The Vault Regulars

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Coleman F1 Lite compact stove.

I bought the Optimus Crux folding stove awhile back for summer backpacking when i wanted a change from using my homemade Meths stove. 
However, it has never functioned as i consider a stove should function. That is that the gas should be able to be regulated all the way through the range from - to + without dying or spluttering.

So i had been on the look out for something else that wouldn’t cost the earth and hopefully perform better than the Crux. I had set a budget at £25.

As it happens i settled for this Coleman F1 Lite. 
Now i had seen this stove many years ago but for some reason i never paid it enough attention. It was quite a surprise that i read it weighed 77gr. so i decided to go and have a look at one.
I think it came onto the market about 2002/3 so it shows that it has stood the test of time.

I walked into Manchester a few weeks ago along the Rochdale Canal and i called into GoOutdoors which is adjacent to the waterway. They had the stove at £25 funnily enough and less if you had the discount card. Unfortunately my card had run out of date.

As it felt a nice light weight stove i thought i would check out some others but keep this one in the back of my mind as No.1 contender. 
I ended up leaving the store without a purchase although i could have spent a fortune in the nice new store.

A few days later i was checking out some stoves on the web when i found the F1 Lite for sale at the cheap price of £13.95 from Amazon via Outdoor Value plus £3.99 shipping.
I ordered one and it duly arrived.

Since i ordered it, a few days later it was and still is available from Amazon via the well known Winwood Outdoors for £11.50 plus £4.00 shipping.


 So, still pleased with the price i paid i checked out what it weighed in reality.
 77gr advertised, 74gr on the scales.
The pouch, which you may or may not want to carry it in, weighed 9gr against the 11gr advertised.

The burner assembly splits into 2 pieces for ease of storage under the gas cylinder. It actually fits better than my folding Crux.
At first attempt at assembly i thought it was a bit fiddly but having used it a few times  the job is not that bad. 
Make sure leg no.2, (they are marked) goes into the slot and the other 2 between the stop lugs and screw the two parts together. Then screw the assembly to the cylinder.

The good thing is that you cannot over tighten it as the regulator body acts as a stop. Very good.
 The F1 Lite assembled
 The F1 Lite split and stowed
 Like all upright gas stoves you have to be careful with the set up tipping over on uneven ground so it’s recommended that the cylinder stand is used.
Also a wind shield will be required in most cases and it was good to see that the Primus wind shield fits ok.

The specifications of this little stove are quite surprising;-

Output 4,600 W.  16,400 BTU
(Now some web sites are showing output as 4,800 W but my instruction sheet shows 4,600.)
Usage rate 330g/h
That’s 50mins on high output and 2 hours on low.  227gr cylinder.

This stove has an alloy body and regulator with a plastic mount under the burner. Initially i wondered if it would cope with the heat. But it seems ok. It says it’s a technologically advanced material called Polyether ether ketone or  PEEK for short which is capable of withstanding up to 320℃ and down to -60℃ and is also shock resistant.
The 3 legs/pot stands are steel as is the burner.

The boil time for ?L is 3 minutes and 5mins 40 secs if it’s windy. 
No web sites, not even Colemans own site tells you what the volume is it will boil in 3 mins etc. Odd that no companies have queried this and amended the specs. Maybe they were going to come back to it but forgot. 
I guess it’s 1L.

The regulator is excellent. Right thought the volume range from minimum to maximum. No problems simmering cooking with this regulator.
I have also used it when my gas cylinder was coming to an end and the supply and regulation hardly changed. 

I have been surprised at the massive variation of prices that i have seen with this stove. Varying from £39.99 at the high end to £11.50 at the bottom.

Overall - Very impressed with this lightweight 3 season stove, especially for the price it is available at.

28 comments:

Alan R said...

Laura comments,
Yes i have one of these. I use it with an Alpkit mug. The stove, cylinder, feet and a lighter fit in very neatly.
For longer trips i use a Jetboil, but for lunchtime brews and emergencies this is ideal.
Mine was a birthday present, but those prices are amazing! Great piece of kit.

