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Reviews > Cook Gear > Stoves > Primus Micron Ti 25 Stove > Test Report by Curt Peterson

Primus Micron Ti 2.5
Report Series by Curt Peterson

Initial Report - April 2007
Field Report - July 2007
Long Term Report - September 2007

 

Below you will find:

Initial Report Contents
     Tester Background and Contact Information
     Product Specifications
     Initial Impressions
     Test Plan
     Initial Report Summary

Field Report Contents
     Field Report
     Field Report Summary

Long Term Report Contents
     Long Term Report
     Long Term Report Summary

Final Test Thoughts

   

Micron Ti 2.5 

Primus Micron Ti 2.5

 



Initial Report

Tester Background and Contact Information

Name: Curt Peterson
Age: 34
Gender: Male
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight: 270 lb (122 kg)
Email address: curt<at>boopants<dot>com
Location: North Bend, Washington, USA

I live in the Cascade foothills, just 20 mi (32 km) from the Pacific Crest Trail via trails leading right from my backyard. My outdoor time in Washington is spent dayhiking, backpacking, climbing, and skiing everywhere from the Olympic coast to rainforests to Cascade volcanoes to dry steppe. I played football in college and often evaluate products from a big guy perspective. My typical pack load ranges from 11 - 20 lbs (5 - 9 kg) and usually includes plenty of wet weather gear.


Primus Micron Ti 2.5 Specifications

  • Primus Micron Ti 2.5: 2.4 oz (68 gm)
  • Primus Micron Ti 2.5 Sack: 0.2 oz (7 gm)
  •     3 1/8 in (8 cm) Tall (max dimension when opened)   
  •     4 1/4 in (10.8 cm) Wide (max dimension when opened)
  •     2 3/8 in (6 cm) Tall (max dimension when closed)   
  •     2 3/8 in (6 cm) Wide (max dimension when closed) 
  • Manufacturer Website: www.primus.se
  • Primus Micron Ti 2.5 MSRP: None listed on the Primus website


Primus Micron Ti 2.5 Initial Impressions

I have used, taken apart, tested and modified dozens of backpacking stoves. I have tried wood stoves, Esbit stoves, alcohol stoves and all kinds of liquid gas and gas cartridge stoves. While I've become a fan of lightweight alcohol and solid fuel tab stoves for quick overnight solo trips, gas cartridge stoves are still my preferred stove. I have followed the sub 4-ounce (114 gram) offerings over the past 5+ years and have been impressed, but always wanting things just a bit different. The stove supports are often too high, too flimsy, or too narrow. The burner is too small, too wasteful, or too easily affected by wind. With a good half-dozen models out there, none seem to have it just right. The Primus Micron looks to be very close to what I consider the ideal canister gas stove. I will be reviewing it from a backpacking stove veteran perspective.

Micron Fully Open 
Primus Micron Ti 2.5 Fully Opened

   Micron Stowed
Primus Micron Ti 2.5 Fully Closed

The Primus Micron Ti 2.5 stove arrived at my home safe and sound. Included were the retail packaging, instructions, a cloth carrying case, and the stove itself. After opening the packaging and skimming over the instructions, I opened up the actual stove to play with it. The first thing that really got my attention is just how tiny it is. Even for a mini canister stove - of which I've used almost all on the market - this stove is small. There are two aspects that make it appear smaller than most. First, it is very slender. With no igniter added and a simplified shaft, it is noticeably thin. The other aspect that makes it seem extra small is the way the supports fold down. Most stoves fold up - actually increasing the height of the stove when stowed away - or slides them sideways, which doesn't really decrease the overall bulk by much. I've only seen one other stove that can hide away this small. It certainly will not take up much pack space and my initial tinkering shows that it will fit in all of my pots with ease, my mini-insulated mug with ease, and can even share a small bowl with virtually all of my kitchen gear. This makes for a very tight, easy-to-pack kitchen setup. As far as I know, this is currently the lightest canister stove of this type on the planet.

This tiny size does not translate into a skimpy stove by any means, however. In fact, the pot supports are as good as any canister stove I've used. They have a very reassuring 'click' when folded up and my initial uses caused no worries about bending supports, unstable pots, or tiny support surfaces. Quite the opposite  In fact, this stove has as solid a support structure as my four-season stove of choice. Primus has replaced a few components from the previous Micron version to lighten up this stove. The most noticeable is the titanium pot supports - which, with the possible exception of part of the burner head, appears to be the only part of the stove that is actually titanium. While lighter than the stainless steel version, they seem to be incredibly strong and have inspired confidence on my first at-home uses. A firm lateral push pops the supports back down for stowing. So far, this system seems very solid. Watching it to make sure it doesn't loosen up with time and destabilize the stove will be a key part of my testing.

