Previously, I've done the following reviews of Soto gear:
- Soto Muka Stove (OD-1NP) -- Video Review
- Full review of the Soto Muka (OD-1NP)
- The Soto Muka Stove (OD-1NP) -- Review Supplement
- The Soto Pocket Torch
|The Soto Microregulator on high.|
|The burner head of a Soto Microregulator. Note the piezoelectric ignition at the very top of the burner head.|
|The piezoelectric auto ignitor of a a Soto Microregulator|
|If you look closely, you can see a copper wire through the opening of the mixing chamber.|
|The strip of metal that can be seen in the center of the burner head is the upper end of the Microregulator's ignition.|
|The Microregulator folds up well.|
|The burner head of a Microregulator|
|The pot supports rotate|
|After rotating, the pot supports slide into and lock in place.|
Speaking of pot supports, I think that pots up to about 1300ml work well with the stove although I'm sure some will feel more comfortable with even larger pots.
|A 1300ml Evernew UL titanium pot on a Microregulator|
|An MSR Blacklite Pan on a Microregulator|
|Getting started with an omelette using a Microregulator|
|An omelette cooked on a Microregulator. Nicely done.|
|A very nice moist omelette, thanks to the Microregulator.|
Myths concerning the Soto Microregulator
For whatever reason, there are two myths out there concerning the Soto Microregulator.
Myth #1 is that the Soto Microregulator will somehow draw more gas out a canister than other stoves. Uh, no. Not only is there no basis in either physics or chemistry for such an assertion, my testing has verified what theory suggests: A canister that is empty to another stove will be empty to the Microregulator as well. In other words, a Microregulator cannot pull more gas out of a given canister than another stove. I have no idea where such a myth might originate or what could prompt such odd speculation, but there is no basis in fact to that myth. For those interested in my testing, please see Advantages (?) of Regulator Valved Stoves, Part I
Myth #2 is that the Soto Microregulator will somehow operate better in cold weather compared to other upright canister stoves with a conventional needle valves. Again, no. A Soto Microregulator will not run any better in cold weather than any other upright canister stove. The pressure in a canister is determined by a) the composition of the fuel, b) the temperature of the canister, and c) the ambient atmospheric pressure. A regulator valve can hold back pressure, but it cannot produce pressure. In order for a regulator to function it must have something to regulate. When the pressure inside a canister falls off due to cold, a regulator valve has nothing to regulate and does no better than a needle valve. This is a complex subject, but if you're interested in it, please see my testing in Advantages (?) of Regulator Valved Stoves, Part II
So, why a regulator valve?
OK, so a Microregulator cannot get more out of a canister than other stoves and a Microregulator can't run any better in cold weather than other stoves, so why a regulator valve? Excellent question. A regulator valve can do a couple of things for you:
1. A regulator valve can control excessive pressure, as in hot weather. For example, if you're doing the Pacific Crest Trail and you're crossing a desert section in the southern reaches of the trail, you could encounter some very hot weather. In hot weather, a canister might actually have too much pressure and can "overpower" a stove. A regulator can tamp down that pressure and keep the stove safe to operate.
2. A regulator valve can keep a flame more constant if the canister pressure drops provided that there is additional pressure to be had within the canister. In other words, a regulator valve can open up more on its own allowing more pressure to flow if there is additional pressure available in the canister. A regulator valve can "smooth out" changes in pressure. Thus, a regulator valve can give you a more constant flame. You can think of a regulator valve as a sort of "cruise control" for your stove. Again, though, there has to be additional pressure available inside the canister in order for the regulator valve to have something to work with. But couldn't you just reach over and open up the valve a bit wider on a regular needle valved stove? Yes, you could. The Microregulator just does it for you automatically. This automatic adjustment doesn't seem like a hugely valuable feature to me, but to some it may hold appeal.
The Soto Microregulator, OD-1R, is a well built, well designed stove, and it's the world's lightest stove with auto-ignition. The Microregulator is certainly an excellent choice for someone desiring to do simple backpacking style cooking, but because of it's fairly wide burner head, the Microregulator can take on more complex cooking tasks as well.
There is however a lot of confusion about just what the regulator valve is supposed to do, confusion that in my opinion Soto hasn't done enough to dispel. I think that everyone should just forget that there's a regulator valve on this stove and focus on the fact that this is an excellent stove and that this is the world's lightest stove with auto ignition. In practical terms for someone out on the trail, the regulator valve is very much a non-event.
The Soto Microregulator (OD-1R)
What's good about it?
- World's lightest stove with auto-ignition.
- Excellent design and manufacturing quality.
- Wide burner head which makes this a good stove for real cooking for backpackers.
- Serrated pot supports make your pot or pan less likely to slip off.
- There is a lot of confusion about the regulator valve.
- Perhaps the pot supports could lock into place a bit more solidly (but that's a pretty minor complaint on an otherwise excellent stove).
I thank you for joining me on another Adventure in Stoving,
|The beautiful blue flame of a Soto Microregulator. Truly a nice stove.|