Gear Review: SOTO Amicus and WindMaster Backpacking Stoves

Gear ReviewsMaria Weidich
SOTO Ultralight Backpacking Stove Review Amicus Windmaster

The SOTO Amicus ultralight backpacking stove boils 1L of water in under 5 minutes. 

SOTO Outdoors entered the world market in 2010 and, pun totally intended, the ultralight stove brand is on fire. The Japanese stoves have racked up multiple industry awards, with accolades ranging from Backpacker Magazine's Editor's Choice award to The Gear Institute naming it Best in Class.

The SOTO Amicus is the brand’s first entry-level backpacking stove and, as the name implies, really is a ‘friend of the court’. Reliable, lightweight and budget friendly, it was awarded Outdoor Gear Lab’s “2022 Best Buy” award. 

The SOTO WindMaster, which received Outdoor Gear Lab’s “2022 Editor’s Choice” designation, features burner units that are slightly recessed below a protective lip, offering a shield from the wind. In addition, the cookpot sits closer to the flame than its Amicus rival, making it even more efficient in blustery conditions.


SPECS

SOTO Ultralight Backpacking Stove Review Amicus Windmaster
The SOTO WindMaster is pictured left and the ultralight Amicus is shown to the right.

 

SOTO Amicus

SOTO WindMaster

Output

2800 kcal/h 3260 watt 10210 BTU

2800 kcal/h 3260w 11000 BTU

Duration

1.5 hours with 8oz canister

1.5 hours with 8oz (250g) canister

Dimensions (in use)

3.0” x 4.0” x 3.4”

4.7” x 3.9” x 3.6”

Dimensions (folded)

1.7” x 1.6” x 3.0”

1.9” x 3.0” x 1.7”

Weight w/o Storage Pouch

2.9oz (81g)

3.3oz (94g)

Cookware

Fits cookware up to 5.5 inches in diameter

Fits cookware 6 inches or more

Fuel

Standard Isobutane Canisters

Standard Isobutane Canisters

Boil Time (1L)*

4:24 minutes

4:50 minutes


* Warning: Never use a windscreen with canister stoves. Doing so can cause the canister to overheat or possibly explode. 

 

Pros of SOTO Amicus and WindMaster Backpacking Stoves

Lightweight and Compact

They’re so simple! The Amicus and WindMaster are equally minimalistic, extremely lightweight and pack down to a remarkably small size.

SOTO Ultralight Backpacking Stove Review Amicus Windmaster

 The SOTO Amicus backpacking stove folds down to a small, compact size.


Fuel Compatibility

It’s easy to love a stove that works with all standard isobutane canisters.

Wind Resistant

SOTO Outdoors engineered both stoves to have a raised ledge at the crown of the burner heads to stave off the wind.  It’s no surprise the WindMaster has a larger burner and a more prominent windshield ideal for more extreme weather conditions. Neither stove had any problems with the 5 mph Chinook wind gusts encountered during product testing.

SOTO Ultralight Backpacking Stove Review Amicus Windmaster

The SOTO WindMaster lightweight stove heating up dinner for the entire family after a fun day on trail!

Piezo Igniters

The Amicus and WindMaster stoves utilize identical Piezo igniters and were extremely easy to fire up with the push of a button. No priming, lighters or matches needed. Piezo igniters have been known to lose their reliability at higher elevations, but the ease and convenience of the igniter at 3,100’ elevation got a solid thumbs up from me.

Long Control Wire

The Amicus and WindMaster are both equipped with long control wires making it easy to reach and adjust the flame without burning your fingers. Another bonus of the control wire is … control! Without the regulator, a stove doesn’t do much more than boil water.  SOTO’s regulators allow for simmering abilities so you can add some versatility to your backcountry meals.

SOTO Ultralight Backpacking Stove Review Amicus Windmaster

Both the SOTO Amicus and Windmaster backpacking stoves are significant upgrades from the MSR WhisperLite days of yore.


Cons of the Stoves

Pot Supports

When compared to the WindMaster, the Amicus’ spring-loaded pot supports look short, tiny and appear less stable. They performed adequately on my 2-liter cookpot, but my confidence in the pot’s stability was lacking. A 1-liter cookpot would have seemed more fitting with this setup.

The WindMaster’s much longer and more robust stabilizers definitely enhanced my trust in the stove system. However, as much as I loved the integrity of the WindMaster’s 4Plex pot supports, I didn’t love that they are a separate piece, requiring installation and removal each and every time. They are easy enough to assemble; it’s just one more piece of gear to have to manage. It’d be a sad day in the backcountry if they were lost or damaged, rendering the WindMaster useless. 


Fuel Canisters

These ultralight stoves necessitate purchasing one-time-use fuel canisters. While extremely convenient, and fairly ubiquitous, there are some downsides too: it can be hard to know exactly how much fuel is left in a canister; it's another thing that needs to be bought and carried; and recycling them isn't always the easiest, meaning more often than not, empty canisters end up in a landfill.

 

Good to Know

  • If the Piezo ignitors are being weird, you can always just use a lighter (or mash the igntor button a bunch until it works ; )

  • SOTO certainly isn't the only brand making canister backpacking stoves. Other popular options include: the MSR Pocket Rocket (also available at GGG!) and the BRS-3000T.

 

VERDICT

SOTO Ultralight Backpacking Stove Review Amicus Windmaster

The SOTO Amicus is a reliable, lightweight, budget friendly backpacking stove.


SOTO Outdoors offers impressively lightweight and high-quality backpacking stoves for an affordable price. The Amicus and WindMaster were equally simple to unbox and fire up. They aren’t the fastest available stoves, but being able to boil water in under five windy minutes is still pretty darn slick.

If you see yourself adventuring in cold, wet and windy conditions, the SOTO WindMaster would be worth the extra cost and the additional 0.4 ounces in weight. However, if you’re just looking for a reliable, unfussy and lightweight backpacking stove to get the job done, the SOTO Amicus is your friend.

 

 

SOTO Ultralight Backpacking Stove Review Amicus Windmaster
SOTO Backpacking Stoves

 

 

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2 comments

Phil C

Phil C

I’ve never had a problem with the piezo lighter on my 5 year old Windmaster at altitudes up to 11,00’. Must be luck.

Dan L

Dan L

I really like my Windmaster, but I can confirm that the piezo electric lighter is unreliable at 9,000 feet or higher. Carry a Bic lighter!

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