Like all canister stove manufacturers, Primus recommends only using Primus branded stove canisters. That said, the canister is threaded for Lindal valves and I successfully attached the Micron Ti 2.5 to all of the non-Primus canisters pictured below without a problem. The base of the Micron Ti 2.5 has two little wings (seen on valve picture below) that prevent over-tightening of the stove and offer a bit of support as they straddle the recessed valve opening on the canister. I will continue to try every brand of canister I can find during testing. There are least 6 or 7 that I know of, but occasionally other brands emerge and I will do my best to try all of them.

Perhaps my only initial concern with this stove is the valve adjustment knob. It is a twist knob (pictured below) that sits awfully close to the shaft. With my big hands, I really have to get in there to adjust it. This isn't a huge deal with small pots, but larger pots put the knob further away and reaching down under a hot pot with an open flame can be a bit tricky. Many small stoves use much longer fold-up wire bail twist knobs that prevent this scenario. Hopefully this will not end up being much of a concern in real world usage, but initially it is on my 'watch list'.

Micron Valve
Primus Micron Ti 2.5 Control Valve

Fuel Canisters   
Fuel Canisters Utilizing Compatible Valves

Primus Micron Ti 2.5 Test Plan

I will test the Primus Micron Ti 2.5 in the remaining spring here in the Northwest and continue on into the summer towards test end. I will undoubtedly use it in snowy conditions a bit as it lasts until July in the Cascades, but most use will be in sub-alpine areas of the Cascade Range. Typical trips range from 1500 feet (460 meters) on valley trails to over 12,000 feet (3650 meters) on Mount Adams if I can make a return trip there this spring. Temperatures will likely range from the mid 20s F (-4 C) to as high as 90 F (32 C).

It will go on every trip with me - dayhikes, backpacking trips, and climbs and be used as a solo stove and as a primary cooker for up to 3 people.  I will be using the two pots that are part of the GSI Hard Anodized Aluminum Cookset. Both pots measure between 4.5 and 5.0 inches (11-13 cm) across. I will also use a Snowpeak titanium bowl as a pot, as it measures about the same as the smaller GSI pot but weighs significantly less and works well as a solo pot.

I will test the stove in various conditions and report on performance for:

- Boiling time: Both "real world" use and controlled use to estimate cartridge life.
- Fuel consumption: Most canister stoves sip fuel at roughly the same rate. Is this so with the Micron?
- Pot stability: Not having seen a Micron up close, this is one of my only initial concerns as the supports look very thin. Can they handle full pots of water?
- Ease of packing: Pot support folding? Stow in a mug? It's own case?
- Cool down time: After a quick boil for breakfast, how long before I can safely stow it?
- Wet weather effects: Does it slow down in damp weather? No effect?
- Wind effects: The Achilles heel of many canister stoves - how does the Micron fare?
- Snow effects: Another weak spot for canister stoves due to cold. Same with this one?
- Fuel cartridge compatibility Already have Coleman Peak1, Snowpeak, and MSR fuel on hand - do any provide problems with fit?
- Simmering ability: I primarily boil water for my meals, but will try various things for testing, including the ultimate backpacking stove test - eggs!
- Impact on total kitchen weight: How does if fit into a system to make a complete kitchen?
- Weight over various length trips: When does the Micron make the most sense? One night? Three nights? Where does the efficiency vs. weight pay off the best?
- Suitability for solo stove: While presumed that it will do well here, is that so?
- Suitability for couple stove: Does it handle cooking for two?
- Suitability for group stove: Can it deal with the larger pots and extended run times inherent with group cooking?

Initial Report Summary

The Primus Micron Ti 2.5 is very nice stove. Very solid, not flimsy in the least, and the lightest canister stove on the planet at this point. Is it the perfect canister stove? I'll keep a close eye on the small knob and see if I miss the igniter during testing, but initially I'm very impressed with this stove and have high hopes for it on the trail!

This concludes my Initial Report.



Field Report

 

The Micron has been used in just about everything except very cold weather.  Most use has been in temperatures ranging from the low 40s F to the mid 70s F (4-24 C).  It was used near the Potholes Reservoir in Central Washington for a 2 day/1 night trip and near Easton, Washington near Snoqualmie Pass in the Cascades for another 2 day/2 night trip.  I also just used it again near Snoqualmie Pass on a recent backpacking trip.  I estimate that I have used it about 6 days total at this point - half car camping and half backpacking.  I tend to use it multiple times each day of use.

