2011 Editors' Choice Snow Award: Soto Muka Stove

A stove that combines the versatility, power, and cold-weather performance of liquid fuel with the ease of no-priming-required canisters.
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A stove that combines the versatility, power, and cold-weather performance of liquid fuel with the ease of no-priming-required canisters.

We love the all-weather performance of liquid fuel (LF) stoves, but we don’t like the mess, risk, and hassle of priming them. Enter the game-changing Muka. “It’s the easiest LF stove I’ve ever used,” said one tester after manning the Muka for a series of dinners in Iceland. The secret? Instead of the typical needle valve system, in which a tiny rod moves in and out of the fuel passage to control the flow, the Muka employs a small brass drum with two grooves. With the turn of a dial, this system delivers a precise mixture of liquid and air (in the form of atomized gas, much like a perfume bottle) to the burner head, eliminating the need to preheat—or prime—the stove.

We tested the Muka over a period of seven months, in blustery, subfreezing conditions and at altitudes up to 11,600 feet. It consistently delivered sub-five-minute boil times (for a liter of backcountry water of varying temps) and enough flame control to sauté garlic cloves in oil. The Muka demands serious pumping to keep a consistent flame, but a unique pressure indicator—a red button pops up when the stove is pressurized—eliminates guesswork.

Props goes to the feature on the control dial that lets you clear the fuel line; we had no dribbling gas when detaching the stove from the pump. And because there’s no priming, there’s no sooty buildup common to other LF stoves; it needed no cleaning or maintenance during our testing. Downsides: Groundbreaking technology ain’t cheap, plus a special Soto fuel bottle (not included, $19-$21) is required; and it’s loud.

$148

11.5 oz. (not including bottle)

sotooutdoors.com