Okay, I get it; the title is a little long. Also it probably reminds you of your friend trying to make you their wingman/woman/person in college. You remember those days – “you guys will really hit it off, I just know it”. Then you ask what exactly makes them think that and they respond with some generic answer, which when pressed is then qualified a couple of dozen times. Finally they just admit they need to you to take out the roommate of the person they are interested in. Well the best backpacking stove kind of depends on what you are going to be doing, but unlike the roommate you had to go out with for your friend you really will hit it off with the best stove.
The Optimus Crux Backpacking Stove
Best Backpacking Stove Optimus Crux
This little stove is a gear nerd’s dream come true. Think transformers meets camping. I am not ashamed to admit that I have named mine. Also, Optimus, since I am sure your marketing gurus are reading this I am going to give you a little advice. I have laid the groundwork and my buddy Michael Bay is willing to direct your next commercial ala Transformers 3, Bright Side of the Stove.
The Optimus Crux backpacking stove folds down so small that it fits in the concave space under a butane canister. Also, unlike your friend’s date’s roommate, it is Swedish and wears a bikini, or Speedo, depending on how you want to look at it (see picture – may not be work friendly). This stove certainly has short coming but it is the best three season backpacking stove for small groups.
For its size it has a giant burner, which makes using a bigger pot easier. A two liter pot will work on this stove no problem. It also has excellent flame control. You can get a simmer going no problem on this little guy. It boils water quickly but its excellent simmerability (I am copyrighting this technical and descriptive stove jargon) allows for more expansive culinary exploration. Here are the specs from Optimus:
Average boil time for 1 L of water ~ 3 min/1 l water, depending on climate, altitude etc.
Average burn time up to 60 min at maximum output (220 g canister)
Dimensions (cm) 8,4 x 5,7 x 3,1
Dimensions (in) 3.3 x 2.2 x 1.2
Fuel type Butane/propane gas canister (not included)
Kit includes Burner with valve and stuff bag (aka bikini)
Output (BTU) 10200
Output (W) 3000
Weight (grams) 83
Weight (oz) 2.92
Like anything it is not all perfect. Because of the folding design it is a little rickety when a two liter pot of water is sitting on it. I have never had a problem but I wouldn’t let the kids play around it either. It is not meant for use in cold weather or at extreme altitudes. Although I have cooked Raman noodles just fine at 8,500 ft elevation and well below zero degrees, it just took a while. It is not a great option if you are trying to cook for a larger group of people. I would not attempt to put a three liter pot on it. Finally if you want to go lighter the stove does not fit underneath a small canister of butane. You will have to discard the Speedo, which lightens things even more and use an alternative means of seduction, I mean transport.