Craig Rowe reports on what’s cooking in backcountry stoves for Fall 2013.
Soto’s OD-1RX compact canister stove, with its micro-regulator, now has interchangeable pot supports and a concave burner that sits below a ledge acting as a small wind screen, so the burner itself is not exposed to any wind.
Both the three-prong support for small pots and a wider, six-inch, four-arm support for larger pots are included. Each option slides just under the burner and snaps over its rim. The pot supports sit close to level with the ledge that surrounds the burner, restricting the amount of wind able to blow between the pot and burner. Soto reps tested it for me against “a leading competitor” (Primus’ Eta Express stove) and indeed, it fought their little handheld fan quite vigorously. However, the Eta comes with a windscreen and a heat exchanger pot, none of which were present during the wind test on the floor of the 2013 Winter Outdoor Retailer show. Still, it’s an impressive little stove.
Liberty Mountain Olicamp Ion Micro
Liberty Mountain is one of the nation’s largest distributors of outdoor products, including one of the smallest: the sweet little Olicamp Ion Micro. This is as small a canister stove as there is on the market. It’s also titanium and comes in at 1.5 oz., almost 4 oz. less than Soto’s OD-1BS. You could hike with this stove in your shirt pocket.
MSR Reactor 1.0 and 2.0 Liter Pots
Love your MSR Reactor? Well, now there’s more to love, thanks to two new compatible pot sizes. Using the same heat exchanging, wind-beating design as the original 1.7-liter pot, your Reactor can now mate with a slender 1-liter and group-worthy 2.5-liter pot. The new hanging system available for the Reactor, made of cable, has a metal cinch to secure it when aloft. Oh, and there’s a super-duty, steel mesh coffee press with a broad rubber seal to keep the grounds out of your teeth. This could put me off of cowboy coffee for good.
MSR is also introducing a wider array of plate/mug/pot combos that will go deeper into the nesting cookset markets. The two-person, Trail Lite Duo set-up has a ceramic non-stick interior that is almost advanced in its ability to withstand damage. It’s more expensive, so the company isn’t sure just how widespread a feature it will become. It sure does stand out. Oh, and the mugs are redesigned with a more secure lid and the DeepDish plates are even deeper.
Optimus released its new remote canister stove, the Vega, right before the show and I managed to get my hands on it for a few minutes. It’s compact, has broad pot supports and the canister can be inverted to allow the fuel to flow freely when a temperature drop reduces canister pressure. Remote canister stoves are a nice option that I’m glad the market is embracing. They keep your pot low to the ground and allow for the use of windscreens. We haven’t tested it, but it looks like a solid option.
Primus Eta Express
Extreme Makeover, Stove Edition! The Primus Eta line is drastically redesigned for 2013. New graphics, new heat exchanger designs, broader pots and probably the most ergonomic pot lid I’ve seen to date. The Eta Solo is their direct answer to Jetboil’s flagship and the Eta Power, another remote canister set-up, is an absolute blast furnace, as told to me by company reps. The Eta Express’ new design has a wide-base pot, which is better at heat transfer and creates a lower center of gravity. (We just tested the previous version, having not been able to obtain a new model) The windscreen uses a magnet to attach to the stove.