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Optimus Crux Review

   

Backpacking Stoves

  • Currently 4.3/5
Overall avg rating 4.3 of 5 based on 4 reviews. Most recent review: August 27, 2014
Street Price:   Varies from $35 - $40 | Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, very compact, creative case design.
Cons:  Burner oxidizes.
Best Uses:  Spring, summer and fall backpacking and camping.
User Rating:     
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 (4.7 of 5) based on 3 reviews
Recommendations:  100% of reviewers (3/3) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Optimus
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ October 13, 2010  
Overview
The Optimus Crux is our favorite small canister style backpacking stove for warm weather use. It's tiny, durable, fast, and has a very convenient case that stores the stove under a fuel canister. If you plan to bring a small canister stove to high elevations, opt instead for the more expensive Soto OD-1R ($70). Or for $10 less you can get the larger and heavier MSR Pocket Rocket. Of these three options, we favor the Crux because of its folding stem and excellent case design.

If environmentally harmful fuel canisters and tiny unstable stoves aren't your thing, we recommend the stable, versatile, and durable MSR Whisperlite. This liquid fuel stove will last you a lifetime.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Likes
The Optimus Crux is the most compact stove we reviewed. It's also our favorite canister stove for warm weather backpacking. Two unique features set it apart from other canister stoves. First, a folding stem allows the burner to flip down into a tiny overall package. Second, the stove's pot supports extend up and out from the burner, creating a durable and compact design. Our favorite feature of the stove is actually its case. This supremely innovative yet intuitive case puts the folded stove in a padded neoprene sleeve that attaches to the bottom of a fuel canister. This case fills the hard-to-pack void beneath each canister. We believe this design protects the stove nearly as well as the MSR Pocket Rocket's hardcase. Furthermore, when the stove is packed under a canister it takes up virtually no additional space in your pack. We think this is awesome.

The Crux weighs 2.92 ounces, just 0.32 ounces more than the lightest stove we reviewed. Boiling a liter of water in just over three minutes, the Crux is the fastest small canister stove we reviewed.

Dislikes
The burner on the Crux oxidized after our first use. This turned it from shiny factory black to crimson rust. While this is purely aesthetic, it did not happen to either the Pocket Rocket or OD-1R.

Best Application
The Crux is best for fast and light backpacking at elevations under 12,000 feet.

Value
The Crux is the best value of the three small canister stoves reviewed here.

Other Versions
Optimus also makes the Optimus Crux Lite, a non-folding version of the Crux that weighs one-half ounce less. This is a great option if saving even the smallest amount of weight is your top priority. We still prefer the Crux because it folds into a smaller package and takes up less space. You can buy the Crux and Crux Lite with custom fitting pots for an extra $20 in the Optimus Crux Lite with Terra Solo Cook System, $60. The Crux Lite Solo Cook System combines the Crux Lite and the Terra Weekend Cook Set.

If you're looking for a backpacking stove that is full-featured and has a durable multi-fuel option, check out the Optimus Nova, $150.

Chris McNamara and Max Neale

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: August 27, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.7)

100% of 3 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
4 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (2)
4 star: 50%  (2)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 3 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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   Aug 27, 2014 - 09:09am
Stefan Jacobsen · Climber · Danmark
With a titanium cup fitting burner and a small gas canister it is hard to beat when going lightweight. Unfortunately, the hinges of the pot supports become loose making them unstable.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Aug 6, 2012 - 04:02pm
H2 · Mountain Biker · Norway
Clever design!

I pack it inside an Optimus Terra Solo cookset, along with matches or a fire steel, a Primus footrest for the gas canister and a sponge for doing the dishes. I've found a small plastic box for the Crux to avoid scratching the inside of the pots.

The gas canister goes outside, but that just allows me to use a larger canister than would fit inside the cookset.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Oct 17, 2010 - 08:36pm
Fritz · Climber · Choss Creek, ID
Fast at boiling water, but the burner spreads out the flame and you can actually cook on it. I've cooked hamburger for tacos and sauteed pork chops on it: with no problems at the lower flame settings.

Gourmet or fast---your choice on the same stove.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Optimus Crux
Credit: www.optimus.se
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