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Gear Review: Optimus Crux Lite Stove

The Optimus Crux Lite is meant for backcountry foodies who need precise cooking control.
june 09 optimus crux lite 445x260Optimus Crux Lite (BP Photo Dept.)

Best for Gourmets

The Crux Lite is a superlight simmer king that’s spec’d out for the hiker-foodie. Its huge burner (at almost two inches across, it’s the biggest of the bunch) delivers enough heat to crank out a quick boil, yet it delicately–and evenly–sautés onions. The lime-green wire flame adjuster is easy to see and grab, and it delivers precise heat control. The stove’s three-inch overall height (the shortest tested) means pots have a low and stable center of gravity. But cold-weather performance is lackluster. "It didn’t bring my water to a full boil in 20°F temps," said a tester in Massachusetts. Durability was also an issue. We dropped all of the stoves in water, and only this one suffered real damage: It developed swivel-inhibiting rust in the pot-support joints.

Criteria less than 6 ounces; less than $65
Test numbers 120 meals cooked; 50 gallons of water boiled; temps 0° to 70°F; winds up to 60 mph
Ratings scale 5 = Perfect gear, 1 = Save your money (Overall rating is not an average of other scores.)

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