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Primus Express (BP Photo Dept.)
A durable metal Piezo switch
This stove’s best-in-test boil times and efficiency make it the top choice if every item in your food bag starts with “instant.” Speedy cooking is enhanced by the Piezo automatic lighter, which proved reliable even in freezing temps. Stability is also superior. “The one-piece sawtooth arms gripped cookware like Velcro,” said a tester. The tradeoffs? Limited flame control: One tester left his oatmeal to simmer while he stuffed his sleeping bag and came back to a crusty mess. And the flame-adjustment knob is impossible to see under any size pot.
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.)