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Reviews > Cook Gear > Stoves > Primus OmniLite TI stove > Test Report by Theresa Lawrence
PRIMUS OMNILITE TI STOVE
I have more than 15 years of backpacking experience. Day hikes and 2-3 day backpacking trips take place on most weekends throughout the year while longer trips are only occasional. I backpack predominantly in mountain terrain (Coast Range, Cascades and Canadian Rockies) with the goal of summiting peaks. Activities I use my gear with include mountaineering, ski touring, rock climbing, kayaking, biking, trail running, Search and Rescue and overseas travel. I like my gear to be reasonably light, convenient and simple to use though I would not claim to be a lightweight hiker.
DESCRIPTION & FIRST IMPRESSIONSThe Primus OmniLite Ti stove arrived in a box along with a 0.35 L (11.8 fl oz) fuel bottle, a multi-tool with a cleaning needle, a windscreen and heat reflector, a tube of silicone grease and a very heavy and beefy storage bag. I can already say I will not be packing this storage bag anywhere as it weighs almost as much as the stove and it's very bulky. On the other hand, the stove supports, which fold together and the windscreen and heat reflector are all made out of titanium making them weigh very little. It also takes up very little room fitting inside my 1.5 (51 fl oz) and 2 L (68 fl oz) pot set. Counter to this the multi-tool is quite heavy for how petite it is, at a whopping 39 g (1.4 oz). All said and done, the measured minimum weight that I would require to pack is 443 g (15.6 oz), which includes the stove, fuel pump/ adapter, windshield, heat reflector and multi-tool. That is really not much! According to the manufacturer The Primus OmniLite Ti is the smaller and lighter, but much more fuel-efficient version of another Primus stove named OmniFuel. It accommodates a number of fuels including white gas, gasoline/ petrol, kerosene/ paraffin and aviation fuel. Accommodating the different fuels only involves changing out a nut in the middle of the stove with the multi-tool. Unless there is some unplanned situation, I have and will be reporting on white gas, which is cleaner than the other options. I've already swapped out the nut with the multi-tool.
The stove is considered to be a four season stove, which I take to mean a rather serious expedition worthy stove. I camp year round in the Rocky Mountains and while it is not winter and I won't be able to comment on colder temperatures, I will still likely encounter some alpine elevations and wind that will test out some of its strengths. The manufacturer also mentions that the output has been adapted for the new generation of pots with a heat exchanger. I have one such pot in the shape of a tall mug that holds 1 L (33.8 fl oz) of water and is designed for one person to use. While I will test this pot, the majority of my time with this stove will be using my more traditional 1.5 (51 fl oz) and 2 L (68 fl oz) pot set and cooking for two.
TRYING IT OUT
The instructions provided are quite detailed and read easily. It works similar to another stove I already have, so it was easy for me to figure out. I did find it a bit tricky to mount the fuel bottle for some reason. I think because the stove is 90 degrees to the threaded valve, which made it awkward to hold at the same time as threading. Difficult to explain, but I think after doing it a few times I'll develop a knack. I'll share this information in the field report. When taking it apart fuel leaked all over. I thought all my valves were closed (clockwise tightened), but perhaps they weren't all the way. Something I'll have to watch more closely. I don't believe there were any leaky seals as I successfully lit the stove with no problem and had it fueling away without any issue. I will own that first leak to be my own user error. I realize now that I didn't turn the fuel bottle over so that the OFF position was showing upright, so it was likely because I had it upside down. Good to know. That's what I get for skimming the instructions. I blame that on being over eager and excited over a new stove. I would like to add that the ErgoPump, which is used to pump air into the fuel bottle has a nice feel and grip to it making pumping 20 times or so an easy experience.
Field Report - October 13, 2015
Pancakes & Pizza with the Primus Omnilite Ti Stove
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
It's been a busy summer and I've cooked over 35 meals and many more hot beverages on the Primus Omnilite Ti Stove. I've cooked in high elevations and in below freezing temperatures and found this stove to be very efficient. For example, on the Rockwall trail, at elevation and cooler temperatures, this stove was used to do all the cooking for 3 people for 4 days. I would say we boiled about 25-30 L (6.6-8 Gallons) of water, not to mention simmer times, etc. and we were able to do this with only 600 ml (20.3 fl oz) of fuel. The rest of the trips were with two people. It was nice to be able to just bring the 0.35 L (11.8 fl oz) fuel canister and have that be enough for all our needs. On another positive note, a lot of 4-season stoves like these are really loud, and I would say while it is far from quiet, it was not the loudest stove in the park.
