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Optimus Crux Lite Review

Optimus Crux Lite camp stove
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Price:  $40 List | $39.45 at Amazon
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Pros:  Lightweight
Cons:  Burner oxidizes, not as compact as the PocketRocket or Micro Rocket
Manufacturer:   Optimus
By Jessica Haist ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 10, 2015
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72
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Fuel Efficiency - 25% 6
  • Time to Boil - 20% 8
  • Versatility - 25% 7
  • Weight - 15% 10
  • Stability - 10% 3
  • Packed Size - 5% 10

Our Verdict

The Optimus Crux Lite is, as you may have guessed, a slightly lighter version than the original Crux version of this small canister stove. The head of the Crux Lite does not fold over, and therefore saves weight by omitting that part — but it does not pack as small as the Crux. The Crux Lite is $10 less than the Crux.

Check out how the Optimus Crux Lite compares to the 13 other stoves we tested in our Backpacking Stove Review.


We really like the fact the Crux does fold in on itself: it is one of the features that really distinguishes the crux from other light stoves like the MSR PocketRocket 2 and makes the Crux one the most compact stoves out there. We don't think saving $10 and 0.4 ounces justifies getting the bulkier Crux Lite.

To get a better sense of how the Crux Lite stacks up against the competition, we urge you to look at our hands-on review of it's sibling stove the Optimus Crux as well as our Camping Stove Review. The Crux and Crux Lite use the same burner, the difference is just in how the stove folds away.


Our Analysis and Test Results

The Optimus Crux Lite is a slightly lighter version of the Crux, and just as powerful. This design omits the folding mechanism allowing it to be lighter, but not as compact.

Performance Comparison


The Micro Rocket (right) has the widest platform by a few millimeters when compared to the other small canister stoves  the Pocket Rocket (middle) and Optimus Crux Lite (left).
The Micro Rocket (right) has the widest platform by a few millimeters when compared to the other small canister stoves, the Pocket Rocket (middle) and Optimus Crux Lite (left).

Versatility


Small canister stoves are more versatile than integrated canister stoves. They are able to simmer to a degree and you can use a variety of cookware on them. We like the Crux Lite's compact design and its folding platform arms. This stove seems very durable and sturdy, but the burner on the Crux oxidized after our first use.

Unfortunately, we think that Optimus made the Crux Lite less versatile and got rid of some of the features we really loved on the original Crux. The unique features that had set it apart from other canister stoves were: a folding stem that allowed the burner to flip down into a tiny overall package and its uniqe case. This supremely innovative yet intuitive case put the folded stove in a padded neoprene sleeve that attaches to the bottom of a fuel canister, the Crux Lite does not have either of these features.

Fuel Efficiency


The Crux Lite may be slightly more fuel efficient than the Micro and PocketRockets. When screwing the Crux onto a canister, there is absolutely no fuel released, whereas there always seems to be a bit of leakage when we are screwing the other canister stoves we tested onto their canisters. The Crux Lite burned 5 grams less fuel as well, we think due to the leakage factor.

All of these canister stoves completely lose their fuel efficiency in any kind of wind. You are unable to use a wind screen with these stoves so they become far less efficient. We recommend finding a sheltered place to use your Optimus Crux Lite.

We tested all the backpacking stoves head-to-head in our garage for a timed boil test.
We tested all the backpacking stoves head-to-head in our garage for a timed boil test.

Boil Time


The Optimus Crux Lite boiled half a liter of water in 2 minutes and 6 seconds, only two seconds slower than the MSR Micro Rocket. This is one of the fastest stoves we tested — this little guy can crank!

Weight


The Crux Lite weighed in at 2.6 ounces, only 0.1 oz heavier than the Micro Rocket.

The small canister stoves we tested from left to right: MSR Micro Rocket  MSR Pocket Rocket and Optimus Crux Lite.
The small canister stoves we tested from left to right: MSR Micro Rocket, MSR Pocket Rocket and Optimus Crux Lite.

Stability


The stove's pot supports extend up and out from the burner, creating a durable, stable, and compact design. All of the small canister stoves in this review are the least stable type of stove. Once you put a pot on top of the stove, it becomes a tall and unwieldy item. You need to make sure that you have a very level place out of the wind to ensure you won't lose your dinner.

Packed Size


What the Crux Lite gained in weight savings it lost in packed size. The head of this burner no longer has a folding mechanism and so it is an awkward shape to pack. We like the Micro Rocket better as it folds down smaller and more streamlined than the Crux Lite.

The Optimus Crux Lite almost fits in the palm of your hand  but the MSR Micro Rocket is smaller and ligher.
The Optimus Crux Lite almost fits in the palm of your hand, but the MSR Micro Rocket is smaller and ligher.

Best Application


The Optimus Crux Lite is a great stove for short, fast and light backpacking trips. It excels in warm conditions when your canister won't get too cold. For cold or alpine missions we would recommend the MSR Windburner.

Value


At $40 the Crux Lite is $10 less the original Crux, and $20 less than the MSR Micro Rocket. It only weighs 0.1oz more than the Micro Rocket, but is bulkier. We prefer the Micro Rocket, but if you are looking to save a few dollars, the Crux Lite works almost as well.

Conclusion


We think the original Optimus Crux is a better, more clever product and value the space savings over the weight savings of the Crux Lite. But, if you're really an ounce counter and like the design of the Crux stove, you may prefer the Crux Lite.


Jessica Haist