Soto OD-1R Micro Regulator Stove

After a couple of months off, gear reviews are back. Here’s something new: Soto.

The OD-1R has been getting positive noises, winning awards and whatnot, and as someone who always struggles to find the perfect winter stove, the thought of a canister-top stove that’s been pimped up to work better in a frozen tent porch raised an eyebrow along with my hopes. I was keen to get one in to test, and when it did it went straight from a padded envelope into a rucksack.

It’s small and very light at 70g for my sample (they say 73g), and fits into all my regular pot and gas canister combos very well, including the pretty small Evernew Titanium Solo set. You could say it’s a little fatter around the middle with the way the legs fold down, but with no firesteel in beside it it’s not an issue.
The legs have a nice folding action, pins slide in little slots and the legs locate firmly open when you want them to and also stay folded for stowing unless you shake it about a bit. For the light weight the legs feel quite robust, but I’d always keep the OD-1R in a pot on trips, I wouldn’t like it to get squeezed too regularly in case somthing got bent or popped out of position.
The piezo ignition is the best I’ve seen at the burner end, it’s centrally placed for an instant flame and it’s low-profile design will be very hard to damage. The button end is a little more vulnerable as I found myself distractedly tightening the stove onto the gas canister using the piezo button assembley as a gripper. A bit of concentration removes the button from the danger list though.

The burner is a cracker, wide like Optimus etc, but with extra rings of holes in the centre, which are smaller to help keep the flame level constant and avoid heat spots that corrugate your lightweight pot base. The burner and the wide, stable base provided by the legs take a 1-litre pot no problem. The power is up to it too, this is a speedy cuppa provider, in several unscientific observances (?), 800/900ml was bubbling and steaming in under 3 minutes.
The regulated gas supply is the talking point of course. Regulation can only good, almost everything with gas is regulated except our stoves, they rely on injector (the little hole the gas comes out of on it’s way to be burned) size to set up a flame which will do the best it can in all conditions. Regulation will, and as I found out does, try to keep a decent, dare I say optimised, flame through temperature changes, but as the canister empties right down the flame will eventually suffer just like any other canister top stove.
Mind you, on a trip I ran this against a remote canister stove with a pre-heat coil on it which allows you to turn over the canister and vapourise the liquid at the stove and the OD-1R beat it both in boil time and fuel efficiency. That I didn’t expect at all.

Longevity I don’t know yet, I have a feeling this is going to be my go-to stove now, so through the year ahead we’ll see what happens to it.
But, from windswept hillsides to cold bothies the OD-1R is standing with it’s arms folded looking at me saying “Nae bother, I can dae that”.
Nice, more as we go.

24 thoughts on “Soto OD-1R Micro Regulator Stove”

  1. I swapped the Pocket Rocket (70gm mod.) for a titanium HiGear Blaze (46gm) last year (no spark lark) – lovely little stove but it don’t half eat gas in comparison to the PR – the burner on this is similar to the burner on the Blaze an I reckon it’ll eat gas too..?

  2. Mick, the HiGear burner is the same one that’s been used by Optimus, Brunton and Vango. It’s consistently been the best burner I’ve used even with the different brands using different valves etc
    HiGear might have altered the performance with that valve they’ve used to get the weight down, different injector/gas rate.

  3. Pete, as a ‘gram counter’ I soon realised the lighter HiGear ate gas, and the 100 canister I use got light very quickly… so the extra gas used would soon outweight any weight saved on stove lol – if only MSR would get somebody to make a titanium body for the PR – as the burner is just right size for my ex-dog food alu 1/2 pint pan. Yes it would be good to try ’em side by side – I could send you the HiGear to test if you can’t get hold of one… be interesting

  4. Pete, I echo Alan’s despair at the announcement of yet another must-buy gadget…

    Now, it’s one thing to have the killer-burner in your hands, but what of windscreens?? You either get neat but fairly useless ones (like the Primus clip-on one) or the faffy alluminium shields that do the job but you need to watch the canister not overheating and look like an unmade bed (and we like to do it in style, don’t we).

    I mean, someone with your background should come up with a killer windscreen, that fits all stoves and pots, fold easy, and look the part.

    I know, you can always cook in the vestibule, but that gives you condensation and sometimes if you do summit camping there’s no water up there and you cook tea by a burn or something.

    So, there’s a need for a proper screen. The manufacturer would rather we bought their all-in-one solutions, like the EtaPackLite or the Reactor, but you always have huge weight penalties with those.

    Come on, Pete, thinking-hat on and come up with a design that’ll make you rich and us UL campers happy!!

  5. Andy, windshields are the eternal undone shoelace.
    I use various grades of aluminium sheet types cut to size, I remember one had a tapered end with notches so it was adjustable and “lockable”, lasted a trip.
    What I mostly do is get the shield well-currugated and bend it into an omega Ω shape so I can wrap it onto different sizes of pot, the curves at the gap catch onto the ground/rock etc and it stays in place most times. You can pin it together with a spork at the top too. I always carry spare pegs to camp for backup help here too. Truth be told, I pull out the pegs from every tent I get and take my mixed bag of titanium nails and Y-pegs :o)

    Doing it elegantly and keeping it light and simple is going to be the trick.

  6. In the end it comes down to jet size, a bigger jet = more gas in a shorter period of time and assuming the pot can absorb all the heat from the stove you’ll get a faster boil time. That in turn means the stove is on for a shorter period of time.

