Ever since I got one years ago, I’ve been a Jetboil guy; and for the most part, I still am. But every once in a while I still find myself wanting something considerably smaller and lighter, for when I want to pack light, but still want to bring the heat. Well, there doesn’t seem to be any better fit to that desire than the new Monatauk Gnat. At 1.6 ounces (48 grams), Monatauk is touting this stove as the “World’s Lightest Canister Stove”, and based on my research, they’re right.
The Gnat is primarily built out of titanium with an aluminum valve housing. But unlike lots of other titanium gear, the Gnat is very well priced, within dollars of the most popular canister stoves on the market. But despite it’s small size and price tag, the Gnat is just like a pouch of Capri Sun – it’s packs some seriously good punch. Cranking out 11,000 BTUs, Monatauk claims that it can boil a liter of water in 3.5 minutes. That’s a pretty impressive claim, but not nearly as impressive as the fact that with a new canister, 70 degrees temp and a covered three-quart pot, I was able to bring one liter of water to a boil in two minutes and 46 seconds. Plus, I was able to boil my usual two cups in less than two minutes, which makes it’s every bit as fast as my Jetboil at getting me some Moroccan Mint Green Tea in the morning. Two tips: 1) Don’t forget to pack your own windscreen because the burner is very susceptible to breezes, and 2) Screw the canister on tight. (I noticed a big difference in output between a lightly screwed on and a cranked on canister.)
One of the things I like most about this stove, aside from it’s tiny size, light weight, and fast boil, is its ability to simmer. It has a smooth, even control all the way down to a very low simmer, which is very handy for those off use who like to not burn our sausage in the morning. The Gnat comes with a very tight-fitting, hard plastic case for durable storage without adding much bulk, but I just kept mine loose inside my titanium cookset, and has no problems. I wouldn’t suggest doing that with a nonstick cookset, though, as it could bounce around and damage the coating.
Despite it’s small profile, the Gnat was very stable with 3 qt. and 4 qt. pots, and had a surprisingly broad flame spread. The only small thing I have to complain about is that the flame control valve is a little short, and pretty close to the full power flame, which results in burnt fingers if you’re not paying attention.
Bottom line: For someone looking for the ultimate in lightweight, compact stovery, without sacrificing output and boil-time, the Monatauk Gnat is a very strong contender. I have to admit, my Jetboil has been seeing a lot less use lately.