The Good: Compact, easy system with some great details.
The Bad: Burner is a bit tipsy when cooking with any other pans but the included one.
The Awesome: From Snow to Hot Chocolate in minutes. Super fast cooking means I have more time to enjoy the outdoors.
No matter where you go, there’s a simple fact when you venture outside. We all gotta eat, and warm food is way better than the cold stuff. I’ve cooked with many systems over the years, from super compact wood fires to fancy gas backcountry kitchens. With that in mind I’ve settled on a pretty solid mantra that less is best . . . to a point. I don’t want to pack in a huge kitchen setup in the backcountry, but I also don’t want to sit around a flat rock for an hour waiting for another small pot of water to boil. That’s where a compact system like the Primus Lite XL comes in. The pieces all nest together, but it’s 1 liter pot can cook a whole meal and enjoy it in the included bowl. Then in the morning, plan on enjoying your coffee and oatmeal at the same time because it can boil enough to get you both. The entire system weighs in at 15.9 oz which is very respectable with these features.
The burner is a 5500 BTU unit that securely attaches to the bottom of the pan so it stays stable without sliding around. The integrated fins also make the best use of the heat so it warms up faster too. Add in a lid with integrated sieve and rubberized handles and it’s more posh than I’m used to out there, but I’m definitely ok with that.
The stove heated a pot of snow to boiling in under 9 minutes, which means I can be quickly relaxing with my meal after a long day not matter what the local water source may be.
Speaking of cold, we tested the winter fuel that came along with the stove as well, which is specifically formulated for cold and elevation. It sliced about a minute and a half off of boiling time at 4000 feet in 30 degree weather compared to a standard fuel canister, which amounts to a significant benefit if you’re planning on wandering into the colder side of things. According to the company they’ve added a “Vapour Mesh, made from absorbent paper that increases the surface for the evaporation process. Thus, Winter Gas changes from liquid to gas much faster, making it the perfect choice for sub-zero conditions. After 60 minutes of cooking, a Winter Gas cartridge is approximately 9 % more powerful than one without Vapour Mesh. After 120 minutes of use it delivers about 15 % more power.”
Overall, if you’re looking for a compact cooking system this is a great mix between lightweight and comfortably functional, the Primus Lite XL is a solid performer. Pick up that winter fuel for colder outings and you’re going to be set no matter where you decide to adventure.
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