Optimus Crux # 3

Just over 2 years ago I picked up my first Optimus Crux stove. I used it with a GSI Dualist cook set to cook for my wife and I. Needless to say, I was very impressed with this stove. Of course it was the first backpacking stove I ever held in my hand, but by George, it was cool! I used it to cook on of course while we were on the trail, but I also used the stove to cook on a time or two when the power was out at the house…it worked well in both settings…

The only issue I had with it was that the top burner head seemed to wobble a fair amount. Due to this, I always took great care when using the stove, taking care to be sure that it was as stable as could be…and thankfully I never actually spilled any items off of the stove. However, I did decide to contact Primus about this and ask them if there was anything I could do about it. They very quickly responded and told me that I should send it in so that they could look at it. So, I did.

A few short days after I sent the stove into them, they got back in touch with me via email and told me that the stove was not supposed to be that wobbly at all and offered me a new one as a replacement! So, I said sure. Then again, a few short days later there was a new stove in my hands! This entire process was very quick and I was very impressed. I didn’t expect this outcome at all, however, I must say that I was very happy with it all.

So, the first thing I did was check the head, and that joker was solid! Next, I put the new stove on a canister and fired her up! Here I ran into a slight issue. The stove was awfully finicky as far as adjusting the flame, and especially so at lower temps. With the first one, I could very easily adjust the flame low so that it simmered, however, this one would go from full blast to ka-put…

I contacted Primus and they suggested me to check out the o-rings and for dust. So, I tinkered around with it and then put it in the pile with my other gear…

Soon after this is when I was introduced to alcohol stoves…and if you have read any of my posts, you will know that I really love my alcohol stoves (particularly the White Box Stove). So much that I never really dug the Optimus Crux back out…

Fast forward to a couple of months ago…

My buddy decided to head out on the trail with me, however, he had nothing as far as backpacking gear. However, thanks to my addiction, I was easily able to outfit him with all that he needed. Part of this outfitting was the Optimus Crux.

He carried it first on an overnight trip and used it too cook dinner and then breakfast on. As far as I know it went well. I showed him how to attach it to the canister, light it and adjust it. A few weeks later we headed to the Smokies for 2 1/2 days. Again, he took the Optimus Crux…

This time I noticed that even after I had brought a full liter of water to a boil using my alky stove, he was still hunched over the Optimus Crux…with nary a bubble formed…When I walked over and looked at it I immediately saw the problem. There was hardly a flame. I thought he had not turned it up, but when I checked I found that it was all the way up. I tinkered around with it and came to the conclusion that either the canister was too cold (which I didn’t find this too likely since it wasn’t that cold) or that the canister was about empty (however, this canister had only been used twice, on the trip he carried it on the first time). For the rest of the trip I had him keep his canister close and warm, but it didn’t change the outcome…

When I got home I grabbed my collection of canisters and started trying the stove on each one. In the end, it did the exact same thing. So, I again decided I would get in contact with Primus.

I sent them an email and explained the situation and they again responded that I could send it in and they would look at it for me. As soon as she had emailed me the address, the mail man had it in her hands not 10 minutes later (perfect timing). I shipped the stove on a Friday and via confirmation the stove was received the next Monday. I waited a while and never got an email back, so about 2 weeks later I sent an email asking about the status. A few days went by and I sent another one. Soon after I received an email that stated they had received it and the technician would have to look at it.

About a week later I received word back that they could not figure out what was wrong with it and would ship out a new one, again.

So, this morning as I was walking out of the house I found a package. The UPS man enjoys sneaking up to the door and leaving the package rather than knocking on the door and handing it too me. So, this afternoon I opened up my 3rd Optimus Crux.

I first checked the head. It too is solid! Check. Next, I pulled out the canisters. I grabbed the one that felt the least full and screwed the stove on. I grabbed my IMUSA grease pot and filled it with water. Then I turned the green wire until I heard gas spewing from the stove. I quickly struck my fire steel and the stove came alive! I quickly played with the settings, first turning the stove all the way up (it gave off the jet sound like most other canister stoves do) and then down…way low…and it went there…Check!