(Laura is having problems with blogger so this comment came via email)

Alan R said...

Hi Laura,
As you can see comments are working.
What is the reason why you don't use the Coleman on longer trips. (Jetboil besides). Was there some efficiency reason for not using it, because weight wise and "packability" it seems perfect?

Trekking Britain said...

Had my Coleman F1 Lite for several years now, I often think do I need a new stove, but the answer is always a big fat no as this piece of kit is all that any one ever needs. Its ace and unless its has a major failure which I don't envisage then I will never replace it. Bargain too for the price. I never take the top off of it, I find it fits in pots without doing so and may prolong its life. It always annoys me when it gets reviewed and people say the pot supports bend? What on earth do they do with the thing??! ;-)

Mac E said...

I've never really looked closely at the F1 but it seems to tick all the right boxes, more so if you shop around for the best price. The ability to take it apart for packing if required is useful, some lightweight stoves aren't very compact especially if they have a wide burner.

Alan R said...

Hi Jamie,
It’s good to hear that yours is a few years old and you still like it. Excellent value for money at what Winwood are selling it for.
If you have the space to put the stove without taking of the legs then thats the best option.
Like the majority of light weight gear, you have to realise that it has to be treated right, so putting the stove in a situation where the legs would get bent is a bit daft in my opinion.

Alan R said...

Hi Richard,
Same here. I used meths most times but always had a look at what was new out. I had a look at it years ago at an outdoor show but there were so many others on display that i didn’t grab me.
The low price is fantastic and it gives you the option of splitting or leaving in one piece as Jamie does.
My pot is the Evernew 600 and it suits it fine. Also with the head not being too wide and having a good regulator it suits just using a mug too.

afootinthehills said...

Hi Alan,

I don't take TGO Magazine any more but I had a look at a recent one in the library a few weeeks ago. Chris Townsend reviewed both these stoves and I seem to recall him saying that he got 12 days from the Crux using a 227g (?) cart on the Southern Upland Way in March.

I may be wrong because I read it quickly, but unless my memory is going (!) it seems a very efficent stove.

Alan R said...

Hi Gibson,
I have not seen the stoves review, however i don't doubt whatever Chris writes.
I do doubt my ability to backpack 12 days on one 227g cylinder. I find that amazing.

My Crux only works full on. If i don't have it full on it dies to nothing and sometimes goes out. That's why i looked for a cheap alternative. The F1 leaves my Crux standing.

afootinthehills said...

Hi Alan,

I agree about the 12 days - it's what caught my attention. I'll double check next time I'm in the library.

Alan R said...

Hi Gibson,
I have the August TGO here with the tests in. I hadn't got round to reading it and so i had missed Chris's report. (Its the 1st TGO i have bought for years, nicely put together for a change).
The F1 is there but not the Crux. All the test were carried out with the GoSystems SG50 cylinder.
I havn't found any comment about 12 days on 1 cylinder so i have either missed it on my quick scan or it's in another section. I will try and find it.

afootinthehills said...

Sorry Alan, I think it was in the previous issue - maybe even the June issue - when Chris reported on the gear he used on the SUW. It was on this trip he used the Crux. Apologies for the confusion.

TGO Magazine does look better but I doubt I'll go back to a subscription, especially since the publisher contacted *me*, and left a message asking if *I* could phone *them* to discuss renewing my subscription.

Firts time I've ever been asked to stand the cost of a phone call to give someone business!

Love the header photo by the way.

Alan R said...

Hi Gibson,
The header was due a change. Thanks. I think you are the first to notice.
That's ridiculous from TGO, as if anybody would ring back. Don't worry about the stove.

Gayle said...

We've had our Coleman F1 Lite since 2006, so it must have had over 200 days' of use now. Following my recent trial of a lighter weight titanium stove, my conclusion was that if I found myself needing to replace the F1 Lite just now, I would likely buy the same model again. In the ideal world I'd like it to be even lighter, but in the real world it has proved to be robust, reliable and sufficiently efficient.

