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Reviews > Cook and Food Storage Gear > Stoves > Optimus Crux stove > Owner Review by joe schaffer

Optimus Crux canister stove

by Joe Schaffer
  January 31, 2014

NAME: Joe Schaffer
EMAIL: never2muchstuff(at)yahoo(dot)com
AGE: 66
HEIGHT: 5'9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 175 lb (79.4 kg)
HOME:  Hayward, California USA

    I frequent California's central Sierras, camping every month; 83 nights in 2013; about half the time solo; moving nearly every day. As a comfort camper I lug tent, mattress, chair, etc. Summer trips last typically a week to 10 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food-related; about 5 miles (8 km) per hiking day. I winter camp most often at 6,000' to 7,000' (1,800 to 2,100 m); 2 to 3 nights; 55 lb (25 kg); 1 to 4 miles (1.5 to 6 km) on snowshoes.

The Product:
            Optimus Crux canister stove
            Katadyn Products, Inc.
            Web site:      
            Purchased: 01/2013

My specs:
            Stove: 3 oz (85 g)
            Sleeve: 7/8 oz (25 g)
            Height in use: 3 1/8" (8 cm)
            Stowed height: 3 3/16" (8.1 cm)
            Stowed depth: 1 3/8" (3.5 cm)
            Burner head diameter: 1 15/16" (4.9 cm)
            Extended arms diameter: 4.25" (10.8 cm)

Factory specs:
            Weight: 2.92 oz (83 g)
            BTU's: 10,200
            Avg. burn time: up to 60 minutes on high (7.9 oz/220 g canister)
            Avg. boil time 1 qt / 1 L: 3 minutes +
            Dimension: 3.3" x 2.2" x 1.2" (8.4 cm x 5.7 cm x 3.1 cm)
            MSRP: US $49.95

Product Description:
    Single burner gas stove with a 90-degree folding burner head and three 180-degree folding arms packs up small enough to nestle in the concave of a 7.9 oz (220g) fuel canister using an included sleeve to keep the unit safely tucked in and attached.
 Field conditions:
    Probably 50 F (10 C) at 12,000' and a second test at probably 40 F (4 C) at 7,500' (2,300 m). Windy.

    I first saw this stove about 10 years ago and felt forced to buy it. In bold enthusiasm to show my significant other the wonders of my purchase, the stove ricocheted from my palm to her backpacking son. Having occasion to see him using it to keep 4 teenage boys in chow for a night reignited my craving to get one on my gear shelf. It fit perfectly into my need to get as light as possible for a week trip in Colorado's (USA) Weminuche Wilderness with 3 younger, stronger backpackers; and to the circumstance of maybe-maybe not having a fire. In such, I want my campfire pot and a stove that will nest in it along with the medium-size (7.9 oz/220 g) canister. I bought the Crux for these reasons (and this time kept quiet about it.)

     I am always leery of stove parts that move; and with cold fingers I find it a little difficult to extend the arms. The extensions are tiny and sharp; and after getting hot once they don't rotate so easily. The control valve arm folds over the threaded neck for stowing and will allow the stove to seat on the canister in the folded position. It must be unfolded to work. The arm is green and the stove is black, so observing this requirement seems far from onerous. However, cold stupid demands utmost simplicity to make things work for me the first time. The burner head tilts very easily to rotate and snap into place. Simply pulling the neck down allows gravity to re-fold the head. There is no piezo to get mad at. The stow sleeve being undeniably cute adds 30% to the weight of the stove; I'm partial to a cereal bag.

    I think the stove uses about 1/4 oz (7 g) of fuel to bring 20 oz (0.7 L) of water just shy of boil. (This is not a conclusion based on any kind of standardized testing; and could be influenced by my bias in believing a folding head cannot be as efficient as a fixed head.) I didn't have a watch to time it in either circumstance.

    I've only used the stove on two canisters, both the same brand and not Optimus. I found the stove would light at about 1/8th of a turn on the control valve, but then requires persistent adjustment to about 5/8ths of a turn to maintain sufficient heat. It even blew out a couple times when I wasn't paying attention. After a couple of minutes, it maintains a steady flame without requiring further adjustment. It could be possible that cranking to high at the start would mitigate the need to attend the stove, but I am too fuel-miserly to do that and such a burst of flame would probably burn a hole in the fly.
My quick impressions of Crux:
    a) Insanely compact
    c) Remarkably light
    d) Not easiest to use
    e) Maybe not most efficient

Read more reviews of Katadyn gear
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Reviews > Cook and Food Storage Gear > Stoves > Optimus Crux stove > Owner Review by joe schaffer

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