Two years ago I shared my five go-to backpacking stove systems, including what I use in the winter and when in a group. These systems are proven, but they’re less efficient than integrated kits, and the a la carte components are less convenient to obtain (and perhaps more expensive) than multi-piece sets.
Last week at Outdoor Retailer, I saw the Primus PrimeTech Stove Set, which appears to rectify some of the imperfections of my recommended kits. It competes against the MSR Windburner Group Stove System, but offers more and is better priced. It is available now, in two pot volume sizes:
- PrimeTech 1.3L ($130, 25.6oz)
- PrimeTech 2.3L ($140, 30.6 oz)
Each kit includes:
- A low-to-the-ground metal windscreen with an integrated burner;
- Piezo ignitor;
- Two 1.3- or 2.3-liter pots, both made of hard anodized aluminum,
- One with a ceramic non-stick coating, and
- The other with a heat exchanger around its base;
- Transparent lid with integrated colander;
- Pot grip; and, a
- Stuff sack.
The burner is regulated, so it will better maintain its performance with low-pressure fuel canisters, i.e. that are cold or approaching empty. It specs at 7000 BTU’s per hour, and will burn for 119 minutes on a 230-g/8.1-oz fuel canister.
The pots are “squatty,” which improves fuel efficiency and stability. The 1.3-liter pots spec at 7.1″ in diameter x 4.3″ tall; the 2.3L, 7.9″ diameter x 5.4″ tall.
The entire kit nests together, to make it easily packable.
Personally, I liked most the system’s stable low-the-ground profile and a few thoughtful details, notably the insulated stuff sack that doubles as a pot cozy and the lockable pot grip that can be used as a traditional standalone grip (albiet a more secure one) or that can be attached for the duration of the meal, like a handle.
Versus my recommended kits, the PrimeTech Set is probably a little bit heavier (although I can’t say by how much without breaking apart the 25.6- and 30.6-oz weights into line-items), but it will most definitely be more stable and more fuel efficient. Primus reports that the system captures 80 percent of the fuel’s potential energy, which would make a huge different when melting snow in the winter. The PrimeTech should cost less, too, by about $25 to $50.
A few weeks after OR I was sent a PrimeTech 1.3L system, thanks! Here are the component weights:
- 10.1 oz — Windscreen with integrated burner and pot supports
- 6.2 oz — Hard anodized non-stick 1.3-liter pot with heat exchanger
- 5.0 oz — Hard anodized 1.3-liter pot
- 2.3 oz — Lid
- 0.8 oz — Aluminum stove base reflector
- 2.1 oz — Pot grip
- 1.1 oz — Ignitor
- 1.7 oz — Cozy stuff sack
A minimum system weight would be 20.0 to 21.2 oz for the 1.3-liter version, which is 3.7 to 4.9 heavier but $36 less expensive than my recommend 2L a la carte system. This assumes that I use my Bic lighter instead of the ignitor and that I leave behind one of the pots and the aluminum reflector.
Questions about the PrimeTech? Leave a comment. I can get the answers.
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Tags: Outdoor Retailer, Primus
I have a Primus Eta Express and I really like the pot. The stove and the windscreen suck, I actually am intending to swap the stove out with a better stove, but I *can* do that, which is why the Primus heat exchanger pots are really charming.
My practical experience has been great with it. It’s a bit more heavy than my TI pots but the heat exchange unit on the bottom does seem to make a good difference in practice.
The windscreen here looks better, but it’s still worth testing I imagine. It was basically useless on the eta express.
How do you think this compares to something like:
Without comparing them side by side, I would say they generally serve the same niche. Group or winter camping, both capable of using inverted canisters (due to pre-heat tube), stable profile, etc.
Certainly “squatty” pots increase efficiency, if boil time is the only criterion for efficiency.
Otoh, they make simmering much more problematic. The center gets all the heat. With a taller pot, the heat is distributed up through the column, rather than boiling the center and leaving the edges relatively unheated.
I’m also not fully on board regarding the increased stability of a wide pot. It is certainly more likely to be bumped in tight quarters, being larger in diameter, and if bumped, liquid contents run faster away from the bump, leading to upset. I think the most stable pot is about as wide as it is tall.
Of course the size of the platform (the stove) figures in too.
Regarding keeping things hot longer, the taller pot wins every time.
