Let’s Get This Fire Started!
Cooking on a camp fire is great. It’s the cherry on that proverbial “Yes, we’re camping!! cake. Campfires lift your spirits when cold, hypnotise us into a dreamy state and form the centre of any camp spot where we can relax and reflect on the day.
But truth be told, they can also become an eyesore if not managed correctly and cooking with an open fire is not particularly easy either. Flame control is tricky and with a large group you end up having to wait your turn. Oh yes, and let’s not forget the one who knocks over the pot of water, extinguishing half of the fire!
We’re not saying don’t have camp fires, but we can all appreciate the benefits of the stove. They’re efficient, lightweight, mobile, and you can get your cooking done and dusted with less fuss meaning you can slip off to bed early to grab those very much needed zzzz ready for the next day of adventures.
As with all Optimus products, what you get is a wonderful piece of engineered kit that’s been designed by outdoor enthusiasts, for outdoor enthusiasts. This package contains Crux Lite burner, gas canister, wind shield, ignitor, BOB sponge, one large pot and small pot that doubles as a teeny weeny fry pan and/or lid. This all packs neatly into a carry bag with a pull cord enclosure, noice.
Optimus have designed every aspect of this to be ‘pack clever‘. Most of the parts fold away and each item fits snugly into one another, making it a very compact-able piece of kit. There are multiple cooking products out there in the Optimus range but we thought this particular system was a great all round lightweight cooking solution for the weekender or the serious through-hiker.
What’s In The Box?
- Crux Lite stove (72 g).
- Handheld piezo ignitor.
- 0.95 L Terra Weekend HE Heat Exchange pot with nonstick coating, pouring lid and measuring marks (ml and oz).
- Fry pan that doubles as a lid.
- Light weight clip-on windshield that increases stove efficiency and reduces gas consumption.
- Stuff bag.
- BOB outdoor sponge.
- User manual.
Fuel type: LPG Gas
Average burn time: Up to 90 min at maximum output (with 220 g of fuel)
Dimensions (mm): 165 × Ø 124
Average boil time for 1 L of water: Approx. 2.3 min, depending on climate, altitude etc.
- Guarantee: 2 years
- Material: Stainless steel, aluminium
- Weight: 450grams approx.
A Powerful Punch!
The Optimus Crux Lite stove is a compact little thing, 73grams in fact, but considering its size and weight, it packs one hell of a punch when it comes to power. The adjustment takes a bit of fine tuning to get the right output. On full power, it feels as if it’s about to take off. Don’t worry, it doesn’t. We just haven’t seen this much output in such a tiny burner before.
The head on the stove has a wide and flat design with a fine mesh screen, which helps to keep a consistent and controllable flame. As if making the stove this small wasn’t enough, Optimus ensure it’s ability to pack down even smaller with the fold away arms and flame control handle.
The main pot holds 0.9L of water, just enough to re-hydrate two dried meals or a large meal for one. The pots feature a non-stick surface making it easier come cleaning time, especially out in the bush. The main pot also has some handy measurement markings on the side.
In addition to the main pot, there is a lid which doubles up as a very small frying pan or shallow pot. Both pots come with high visibility rubber coated handles that fold away when packing and help reduce burning those pinkies. The rubber coated handles also prevent the pots from getting scratched up too much.
Washing up can be a pain in the outdoors but the combination of the non-stick coating and the useful little BOB sponge (supplied) made washing up a breeze. The BOB is essentially a small scouring pad with two surfaces, one rough and the other smooth. When it comes to packing it all down, the entire system has been designed to accomodate each other. Each piece fits neatly into place, pots, stove, wind shield, gas canister, ignitor and BOB. The ergonomics and space have been very well thought out.
We tested the boil time with a full pot of water, which holds 0.9 litres. From cold water to boiling it only took 2 minutes, on average. That was in calm conditions with no wind but we still used the windshield. The time was only slightly longer without the shield, so the shield certainly helped retain a little bit of heat.
But, in truth, the quick time is primarily due to the Heat Exchange technology that’s built into the base of the pot. Optimus claim you get 28% faster boil time at a 20% fuel savings. All we can say is that Optimus are true to their word. Those fins certainly transfer heat efficiently. The combination of materials and technology makes this a very efficient stove and pot set up.
The flame control is straight forward with an easy to use control high-vis rubberised handle. We particularly liked the bold + and – sign on the stove. Yeah, we’re easily pleased but I can’t count the times I’ve managed to turn off the stove by turning the lever the wrong way on our other stoves. Sometimes the small things in life are the best.
These types of stoves are quick to set up because there’s no priming needed. You just simply turn the lever, hold up the piezo ignitor to the stove head, click and hey presto! We’re in business. However, the flame was a little sensitive and did tend to creep back down to a smaller flame at times but we soon got it dialled in. Just try not to be too heavy handed with it.
Where to Buy / Price
Price: $150.00 – approx
- You can pick up the Optimus Elektra FE Cook System at most good outdoor retailers.
Who Are Optimus?
Founded in Stockholm in 1899, the company has often set new technical standards over its lengthy history. Optimus have been part of innumerable expeditions and have won many awards for their lightweight and highly efficient cook systems.
Optimus have been a firm favourite with many adventurers and for good reason: Bound by the tradition of its name, Optimus products are continuously re-engineered for further improvements and innovations for the most demanding of environments around the globe. Optimus products last the test of time, for example just take a look at their true classic…the Optimus Svea, which continues to sell successfully after more than 70 years and has achieved cult status among outdoor enthusiasts.
Author: Jason Lorch
Born and grew up in Wales but now a fully fledged Aussie. A passionate mountain biker, hiker and general nature addict. I’m also a bit of a muso and enjoy a good craft beer every now and again (probably too often).
I hope what we do here at Tyres and Soles will inspire people to get out there and experience first hand, the natural wonders that surround them.
So, pump up those tyres, don your favourite boots. Grab a mate, a partner, a pet… and head out into nature. But tell us all about it when you get back.
Chief editor at Tyres and Soles.