Model: Spirit Burner
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.)