I would guess that a short pot with the cozy is at least as thermally efficient as a taller pot.
Is this system able to do a liquid feed?
I can’t find that in the product description. It talks abut the regulated valve, but nothing about burning an inverted cannister.
I asked them specifically. They confirmed that it will work with an invested canister.
Hmm. I Emailed them and here is what they said: “We don’t recommend inverting the canister, but use our winter gas that is specifically designed for cold temperatures.”
Their ETA Spyder stove – which has specs very close to the Windburner – has an adapter kit to burn standard bottled liquid fuel. I wonder if there was confusion?
I got another Email from Brunton/Primus from the Product repair specialist:
“I’m sorry, but I think there was some confusion on our end earlier. The PrimeTech stove can definitely be used with an inverted canister, and in fact the burner and valve are both specially designed in ways which complement that type of use. Also, you can use a standard pot with the PrimeTech stove, and there are some fold-out legs which can be used with larger diameter cookware.”
Can the burner get pulled out easily? To be replaced with dragonfly or whisperlite. I use a Primus ETA pot with dragonfly for a significant time and fuel savings in melting snow but still need a stove support and this windscreen could be pretty slick especially as it will add yet more efficiency.
I didn’t ask if it was removable, but my guess is that it’s not easy to remove, if it even can be.
The whole system is designed to work together. A Whisperlite or Dragonfly will not sit inside the windscreen in the same way — they are much taller than this burner.
The Primus site says it is “integrated”, so I agree that it is unlikely to be designed to be removed for other uses.
How is canister supported in liquid feed mode?
Also total weight and weight with heat exchanger pot only
I like it seems designed with cold and snow in mind. Am I correct that under teh burner is a flat bottom that would help stop it from melting into the snow?
Interesting that it comes with a pot with heat exchanger and a pot without. That would imply that you can use the stove with a regular pot, which is something I don’t believe the Windburners or Reactors do. That would make it a much more flexible system. I wonder what just the stove and regular pot weigh. No infor on the site. For a short trip when you don;t have to carry much fuel it might be more weight-efficient.
The Windburner Duo is listed at 21 oz. with one .85L pot (and a bowl). The Prime Tech you spec at 25.6 oz with two 1.3L pots. Take away a pot and that is pretty darn weight competitive.
BTW: The ETA Spider stove looks pretty interesting as well. Really competes directly with the Windburner in a lower, more stable format.
What is the aluminum reflector for? From pictures I have seen there is a more or less solid bottom to the burner assembly.
Also, does a canister nest with the kit when packing? One review (it may have been a pre-production version) says it doesn’t. That would be really annoying.
If you were using it in snow, I think you’d want the base. There are some holes in the bottom of the “windscreen” that would slowly melt the snow underneath, causing it to sink; if the metal heats up (which it would, at least more than skinny legs like on the MSR stoves), that would add to the melting.
In the 1.3L version, all of the components can be nested inside the pot, except for the canister. I don’t think it’s fair to expect that you can get a canister to fit in there, too — that’s not possible with other remote canister stoves either when using a 1.3L pot. With the 2.3L, there might be enough space for it.
Well, I just ordered one, so I guess we’ll find out how it works.
This Primus setup looks very cool indeed compared to both the MSR Windburner and their WindPro II remote canister stove. For efficiency and integrated pots I don’t think it can be beat— fuel/weight savings, inverted canister mode for cold & low fuel, plus full flexibility to use any pot! And the included case that doubles as an insulated pot warmer allows you to shut off the stove sooner, then let the meal continue cooking inside the bag from retained heat, saving even more fuel.
One thing I would correct though— there is actually one remote canister stove that packs down tiny enough to fit alongside a 110g fuel bottle in a 600ml pot/mug, and it’s the new GSI Pinnacle 4-Season, which fits inside their 600 ml Minimalist pot/mug kit. I bought this setup a few months ago and it’s a very cool alternative to the MSR WindPro II for use of an inverted canister, windscreen and pot stability. A really great performing stove, only 6oz and very efficient. But for overall efficiency, fuel savings, and design integration it still can’t compete with this Primus PrimeTech system, or the MSR Windburner. But it’s a great piece of kit for an ultralight remote canister stove, and a great alternative to typical on-canister models like the PocketRocket, etc. But if I’d known about this PrimeTech system I would have gotten it first, then maybe the GSI as a backup
What do you estimate as the upper limit of pot volume on that GSI stove? This is a downfall of “ultralight” 4-season stoves. The stove needs to balance 1-gallon pots, because that’s a minimum for 2 people on a winter trip. And big pots and small pot support arms don’t match very well.