Personally I didn't use the Primus windshield with it for long. I found that the gap between the windshield and the pan was just enough to allow the wind to affect the flame. Then I discovered that a foil windshield was half the weight of the Primus anyway!

(Incidentally: We once managed to get 10 days of use, for 2 of us (boiling 7 cups of water a day), out of a 250 cartridge using the F1. Never managed to repeat that feat since. Must have been optimal conditions for the whole trip)

-maria- said...

The price & weight seem very nice! And Winwood Outdoors would ship it to me for ~£6.00 - not bad. The stove seems to be reliable, based on Jamie's and Gayle's comments above.

Yes, this might be top mounted stove if I ever want to try out one. Thanks!

Alan R said...

Hi Gayle,
Well if i need to know anything about the F1 then i know where to turn. I know what you mean about the windshield and i have since gone to a foil one myself.
When i wrote the bit on the post about the Primus one it was actually a few days prior to me releasing it on the blog itself. I tried in when it was a calm day in the garden and it was only when i used it in the field that i realised the vulnerability of the gap.
I will amend my post next week.

Alan R said...

Maria,
I think it’s a good bet. Go for it unless you can find a cheaper outlet at home. For the months where you don’t need a pre-heat tube i would say i cannot be beaten at this price.
Winwood have not got many left now so don’t leave it too long.

-maria- said...

One stove is now on its way to Finland... For this price (~ 20 € including the shipping) there is nothing in this weight category available locally. Thanks again, Alan!

Alan R said...

Hi Maria,
Thats good news. Hope you enjoy it.

bryan said...

I came by this thread after searching to see if the primus winshield would fit.. and glad to see it does :) thanks.

I have had the F1 for many years, it's a great little stove and I'm alway surprised just how quick I can boil some water for a cuppa. I never take the top right off and undo it just enough to move the supports round. I'd be bothered about losing a support if I took them off. Like someone has said above I can't imageing how you can bend a support, never have done myself.

Alan R said...

Hi Bryan,
Glad to have been helpful. The Primus sheild does fit although it is a little short. A foil wrap round is both lighter and shields better.
I don’t know if yours is the same as the one i have but the supports don’t come off mine they are all attached to the burner so there is no chance of loosing one.

GeoffC said...

I too have had the F1 for years and it's still working fine, very pleased with it. I think it would need strength and pliers to bend the supports, it's very robust (except maybe the wire-frame gas control that needs a more gentle touch).
I can't understand why boil time is quoted at all, it varies enormously depending on several factors like the temperature and how full the canister is.

Alan R said...

Hi Geoffc,
I agree with all your comments. Thanks.

Bob Spiers said...

Alan, a couple of months ago I bought an F1 Lite on the strength of your review and another that I found on http://www.campingcookers.org.uk.

I've got to say that it's a fantastic little stove and, with the addition of a foil windshield, has been out with me every time I've hit the hills since I've bought it.

Incidentally, where was the header photograph taken, it looks strangely familiar but I just can't place it!?

Alan R said...

Hi Bob,
That’s good news. Thanks for letting me know.

The header photo is taken from Lingcove Bridge looking towards Scafell Pike and Ill Crag.

paul finch said...

I know i am a little late on this thread but....
I use this stove year after year on my UK hiking and walking.
The stove has never let me down, i use a 58 pattern mug, i boil water for a brew or boil in a bag meal and is always on form.

Alan Rayner said...

Hi Paul. Its never too late because all comments are very welcome. Its still one of my favourite's, especially now I have a myog windshield for it.

Eddie said...

Quick question Alan, The base of the F1 has some machined round slots in it. Can you clip the Primus shield to that directly, that should move the shield up about a cm or so. If you can, do the supports line up nicely with the top of the Primus shield?

I was trying to find a stove with a machined groove on the base for that very purpose because I used a butane adapter that does not have a neck to clip a Primus or Optimus shield onto but I really like using them.

AlanR said...

Hi Eddie, sorry for the delay to answer your question. I only check back questions once per week. Anyway the answer to both questions is NO. The grooves won't hold the shield or the body of the stove.

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