Primus PrimeTech 2.3L Pot Set Review
Cons: Heavy, especially for a kit that requires addition of other features, heat exchanger ring is a little messy
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The two pots that make up this award-winning cook set are solid and clean, and their performance is excellent, with only proven "bells and whistles". Of the cook sets we tested that include efficiency-enhancing "heat exchanging" fins, the Primus pot is a little less efficient, but the other attributes tilt the overall needle back in its direction. The whole combination is an excellent foundation for a genuinely high-end camp kitchen. For true aficionados of camp cooking, those that demand carefully selected equipment for preparing excellent food with ease and enjoyment, the Primus PrimeTech is one of the best pots we've tested.
We evaluated the cooking performance of each set of cookware on a matrix of objective tests and the subjective results of "day to day use".
On this rubric, the Primus shares the top spot with just one other product. Because boiling water is the foundation of camp cooking, the results of our standardized boiling test are a big part of the overall cooking performance score.
The heat exchanging ring on the bottom of the Primus main pot reduces the boiling time and saves simmering fuel to a significant degree. This same pot, with its broad construction, relatively thick aluminum bottom, and excellent Teflon coating, cooked scrambled eggs remarkably well. On a stove that simmers well, the thick pot walls and the close-fitting lid even work well for backcountry baking tasks.
When preparing boiled water or food, the other products we tested suffered when compared to the Primus. The difference exaggerates even further if one's camp cooking involves melting snow. In other cooking tasks, like sautéing and simmering sauces, the Primus does well too. It does not include a dedicated frying pan, but either the main pot is broad enough to suffice. Its heat exchanger ring offers one of the fastest boiling speeds (3:07 min) while the non-stick coating makes scrambling eggs a breeze.
The outer dimensions of the packed-up Primus kit are almost exactly average. The 2.3-liter pot forms the rigid outer shell of the kit, enlarged only by the lightly insulated carrying bag. The shape is also fairly average.
To maximize boiling efficiency and cooking ease, a low cylinder shape is pretty standard. (The Primus is shaped this way too.) When it comes to packability, we also consider how much we can fit inside and any effect on the cookware. The two pots of the PrimeTech set nest tightly together, wasting no space. The inside of the inner pot is treated with a nonstick coating, which should be protected from whatever is placed inside. We find that a small piece of a towel is an excellent addition for pot protection and is also a worthy kitchen accessory. We were able to easily fit a small canister of fuel and a small stove inside this set-up, adding to its overall versatility.
Durability is a function of materials and metal thickness. Thicker metal is less likely to bend or warp. Steel is the strongest, followed by titanium, and then aluminum. Uncoated metals maintain their performance attributes longer.
Pots and pans coated with Teflon and ceramic break down with time, with the ceramic pots safely maintaining higher temperatures longer than the Teflon products.
The Primus pots are aluminum with Teflon coatings. They will dent, but not as easily as some. They will lose their nonstick coatings with use and abuse. In the meantime, though, the cooking performance is worth it.
The overall Primus set is average, weighing 709 grams. Comparing overall cook sets, however, is problematic, as each set comes with different components and features. In our attempt to better compare products, we weighed the main pot, lid, and handle and then normalized for pot volume. For the cooking performance it demonstrates (above average), this weighted scoring is admirable.
That said, it is a common choice for use on lightweight missions where fuel efficiency is of most importance. The large volume of both pots allows you to cook meals for up to three people, boiling water quickly on the go. This higher volume output means using fewer resources and more value in the long run. While it's not the lightest cooking set out there, it certainly has functions in all sorts of capacities.
Ease of Use
Pots are mostly fairly simple to use, and any differences are fairly subtle. We like the locking, universal handle/gripper of the Primus set. The heat exchanger ring lends a little stability when the pot is set on narrow camp stove burners. The lid is easy to put on and off, and its plastic construction stays cool, and the lid strainer separates water from the cooked pasta.
The accumulation of simple, bombproof usability attributes in the Primus PrimeTech pot set puts it near the top of the heap regarding usability. It is simple, stable, and easy to use.
There are no extra features to speak of. The one extra that is included in the insulated "cozy" that doubles as the carry bag. While we couldn't find much use for this attribute, some will certainly like the option to insulate your heated or cooled cooking pot and its contents.
It is likely a feature that you learn, over more time than we had, to incorporate into your habits and patterns. It is exactly the lack of accessories that set the Primus apart. No cook set is perfect. For high performance, high-efficiency, regular, and frequent camp cooking, connoisseurs will want to assemble their kits. For those, a basic, well thought out set of pots will form the backbone of a tailor-made kit. The PrimeTech doesn't have any extra parts that you will have to compromise on or have to replace.
If you find cooking performance to be of value, you'll find this to be a product of great quality, despite the seemingly high price. If you prefer a spartan set-up with fewer features and better overall performance, this contender will last you a long time (when properly cared for) and perform for many years to come. Use it while car camping or backpacking.
This Primus PrimeTech equipment is the ticket for the engaged shopper that wants the best of the best. He or she will also need to secure a frying pan, cups, plates, cutting board, and cutlery to have a complete kitchen kit. It offers amazing cooking performance, good durability, and packable design, all at a great price.
— Amber King & Jediah Porter