Perhaps the most impressive feature of the Micron Ti 2.5 so far isnít the incredibly small size or actual performance (Iíll get to that), but the stability.  The pot supports have proved amazingly stable.  Theyíre very thin, but so far havenít bent or complained with huge loads Ė bigger than Iíd ever used in a normal backpacking situation.  In one instance while car camping I put a 2.5 lb (1.1 kg) pot on with 1.5 qts (1.42 l) of water in it.  Thatís 5.5 lb (2.5 kg) on a tiny little stove.  The supports didnít even sag.  It was top heavy and wasnít something I would do on a regular basis, but it surely made an impression on me.  The supports are nice and level as well, so the entire surface contacts the pot making it stable even when itís not perfectly centered. 

With the ability to handle the weight of a heavy pot, the greatest determiner of stability seems to be the fuel cartridge.  Big, wide, short cartridges are much more stable than the smaller ones with a tiny footprint.  Of course, these bigger cartridges are much heavier and are not my first choice for backpacking use.  For the light compact kitchen setup I use for hiking and backpacking Iíve experienced absolutely no tipping or instability issues.

Every cartridge has worked for me so far.  Iíve not experienced any sputtering, leaks, or poor fitting seals on any of the cartridges Iíve tried.  I havenít tested comparable performance of cartridges yet Ė at least not in identical side-by-side conditions.  In the use so far I have not noticed any appreciable performance differences.  There are differences in cartridge weight and size, but so far all provide a nice, hot, consistent flame.  One of the things I will do in the Long Term testing is to measure precise fuel consumption to compare fuel economy. 


The weather conditions Iíve been in so far have not affected the stove much at all.  I have not had it in severe winds or sub-freezing weather, but I have had it in rain a couple of times and temperatures just a bit above freezing.  In fair weather, rainy weather, and cool weather the stove performs w
ell with no notable performance drops.

The Micron Ti 2.5 is extremely adjustable.  The simmer gets very, very low.  I cooked tomato soup in a stainless steel pot during one trip and was able to turn it down so low that I could barely tell it was on.  The soup did not scorch at all, although it did take a long time to heat up when set this low.  The full power setting is plenty strong for fast boiling.  The knob seems to turn past the point where a full flame is achieved, but Iím not sure itís getting any hotter or bigger in this range.  I will boil water in controlled conditions for my Long Term reporting and measure if there is any fuel consumption difference between the perceived maximum flame and the knobís fully open setting.  So far the short knob that I mentioned in my Initial Report has not been a concern.  I have primarily used normal sized backpacking pots so far Ė I will try to use some sort of fry pan or skillet during Long Term testing to see if reaching further under the pan creates any issues in this regard.

Even though Iíve played with and used the stove a number of times, I am still surprised at just how small it is.  It really takes up almost no space at all.  It fits into my packed kitchen easily and can be wedged into almost any small corner of my pot for storage.

The Micron Ti 2.5 works great as a solo stove in my experience.  Itís light, compact, and can simmer a delicate sauce or boil water and do either very well.  It serves as a two-person stove just as well depending on how much cooking is needed.  For a quart (liter) or two of water, this small stove is more than capable.  The only realistic limits on the stove as far as group size are a groupís willingness to wait for access to the single burner.  It can Ė and has Ė handle back-to-back boils without any problems.

 

Field Report Summary

The Micron Ti 2.5 has quickly become my favorite canister stove.  Itís light, small, packs to nearly nothing, and is surprisingly stable.  The only thing that would make it even better in my opinion doesnít really involve the stove itself Ė itís the comparatively heavy and limited fuel cartridges.  For a screw-on stove meant for backpacking, this is a fantastic design and I have had only positive experiences so far.

This concludes my Field Report. The Long Term Report will be added about two months from this report date. Please check back then for more in-depth field use information.



Long Term Report

Testing Conditions

The Primus Micron Ti 2.5 has had a ton of use in the last two months.  I just completed a five week trip from Seattle, Washington to Cape Cod, Massachusetts and back.  The stove was used outdoors all over the place.  Some of the more memorable places it saw outdoor duty were near Bozeman, Montana, the Chippewa National Forest in northern Minnesota, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the boonies of Ontario, Canada above Lake Huron, in the Catskills of New York, and around the National Seashore on Cape Cod.  On the return trip it saw use in southern Minnesota, in Badlands National Park in South Dakota, northern Wyoming, western Montana and northern Idaho.  Of the 36 days on the trip I camped 25 nights.  The Micron was used almost every one of those days.

The weather was decidedly hot.  We were in temperatures over 100 F (38 C) for almost the entire first week.  We spent 3 weeks in the Midwest and eastern U.S. in temperatures in the high 80s F and 90s F (31 C to 35 C) with very high humidity, and the return to the West was extremely hot as well - it was 110 F (43 C) in Badlands National Park.  We were hit with a couple of serious thunderstorms in New York and Wisconsin, one of which included a pretty scary flash flood.

