EtekCity “El Cheapo” backpacking stove

I’ve had this little stove since maybe 2016, tekkster and I planned on going on our first backpacking trip about 3 months ahead of time. The Gear research that happened was so disheartening because all of the “Good Gear” was sooo pricey, so I ended up searching for cheaper gear with “Okay” quality and “Good” price. One of the first pieces of gear that I’d bought was this little Etekcity backpacking stove for $9.99. It was a cheap stove, good reviews and well I wasn’t sure if I’d ever use it again after this trip was done.

5 years later, this stove has been on all of the trips I’ve done and for the most part is working just as good as it was the day it arrived. The mechanism that makes that spark to light the gas doesn’t work anymore but I normally just use a lighter so it’s no big deal. The stove comes with a cheap plastic orange case which, um, you put the stove into when it’s in your bag and not in use…the case will not save the stove if you or your friends step on it.

I’m not easy on my gear, nor do I abuse it. I just use it as intended because things tend to last longer when you do that 🙂 I use this stove with a GSI Pinnacle Dualist pot and a half pot of water will boil in a about 5 minutes. Not the fastest time ever, but I’m on trail not at work so there’s no need to rush. This thing has boiled lots of water for coffee or some kind of freeze dried food, cooked a few meals(plus spam) with it and it has not failed me…yet.

I’ve searched Amazon and am unable to find this particular product but there are several that look similar and around the same price point(AOTU, Extremus and GasOne.) At 3 ounces, $10 to $12 and it using most major cannister threading this thing is pretty reliable at the el cheapo stove price point. I mean yeah, you can make an alcohol stove cheaper but go ahead you can make one and I’ll use this. But if you’re looking for a decent main stove or a solid backup stove you should give this one a try.

*Disclaimer* I’ve read a few reviews that said they received bunk pieces of sh*t and I’m sorry if that happens to you if you go with this, but my stove worked as expected, hence this review 😀

Backpacking Cookset Combo : GSI Infinity Mug + Snow Peak Hybrid Summit

When I first started my journey on camping/backpacking trips in 2011, I was a complete newbie who would pack 10 day worth of food for 3 day trip just out of unfounded fear of starvation in the wilderness. A decade later with a couple dozen trips under my belt, I am still a newbie on so many fronts. But I do believe I found my favorite cooking setup for solo trips and I’d like to share what it is and what I like and dislike about the setup for anyone who might be chasing that most efficient setup.

These are the top attributes I was considering when I was going after the set up.

  1. Volume: For short weekend trips, which takes up the majority of my trips, I wanted something compact to fit into the backpack easily without taking up much space.
  2. Weight: This one goes without saying for any backpacking trips. The less weight, the more you enjoy your hike and the entire trip will be that much more fun.
  3. Minimal all-in-one setup: I wanted a simple setup that can be consolidated into one package so I don’t have to worry about packing and carrying multiple pieces. Being able to just grab one package out of your bag for full setup saves time for cooking and also during packing/unpacking.
  4. Functionality: I didn’t want to sacrifice too much of functionalities even with the focus on minimal setup

For gears used in this setup are:

  1. GSI Outdoors Infinity Backpacker Mug (
  2. Snow Peak Hybrid Summit Cookset – DISCONTINUED (
  3. MSR PocketRocket 2 Stove (
  4. JetboilFuel Can Stabilizer (
  5. Optimus Sparky (
  6. Small Fuel Canister. Brand doesn’t matter but it has to be the smallest one with 4oz or under. (
Here is a picture of everything that goes into this setup. And once you stack them all up nicely…..


This is what the complete setup looks like. Basically a cylinder with around 4 inch diameter and 8 inch tall. Now there is one thing very important for this to work. Since the GSI mug is basically sitting on top of canister inside the pot, you must have the sack that contain the full height of 8 inches. Fortunately Snowpeak pot came with the mesh sack shown in the photos, which was large enough to make this setup work. If you do not have such a sack or if you decide to pack fuel canister separately for whatever reason, it will shave 3 inches from the height and become even more compact like the picture below.

Now let’s see how things are stacked inside.

First, put stove, stand, and piezo right into the GSI infinity mug. Each item is compact enough that the mug has plenty of space left even after putting 3 items.
Second, you put the small size (4oz) fuel canister into the pot. Snowpeak Hybrid Summit pot works as a base container for this setup. The diameter at the base of the pot is at 3.625 inch and the canister is 3.5 inch so the fuel canister slides and fits perfectly into the pot.
And then you put the GSI mug into the pot. Diameter for GSI pot is also 3.5inch including the foam sleeve and it will snug fit right into the pot.

And there it is. This is the full setup. It’s about the size of a hand and I have a relatively smaller hands.

Now let me share how I feel about the set up.

What I like about this set up is:

  • Lightweight: The total weight comes in just over 1lbs at 1.18 lbs or 537 grams.
  • Compact: this setup takes up very little space in my backpack
  • Convenience: There is certainly a benefit of having everything in one sack to minimize prep time and packing/unpacking time
  • Multitasking: If I want to cook instant noodle or boil water for dry food WHILE I am drinking coffee, this setup will let me do that

What I don’t like about this set up is:

  • Limited cooking options: This setup is really mostly for boiling purpose. So water or instant noodle type of foods are perfect. However, since the pot is titanium, if you want to grill a steak or make a stew or anything beyond, it will be doable but it will be a challenge and final product might be less than ideal.
  • Size limit: Obviously this is the other side of the token of being such compact setup. Pot size is about 28 fl.oz. Good for a couple cups of coffee. Or 1 instant noodle. So I would say this would work quite well for up to 2 people but for a group larger than that, you should expect longer time since you will need to boil multiple times to cover all the people.