I found that the heat could be adjusted between full heat and a lower heat that worked reasonably well for simmering. This was very useful. But, for some things that required more delicate heat, I did use a simmer plate, which complemented the stove really well. I also liked that there were teeth on the stove arms, which offered grip for keeping the pot and simmer plate in place. And the stove structure when set up was very stable and the fuel line was long enough so that the fuel bottle was not in the way. The only awkward thing I found was using the wind guard. This is a mild point, but because the fuel adjustment valve was 90 degrees to the fuel line, the notch on the wind guard could only accommodate one of those. So, if I wanted it fully closed it would either cover access to the valve or sit awkwardly on top of the fuel line. Like I said only a mild point, because I can use it without any problem, I just wouldn't close the circle and leave a gap large enough for both. It still blocks the wind this way, it's just not how I would normally use a wind guard.
The stove has continued to perform without any issues. However, I never got away from it spewing a bit when dismantling it. The small mess of fuel was only a minor thing. More importantly it was easy to assemble and start up. And pressurizing the canister was easy with a nice comfortable grip on the fuel pump. I was annoyed that I had no carrying bag to use that was not heavy and over sized. Incidentally, because I felt it needed to be contained in something in my backpack, I used a small nylon stove sack from another stove (sorry).
So far this stove has been very reliable and highly efficient. I've used it at high elevations and in cold weather and found that it consistently produced reliable heat and efficiency. It's easy to use and very lightweight. At this point the only improvement lies not with the stove at all, but to make minor adjusts to the wind guard and provide a small, light bag for the stove and its accessories that also works well for backpacking. Fairly minor points overall I would say and nothing, but great things on the performance of this well designed stove. I am looking forward to more trips in colder temperatures over the next couple of months in order to explore more 4-season performance and durability. Check back to this web page in approximately 2 months.
- Easy to set up and start
- Lightweight and fuel efficient
- Produces good heat at elevation and cool temperatures
- Adjustable heat (simmers reasonably well)
- Non-slip surface
- Large, heavy storage bag (not practical for backpacking)
- Wind guard notch doesn't close full circle for both the fuel line and the fuel adjustment valve
LONG TERM FIELD CONDITIONS
Over the past couple of months I have used the Primus Omnilite Ti stove on two more overnight backpacking trips (total of 4 nights) in Fernie Provincial Park and Elk Lakes Provincial Park in British Columbia. Temperatures for this period have been between -3 C (27 F) and 15 C (59 F). I have encountered some nice and not so nice weather including dry and cold, and wet and windy. Maximum elevation encountered was 1900 m (6235 ft).
PERFORMANCE OVER THE LONG TERM
I was hoping to encounter a bit more snow by this time, however, the weather has not been so cooperative. So, I did not get a chance to try melting snow with this stove. I have no doubt from its performance thus far in its ability to do this efficiently and I do plan to use this as a 4 season stove. But, of course I cannot formally offer any performance measurements on this use. I was able to test it in some freezing temperatures and up at higher elevations and have continued to be impressed by its efficiency and power. I do not have any new observations from my previous report and would like to add that its durability and performance after another couple months continue to go unquestioned. It packs well and is light, though I still wish it came with its own packable lightweight bag.
Overall, I am very happy with the Primus Omnilite Ti stove and recommend it for any backcountry setting including alpine excursions. This stove has now replaced my previous favorite stove for such activities. I plan to continue using it throughout this coming winter. It has continued to provide a reliable and efficient source for boiling water or cooking a variety of meals in the backcountry and at higher elevations. My likes and dislikes remain the same with the addition of the stove being reliable and durable to my likes.
Thanks to Primus and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to take part in this test series. I am looking forward to the next few months with this stove as fall ends and winter begins.
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