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Reviews > Cook Gear > Cooking Accessories > Primus Windscreen > Owner Review by Chad G Poindexter

PRIMUS WINDSCREEN
By: Chad Poindexter
OWNER REVIEW

March 22, 2010

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Chad Poindexter
EMAIL: chad (DOT) poindexter (AT) yahoo (DOT) com
AGE: 32
LOCATION: Corinth, Alcorn County, Mississippi, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 10" (1.78 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)

I am a fairly new hiker and have hiked in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, and at a few state parks in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama. I initially obtained slightly heavy gear, however, I am currently making efforts to go lighter. I love my tent and appreciate a warm drink in the morning, as well as a warm meal at night. So far my distance has averaged around 10 mi (16 km) per day, depending on terrain. My wife or my son typically tag along with me on my hikes.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

IMAGE 6
Manufacturer: Primus AB
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: www.primus.com
MSRP: (US) $15.00
Listed Weight: 2.1 oz (60 g)
Measured Weight: 2.3 oz (65 g)
Listed Dimensions: 3.9 in x 3.0 in (100 x 76 mm)
Measured Height: 3 in (76 mm)
Width varies. Attached to a gas canister the diameter is 4.6 in (117 mm).

The Primus Windscreen (hereafter referred to as the "windscreen") is actually a part of the Primus lineup. While the windscreen is able to adapt to almost any cartridge-mounted gas stove on the market, it was built exclusively for the Primus ExpressStove. When Primus designed this windscreen, they did so with a purpose: A purpose to increase the stove's efficiency by using this windscreen in conjunction with this stove. What does this mean? It simply means a faster boil time which equals less fuel consumption which in the long run enables the stove to be more environmentally friendly.

IMAGE 1


As seen in the picture above, the windscreen is rather simple in design. The windscreen is built by using three smooth, light-weight pieces of aluminum, and six rivets. The left and right sides (two thicker, gray-colored pieces) of the windscreen are simply held together in the middle by a single thinner silver piece of aluminum using 3 rivets per side (6 total rivets). This silver piece of aluminum in the middle that holds the two sides together is what allows the windscreen to flex, or to open and close. This flexing is what allows the windscreen to fit around the lip of a gas canister. At the bottom of the windscreen is a small hole (almost a complete circle) which fits around and attaches to the lip of most fuel canisters. Also, located along the bottom of the windscreen there are twenty individual slits (ten to each side) which are cut out to allow air to flow up to the stove. There is a red and white colored Primus logo with their name imprinted on one of the sides of the windscreen.

Since this windscreen was originally designed to fit the Primus ExpressStove (which has three arm supports), there are two notches cut into the top of this windscreen. These notches will line up with the arm supports on the stove. However, the 4.6 in (117 mm) diameter of the windscreen will still allow many other stoves, whether with three or four arm supports, to work fine in conjunction with the windscreen. Another great thing about this windscreen is that it is very easy and convenient to store. Just flip it upside down, flex the windscreen open, and secure it around the lip of the fuel canister. Done, and simple. (All of this can be seen in the pictures above.)

FIELD USE

This windscreen has been with me the better part of the last year and I have used it in conjunction with my stove a total of 30 + times on backpacking trips alone. Quite a few other times while car camping and even around my home with the kids (they enjoy cooking on my backpacking kitchen, it's fun)! I have carried it with me on day hikes, overnight trips, three-day trips and even on a five-day trip. I typically cook for only two people, but have at times cooked for up to four people.

I have used this windscreen while cooking dinner for my wife and me, on a warm summer evening (around 90 F or 32 C) at an elevation of 4,450 ft (1356 m) atop a windy mountaintop, as well as breakfast for my son and me, in an empty parking lot, at an elevation of 700 ft (213 m) on a cool and breezy morning (around 30 F or -1 C) at the trail head just before we hiked out.

IMAGE 7
Breakfast on a cool & breezy morning at Sipsey Wilderness


Most recently I have used the windscreen with my stove (Optimus Crux) while at a shelter on the summit of Mt. LeConte, some 6,593 ft (2010 m) up. The temperatures dipped to around 20 F (-7 C) and we had snow, ice, and even some slight winds (around 10-15 mph or 16 - 24 kph).

I have used the windscreen while backpacking at Big Hill Pond State Park in Tennessee, Sipsey Wilderness in Alabama, on the Appalachian Trail in North Georgia, and in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. I have also used the windscreen while at some local campgrounds and even while camping on the land behind my parents' house. I have used the windscreen in temperatures as low as 10 F (-12 C) to as high as around 90 F (32 C). The strongest winds I have used the windscreen in were occasional gusts of around 20 mph (32 kph).

I have used this windscreen with a handful of different gas canisters, all of them with complete success. Here are the canisters I have used the windscreen with:

8 oz (113 g) Mountain Safety Research (MSR) fuel canister
4 oz (113 g) and 8 oz (227 g) Jetboil Jetpower fuel canisters
4 oz (113 g) Snow Peak Giga Power fuel canister

I have used this windscreen with only one stove, the Optimus Crux. The Optimus Crux stove is similar to the Primus ExpressStove in that it has three arm supports as well. Because of this, the Optimus Crux's arm supports fall right in line with the two notched areas located at the top of the windscreen. The arm supports on the Optimus Crux stove do not extend out past the diameter of the windscreen, but rather come just to the inside edge of the windscreen. However, the Optimus Crux stove does stand 0.25 in (0.64 cm) taller than the windscreen allowing the cook pot to sit atop the stove rather than directly on top of the windscreen. All of this is to say that the Optimus Crux stove looks right at home inside this windscreen. ***(See note at end of report on gap width between the windscreen and the pot.)