The stove performed admirably.  It worked reliably every time I pulled it out.  It boiled a lot of water, but also had the chance to cook a lot of soup, mac and cheese, and even once fried up some Spam.  It handled all of these tasks easily.  We had a camper two-burner stove attached to a bulk propane tank along on the car camping days and the Micron outperformed it easily.  Water would boil in half the time and the flame control was more precise.  This came as a bit of a surprise, but it was so consistent that for morning coffee I didn't even consider the big stove - I always reached for the Micron Ti 2.5.  I could boil a pot of water, use it, refill it, and boil a second pot before the two burner had one pot going.

Cartridges seemed to last forever.  Given the warm temperatures we were in the conditions were excellent for efficient fuel usage, and it showed.  It didn't matter whether the cartridge was large or small, it was efficient and consistent.  The predictable flame and ultra-sensitive adjustability is really where cartridge stoves shine and the Primus is no exception.  From a barely-visible simmer to a mini blowtorch, this stoved did what I expected from the first day of the trip to the last.

I didn't have problems with any canisters.  I used four different brands on the trip - all had clean seals and I never had problems with escaping gas or poor performance.

As noted above, the conditions were primarily hot and sunny, but it did see some wind and rain.  Wind has the greatest effect on performance.  Unprotected from wind, boiling times can more than double.  I was always able to shield it enough to get a good boil, but it undoubtedly used more fuel.  Rigging up a safe windscreen would make this stove pretty weather resistant, but wrapping the stove with the canister in a traditional windscreen is not recommended.  Rather than trying to cut up pie pans or create some sort of custom windscreen I found myself cooking on the leeward side of bigger objects like tents, packs, rocks, trees, etc.  I'm sure this didn't reach optimal efficiency but it was good enough to get the job done in a hurry.  Rain didn't seem to affect things at all, assuming there wasn't wind as well.  I never did get to use it to melt snow.  

One of my more pleasant surprises is that the pot supports do not appear to have weakened at all.  As pictured above, there is a "click" mechanism that locks the supports in the open position.  I'd expected this to soften, weaken, or loosen over time but it's just as firm and reassuring as when new.  This stove was opened and closed a lot during the testing period, and I'm confident it's well past the breaking in stages and will continue to be reliably secure.  The supports continued to be very strong.  While I wouldn't want to routinely put huge loads on the pot, it can handle a couple quarts (liters) if done carefully.

The stove cools quickly and stows away in its tiny bag easily.  This is a great little stove to carry inside even the smallest drinking mugs.  In fact, it's so small and compact that it's actually pretty easy to lose!  There were a few times I had trouble finding it when car camping because it was in a bin with a bunch of small items and it takes up less room than my car keys.

The control knob does appear to open well beyond maximum flow.  I can see no flame difference between opening it about 2/3 of the way and all the way.  Opening it past full does not, however, seem to increase fuel consumption.  I didn't take a gram scale with me on the trips to measure this, but field performance didn't seem any different.

One of my only other concerns was the tiny knob and whether or not it would require my hand to get too close to the flame while adjusting.  This proved to be a non-issue.  Even with wide pots it was easy to get in there and adjust without much concern.  I would still prefer one of the longer wire control knobs, but this is not that big of a deal in my opinion.


Long Term Report Summary

The Primus Micron Ti 2.5 did exceptionally well during the long term testing.  Used almost daily, it didn't have any clogging or sputtering issues at all.  The pot supports remained one of the strongest features of the stove and I'm confident it can handle anything I would dish out in my typical backpacking usage.  It packs away to nothing and should definitely fit into any cookpot on the market today.  The control knob is not the stove's best characteristic, but it's perfectly functional and performed without issues.

Final Test Thoughts

The Primus Micron Ti 2.5 was a pleasure to test.  As a fan of small cartridge stoves, this is definitely one of my favorites.  It packs away to almost nothing, it's beautifully simple in design, and it most definitely performs well.  It was compatible with every canister I tried with it and cooked consistently no matter what I was cooking.  It's a fantastic solo stove - even quick morning dayhikes could justify carrying this tiny stove for a morning cup of tea on a summit.  It will hide in a pocket and barely be noticed. 

In my opinion the only thing that could significantly improve a gas canister stove would be changes in the cartridges themselves.  Surely a few stoves will come out that shave a fraction of an ounce (a couple grams) from the Micron Ti 2.5 or have a different pot support system, but as far as really making an impact on how gas cartridge stoves work, I believe it will take a change in the fuel side of the equation.  Even the smallest lightest canisters weigh more than double what this stove weighs.  With cutting edge stoves like the Primus Micron Ti 2.5, there seems to be few major improvements to be had.  This is one tough, light, compact little stove that has left me quite happy to make it my #1 choice in backpacking stoves.

My thanks to Primus and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Primus Micron Ti 2.5!



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