Soto has come up with a true winner of a stove in the Soto WindMaster, a cooking powerhouse ideal for adventure travelers needing a compact, efficient and easy-to-operate stove for backpacking, remote travel, and backcountry or other outdoor use.
One of the newer stoves in the Soto lineup of outdoor-oriented gear, the WindMaster ($75) has a sleek design (one of Soto’s calling cards) that is so tiny you won’t think twice about packing it along in luggage or a carryon. (More on TSA regulations below.)
The Soto Windmaster is a canister stove that screws easily onto the top of any standard backpacking-sized pressurized gas canister using blended propane/butane fuel and a standardized threaded Lindal valve (ask if you are in doubt). Compatible canister brands we know include MSR, Optimus, Jetboil, Primus and Snow Peak.
This stove is also a flyweight powerhouse at 2.5 ounces (67g) including its detachable “TriFlex” pot support – a three-pronged support good for smaller pots and thus cooking for perhaps one or two people. The four-pronged 4Flex support that also comes with the WindMaster is good for supporting larger pots and fry pans and thus good for larger groups. Combined with the 4Flex, the stove is a mere 3.0 ounces (87g).
The beauty of the detachable supports in our opinion is that the entire unit folds up and packs down itty-bitty. The TriFlex workhorse support has a nifty design that allows it to fold completely flat, then just be unclipped to spring open to slide securely over the burner crown. The WindMaster’s 4Flex is designed to snuggle up around the stove itself during transport to protect it and save space. Really superior designs. The WindMaster stove and TriFlex support are each quite small so you certainly need to use a small stuff sack to keep track of them, which should be a natural for organized campers.
The operation is no-brainer easy – even for non-stove experts. Turn the flame control lever (since it has a regulator, it screws IN to open), and when you hear the hiss of gas, punch in the red piezo ignition button. Voila, it’s lit. The concave burner with a rim protects the flame from wind very well, and the support is built to keep the pot down nearly on top of the flame to also help block wind and improve heating efficiency.
We started a stopwatch on time-to-boil for one cup of water in a small titanium pot – water hit a rolling boil after an about 90 seconds! Chow time! The WindMaster has a strong output of 11000 BTU (a.k.a. 2800 kcal/h or 3260w). You’ll be able to use the stove for up to approximately 1.5 hours with an 8-ounce (250g) fuel canister, depending on weather and temperature conditions.
Flying with your Soto WindMaster
Being so lightweight, the WindMaster is a traveler’s dream to pack along for outdoor adventures in different countries. Yes, you can fly with a stove, per TSA regulations, you just need to pay attention to a few details – like no residual fuel or odor in the stove, which is made relatively easy with the WindMaster as there is no separate fuel line. The one caveat for all travelers is you cannot fly with fuel, so you will need to know you will be able to buy the fuel you need once you arrive (usually no problem anywhere in Europe, North America, major metropolitan areas in Asia, Africa and South America, Australia and New Zealand). Remember this stove uses fuel canisters with a mix of 20 percent propane and 80 percent butane. If you can, always opt for a fuel mix that says it uses isobutane since that is a much higher grade of butane and your stove will function that much more efficiently.
Packing your Soto WindMaster stove won’t be an issue since the stove alone measures 3.5 inches long by 2 inches across at the burner. The TriFlex, folded, is a mere 3.7 inches by 1 inch by 0.4 inches.
A traveler’s and camper’s ideal companion! Thus, certainly worthy of the HITT Seal of Approval for travel product excellence.