I have used 2 different cook pots in conjunction with this setup (Optimus Crux stove and the Primus Windscreen). The GSI Dualist 1.8L (61 fl oz) cook pot and a Backcountry.com 700 ml (23.7 fl oz) titanium pot (as seen below).

IMAGE 2

MY NOTES

Once I received the windscreen in the mail I unpackaged it and immediately pulled out my stove and fuel canister so that I could assemble all the pieces together to see how they fit, and of course to try it out. And just as I had suspected, it was simple, there's no other way to put it. I screwed my stove to the fuel canister, then I flexed the windscreen open, placed the opening at the bottom of the windscreen around the lip of the fuel canister, and let the windscreen close back around the lip of the fuel canister. Done.

IMAGE 3


First, my beef with the windscreen:

The windscreen does a fine job at blocking very light to light winds, but even in these winds the entire set up must be turned so that the closed side of the windscreen is into the wind. Due to the design of the windscreen, one side of the stove is always open to the elements, leaving only one side actually being shielded from the elements. (This leaves me to wonder how much wind is this windscreen actually blocking?) Due to this design, if the wind changes once I start cooking I have to try and balance my whole set up (while it's cooking) and turn it or I have to constantly sit in front of it and try to block the wind with my body, or whatever I can find. Also, even if the wind is blowing against the closed side of the windscreen there is still a large enough space between the top of the windscreen and the bottom of the pot in which the wind can easily blow through and steal away the heat from the stove. However, I cannot say that the wind has ever blown the flame on the stove out though, with or without the windscreen. (***Again, see note below on gap width between bottom of pot and top of windscreen.)

However, just by sheer design, I understand that some wind is being directed away from my heat source (stove) as a result of this windscreen. Also, by design, I can see how some of the heat will be reflected back up towards the bottom of the pot due to the cup-like shape at the bottom of the windscreen. With this in mind, I believe that my stove, in conjunction with the windscreen, is working at least somewhat more efficiently than if the stove were operating on its own. Can I tell the difference whether by boil times or by fuel savings? No. I have always used this windscreen while I am cooking, even if it feels like there is no wind.

So, at a weight of 2.3 oz (65 g) and with the ability to store the windscreen right around my fuel canister (which happens to go inside my cook pot along with my bowls, cups, lighter, and stove) I have no reason not to carry it, and for that matter use it. Since I am not 100 % sold on the fact that the windscreen works as well as I would like it to, I take other measures when preparing my food, such as finding a place that isn't as windy to cook or even trying to wait a little while for the wind to die down some before cooking, to help maximize the overall efficiency of my stove. I do plan on playing around with some other ideas to help improve the performance of this windscreen, but for now I will continue to carry it the way it is.

On a good note, I have not had to provide any type of maintenance to the windscreen. It is a very easy piece of gear to own. It does not get in the way and it makes for a good conversation piece when brought out. On a little more serious note, since the windscreen attaches at the lip of the canister, it separates the canister from the stove. Another way to put this is, the windscreen separates the flame from the potentially explosive canister. While the canister is still able to absorb some of the heat coming from the stove, the windscreen actually creates a partial barrier which reflects some of the heat back up towards the pot, limiting the amount of heat that actually reaches the canister.

So, while there are definitely slightly lighter, and much cheaper (homemade) windscreens out there to be had, I have this one, the Primus Windscreen. Now that I have it I will use it, but if I ever come across something else more adequate I will probably go with that. It is hard for me to say if I would recommend this windscreen or not, as its pros and cons are pretty close. I will just have to let my report speak for itself.

***NOTE:***
A Product Safety Information (PSI) sheet regarding this windscreen has been recently released from Primus. Since this windscreen has been on sale, according to the website, and even printed directly on the box the windscreen came packaged in, was this: “This windscreen fits Primus ExpressStove, Primus MicronStove Ti and most other cartridge stoves.” This is now considered wrong according to Primus. The PSI now states that the minimum distance between the top of the windscreen and the bottom of the cook pot MUST be at least 0.5 in (11 mm) and MUST have a flame that is directed upwards to the pot and not out towards the windscreen. For this reason, the Primus MicronStove Ti was removed from the list of stoves that this windscreen is compatible with. Also, at the moment the windscreen has been removed from the shelves and is being repackaged with the up-to-date information and is also now being packaged with a small instruction booklet. The website has also been updated to reflect this new information.

THINGS I LIKE

1. It packs away small and easy.
2. It's simple to use.
3. It fits with my fuel canisters and stove.
4. It keeps the canister from overheating.
5. While not the lightest, it is pretty light.

THINGS I DON'T LIKE

1. One complete side of the windscreen is left open to wind.
2. Wind can easily seep between the top of the windscreen and the bottom of the pot.
3. It's costly.

SIGNATURE

IMAGE 4
Chad Poindexter
"Stick"

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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