If you read my recent "Starter Stove" post, I recommended the Snow Peak GigaPower (GS-100) stove, 88g/3.1oz, as my "value for the dollar" pick. The GigaPower is a really good stove, and I've seen it on the web for only $40 (not including any taxes or shipping). Other stoves of comparable quality are about $60.
But there is another way: eBay. You can get some really cheap stoves on eBay. Now, be really careful on eBay. Some of those really cheap stoves aren't worth what you pay for them. In fact, some of those really cheap stoves might be downright dangerous. So, how do we separate the cream from the crud? Well, you can't always, but buying brand name products is one way to greatly increase the chances of winding up with a decent stove.
Now, I know what you're thinking: "Hey, Jim, I've already looked on eBay, and the brand name stoves on eBay aren't any cheaper than they are in the store."
Well, yes, but there is a good brand, a brand that maybe you've never heard of before, a brand that is a really good buy: Kovea. Kovea is a Korean company that has been turning out excellent products lately. In fact, even though maybe you've never heard of Kovea by name, you may have used Kovea products. Kovea makes stoves for major brands like MSR and Snow Peak.
Now, eBay is a mixed bag. Sometimes you can find deals and some times you get ripped off. So, shop around, and as always, caveat emptor.
But I'm looking at eBay right now, and I see a Kovea brand titanium stove, the KB-0101, with piezoelectric ignition for $42 including shipping. Guys, that's a deal. A comparable stove at my local retailer is $60 and that one doesn't have a piezoelectric ignition. The stove I'm looking at is 88g/3.1 oz which may sound a little heavy for a titanium stove, but considering that it's got a piezolectric ignition built in, that's actually a very reasonable weight. Recall that the Snow Peak GigaPower (GS-100) that I recommended earlier is also 88g/3.1oz but that the GigaPower does not have an ignition system. I've seen the non-piezoelectric version of this stove personally, and it's a really nice stove.
I'm also looking at a really lightweight titanium Kovea gas stove, the KB-0707, 56g/1.98oz, for $42.50 + $5.00 shipping. I have seen one of these in person, and it is a very nice stove. Now you just find me a sub-two ounce titanium stove for that kind of money at a US retailer. Maybe on sale, but certainly not at normal prices, and high end titanium stoves like this are usually excluded from sales and coupons. The KB-0707 is 32g/1.13 ounces lighter than the GS-100. Nice.
Is buying from eBay 100% safe? No, of course not. I'm sure we've all heard bad stories, and there are good reasons to buy from a local retailer where returns and exchanges may be a lot easier. But if you're bargain hunting, eBay can be a great place, and Kovea is the top but relatively unknown brand that can save you money.
I thank you for joining me on another Adventure in Stoving,