Would the 1.3 be too small to be useful as a snow melter?
From what I can find online (no where to see one in person near me!) 1.3 is the total volume, as opposed to the useable volume.
Secondly, would the HX pan be useable with other stoves, or is the area inside the fins only compatable with the stove set?
I’ve always used a 2-liter pot for solo use when melting snow. A 1.3-L would be okay for occasional use, especially with an efficient stove, but I wouldn’t want to make a habit out of it.
Smashing, thank you.
I have used mine as a snow melter. For solo it works pretty well, but I’d consider bringing a second pot or an insulated container for the water so you can use the pot for cooking after melting a lot of water.
So after using it for a couple days camping in cascade snow, I mostly really liked it, but the details were a bit of a mixed bag.
First, they need to get their customer service figured out. I asked them to confirm that it could be used with an inverted canister since it wasn’t mentioned in the product description, and the first reply said no. I also asked whether a canister would nest in it and the reply was (quoted directly from the email), “Yeah, pretty much any of them will, although in the smaller 1.3L set a large 450g canister doesn’t quite fit, or at least not very well.” It does not. Not even close. See photo at https://www.dropbox.com/s/42slraz1a7t85n4/2018-03-15%2016.50.51.jpg?dl=0
However I cannot complain about its performance in the field. I loved the low, stable design, the interchangability of pots, and it melted snow like a champ. There are no instructions for using the inverted canister, so I found out that you need to heat up the element before inverting it, like using a liquid stove. 🙂 It is so quiet that it is difficult to tell how hard it is running, or whether it is running at all.
The awkward details: The valve has to be turned several times to the fully open position to light it, and there is very little resistance in it, so coupled with the quiet burner tuning the flame requires looking at it and it is easy to accidentally turn it off when dialing it back. It doesn’t have the same firm feel of my Pocket Rocket. What I really don’t get is that the way they nest together, the rim on the lid is just slightly larger than the diameter of the windscreen, so when you pack up the kit the lid doesn’t quite sit in place. The bag is what holds the lid on. I find this really annoying, and I sent a picture to Primus. See picture at https://www.dropbox.com/s/7o8qq8vam2dyv5f/2018-03-16%2010.43.30.jpg?dl=0
BTW: I think the heat exchanger pot will fit on a Pocket Rocket, so i may play around with that combo as a lighter alternative but with more efficiency than a regular pot.
I have not published a review yet, but everything you said is about right. It’s like Primus designed the components independently, and at the last-minute packaged them up together. So it’s not nearly as compact and well fitting as it should be.
Forgot to mention, the locking potgripper is great. Feels very solid when it is locked on the pot. Hopefully it stays that way over time. Overall I think the system is a viable alternative to a system stove with better stability and flexibility.
@Langley – Did you ever try the 1.3L pot with the heat exchanger with the Pocketrocket? If so, did it fit? Since this 1.3L pot is sold without the stove, I was thinking about purchasing it specifically as an efficient pot to pair with a Pocketrocket 2.
I believe that you might have a small error. According to Primus the heat exchanger is on the ceramic coated pot while the non-coated pot has a traditional design.
Just realized you have it listed correctly in weights section, but reverse up above.
How does it compare to the MSR Windburner Group system?
( https://www.msrgear.com/windburner-group-system )
But how does the Primus’ compare to the MSR Group System in windy conditions, not using any windscreen except the build in windscreen?
I’m considering getting either the Primetech 2.3 L or the MSR Windburner Group system… and the MSR are on sale in a local shop right now, so a quick answer is greatly appreciated (Copenhagen, Denmark).
This is what I’ve gathered from the internet thus far:
* If you remove one pot, I guess that they’re quite similar in weight?
* The Primus’ support third-party pots, which the MSR doesn’t.
* The Primus officially supports using inverted canisters in cold conditions, albeit Primus recomends using Primus winter gas instead. MSR specifically state that inverted canistesr shouldn’t be used. Both stoves lacks generator couls (a metal pipe in contact with the stove flame, evaporating the cold, liquid gas before it’s burned).
