Let’s face it, as much as we love the simplicity and efficiency of our canister-mounted stoves and stove systems, if they have an Achilles’ heel, it’s stability—a function of their tall height and using a canister as their base. If you’re a frequent user, you’ve likely run into situations that had you gathering or excavating some rocks or bits of organic matter to even out the canister or simply wished you could just put that large pot of water on a lower, less-tippy stove while making coffee on a casual car camping weekend with family or friends. If any of that sounds familiar to you, the LowDown™ Remote Stove Adapter might just be the upgrade you’ve been looking for.
What Is the LowDown Remote Stove Adapter?
“The ‘remote stove adapter’ concept has actually been around for a while,” says Scott Youmans, product manager for MSR stoves, adding that there have been a few previous commercial (non-MSR) versions, but all have since been discontinued. “We saw a great opportunity to bring the concept back to market because we know people are looking for more versatility from their equipment, and we knew we could dial one in to be the best possible, on par with the quality of MSR stoves.”
The LowDown Remote Stove Adapter is simple by design. At one end of its flexible 12-inch (30.5 cm) fuel line is an adapter valve that screws onto any MSR IsoPro™ fuel canister. At the other end is the new attachment point for your stove, squarely in the center of a strong, low and broad tripod of folding stainless steel legs, giving you the stable base of operations you’ve been missing on your canister stove.
Of course, weight and size were primary considerations in the design and the LowDown folds up small, adding just 6.2 oz (176 g) to your pack.
What Does the LowDown Do?
The LowDown has a few key advantages that make it a great upgrade to your current system: added stability, convenience and efficiency.
First and foremost is stability. The LowDown drops the stove height and the center of gravity, making it significantly more stable. It also takes advantage of a tripod base to give three independent contact points for a far easier time leveling your stove on wonky ground. This boost in stability also lets you use larger pots than you would have previously chosen to perch on a canister-mounted stove like the diminutive PocketRocket™. This gives a great boost to versatility, allowing you to now use the same stove for everything from ultralight backpacks to table-top kitchens at a campground while cooking for family and friends. (Of course, you’re still limited by the strength of the stove’s pot support legs themselves, so consult your owner’s manual to ensure you’re being reasonable with your expectations.)
Another key benefit is the convenience of remote flame adjustment. The adapter valve that connects to the canister has a remote adjustment valve, allowing you full flame control independent of the one on your stove. With speedy stoves like the Reactor® that can quickly boil over if not watched, you can now turn down the flame without the threat of being splashed or trying to get a pot gripper on a gurgling pot of boiling water.
“I love being able to control a stove’s output from a distance,” says Youmans. “When you’ve got a pot at a raging boil, it’s great to be able to turn the stove down or off from a foot away instead of from right underneath the pot. It just makes the camp cooking experience more enjoyable.”
And finally, efficiency gets a boost from a trick you may not even know about, and it’s Youmans’ favorite benefit of the LowDown.
“We advise canister stove users in cold temperatures to place the fuel canister in a shallow bowl of water to maintain consistent boil times by keeping the canister temperature/pressure higher,” he explains. “The LowDown Remote Stove Adapter makes that much easier. Since the canister is remote, you can just set it separately in a bowl of water instead of getting the whole stove/pot system into a water bath.”
This little trick can help you get those last few minutes of precious boil time from a nearly empty canister, boosting flame intensity back to new-canister levels and making disposal/recycling of your fuel canisters easier, with far less wasted fuel remaining inside.
How to Setup the LowDown
The LowDown Remote Stove Adapter sets up in seconds. First, unfold the legs and be sure the flame adjuster is firmly in the Off position (turned to the right) and screw on the fuel canister. Next, make sure your stove’s flame adjuster is securely tightened in the Off position, then simply screw it onto the base. Then, do a safety check by completely opening the remote flame adjuster on top of the canister, listening and smelling for any gas leaks. If you hear or smell any gas, retighten all connections. (If that doesn’t work, do not use your stove. Contact us for further troubleshooting help.) If no leaks are found, light your stove per your stove’s instructions, completely opening the flame adjuster on the stove. Once lit, you can now rely on the convenience of the remote adjustment valve on the canister to dial in the flame.
In case you’re more visually inclined, here’s a video of Scott himself explaining it all:
Safety Tips for the LowDown
While the LowDown Stove Adapter can be a game-changer for certain use modes, we’re still dealing with fire here, so it’s worth noting some scenarios you should avoid while using it.
“We take safety seriously at MSR,” says Youmans. “We tested the different use modes of the LowDown to make sure the product couldn’t create any unreasonable risk. Design features that stemmed from this included the non-swiveling canister adapter valve which aims to prevent the user from inverting the canister (this could result in a flare), a check valve on the stove/adapter connection which ensures that gas doesn’t flow until a stove is attached, and strong legs to support heavy pot loads.”
Youmans also points out that you still should not use a windscreen around your stove, even though the canister would no longer be inside the windscreen. “There are still internal stove parts that we don’t want to risk overheating,” he explains. (Learn more about other windscreen-compatible options.)
Given all these great benefits, the LowDown Remote Stove Adapter is a solid upgrade for any canister stove, from a Reactor Stove System to the venerable PocketRocket. Get one today and start using just one stove in more situations than you ever thought possible.
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Jim Meyers survives between road trips by pushing all the buttons at Vertizon Photography and is a recovering copywriter-turned-freelance writer. He’s climbed, skied, backpacked, cycled and fly fished extensively throughout North America and is selfishly raising two budding adventurers with his wife and Type-2 fun soulmate in Seattle, WA.