When you have a poke around amongst their camping accessories you find that there are quite a few things worthy of including in a lightweight backpack. Indeed, the store has a whole backpacking stoves section, and I was particularly interested to try out the Hi-Gear Blaze Titanium Stove, which is currently being sold for a rather enticing £25.99.
Despite missing the delivery on the first attempt, I did get the item into my hands in time for my Edale jaunt, and wasted no time in ripping into the packaging.
I didn’t consider our current stove (a Coleman F1 Lite) to be heavy or bulky at 78g, but this one is an incredible 48g. How ever have they managed that? Well, apart from the fact that it’s made from titanium, you’ll see from the photo that it’s not got the wide base designed to sit on top of the strongest part of the gas canister. As such, all stress is put onto the screw part of the canister and there’s nothing to stop you over-tightening the thread. Looking at a few other makes of similar lightweight stoves, I can’t see any other that doesn’t have any sort of a cross-ways stabilisation mechanism.
As you’ll also see in the photo, the stove comes in a plastic container, and at a glance you might think that would be a convenient place to keep it in your pack. Think again! The case weighs almost as much as the stove, so it was quickly discarded in favour of the little stuff-sack that came with my previous stove.
As to the other features of the stove (and let’s face it that lightweight gas stoves like this don’t have or need many features), the pot supports (which fold inwards for storage, and have no locking mechanism when folded out) are pretty much the same size as on my previous stove, so they are the right size to fit the bottom of my MSR Titan Kettle, and the control knob is long and big enough so that it can be used with heavily gloved hands.
Having given it a 10-second test in the kitchen before I went, it was the only stove that I took with me to Edale and so the first time I put it to proper use was on Tuesday night on the Kinder plateau. Not just on that first use, but the following day too, it seemed to boil my water quickly considering that the gas canister was far from full. On the third day, with the remaining gas getting very low, it took an age.
“It seemed to boil quickly” and “It seemed to boil slowly, but probably no slower than my old stove” isn’t very scientific, so I couldn’t resist a slightly more controlled experiment. Conveniently, I happened to have another two half-full canisters of gas at home (6g more gas in the one than the other), so I placed one stove on top of each and boiled 400ml of tap water.
The result was that both stoves boiled the water within five seconds of each other, at around 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Both had used 4g of gas. My only other observation is that the Blaze has a wide flame pattern that goes beyond the edge of the pan, which explains why the handles got so hot (with my old stove I could still pick the pan up by the handles after it had boiled).
As it stands, I’m not just happy but impressed with this stove. Of course, three days use doesn’t tell us anything about the durability of it. We will continue to use it and if anything should prove to be amiss with it then I’ll come back to this review to note it accordingly.
Update: I didn't remain quite so impressed by this stove! Read my second review here.