Raegan and the kids got me a new backpacking stove and pot for my birthday, an Optimus unit that is lighter than the Primus stove I have been carrying the past couple years. This one came from Cabela’s, and was on sale for $60.
The pot has fins for heat distribution like a JetBoil, and the stove fits the usual isopro fuel canisters. This weekend, I am going to do a fuel consumption test, but in the first checkout at home, the rig boiled 3.5 cups of water in 2 minutes 40 seconds, darned impressive. I used it several times on the trail last week, and had similar performance numbers.
The 3.5 cups figure is important in that a typical backpacking meal takes around 2 cups of boiled water. So that means one boil cycle gets you and your hiking partner dinner, and a nice cup of soup or tea, and then some. If the meal is one of those that require 1.5 cups, then both of you get a cup of soup.
The burner folds sideways, and then the legs that hold the pot fold in half, and the burner gets very small. Very cool.
The fuel canister fits inside the pot. The folded up burner fits on top of it, then the pan/cup makes a lid. One thing the rig needs is a rubber band to get it to all stay together in your pack (carry a couple, I found one on the trail, but it broke, probably due to the fins on the bottom of the pot). A small strip of paperboard would probably solve that problem.
The stove and pot all weigh less than half of my Primus and pot combination. Part of that is the very small size of the stove, and part due to the fact that the capacity is smaller (5 cups vs. 3.5) and the metal they are made of. I like that the Optimus, fuel, and stove are one unit; my Primus was too big to fit into the pot with the fuel canister in there.
So far, I like this stove a lot. Better performance and lighter, what’s not to like? I might look at replacing the lid with a flat one to reduce the volume a bit more, but so far, I like it!
24 July 2016 Update:
I did a test of fuel use for this stove over the weekend. The test conditions: fill the pot (800ml) with tap water (about 60F) and heat to boiling. I did five runs, and each took between 2.5-3 minutes to boil the water.
The total fuel used was 43 grams, which works out to 8.6 grams per pot, impressive. But it is not apples-to-apples with the Primus, where I boiled 5 cups with 10 grams. Doing some stoichiometry (thanks, Mrs. Guthrie!) resulted in the Primus probably using around 6.7 grams of fuel for 800 ml, which was a little surprising.
I thought about it yesterday, and my theory has to do with time to boil. I seem to remember the Primus boiling the water in around 5-6 minutes. So I wonder if the extra fuel use is due to the higher BTUs produced by the Optimus and my running it at max, and some of the heat being wasted, while the water still boiled in half the time. If I get a chance I will break a Primus out and time it with 800ml in it.
Still, the Optimus is a lot lighter and a lot faster. Given what I know about how much water I need on the trail, I think I will be able to stretch out one of the big canisters for a couple weeks, or even better, go with smaller canisters for a trip of up to a week. My thinking here is a pot of water in the morning (a couple cups of tea and oatmeal), and another in the evening. If I derate for colder water, that’s about 25 gms of fuel per day, or 12 days of use from a large canister.
Not bad at all.