The Fire-Maple Turbo FMS-F5 is a white gas (petrol) stove designed to burn multiple types of petroleum based fuels including white gas, gasoline, kerosene, naphtha, etc. In this post I want to give you a quick overview of the stove and show you some of the features. I haven’t used the stove for a prolonged period of time, so I can’t give you an in dept review, but I haven’t seen much information on the stove on the internet, so i figured this may be of some use to people who may be interested.
Fire-Maple is a Chinese company. Your initial reaction is probably one of doubt about the stove’s quality, and rightfully so. We are accustomed to seeing Chinese outdoor products of very low quality. Fire-Maple however has already distinguished itself as a manufacturer of quality stoves, best known for its ultralight canister mounted stoves, such as the FMS-300t, which I believe holds the current record for the lightest canister mounted gas stove at 1.6oz (45g). The Turbo FMS-F5 is not easy to find in the US. It is certainly not being distributed by major stores like REI. I was able to get one here, but you can find it on other places online including the Fire-Maple Amazon store here.
In recent times white gas or petrol stoves have gone out of popularity. There was a time when they were synonymous with “camping stoves”, but their heavy weight and relative difficulty of operation has made them less popular as time has passed. As you know I currently use a remote feed canister stove, the Kovea Spider, with which I have been very happy. White gas stoves however continue to be dominant is several specific applications. If you have to cook for large numbers of people, or need reliable cold weather performance for extended use, then white gas stoves are still the leading choice. I think the Fire-Maple Turbo FMS-F5 can be a solid contender in this category.
The Turbo FMS-F5 utilizes a simple roarer jet, which is a proven design, and is successfully used on expedition style white gas stoves like the MSR Dragonfly and XGK. The Turbo FMS-F5 is distinguished from the Dragonfly however in that it doesn’t utilize a secondary control valve near the burner and utilizes a vaporization tube like the XGK. In that respect it is more similar to shaker jet stoves like the MSR Whisperlite International, to which I will do a more close comparison later in the post.
The stove has been stripped down just to the essentials. I spent some time looking at the burner to see if I can remove or grind down any elements, but I couldn’t find much. The design feels very solid and stable. The fold in a clever way which makes the stove very compact when folded, but can be opened and set in place with ease.
I was much less impressed with the stove pump. Generally, it is very similar to the MSR pumps. It is largely made of plastic, and operates similarly. So far so good, except that the connection between the pump and the hose is a plastic nut and thread. The connector on the hose is metal, but the slot into which it is inserted on the mump is also plastic. I am used to the MSR pumps which have more metal components in this area, so the plastic connection felt a bit flimsy to me. It performed well, but I wouldn’t play around too much with it in –20F (-29C). It would be to easy to cross-thread the connector when the plastic is brittle from the cold. That being said, during cold weather use you usually don’t disconnect the components, so that should mitigate any risk.
The pump has an offset fuel intake (the curved tube you see in the above picture. That allows you to turn off the stove just by turning the fuel bottle upside around. When the intake tube is pointing up like in the picture, fuel will not get to the stove. It is a good feature to have in case on an emergency.
I tested the stove with white gas (Coleman Fuel) and it performed without any issues. Something interesting that I noticed, which you may consider a good or a bad thing is that after you turn off the stove, it takes about two minutes for all of the fuel to drain out of the line and for the stove to go completely out. During that time you are left with a small, candle0like flame inside the burner cup. I found that useful because it lets you restart the stove without having to light it again, just by opening up the fuel valve.
You should keep in mind that this is a roarer jet stove, so it will be noticeably louder than stoves like the Whisperlite. Some fid the noise annoying, but when you really need a white gas stove, it can be very reassuring.
Here you can see the stove with a 2L Open Country pot. I think the legs are a bit wider than necessary, but considering that the stove may need to be used with a larger pot for melting snow, it is not a bad way to go.
Now, let’s look at some of the details and numbers related to the stove.
I paid $71 for the stove, which included shipping. It is noticeably cheaper than similar stoves like the MSR Whisperlite International, which run about $100. For that money I received the stove with pump, a 11oz (0.33L) fuel bottle, a stuff sack, printed instructions in both Chinese and English, a disc which I have not tried to view yet, and a repair kit which includes some tools, replacement spring and gaskets for the pump, and three additional jets.
The weight of the relevant components is as follows:
- Stove: 6.8oz (193g)
- Pump: 1.7oz (48g)
- Bottle (11oz/0.33L): 3.2oz (91g)
For white gas stoves, the weight of the stove usually includes the pump, so for comparison purposes, the weight of the stove would be 8.5oz (241g). So, a functional set up for the stove using the 11oz (0.33L) fuel bottle will give you a weight of about 11.7oz (332g).
Now, let me give you a comparison to the MSR Whisperlite International. Keep in mind that the one I have is very old (over 10 years), although it hasn’t changed much since then. First, the weights:
|Fire-Maple FMS-F5||MSR Whisperlite International|
|Bottle (11oz/0.33L)|| |
So, if we are talking about stove weight, meaning the combined burner and pump, the Fire-Maple Turbo FMS-F5 weighs 8.5oz (241g), while the MSR Whisperlite International weighs 12.0oz (340g). Those are considerable savings of 3.5oz (99g). In fact, the Fire-Maple is the same weight as the now discontinued MSR Simmerlite, which I never really liked. As you can see above, the weight saving are achieved both in the burner as well as the pump. The fuel bottle for the Fire-Maple is slightly heavier than the MSR equivalent even though they are the same volume.
Speaking of fuel bottles, it should be noted that the MSR, Primus, etc stoves do not come with a fuel bottle. The Fire-Maple does. You may however be wondering where you are going to find different sizes of bottles for the stove. Well, you can get them online, but also, it turns out the MSR and Fire-Maple fuel bottles are interchangeable. You can just get the desired size MSR fuel bottle and used it with the Fire-Maple stove. In the above chart, if you use the MSR bottle with the Fire-Maple stove, you can shave off another 0.2oz.
Here you can see the two stoves next to each other.
Here are the two pumps as well.
So, in terms of comparing the two stoves, the Fire-Maple Turbo FMS-F5 is significantly lighter and cheaper than the MSR Whisperlite International. It is also more compact, and I like the legs much better. The flat surface on the bottom of the legs on the Fire-Maple stove however can be an issue when used outdoors because you are always on uneven terrain. That of course is an extremely minor issue. A more noticeable distinction between the two stoves is that the Fire-Maple uses a roarer jet while the MSR Whisperlite International uses a shaker jet. That makes the MSR stove much easier to clean, which can be done just by shaking the stove (there is a needle inside the jet which moves up and down cleaning it. With the Fire-Maple you have to remove the cap from the burner and then use a needle or wire to clean the jet if it gets clogged. That however is a fairly simple operation, and considering that the MSR expedition stoves like the Dragonfly and XGK use similar roarer jet set ups, it’s not something I would lose sleep over. My main concern with the Fire-Maple stove continues to be the connection between the fuel hose and the pump. Time will tell if it holds up.
Overall, my first impressions of the Fire-Maple Turbo FMS-F5 white gas stove are very positive. It is a well thought out design and is simple to use (for a white gas stove). At 8.5oz (241g), it may also be the lightest white gas stove currently on the market. In fact, it is so light that it is starting to breach the gap between white gas stoves and remote canister stoves. One of the lightest remote canister stoves, the MSR Windpro II weighs 6.6oz (187g). That is only 1.9oz (54g) less than the Fire-Maple FMS-F5.
If you have been looking for different options for a white gas/petrol stove, or have been wondering about the FMS-F5, hopefully this overview has been of some help.