Testing The Tiny Optimus Crux Stove

Optimus Crux In our bike touring so far, we’ve mostly used expedition stoves such as the MSR Whisperlite and the Primus Omnifuel.

Recently, however, we’ve been cycling a bit closer to home, and we haven’t necessarily needed such heavy duty stoves. Often, we just want to make a quick bowl of pasta or cup of coffee.

For that reason, we’ve been trying out canister stoves, such as the Optimus Crux.

Canister stoves in general are very easy to use, and this one is no exception. You take the Optimus Crux burner, screw it onto a pre-pressurized gas cartridge, turn the knob to release the fuel and light it. The whole process takes about a minute. Here’s a video that shows how it works.

These are the essential facts about this burner:

  • 60 minutes burn time with a 220g gas canister
  • 3 minute average boil time for 1 liter of water
  • 8.4cm x 5.7cm x 3.1cm folded up
  • Weighs 83g
  • Comes with a nifty stuff sack (more on that later)

When folded, the Optimus Crux easily fits in the palm of your hand. It’s pretty obvious why this stove might appeal to anyone looking for a simple cooking solution or trying to make their bags lighter.

Testing out one tiny Optimus stove

We’ve tested this stove about 12 times now. Here are our impressions.

First, the positive:

  • The Optimux crux burns hot and cleanly.
  • It’s compact and light.
  • It’s affordable. Just $59.95 U.S. for the stove and cooking pot, plus a lid that doubles as a frying pan.
  • The stuff sack that comes with the stove is impressive as well. In the bag, the Optimus Crux fits perfectly on the underside of a gas canister. An elastic holds everything together and keeps the stove from jiggling around while you’re on the move. Neat idea!

And now, the negative:

  • Stability. The canister, burner and pot make a tall structure that’s prone to tipping over. This stove must be on level ground.
  • Poor flame control. If the stove is on full-blast it works well. When we tried to simmer, the stove would turn itself off unless we watched it very carefully. Annoying!

Our Verdict: We love how compact this stove is and the price is nice too but it’s annoying how this stove sometimes turns itself off. If you just want to quickly boil water for coffee, you probably won’t care or notice this issue. If you want to gently fry vegetables, it’s going to annoy you but you may be willing to put up with the poor flame control for the price.

Remember that any gas canister stove has certain issues. You may not find the fuel everywhere (particularly outside the developed world). The old, empty canisters create a lot of garbage and you can’t fly with a gas canister (you have to be able to buy the fuel at your destination). Serious chefs may be more annoyed by the lack of stability than cyclists who just want to quickly boil water.

This review is based on a free sample, provided by Optimus for testing. We agreed to return the stove after testing it.


  1. Richard
    17th December 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    Great review. I have had this stove and cooking pot for a while and I love it. Highly recommended for hill walking and short cycle tours. The adjustment was fiddly and it too sometimes turned itself off. I contacted Optimus directly and they replaced it under warranty. I think there is a faulty batch. Optimus is a great company for service and fine products.

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    invest in a £14 optimus windshield- solves the cut out on simmering issue under most circumstances and fits around a gas canister.

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