Primus PrimeTech stove set review
For many years I regularly used a Trangia cooking set. Trangias were perhaps the original all in one set comprising burner unit (the original burners used meths for fuel but Trangia later brought out an alternative gas burner unit) stand, pans, pan lid (frying pan) and pan gripper. The Trangia system is still widely available and often favoured by youth expedition companies and Duke of Edinburgh groups because of their simplicity and safety (safety is always a relative term when discussing stoves!).
I recently received a Primus PrimeTech gas cooking system to test and it struck me how similar a concept it is to the Trangia system (although with rather more refinement) in that it incorporates everything you need in one compact, lightweight and efficient unit. It brought back happy memories of my Trangia days and I looked forward to testing it out. Here’s my thoughts on this recent Primus offering…….
The PrimeTech system is, as with all Primus products, a beautifully made package. In the box you’ll find a burner unit that is permanently attached to a stand/windshield. The burner then connects to a gas canister via a remote hose and there is a valve incorporated into the connecter head. The burner unit can be stored inside the pans that also come with the package and the pans nestle together snugly (this snug fit avoids any rattling when the unit is carried). There is a 1.3 litre pan with ceramic non stick coating and another same sized pan that incorporates a heat exchanger.
Besides these key items, the package also includes a lid with heat proof handle and integrated colander, a Piezo igniter, insulated storage bag and foil ground protector. The unit all folds into one of the pans and can be easily packed into the padded storage bag. The whole set weighs 727 grams and is designed for use by up to 3 people.
I have used the PrimeTech stove set in a range of situations and at different temperatures and it has also accompanied Peak Mountaineering teams on a couple of snow shelter trips with Paul and other instructors. This means that I’m certainly not claiming this is a long term test, but I am very happy to issue a Peak Mountaineering review as we have definitely gained a good understanding of its capabilities during the test situations.
The PrimeTech package is very comprehensive and, with typical Primus efficiency, everything is beautifully integrated to work together. It is actually, as far as a stove set can be, quite a work of art! When you open up the box you will see the pans stacked neatly together and inside this sits the burner unit. Both pans are 1.3 litre capacity (Primus also produce a larger capacity set if you are cooking for larger groups) and both have a Ceramic non stick coating. Primus state that the set will work with up to three people and I have found this to be correct although in my opinion it is really the ideal size for two.
One of the pans incorporates a heat exchanger unit which, if you haven’t used one before, is a series of heat diffusing fins designed to transfer heat efficiently. This is now quite a common system on higher end stove and pan sets and offers huge advantages both to fuel efficiency and cooking times. It can also help offer some protection to the burner in windy conditions. This pan also has capacity markings on the side which is a simple and yet extremely useful addition. Alongside the pans there is a clear plastic lid which incorporates a flexible silicone rubber lid lifter and strainer which works superbly.
Delve further and the other main component is the burner unit and stand. This provides the base for the pans to stand on and the burner unit is then fitted into that. The base offers a very stable platform and the burner unit then sits in the centre with the fuel line snaking out for the attachment of the gas canister. Primus have added non slip rubber feet onto the base of the burner unit which is a great addition. The canister attachment valve also holds the fuel control valve and the burner unit is regulated to ensure consistent power output even when the canister is cold or low on fuel. On top of the support base there are serrated pan supports which securely hold the pans supplied but can also be adjusted to hold larger pans.
A remote canister system offers the perfect option for gas stoves being used in harsher environments because in cold conditions the canister can be insulated from the cold ground and, when the canister is getting low on gas, it can be inverted to allow a better flow. The downside is heavier weight.
Primus have also included a separate Piezo igniter and a clever pan grip which has a lock facility allowing it to stay firmly attached to the pan. Finally, a foil disk is provided to stand the stove on and a padded/insulated storage bag keeps everything stored neatly together. You really want for nothing with this system.
Setting the stove up only takes a few seconds and, as with all gas systems, getting it lit and heating up your water or food only then takes a few seconds more. The pans fit neatly onto the burner base and you screw the canister on. I have noticed that it takes quite a number of turns of the control valve to get the gas flowing but, once it is, a click of the Piezo igniter and it’s on the way.
The burner unit of the PrimeTech runs very quietly (the quietest of any gas stove I’ve used) and so do be careful to safely check it is lit if you are cooking in daylight as it can be hard to see the flame. Another nice feature is that their is a lot of flame control with the gas valve system meaning you can easily simmer food when cooking.
In reality I have used the PrimeTech pan (the one with the heat exchanger) most and this would always be my first choice. I have had lots of experience with heat exchanger systems both on previous Primus stove systems and Jetboil stoves. It offers a huge advantage by decreasing fuel consumption and giving quicker cook times.
I also think it gives a more even heat across the pan base but have no evidence to back up this claim except that food seems less prone to burning and there certainly isn’t the intense central heat spot created that you get with some gas stoves. If you have a heat exchanger pan there really isn’t any reason to use a normal one but, as with this system, sometimes a meal requires the use of two pans and so it can be useful to have the other one available.
I did a time test for heating water and found that with a full gas canister a litre of water reached boiling point in 3 minutes and 41 seconds (tested in the outdoors on a day when the temperature was 12 degrees Celcius. This is a very respectable time when compared to other canister stoves.
I really like this system and think it is a great option for certain users. It won’t suit the fast and light Alpinist but will suit small groups of mountain goers or camping trips based from a single place. It is also a great base camp set up.
If you are carrying it some distance the extra pan can be left out to save some weight and potentially you can also leave behind the storage bag and maybe even the pan gripper - although if sharing the total weight between two or even three people isn’t too much and you have the advantage of saving some weight because the heat exchanger will save you fuel.
At around £120 this isn’t a bargain option, but actually you are getting a complete and fully featured cooking package. A regulated gas stove, non stick pan with heat exchanger, additional non stick pan, stable and high performance remote gas burner unit, Piezo igniter, storage bag and pan gripper - you have everything with this system and I would suggest the price stacks up well against buying the individual items.
You also, of course, get Primus build quality and innovative design - and that is innovation that has been recognised by the rest of the outdoor industry. At the ISPO Trade Show 2017 the PrimeTech Stove Set convinced 45 judges from 13 countries and two continents with its overall concept and ultimate efficiency and won the highly appreciated ISPO Award ”Winner 2017“ in the category ”Outdoor Cooking“. Great effort Primus.
Posted and reviewed by Cal
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