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GSI Outdoors Selkirk 540 Review

This compact and well-functioning stove boil quickly, is easy to care for, and won't break the bank.
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Price:  $125 List | $124.95 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Efficient, durable, compact, has auto-ignition
Cons:  Cooks hot, ignitor is sometimes finicky
Manufacturer:   GSI Outdoors
By Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 4, 2019
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72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 14
  • Time to Boil - 25% 8
  • Wind Resistance - 25% 7
  • Simmering Ability - 20% 6
  • Ease of Set Up - 10% 7
  • Ease of Care - 10% 8
  • Portability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The GSI Outdoors Selkirk 540 is a well-functioning compact stove that checks all the right boxes. It boils fast, blocks the wind well, is super easy to set up, and even easier to clean. It tends to cook on the hot side, so it struggles with precise simmering, but nothing so bad as to cause concern or frustration. If you know yourself to be someone that always cooks things that require a low and slow simmer, you may want to consider another model, but for the typical camp chef whipping up most meals, this stove is perfectly adequate.


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Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Top Pick Award 
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Efficient, durable, compact, has auto-ignitionDurable, wind-resistant, powerful, even cooking, auto-ignitionLow profile, lightweight, auto-ignition levers are easy to use, handy carrying case and handlesNon-slip rubber feet for leveling, large cooking surface, durable metal latches instead of plasticGreat simmering ability, freestanding, legs are removable, powerful burners, tons of cooking space
Cons Cooks hot, ignitor is sometimes finickyPlastic latches on frontVery pricey, not the most wind resistantStruggles with the wind, not super powerful, on the heavy sideNo auto ignition system, does not operate on 16oz propane canisters, wind puts out burner easily
Bottom Line This compact and well-functioning stove boil quickly, is easy to care for, and won't break the bank.This has been an Editors' Choice for more than six years.Excellent performance meets compact design with this impressive model, a folding two-burner that is easy to love.This stove is pretty standard, but does provide a large cooking surface and useful non-slip rubber feet for keeping it level, no matter where your camp kitchen ends up.With high BTUs, a large cooking area, and removable legs, this freestanding stove offers a lot of options for big groups and chef-minded camp cooks.
Rating Categories GSI Outdoors Selkirk 540 Camp Chef Everest Jetboil Genesis Basecamp Eureka Ignite Plus Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner
Time To Boil (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
8
Wind Resistance (25%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
5
Simmering Ability (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
Ease Of Set Up (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
5
Ease Of Care (10%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
Portability (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
10
10
0
6
10
0
3
Specs GSI Outdoors... Camp Chef Everest Jetboil Genesis... Eureka Ignite Plus Camp Chef Explorer...
Weight (pounds) 9.8 lbs 12.3 lbs 7.4 lbs w/bag, 6.4 lbs stove alone 12.0 lbs 30.6 lbs (19.2 lbs without legs)
Total BTU (from manufacturer) 20,000 40,000 20,000 20,000 60,000
Boil Time (1 quart of water, wind from a box fan) 5.5 min 3 min 7.5 min 6.25 min 5 min
Boil Time (1 quart of water, no wind) 4 min 2.5 min 4.5 min 4.75 min 3.75 min
Cooktop material Nickel-chrome steel Nickel-coated steel Nickel-plated steel Plated steel Cast aluminum
Packed Size (inches) 21.4" x 12.9" x 3.8" 23.5" x 13.5" x 4" 9.75" x 4.5" (11" x 6" in carrying bag) 23" x 12.8" x 4" 32.75" x 14" x 7.75" (height not including legs)
Cooking surface dimensions (inches) 17.5" x 9.5" 19" x 9.5" 8" x 8.5" (each burner) 20.5" x 9.5" 32.5" x 13.75"
Burner/flame diameter 3" 3.5" 3.5" 3" 5"
Distance between burners (center to center) 11" 12" 10.5" 12" 13"
Windscreen? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Piezo Ignitor? Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Number of burners 2 2 2 2 2
Type of Model Tabletop, foldable Tabletop Tabletop, foldable Tabletop, foldable Freestanding
Fuel Type Propane Propane Propane Propane Propane - large 20# tank
Mfr. Model Number 56012 MS2HP GNST 2572195 EX60LW

Our Analysis and Test Results

The GSI Selkirk works well, looks good, and comes at a fair price.

Performance Comparison


The Selkirk gets the job done in style.
The Selkirk gets the job done in style.

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. It doesn't have impressive BTUs — just 10,000 per burner — but the design is compact and efficient. If you don't need super high BTUs but don't want to sacrifice performance, this is a great model to consider.