Any comments or feedbacks are welcome!

MSR Whisperlite Universal review

IMG_4121 copy

Base stats:
– BTU:  5,300 (LPG vapor)
– BTU:  10,300 (LPG liquid-inverted)
– BTU:  9,500 (White gas)
– BTU:  7,300 (Kerosene)
– Weight:  11.5 oz min, 19.4 oz packed
– Stove comparison review

The short:  If you’re looking for a liquid fuel stove, and are willing to compromise on a little weight and size to get better reliability, the MSR Whisperlite Universal is hard to beat.  It is the goto choice for many experienced backpackers who need reliability in the field.

Continue reading

Primus Omnifuel 2 Review


Base stats:
– BTU:  10,500 (White gas)
– Weight:  12.3 oz min, 15.9 oz packed
Stove comparison review

The skinny: An evolution of the original Omnifuel, more refined, more precision focused, with a detail oriented addition of features, while still remaining rugged and reliable.

Caution:  There was an issue with an earlier version of the OmniFuel 2 stove.  See photos in addendum A at the end of this review.   (damaged omnifuel photos courtesy of BC).  

NOTE:  This appears to have been fixed with the current version.  See comment from Scott Boyce on Feb 22nd, 2017 in the comments section.

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Edelrid Hexon Review

Base stats
– BTU:  10,326 w/ White Gas
– Weight:  7.1 oz, (16.1 oz incl. pump, bottle)
Stove comparison chart

There are such great features in this stove, I want this to be my favorite.  Scratch that, with one modification (see addendum 1 below), this is now my favorite compact liquid fuel stove.  It is beautifully designed, solves one of the biggest issues with liquid fuel stoves (compactness), and does so without sacrificing value in most other areas.  With one exception, this is a marvel of engineering, and beautifully thought out. Continue reading

JetBoil Zip Review


JetBoil Zip.

Base stats
– BTU:  4500
– Weight:  12 oz
Stove comparison chart

It’s not the size of the BTU, it’s the efficiency of heat transfer.

The JetBoil Zip has been around a while, and is the lowest cost JetBoil out there.

I already have the JetBoil Sol Aluminum and have been loving it.  But for my wife’s emergency pack, I wanted a JetBoil as well.  Looking at the various models, the JetBoil Zip was the least expensive, so at the risk of missing some features, I picked one up on Amazon. Continue reading

Trangia 27-2 & 25-2 Ul Stove Kit Review

Base stats:
– BTU:  7K (The Trangia burner)
– Weight:  36 oz (2lb 4oz) for the larger 25-2
– Weight:  29 oz (1lb 13oz) for the smaller 27-2
Stove comparison chart

If alcohol fuel (and optionally, also multi-fuel) is more your thing than LPG gas canister stoves, but you want to cook with it and maximize heat efficiency with a really good wind screen, this set is very hard to beat.  Some of the most experienced backpackers swear by these cook sets as they work in horrendous weather conditions, maximize the limited fuel efficiency of the Trangia stove, run silently, and avoids the mess and hassle of setting up and putting away liquid fuel stoves. Continue reading

Snow Peak LiteMax Stove Review


Base stats:
– BTU:  11K
– Weight:  1.9 oz
Stove comparison chart

I own quite a few of thee types of miniature gas canister stoves. And this would have to be my second favorite of all. It has some wind resistance from being blown out, which is nice, and the flame egress surface faces outwards to cover wider pots. It is also well suited for small pots and any cup designed for this purpose. Continue reading

Optimus Vega Review


Base stats:
– BTU:  12,500 in liquid LPG mode, 4,750 in standard LPG mode
– Weight:  6.28 oz
Stove comparison chart

I’ve purchased quite a few gas canister stoves in the search for that perfect one, and also have gotten into  alcohol stoves, liquid fuel stoves, and wood stoves.  Sort of a strange hobby, but comparing these stoves in actual usage is the only real way to understand them.

The Optimus Vega, among LPG stoves, is my first choice when heading out and planning on doing a fair bit of group cooking, while still keeping weight and pack space at a minimum.  Rafting weekends are ideal. Continue reading

Soto Windmaster + 4Flex Stove Review

SotoWindMaster IMG_0774 copy

Base stats:

– BTU:  11K
– Weight:  2.3 oz
Stove comparison chart

Truly the best of the best of compact stand-alone LPG gas canister stoves.  It has become my goto.

While it’s too bad that it doesn’t fit in a cup along with a gas canister and utensil, which would be ideal, this gas canister based unit has one incredible advantage in addition to the wind resistance, and two small negatives. Continue reading

Soto Compact Foldable Stove Review


Base stats:
– BTU:  11K
– Weight:  5 oz
Stove comparison chart

This thing is truly a work of art.

It’s hard to believe that a stove setup could be this small.

This stove has two critical advantages:

First, it’s so small that when all folded up, it can fit inside a GSI Halulite mug (solo) sideways. SIDEWAYS!!! This means that I can have a gas canister, silicone pot holder, tiny folding utensil, AND this stove in the GSI mug and still completely close the silicone lid. Continue reading

Primus OmniLite Ti Stove Review

Base stats:
– BTU:  8900
– Weight:  2.6 lbs (including pump and bottle and bag)
Stove comparison chart

(Long Term use update at bottom)

I own most of the currently sold liquid fuel stoves as well as quite a few older ones, and to my mind, the Primus Omnilite is the best choice of a fairly good sample of liquid fuel stoves for flexibility, compactness, fuel efficiency, and reliability, though, it has couple of small negatives.
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