Snow Peak LiteMax Stove Review

  • Ultralight Backpacker

Snow Peak LiteMax Stove Overview

I remember a simpler time, less than 10 years ago, when there were a handful of backpacking stoves on the market and your only decisions were white gas/canister/alcohol and which brand name spoke to you. Nowadays, when you browse the stove section of any major retailer, there are over 40 options!

Snow Peak has always had a reputation for high quality products, and stoves are their wheelhouse. The Snow Peak LiteMax is the lightest and smallest canister stove they offer. Made of ultralight titanium, the LiteMax is simple to operate, has a truly adjustable flame, and gets the job done.

Due to these features and its sub-two-ounce weight, the Snow Peak LiteMax wins our Premium Pick award for the Ultralight Backpacker.

For more on the ins and outs of stoves and how to grab the right one for your adventures, check out our guide to choosing the best backpacking stove for you. Read the full Snow Peak LiteMax review below.

LiteMax Titanium Stove Specifications

Feature Type Feature Specs What This Means
Weight 1.9 oz. (54 g) Under two ounces is almost as light as you can get, especially for a long lasting stove with high output. More on backpacking stove weights in our Guide.
Stove Type Small Canister Stove The LiteMax screws into a canister of isobutane. It is small and easy to use. More on backpacking stove types in our Guide.
Fuel Type(s) Isobutane Isobutane fuel is the most common these days for backpacking. You can find them in most outdoor stores, and can buy three different sizes of fuel. More on backpacking stove fuel types in our Guide.
Output 11,200 BTU/hr High output for such a tiny stove. The standard output for small canister stoves is 10,000 BUT/hr. This means it could have a more powerful flame or better simmer control, but in our experience that isn’t true, it’s just average on both counts. More on backpacking stove output and BTUs in our Guide.
Simmer Ability Average The LiteMax can simmer, but it’s not a pro. Make sure to stir your food. More on backpacking stove simmer ability in our Guide.
Boil Time 4 min. 25 sec. per 1 Liter (claimed) Snow Peak claims this boil time, which is just average for small canister stoves. In our tests we could never boil water this quickly, and it was usually around six minutes to boil a liter of water. More on backpacking stove boil time in our Guide.
Piezo Ignition? No If weight is your primary concern, a piezo isn’t necessary. The LiteMax knows that. More on how Piezo ignition works (and what it is) in our Guide.
Included Items Stove, Cloth Carrying Case The black cloth carrying case is nice, and protects the stove from items in your pack or your pots.
Dimensions

Opened Size: 2.6 x 3 in.

Packed Size: 2.6 x 3 in.

This stove is tiny. It folds into itself, but doesn’t have origami-design, so the burner head area still takes up some room.
Manufacturer Warranty Lifetime Warranty Snow Peak makes durable products, and offers a lifetime warranty for all of them. If you have an issue with the stove, get in touch.
Retail Price $59.95 Most ultralight backpackers don’t want to spend more than this amount on a stove. If they do, they expect ultralight materials like titanium and a product that will last a lifetime. The LiteMax delivers.
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Gear Review of the Snow Peak LiteMax Stove

Revelation: The Moment I Knew

I was fortunate enough to spend the better parts of August and September 2017 working as a volunteer intern with the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation in Montana. The BMWF offers stewardship and advocacy to one of the most famous and stunning wilderness areas in the United States by leading volunteers into the wilderness to do important trail maintenance and invasive species work. I backpacked and rafted into remote locations and worked in the dirt: a dream come true.

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Wilderness exploration in Montana.

In between volunteer obligations (is that an oxymoron?), I was fortunate enough to explore the backcountry of Glacier National Park: another dream come true. The LiteMax performed well on every one of my excursions, offering solid boil times and easy setup and use. But it wasn’t until a two-day float trip on the South Fork of the Flathead River that the LiteMax stepped up and quite literally saved the trip.

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River float!

One of my duties as intern was to prep the kitchen gear for the float. I ran through the checklist and felt confident I had everything necessary for making crowd-pleasing meals. I did not realize, however, that some of the stoves kept by BMWF were broken. I think you can intuit how the story goes.

When it came to our first meal on the river, the volunteers were horrified as the beat up dual burner Coleman stove refused to light, and the prospect of a cold dinner settled into their reality. Full propane tank, no gas flow. “Remain calm”, I told myself.

The crew leader, a seasoned outdoor cook, had suggested I bring a small backpacking stove as a backup. Did someone say, “Snow Peak LiteMax?”

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The LiteMax and the included carrying case. Elegant and simple.