* The MSR nests the components better when packed down.
* The MSR probably performs better in windy conditions.
Hope the summary above will be of use to other people 🙂
I have used the Primetech 1.3, so there may be some differences I don’t know. Resonding to your summary:
* If you remove one pot, I guess that they’re quite similar in weight?
This is probably close, if not exact. Their tech specs really need to be improved.
* The Primus’ support third-party pots, which the MSR doesn’t.
Correct. I asked about this before I ordered mine.
* The Primus officially supports using inverted canisters in cold conditions, albeit Primus recomends using Primus winter gas instead. MSR specifically state that inverted canistesr shouldn’t be used. Both stoves lacks generator couls (a metal pipe in contact with the stove flame, evaporating the cold, liquid gas before it’s burned). The Pimus definitely works with an inverted canister. You have to run it upright until the stove heats up. This is not included in the instructions. The fuel recommendation is based on their claim that the construction of their winter fuel canister keeps the fuel at a higher pressure. https://primus.us/pages/primus-gas I am somewhat skeptical. But that problem is mitigated by inverting the canister. They do not sell a stand that will hold an inverted canister.
* The MSR nests the components better when packed down.
This might be true, but with the larger 2.3L may be less of an issue. See my comment above about the fit of the pieces. On the 1.3L The lid does not quite fit properly on the burner unit (it is seriously like a couple mm off – very frustrating. Also, the pot with the heat exchanger – the heavier one is the coated one. Since the burner unit nests inside the pots, you have to pad it if you only want to take the coated pot to prevent wear on the nonstick coating.
* The MSR probably performs better in windy conditions.
Probably true due to the radiant burner design and integrated pot. But with the heat exchanger maybe its not that bad? I also haven’t used it enough to evaluate fuel use.
I do not know about the controlability of the Windburner, but there is very good flame control on the Primus, though it is so quiet you have to look at it to know what it is doing and it takes a lot of turns on the valve to control. I love the fact it sits on the ground and is super stable.
MSR does have some additional pot options (like a big 4L sauce pot) but they are also pretty pricey, and they all have the locking ring/heat exchanger built in, so you can’t choose a lighter weight option. I am also not familiar with how easy it is to switch pots on and off the Windburner during a meal.
I would say the Primus may not be quite as well designed of a kit, but it gives you some flexibility the MSR does not (canister and pots). Some annoyances aside, the 1.3 is pretty good bang for the buck.
Thank you for the elaborate reply! It’s greatly appreciated 🙂
I’ve done a bit more research, and I think it was this review of the MSR Windburner Group system ( https://www.ukhillwalking.com/gear/camping/cooking/msr_windburner_group_stove_system-10451 ) which mentions that the wind-blocking ability are less impressive due to the burner head being more exposed on that version of the stove, probably to allow for greater simmer control.
I just went to the store to look at the MSR Windburner Group Stove, and here’s a picture of the stove atop of the burner: https://i.imgur.com/ysPCcCo.jpg
It’s easy to see that it’s not that well shielded.
If I’m going to upgrade my stove, I’ll go for the Primus Primetech.
Hi. 55 and just bought my first stove. I purchased the 2.3L Primetech. Upon attaching Primus fuel canister (3 attempts), fuel came out. This was while screwing it onto the regulator. Is that normal? Didn’t seem right to me. Guess I will see if it does it upon disconnecting. Again, “this is a first.”
Yes, normal. Some gas escapes after the canister seal is broken but before the valve is fully covered.
Also, make sure the stove is not turned “on” when you connect the canister, otherwise you’ll be wasting fuel and creating a small safety hazard.
Thank you Andrew. I was just a trifle concerned. I did make sure that the valve was off. Thank you for your prompt reply. I will be tent camping on Lopez Island in Washington States San Juan Islands. Casual mountain biking, kayaking and fishing.
Lopez is beautiful. My sister lives there and I’ve camped there with my kids. My daughter’s first “backpacking” trip was hiking from the ferry to Odlin Park.
Stove Won’t Light: I purchased a Primetech 1.3 and tried lighting the stove under controlled conditions – no wind, warm temp – before taking it into the field. I am using a new Primus winter gas canister, closed the valve before attaching, then when completely screwed on, opened the valve 2 turns before attempting to light the stove. After several tries, the stove would not light.
