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Reviews > Cook Gear > Stoves > Brunton Optimus Crux > Owner Review by Ray Estrella

Optimus Crux Foldable Canister Stove
By Raymond Estrella
OWNER REVIEW
February 11, 2006

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Raymond Estrella
EMAIL: rayestrellaAThotmailDOTcom
AGE: 48
LOCATION: Orange County, California, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)

I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, and in many of the western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I have made a move to lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I am usually with my wife Jenn or brother-in-law Dave.

The Product

Manufacturer: Optimus of Sweden, for Brunton
Web site: http://www.optimus.se
Product: Optimus Crux Foldable Canister Stove
Year manufactured: 2004
MSRP: $ 75.00 (US).
Weight listed: 3.1 oz (87 g) I verified that it was accurate.
Weight with case: 4 oz (112 g) My measurement.
Folded size: 2.2 x 2.9 x 1.3” (55 x 72 x 32 mm) Verified accurate.
Set-up size: 2.9” (72 mm) high, 4” (100 mm) diameter with pot supports open. My measurements.
Warranty: Limited lifetime.

Product Description

The Brunton Optimus Crux (hereafter referred to as the stove or Crux) is an extremely compact canister stove. The burner swivels on its stem to allow the stove to lay flat. A spring-loaded collar slides into the burner section, locking it into position. It has a wire loop handle for the flame control, that folds tight against the stem also. This results in a very small package. Here is a picture of it folded.

Crux Folded


The burner itself is made of brass. It is 1.9” (47 mm) in diameter. The fuel flows though a fine brass mesh, and exits, burning, through a series of perforations on the top of the burner.

On the top of the burner are three folding pot supports. They are 1.25” (31 mm) in length. When opened, the top side of the supports have their sawtooth-like serrations exposed. These are to help to hold pots in place.

Mounted on the side of the main body (stove base) is a brass control valve. On the face of the valve is a printed diagram with a +/- showing the direction of travel to increase or decrease the flame. The formed wire handle is attached to the valve. On one side of the base is the name and logo of Optimus. On the other is the following; “patented, manufactured in Japan for Optimus”. Here is a picture of the stove set up for use.

Crux set up


The stove comes with a very cool little stuff sack. The black sack has a very well padded bottom, and a neoprene flap covering half of it. The folded Crux slides under the flap, with the stove base being concealed inside. Black netting extends up the sides at a diagonal. At the low and high sides are pull loops, and a large loop of elastic cord runs above the high end. The sack will fit on the bottom of a standard 8 oz or 16 oz (227 or 454 g) iso-butane/propane fuel canister. The stove fits into the concave at the bottom of the canister. The elastic cord loop snaps over the top of the canister keeping the sack from slipping off. Here is the stove nestled in the stuff sack.

In case


And of it attached to a fuel canister.

On canister

Field Conditions

I have used this stove approximately 26 days in the field over the past 2 years. The highest that it has been used was at Trail Camp on Mt Whitney, in California. It was 27 F (-3 C) and snowing at 12,000’ (3600 m) elevation. The warmest use was 102 F (39 C) near the Kern River. Lowest use was about 80’ (24 m) above sea level. The coldest was 24 F (-4 C) on the John Muir Trail last October. It has been with me on trips to Mt. Shasta, Mt. Langley, Middle Palisade, Sequioa NP, Yosemite NP. The Bristlecone, San Gorgonio, San Jacinto, and Cleveland forests. It also saw action in the Domeland and Jenni Lakes Wilderness areas.

Observations

I have always been a big fan of white gas stoves. I still own three of them. I would normally share my stove with my brother-in-law Dave, my regular hiking partner. On a trip to climb Mt. Langley Dave decided that he wanted to go to a no-cook style of backpacking meals. As I was only going to need to fare for myself I bought the Crux and a MSR Titan kettle to get the weight, and more important volume, down. It was my first canister stove.

I was very impressed. The ease of use is unparalleled. To be able to just screw it on and start cooking is great. It stands 6” (150 mm) tall when attached to a 4 oz (227 g) canister. I usually use the Titan kettle with it, but used a 1.8 liter pot to cook for my brother and me on a trip to Middle Palisade. It handled the larger pot with no problem.

The company says that it will boil a liter of water in as little as 3 minutes. I tested it at 80’ (24 m) elevation with 60 F (16 C) water in a 70 F (21 C) room. The water was placed in a 1.8 liter GSI aluminum pot. I ran the flame at its fullest setting. It started boiling at 3 minutes 25 seconds, but did not achieve full rolling boil until 4 minutes 15 seconds. In the field I am normally boiling 16 oz (.5 l) of water at a time. I average 3.5 to 4 minutes per boil. And the average fuel use is a half oz (14 g) per boil.

On the JMT trip in October I tracked the usage. I used the Crux to make 7 freeze-dried meals. They took an average of 18 oz (.54 l) of water each. The average temp at 4:30 PM of each day was 37 F (3 C). I used 2.3 oz (64 g) (weight) from my canister. It took about 5 minutes to bring each to a rolling boil. So it averaged 1/3 oz (9 g) each boil.

I have used fuel mix from Brunton, Snow Peak and MSR with no noticeable difference.

The only problem I have ever had using this stove was on a three-day trip in San Jacinto National Forest in November of 2005. At Little Round Valley,10,000’ (3000 m) elevation I started boiling water for dinner and cider. It was 34 F (1 C) and falling. About 45 seconds after firing the stove, it quit running. The canister was only half used. I tried shaking it, and putting it inside my coat thinking it might be to cold to vaporize properly. It had worked fine in much colder temps on previous trips. Nothing worked. I figured I may have got some grit in the jet, or something along those lines. As I had not brought much in the way of ready-to-eat food, I had to cut the trip short and went back the next day. When I got back to our office near sea level, I went to see what was wrong with the stove and/or canister. To my surprise the stove and canister worked fine. While writing this report I did the timed boil test with that same canister. I have not figured out what happened yet, but will watch it closely next season.

Over-all I like and recommend this stove, and see myself using it on many more 3-season trips.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

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Reviews > Cook Gear > Stoves > Brunton Optimus Crux > Owner Review by Ray Estrella



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