Despite not having a ton of BTUs  the Selkirk boils quickly because of its compact design. The cooking grate is close to the burners to maximize the flame and minimize where wind can sneak in.
Despite not having a ton of BTUs, the Selkirk boils quickly because of its compact design. The cooking grate is close to the burners to maximize the flame and minimize where wind can sneak in.

Wind Resistance


As mentioned above, the compact design of this stove means that it performs very well despite not having super high BTUs. When given our infamous box fan test where we set up a large fan to the side of the stove while boiling water, the Selkirk completed the task in 5.5 minutes, just a minute and a half longer than without the fan. Other models in our review did better, but not by a ton, and many did much, much worse. The stoves that performed better in this test all had double or triple the output amount of BTUs, too, which makes a strong argument for the efficiency of the Selkirk. On a particularly windy day, the auto-ignition on this stove did struggle a bit, but we eventually got it working in between gusts just fine.

The Selkirk always got the job done  despite cooking on some very windy days.
The Selkirk always got the job done, despite cooking on some very windy days.

Simmering Ability


This is the one category where the Selkirk is just mediocre. It's fine if you're not cooking anything too delicate, but it does cook hot due to how close the burners sit to your cookware. With a lot of wind present, as with most stoves, this issue worsens a bit. Just be sure to keep a watchful eye when cooking sensitive items, and all will be well.

The Selkirk has small burners that sit close to the surface  so it's easy to get hot spots when using too large of a pan. This also isn't the best stove to use for highly sensitive items like the lemon poppy pancakes we tried to make on a very windy morning.
The Selkirk has small burners that sit close to the surface, so it's easy to get hot spots when using too large of a pan. This also isn't the best stove to use for highly sensitive items like the lemon poppy pancakes we tried to make on a very windy morning.

Ease of Set Up


This is a no-brainer and just like most every stove on the market. Flip open and slot in the windscreens, attach the fuel adaptor, screw on your propane tank, turn on the burners, and hit the auto-ignition button. A few times, the burners on our model didn't want to light immediately (a common issue with Piezo igniters), but we eventually got them lit every time. If this worries you, it's never a bad idea to also have a lighter on hand.

Setting up the Selkirk is super easy and straightforward.
Setting up the Selkirk is super easy and straightforward.

Ease of Care


Again, this is as simple as any standard compact two-burner. Simply remove the grate and wipe everything down.

Cleaning this stove is incredibly simple.
Cleaning this stove is incredibly simple.

Portability


The Selkirk is 9.77 pounds and measures 21.4 x 12.9 x 3.8 inches when all packed up. These are pretty standard numbers for a stove like this, though a smidge lighter and smaller than models like our Editors' Choice winner. That might be important to you, though if you're already car camping, it's doubtful that a couple of pounds or inches is going to make that big a difference.

Ready to get setup for a lovely day of fall cooking with the Selkirk 540.
Ready to get setup for a lovely day of fall cooking with the Selkirk 540.

Value


Value is, of course, highly subjective, but it's always interesting to make some comparisons. In the case of this stove, it's pretty middle-of-the-road regarding value. It's a well-performing stove for a reasonable price, but there are others in our review that are almost as good for quite a bit less. On the other end of things, our Editors' Choice has twice the BTUs, better wind resistance, and superior simmering abilities for not that much more cash. If you find this one on sale, though, it's worth it.

It's always a good idea to consider what cookware you like to use and then assess the cooking grate on any stove you're considering. We like making coffee in a small Bialetti while camping and not all the stoves in this review can accommodate that - it's far too narrow for many of them - but the Selkirk has a smart design that works with even the smallest items.
It's always a good idea to consider what cookware you like to use and then assess the cooking grate on any stove you're considering. We like making coffee in a small Bialetti while camping and not all the stoves in this review can accommodate that - it's far too narrow for many of them - but the Selkirk has a smart design that works with even the smallest items.

Conclusion


The Selkirk 540 is a great stove for most culinary camping adventures. It performed well across almost all of our tests but also didn't blow us away as anything spectacular. It's just a good stove that does what it's supposed to, nothing more, nothing less. It's got a nice compact build that allows it to boil fast and stay decently impervious to the wind. It sets up and breaks down easily and is a bit smaller and lighter than quite a few other models. The one place it shows weakness is in the simmering department: it runs hot, so getting a low and even simmer can be tricky. But if camping for you is mainly oatmeal, coffee, and pasta, then don't fret, this is a good stove that will get you fed.

Another day of delicious testing in the books. Yum!
Another day of delicious testing in the books. Yum!


Penney Garrett