I returned the first stove, and received a replacement. Followed the same steps, and again, the stove will not light.
Can you suggest any troubleshooting tips ?
Have you tried swapping the gas canister? It could be an issue of a bad valve?
It’s also quite obvious, but I to have to ask: Are the gas canister pressurized (or full, or whatever it’s called)? You can shake it, and you should feel the liqued gas swash inside.
Have you tried opening the valve e more than 2 turns? I found I have to have it fully open to light mine. The valve is not easy to determine how open it is and there is very little resistance. Have you tried a standard fuel canister (not the winter fuel)?
Thanks langleybackcountry. That was the proble The instructions say to open the 2 turns, when it really requires 5+. I’d also warn others that opening the valve all the way may result in it becoming stuck, requiring a wrench and patience. This functionality does not give me much confidence to take the Primus into the backcountry – I’ll try it car camping, though, with a Jetboil as backup. Happy trails!
Glad to help! The valve is definitely a little weird. That being said, I’ve taken it out twice on low-stakes winter outings for 2 nights each time and it has performed just fine. I have used it in liquid fuel mode (inverted canister). I have not tried the winter fuel, so I’d love to get a report on that and whether it is any different.
Will do; I plan to take it out later this week for some cold weather camping! Thanks
Hello, I’d like to add one comment that I know – this kind of all [integrated micro regulator] butane stoves have the same charicteristics, the valve doesn’t have “resistance”, and need so many times of turns.
So it’s not the faulty matter, no worries.
Thanks Allan, yes, I’ve tried 3 different canisters, including 2 different new Primus winter gas. Both full of course and work well with my jetboil. I’ve used the spark lighter that came with the set, as well as a flame lighter applied directly to the burner.
It seems the gas is not getting through the tube connecting the gas canister to the stove.
Just wondering what stove you would recommend for larger groups like 10-12 people? I’ve read a few of your articles on stoves, but they all seem to be for around 5-6 people? What’s the best bet for bigger groups……can this primus stove hold bigger 1 gallon pots? Thanks!
Gotta be multiple stoves. Backpacking stoves take forever to boil large quantities of water. I’d go liquid because the volume of canisters would be ridiculous and you can spread the weight of stoves and fuel around multiple people.
I do (or did) 3-night backpacking trips with groups of 10 middle schoolers and we use mostly Whisperlites. We tried Dragonflies for a couple years, but they just don’t have quite the same power for big pots of water. And the middle schoolers didn’t really use the fine temperature control. 🙂
Hi Andrew and everyone,
I have Primus Lite XL. It is perfect for solo or two persons but 1L is not enough for more people. And looking for bigger one I was looking into Primetech and found this excellent review.
In my Lite XL the burner can be used with other pots but with lower efficiency. Don’t you know is it possible to use it with Primetech 2.3L Pot with heat exchanger? The difference of price of full set with burner and only pot set is significant.
I know that the burner should be wider for usage with Primetech but it looks that the height of the heat exchanger is the same as in Lite XL Pot.
I’m pretty sure that the XL burner will be compatible with the 2.3L pot. Not an ideal setup, but I think it’d work.
Thank you, Andrew, for a quick reply.
What do you mean by “not an ideal setup”? What are the main disadvantages? I’m trying to understand the trade-off between buying full Primetech set (with burner) or just pot set and using existing burner.
The “ideal setup” for the 2.3L pot is the PrimeTech burner — it was all designed to work together. So as soon as you move away from that system, it’s not ideal. In this particular case, I’d be most concerned about the stability. The XL burner twist-locks into the XL pot. But if you use the XL burner with the 2.3 pot, I fear the pot sliding around on the guardrail that protects the XL burner. That’s the way every other a la carte stove/pot system would be, but obviously an integrated stove system or a lower-sitting system would be better.
Thank you Andrew
I think that’s the same problem Lite XL burner would have with non-native pots although it is possible to use. I think I’ll try to find Primetech in one of local offline stores to test the setup for stability.
I think that’s one reason system stoves aren’t generally used with non-system pots.
FWIW, the Prime Tech can be used with anything. There are pot extensions for pots wider than the diameter of the base unit.