So, I put the water on. I didn’t time it, but just wanted to let it run for a little bit. It brought the water to boil very quickly. So, I turned the stove down, and watched the water quickly go to a simmer, then back up to a full rolling boil. My daughter and I did this a few times and I was satisfied.So, I am happier with this one right off-the-bat than I was with the 2nd one, however, I still do not expect to use it. Of course though I can still let my buddy use it. Although, I must admit that I am considering selling it. I don’t know, I will just have to see.

Despite the shortcomings of 2 of the stoves, and the fact that I don’t have plans to use it, I am still impressed with the Optimus Crux. The one that I have now is fairly light weight (3.3 oz) but thanks to the swivel head, it will pack down tiny. This one seems sturdy and the flame on this one will adjust from a simmer to a boil, easily. And of course, it will boil water in a snap!

About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
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9 Responses to Optimus Crux # 3

  1. Edgar says:

    Thanks for sharing!
    I got my Crux for two years now, too. Yes, its pot holders are floppy. Yes, I never manage to run it on low flame. But Yes, I love it. It is small, folds perfectly under the can and boil water (which is my main task for it) fast. It fits my needs just right.

    It’s nice to hear on their service, it sounds quite cooperative.



  2. Edgar says:

    Thanks for sharing!
    I use the Crux for a couple of years now too. I love it. Yes, its pot holders are a bit floppy. Yes, I can’t really get it to a low flame. But I love it because I use it mainly for boiling water and it does it just fine and it folds so nicely under the canister. It suits my needs perfectly.



  3. I’ve had very good luck with the Optimus. It’s nice getting to camp after a long hike and having boiling water in about 2 minutes with no fuss. Like everyone mentioned the simmer is a little tricky but after a couple tries I found the sweet spot. I don’t really ever simmer anything when I’m in the backwoods but for the price you’d expect it to be a little easier I suppose. My issue is with the folding arms on the Optimus. It seems like after every use they get more and more difficult to fold back up because of the oxidation. If anyone is interested you can check out our full review of the Optimus Crux.


    • Stick says:

      Life In The Wild,

      Thanks for sharing your experience with the Optimus Crux stove. Sounds like yours may be a little touchy, the same as my second one (but maybe not as bad). The first one I bought, and the one that they just sent me back (the 3rd one) has been super easy to lower the flame and simmer with.

      And that’s funny to hear about the arms because on mine the arms got looser after using it. The arms actually got to the point where they would flop open and closed on their own. It didn’t present a problem though because when I set it down to use it, the arms stayed open since I was not moving it around.

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!



  4. Mr. Pigglesworth says:

    This stove is a piece of junk folks. Two words – track record.


    • Stick says:

      Mr. Pigglesworth,

      I will admit, it is definitely hit or miss…but I gotta say, when it’s on the money it works great. The one I just received is obviously still new, but I feel like this one will do much better than the other previous stoves. Only time will tell.

      Again though, I rather enjoy my alky stoves…

      Have you owned one of these as well?



    • Mr. Pigglesworth says:

      Yes, hence the clear opinion. There are so many better options that won’t break the bank. The MSR Pocket Rocket comes to mind. It’s honestly one of the best inexpensive foolproof stoves on the market and without hesitation that would be my first choice if money and performance were my two top concerns.


  5. Alan says:

    Hi Stick,
    I had trouble, well i say trouble in the lightest sense of the word with this stove. The flame adjustment was either on full or nothing. That was with a new cylinder and in the house. No cold issues at all.
    The flame adjustment was almost nil.
    Very disappointed with the performance which is even worse when out in the cold.
    Bought the Primus Express Spider eventually and the difference is just unbelievable. Fantastic stove.


    • Stick says:


      That was the same problem I had with my 2nd one, from the minute I unpacked it…then it really bogged down and wouldn’t even heat up enough to bring water to a boil. However, with my first and last stove, the flame control is great. I am very impressed with the flexibility in it. But like I say, I love my alky stoves so I really don’t know how much this Optimus Crux will actually get used…

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!



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