Posted by: denmanrandonneur | May 24, 2011

Primus OmniFuel Stove Review

After doing a lot of online research, I finally decided on buying a new stove and the Primus OmniFuel won out.  One of the main reasons why I bought this stove is because I went kayaking last summer in the Broughtons (out of Telegraph Cove) and my friend had one and it worked like a charm (when it had gas ~ we ran out, but more on that later).  My initial reaction was “Damn, that sucker is loud, but look at how well it works”.  It felt rock solid and it boiled water fast!  Since that trip, I’ve been looking at multi~fuel stoves when I went into outfitter stores and also online, and I’ve always come back to this one.  I previously had an old MSR WhisperLite and an all-in-one Coleman to compare it to, so this isn’t my first stove.  The WhisperLite (I think it was the international model, but wasn’t label as such at the time I bought it ~ around 1990) was a good stove, but I remember having to clean it on a regular basis and also trying to balance my pot on it without tipping it over.  The legs definitely had some flex to them compared to this new Primus.  That WhisperLite finally died, although I’m sure that I could have bought parts and resurrected it, but I couldn’t be bothered.  While living in Japan I bought a Coleman stove that had the fuel poured into the bottom part of the stove and the burner was on top.  It weighed a lot and it was near impossible to prime it when there was a pot on it.  I still have it and will keep it as a back up or to show the kids the different designs that stoves come in, but I doubt it will see much action outside the backyard now that I have this new stove.

With a little bit of background out of the way, now onto the review.  I picked it up at Robinson’s Outdoor Store in Victoria (what a great shop with tons of selection and very knowledgeable and friendly staff) for $132.99.  I saw it up in Courtenay at one of the outfitters for $188 and Mountain Equipment Co-op had it for $162.99, so it made the decision that much easier to buy it then and there.  I think it was the last one as they took it out of the display case for me and put it in the box that was under the counter.  Either way you look at it, it was brand new and a great price!

The box includes the stove, 3 jets, a multi~purpose tool for stove and fuel pump maintenance, a fuel pump for bottle use (bottles not included), grease, a wind screen and a nice little carrying bag with a zippered pocket on the inside.  I bought a couple of refillable bottles for use with white gas.  I also bought a 460ml propane isobutane butane canister of gas just to try out, but I think that I’ll be mainly sticking with white gas as I can see how much fuel is left in the bottle.  Last year while camping with one of these stoves, we ran out of gas mainly because we couldn’t see how much gas we had left.  If we knew how much gas we had left, we probably would have skipped that 3rd coffee after dinner 😉  White gas is a lot cheaper than those canisters, burns almost as clean and produces a lot less metal going into the recycle bin.  The instructions were easy to follow (yes, I did read the instructions ~ I must be getting old) and changing the jets is a straight forward operation.  The stove comes with 3 different jets to burn with different fuels and cleaning them is a snap with the multi-tool.  Connecting the fuel line with the gas canister required just screwing it on.  Open the main gas line, then the stove gas control and light.  It’s that simple.  The website says that you can boil water in 3:00 + 40 seconds for pre-heating.  I timed it at 4:15 which is pretty impressive the first time operating it. And yes, it was as loud as I remembered.  I mentioned this to the salesperson when I bought it and she said that it wouldn’t be as loud using white gas.  We’ll see.  It’s a very easy stove to use and the 3 foot “platform” for the pot is very stable.  Turning it off is simple as well.  Just turn off the main gas (the knob near the canister) and then the stove gas valve once the flame is out to ensure that all the fuel is out of the line.

The stove packs up small and everything fits nicely in the bag supplied.  The small items can be zipped away to ensure they wont accidently fall out.  I really like how this works on the initial test in the workshop and I look forward to using it out on the trail and when camping.  It’s not the lightest stove on the market, but it’s built like a tank and will burn anything that is remotely flammable, which give you piece of mind and confidence making it worth the little bit of extra weight.  I have no doubts that this stove will last decades and can’t even imagine all the places this stove will go with me now.

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