Cooking fixings for backcountry burritos on a tiny backcountry stove felt daunting (if not dangerous with a five pound steel skillet), but the crew leader sprang into action, creating a pot stand out of river rocks. The refried beans and ground beef were a little scorched in the end, but a hot burrito in the wilderness was choice. The morning coffee was perfect and the breakfast sandwiches were divine.

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You can’t see it, but the Snow Peak LiteMax is boiling water on a 16 cup percolator for coffee. The rocks are a wind screen plus pot support for larger cooking pans. What can’t it do?

While the LiteMax was never billed to cook serious food for a group of six, it saved the day, and managed to cook for the entire trip and beyond. This was the moment I knew the Snow Peak LiteMax was more than fast and light, but built to last.

Digging Deeper

Stability

I experienced some stability concern during initial use of the LiteMax as the pot supports were wiggly, even with a 0.5L titanium pot. Upon further inspection, the screw holding the supports needed tightening. This completely remedied the issue, and it was stable as a tiny stove can be.

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The pot supports get reasonably close to the burner head, which mean the pot will be supported close to the center. They aren’t extremely long, but long enough to hold most backpacking pots or pans.

The LiteMax could handle an eight-cup percolator without so much as a tilt, which blew me away. If you’ve ever been on a working backcountry trip, you know having coffee for volunteers is a life and death situation.

Simmer

If you’ve ever used an old canister stove, you know they are notorious for on/off functionality with little or no ability to simmer. That’s changing as stove technology improves, but the LiteMax has always been able to handle it.

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On the right is the LiteMax on high. On the left it’s simmering. You can adjust fairly easily with the knob.

I was pleasantly surprised when the LiteMax simmered my oatmeal with no scorching. The output knob turns smoothly, making fine flame adjustment easy. Aside from boiling water for pouch meals, oatmeal and dry soups are about the only things I cook when on the trail. Put to the unexpected test, the LiteMax wasn’t a champion simmer-er, but did more than I ever thought it could.

Ease of Setup

Setting up the LiteMax is quick and easy. Fold out the flame adjustment knob, screw on the canister, deploy the pot supports, light, and go. Simple.

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All you need is a lighter and you’re good to go.

Boil Time

Snow Peak lists the LiteMax’s boil time as 4 minutes 25 seconds for one liter of water. During field testing, I was able to boil two cups of water (half a liter) in roughly that amount of time. I was typically at altitude (above 5,000 feet) in cool weather (40-60 degrees).

It took 6 minutes 30 seconds to boil a full liter of water at 70 degrees ambient temperature with a light wind on my deck back at home. Boil time will always vary some, but I never achieved the quickest time they claimed.

Grievances

I have two grievances with the LiteMax and they both have to do with the pot supports.

First, the pot supports don’t inspire confidence. I think it’s all psychological because I didn’t have any actual issues with toppling, but the rivets that hold the folding supports are very loose. As a result, the supports flop around when you’re handling the stove and don’t always stay put. Once the stove is set up and going, there are no issues.

The other issue is that while the rest of the stove is slim and compact, the pot supports, even when folded up, stick out disproportionately from the burner head. This made storing the LiteMax in my tiny pot/cup combo a bit tricky when compared to my personal canister stove, which is origami-like in its ability to compress.

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The LiteMax body is very small, and fits easily in the palm of your hand. If the pot supports folded inward, rather than to the side, it would fit in almost any pot.

The folded LiteMax fits in my palm, so it is very small. But, it could be taken a step further so its size matches its minuscule weight.

Final Word

Truly light and cool to the max. What more could you ask for in a stove? Well, quick boil times and ease of use would be nice. Lucky for me (and you), the SnowPeak LiteMax delivers it all. It’s welcome on any trip of mine.

Where to Buy Snow Peak LiteMax Stove

Snow Peak only makes one version of the LiteMax Titanium Stove, which we tested. Compare prices below.

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Sebastian Cancino

Sebastian is a contributing reviewer for Backpackers.com. When he’s not hiking, backpacking, and snowshoeing in the southern California mountains, he's running his online vintage outdoor apparel and gear shop, Vintage Outdoor. Sebastian works for Patagonia, but don’t worry: he’s here to provide objective views on the industry’s best gear from all brands. Check out his Instagram to see where his adventures are taking him.

Review Policy: We do not accept payments or gifts from brands and vendors, and strive to provide unbiased, independent advice. Brands typically provide review samples which we return, and in some cases we purchase the item so we can keep using it long after the review. Affiliate Policy: We support the hours that go into our reviews and testing through affiliate commissions on purchases made through links in this article. These don't effect the outcome of our reviews or selection of gear, as per our Review Policy.