-windy day in 4 minutes, one of the better times in our test suite.
The Selkirk 540 may not have the most impressive BTUs — just 10,000 per burner — but it gets the job done perfectly well. Indeed, for most campers, 10,000 BTUs will provide sufficient heat for quickly boiling water for all your camping needs. You may want to seek out a stove with higher BTUs if you plan to consistently cook large camp meals for more than 5-10 people, but for the rest of us, who won't need super high BTUs and don't want to sacrifice performance, this is a great model to consider.
The compact and sleek design of this stove means that it performs very well despite not having super high BTUs. To test wind resistance, we point a box fan at the side of each stove, set to the highest setting, and then measure how long it takes to boil water. In our legendary test, the Selkirk 540 completed the task in 5.5 minutes, only one and a half minutes longer than without the fan.
Most of the stoves in our review fared much worse in this test, with only one model doing better. The stove that performed better in this test has double the output of BTUs, which makes a strong case for the efficiency of the Selkirk. Over a multi-week car-camping adventure, one of our reviewers cooked many meals during windy days in the mountains. Even on those windy days, this stove did not disappoint, delivering coffee, breakfast scrambles, and curries with ease. On particularly windy days, the auto-ignition struggles a bit, but with patience or a lighter this problem is easily overcome. Occasionally, the windscreens don't latch perfectly into place, but they make a tight enough seal with the lid that they stay in place despite not always staying connected.
This is the only category where the Selkirk 540 doesn't excel, but that may not be a deal-breaker for you.
Given the compact design of the Selkirk, the burners sit fairly close to your cookware, making the stove cook pretty hot. This is great for fast boiling temps but could spell disaster for meals that require really low heat. Our reviewers were able to sufficiently dial-down this stove's cooking temps for scrambles, quinoa, soups, and taco fixings, especially when cooking in low wind. However, if your camp cooking plans involve starting with a roux or delicately cooking wild rice at low temps, you may want to check out another stove in our review or consider an inexpensive heat diffuser. That said, for most camp chefs and meals, the Selkirk will meet your needs, as long as you keep a watchful eye when cooking things like rice.
Ease of Set Up
This category is one where the Selkirk 540 shines. Simply flip open the stove, slot in the windscreens, attach the fuel adaptor, screw on your propane tank, turn on the burners, hit the auto-ignition button, and you're ready to make a tasty camp meal.
With the Selkirk it is easy to connect the fuel adaptor and to make sure you don't cross-thread it, which is a serious problem with at least one other stove in our review. While we initially struggled to use the Piezo igniter to light the burners, we were unbothered by this problem as it is fairly common with all stoves that use this igniter, and we eventually got them lit every time. These igniters can be fantastic in a pinch, but in our experience, they have a limited life span so we recommend always carrying a lighter or matches when you're car camping.
Ease of Care
Cleaning and taking care of the Selkirk is incredibly simple, just remove the grate and wipe everything down.
Our reviewers found the Selkirk to be especially easy to clean, owing to the removable grate, the flat cooking surface, and the lack of holes (aside from the burners) on the cooking surface. When a cooking surface has holes in it, water and food particulates can fall into the stove shell, which can make it challenging to be thorough in your cleaning. In the field, it is easy enough to wipe down with a small scrubby. Then when you have access to a sink, you can do a more thorough cleaning with soap after removing the grate.
The Selkirk weighs in at 9.77 pounds and measures 21.4 x 12.9 x 3.8 inches when all packed up. While this stove is not the lightest model in our review, it scores fairly high in terms of its compact dimensions and for being lightweight compared to many other options in our review.
The slim design of this stove makes it easy to stow-away when not in use. Then, its fairly insubstantial weight and the built-in handle on the bottom make it effortless to carry when packing for a trip.
While value is highly subjective, it is interesting to make some comparisons about the price and performance of different models. In the case of the Selkirk we think it holds a pretty high value for being a well-performing stove for a reasonable price. While there are other stoves that may excel at one or another metric, most of these stoves fetch a higher price tag or come with hidden costs.
The Selkirk 540 is a great stove for nearly all culinary camping adventures. This stove performed well across almost all of our tests, becoming the go-to camp stove for our lead reviewer. It is well-designed, compact, easy to carry, and despite lower BTUs than some of the other models in our review, it boils fast. The windscreens provide enough wind protection to make sure you can whip up a tasty meal even on a windy day. It sets up and breaks down effortlessly and is slimmer and lighter than many other models. Given that this stove runs hot, it is not our top choice for delicate culinary masterpieces (such as low-heat sauces or rice), however the burners get low enough for most camp meals.
— Mary Witlacil