    The problem with most gas stoves is that the jet is too big and produces much more heat than the small pots we tend to use can absorb (a lot of the heat/fuel output is wasted) which is why you find that with the gas turned off a bit, by as much as a 1/3rd you’ll get the same boil time using less gas than you would with the gas full on. It’s possible that Soto have realised this and opted for a smaller than normal jet as there’s really no other way to maintain a constant pressure on a stove of that type.

  7. Injector size is important, but air inlets and burner design are equally so. Make the injector too big and the flame will lift off of the burner when the gas canister is new and will have all sorts of problems when the gas gets low. Besides they can’t change one parameter and hope for the best, they wouldn’t get a CE mark for a start.

    Regulation is a mechanical operation, it’s in the domed aluminium disk you see on your gas meter, there’s one in your boiler and on your gas hob, hidden inside at the inlet from the mains. The function of regulator or governor is to supply a set pressure of gas, and that’s what the OD-1R has. It looks like it has a spring operated aperture which reacts to the gas supply pressure/temperature and opens and closes to maintain as constant a supply to the manual control as it can given the limitations its fuel supply.

    From using it, I think it works, and from an engineering point of view it’s a completely standard set-up, they’ve just made it very light and neat. Longevity like I say will be the thing, there’ll be o-rings inside, the spring etc, all liable to wear, as well trying to avoid external damage to all the little parts made from thin metal.
    But, if it lasts, this could be the best canister-top stove out there. Time will tell.

  8. It would be interesting to pull the regulator apart to see what’s in there, agreed if the gas flow is excessive it’ll lift off but I’ve found that with small diameter pots even if the flame isn’t lifting you’re still wasting fuel, you’ll get the same boil time at less than full throttle.

    At £70 it needs to be good.

  9. It’s got a concentric inner/outer valve assembly, the brass bit with the external handle for adjustment has the spring-loaded regulator inside it, when the spring moves if changes the flow of gas through the main valve, in theory maintaining the setting you had when you lit the stove.

    Quite right about the setting, valve full open is innefficient and will blow your fuel for little gain.
    It’s a hard to resist the temptation when that flame is so big looking though :o)

    Retail is £70? I think the last stove I had with a price around that area was the Brunton Flex, the folding affair with the Optimus-style burner.
    Both complicated designs, the OD-1R especially has new tooling to make the parts for it, it’s a complicated design and it’s not been completely assembled with off the shelf components like 90% of the stoves we see.
    Soto invest in the R&D, if it works they’ll make a market for the design, then all the parts will be available for other brands to bring out a version without any of the legwork, so it will get cheaper :o)

  10. If Soto have come up with something new then hats off to them, I had a look at the petrol stove clip on youtube and they’ve put a bit of thought into it, not sure about the ‘no pre heat ignition’ though, looks a bit firey to me.

    Anyway, about the OD-1R, nice to see someone trying something different, makes a chance from the usual badge engineering.

  11. Aye, I’d dismissed at first, but the regulation mechanism design looks right (I’m a gas engineer) and more importantly in use it does seem to work.

    I hope it is all on the level, that it’s a good design that isn’t fragile. Like with the Neoair, it takes one brand to make a big step up to get everyone else to make something better too. Always good for us!

  12. Haven’t run them side by side yet, I’ll need to try that.
    The Jetboil is an odd one, it’s the most consistent stove I’ve got, it’s pretty much the same all the time, even in winter. I think it must be because it’s been designed as a single unit where with other stoves we’re all using different pots, windshields and the like which give all the varied results and is a contributing factor to the endless “which stove is best” debate :o)

  13. Maybe the ultimate canister stove for cold weather would be a remote canister version of the Soto OD-1R assuming the regulator would still work on that type of setup. This would have the advantage of allowing the use of a canister cosy and warming device such as a chemical handwarmer. Perhaps if money were no object this remote canister stove could be designed to work specifically with the Clikstand T-2G & Windscreen T-2. In warmer weather, users could then revert back to the simplicity of a compact non-regulated canister top stove (e.g. Optimus Crux) with hopefully a lower chance of mechanical failure.

  14. The Jetboil is a strange one, some people swear by them, mine was awful unless the cannister was at least 1/2 full, as a fast consistant system stove the MSR Reactor is much better IME, like the Soto it has a regulator though.

    Never mind a ti PR, I’d like to see a smaller Reactor, sized for a 100g cartridge with a 500ml pot although in spite of what MSR themselves and some reviews say the Reactor is the same weight as the original PCS give or take a few grams. The 1st I had for review was about 2g lighter than the 2nd which I actually bought having been impressed by the performance.

  15. Mike, you could do a remore canister version, but sticking on a pre-heat would make it complicated as you’d have to regulate the gas after the preheat coil. Lots of engineering = cost. Just how efficient might that be though?

    MacE, my Jetboil life started with the Flash, and from what I hear it was a good idea.
    Talking of a 500ml Reactor, Jetboil have just that sort of thing coming out imminently, they showed me a sample a couple of weeks back and it’s just like a sawn-off Flash.
    It’s a good call, I do fine with my low-capacity mini Evernew set, 500ml is fine for a meal with water left over. I dare say if the Jetboil sells MSR and Primus will be straight in there!

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