Primus Essential Trail Review
Cons: No piezoelectric igniter, slow to boil
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Primus Essential Trail
|Price||$24.95 at Backcountry||Check Price at REI|
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|Check Price at Backcountry|
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|Check Price at REI|
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|Pros||Good at simmering, simple operation||Lightweight, works in the wind, great piezo lighter, very stable for small canister stove||Works in the wind, great for simmering, best of the best||Compact, light, fast boil time, stable, insulated pot||Lightweight, easy to use, good at simmering, piezo igniter|
|Cons||No piezoelectric igniter, slow to boil||Not the most fuel efficient, pot supports pack up separately from stove||Unreliable piezo igniter||Small pot size, not versatile||A bit heavier and bit pricier than the competition|
|Bottom Line||This standard small canister stove is good for simmering but bulky in your pack||Our favorite small canister stove, providing the best performance for most backpackers||This simmering champ can also perform in the wind||This basic model still has all the frills, and is a great value if you want to boil water immediately||This stove does everything well|
|Rating Categories||Primus Essential Trail||Soto Windmaster||MSR PocketRocket Deluxe||Jetboil Flash||Snow Peak GigaPower 2.0|
|Fuel Efficiency (25%)|
|Simmering Ability (20%)|
|Ease Of Use (20%)|
|Boil Time (10%)|
|Specs||Primus Essential...||Soto Windmaster||MSR PocketRocket...||Jetboil Flash||Snow Peak...|
|Category||Small Canister||Small Canister||Small Canister||Integrated Canister||Small Canister|
|Trail Weight||3.9 oz||3.0 oz||3.0 oz||12.3 oz||3.0 oz|
|Wind Boil Time (1 L, 2-4mph)||15 min||7:24 min:sec||7:20 min:sec||5:18 min:sec||15 min|
|Boil Time (1 liter)||6:00 min:sec||4:42 min:sec||3:39 min:sec||4:10 min:sec||5:53 min:sec|
|Packed Weight||3.9 oz||3.5 oz||3.5 oz||15.7 oz||3.9 oz|
|Dimensions (inches)||4.3 x 2.4 in||4.7 x 3.9 x 3.6 in||3.3 x 2.2 x 1.8 in||4.1 x 7.1 in||4.2 x 2.6 in|
|Additional items included||None||Stuff sack, pot support||Stuff sack||1L pot, canister stand, plastic cup||Plastic case|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Primus Essential Trail is a basic small canister stove. While simmering is what it does best, it's also very simple to set up; screw it on the can, open the flame control, and add fire.
The Essential Trail scores slightly above average for fuel efficiency. It burned 0.4 ounces of fuel when bringing a liter of water to boil in calm conditions. Like most small canister stoves, it did not bring water to a rolling boil in our fan test (though it came close). In that test, it burned 0.8 ounces of fuel in 15 minutes.
The burner head is surrounded by a flat piece of metal. We suspect that this may act as a bit of a heat reflector, which would enhance this stove's efficiency.
The Essential Trail weighs 3.9 ounces (about 110 grams). This is about in the middle of the pack for small canister stoves.
The flat, triangular shape of the burner head made packing this stove into a tight space challenging. It fit fine into our 1-liter pot, along with a 4-ounce fuel can, pot grip, and lighter, but it might not play well with smaller cookware.
When it comes to simmering, the Essential Trail puts in an above-average performance. We could turn the burner down quite low, a boon for cooking things like oatmeal, pancakes, or rice. Though the burner head is about average in size for a small canister stove, we suspect that the surrounding heat reflector helps distribute heat more evenly to the bottom of the pot.
Ease Of Use
The Essential Trail has all the ease of use that a small canister stove design confers. Though we liked that the flame control has a wire handle, we wish it was longer. The fixed pot supports are solid and about average in size. They worked well with one and two-liter pots, but be careful if going bigger than that.
The assembly that connects the burner head to the canister is on the shorter side, which keeps the overall height of the stove relatively low. Though this means you might have to lean over a bit more to get a look at the flame, we think it lends the Essential Trail some stability.
This stove took 6 minutes to bring 1 liter of water to a rolling boil with no wind. This is on the longer end of the small canister stoves.
Of all the stoves that weren't able to boil water in front of the fan in 15 minutes, this stove seemed the closest to doing so. Out of curiosity, when 15 minutes was up, we left the stove running and turned the fan off. We observed a rolling boil within 30 seconds.
We think this stove is an okay value. It's inexpensive and scores about in the middle of our lineup. Some lower-scoring stoves cost a lot more, and only one or two higher-scoring models cost more.
The Primus Essential Trail is a typical backpacking stove. Simmering is its strong suit. While it didn't disappoint when it came to fuel efficiency or ease of use, it didn't blow our hair back either. It would have been nice to be able to fold the stove up for packing, and it was one of the slower small canister stoves when it came to boil time, but overall we were pretty satisfied with its performance.
— Ian McEleney