Primus Firestick Stove Review
The Primus Firestick is a canister stove with a unique streamlined packable design. It caught our attention as an ideal stove to cram into a bikepacking bag without any prodding metal edges or rattling bits. We’ve been testing out the stainless steel and titanium versions this fall to see if it lived up to our expectations. Find the full review here…
Although there are a few outliers, the majority of canister stoves are based around a familiar silhouette. Most feature a small regulator that screws onto a pressurized fuel canister, three to four pot supports, and some assortment of folding metal bits to create a stove that fits in the palm of your hand. It’s really quite impressive, but they’re not perfect. My one major complaint is that these stoves often leave metal bits protruding when folded up—unless they come with a tiny case like the MSR Pocket Rocket 2—and have a tendency to scratch pots, poke other gear, and are always a little awkward to pack away neatly. I nearly always store my canister stove inside a small pot within my frame bag, away from delicate gear like my sleeping pad and down jacket, but this combination often results in some distracting rattling. I’ve learned to deal with the buzz of high-engagement rear hubs, but rattling from within a frame bag simply will not do.
So, I was quite excited about the opportunity to try out the relatively new Primus Firestick stove. When folded up, the Firestick forms a sleek cylindrical shape, free of sharp pot supports and frame-bag-destroying protrusions. In my mind, the design looked easier to pack and like it’d be totally acceptable for a lightweight canister stove option for bikepacking. Primus makes both a stainless steel and slightly more expensive and lighter weight titanium version of the stove, both of which come with a small wool storage pouch, a matchstick-style Piezo igniter, and a twist cap to hold the pot supports in the locked position. The difference in material and weight refers to the pot supports, while the rest of the stove remains the same.
The Firestick Stove is a beefy little canister stove, and I mean this in a good way. When packed away, it feels much sturdier than the tiny foldable stoves I’m familiar with. When stowed, there are no sharp edges or awkward bits that get in the way. Although it’s heavier and larger than many of its competitors, its sturdiness provides a little reassurance when jostling around in my frame bag all day.
The one major drawback of this design is that it doesn’t fit alongside a fuel canister in my go-to solo cooking setup, which usually consists of the Vargo BOT-700 and the smallest 110g canister. I’ve opted to pack the stove separately in my frame bag, stowing some oatmeal in a ziplock within the BOT to make use of its now-empty space.
The wool storage pouch is a classy touch, and can double as a small pop holder, but doesn’t actually make much sense for storing a stove. The stove and included piezo ignitor fit loosely in the pouch and have a tendency to rattle around against each other, too. The pouch has small openings on both ends, which you could potentially lose the ignitor through, although it hasn’t happened to me. I would love to see a slightly smaller pouch with an internal sleeve for the piezo to keep things a little more secure.
When packed up, the stove measures 4.25″ wide by 2″ tall and about 1.5″ deep. The stove itself is 1.4″ x 4.1″ and the piezo ignitor is 3.9″ x 0.5″. The titanium version weighs 89 grams (3.1oz) and the ignitor and storage pouch both add an additional 15 grams (0.5oz) and 12 grams (0.4oz), respectively. The entire kit weighs in at 116 grams (4.1oz). You can save yourself $30 and pick up the stainless steel version, which weighs 104g (3.7oz) for the stove only.
Performance and Observations
As I mentioned above, the Firestick Stove feels solid when folded up. Although the top cap locks into place with a quarter turn and holds fairly tight, it can come off, and some bikepackers have reported the cap popping off while packed away in a bag. With the cap removed, the pot supports spring into action, exposing the burner head. The burner head is small and focused, which is great for applications where direct heat is appropriate (such as boiling water and simple meals) or when paired with Primus’ line of PrimeTech pots with heat exchangers. The flame control valve rotates two complete turns and provides an impressive amount of precision for low-output cooking, and other than the unique packable design, I believe is one the the Firestick’s greatest strengths. Even the slightest turn of the control valve adjusts the flame size—from a roaring jet to a delicate simmer. The included piezo ignitor is generously long and easy to use one-handed but is a little overkill and I opted to bring a trusty lighter along instead most of the time.
The pot supports have a few quirks that are worth mentioning. Unless you’re using a pot with a 3″ diameter, which would be quite small, I’ve noticed they have a tendency to sit on the curved exterior of the supports rather than the serrated extrusions designed to grip the pot. The serrated sections sit slightly lower and slant downwards towards the burner head, which isn’t helpful for most 1-2 person pots. This creates a slightly unstable setup, but I wouldn’t describe any packable canister stove as extremely stable anyway, so I never felt like I needed to take any extra precautions while using it.
Primus claims the recessed burner head and pot supports help protect the flame against wind, and although they might, the Firestick is still affected by strong winds and functions better in protected areas or with a windscreen. In non-windy environments, I found the flame to be direct and effective, but while cooking in windy conditions the flame had a tendency to blow over the edges of the pot more often. It helps that the burner head sits quite closely to the bottom of the pot, about 0.5″ (1.3cm), which is closer than some other canister stoves I’ve used recently, including the Primus Micron Trail. The stove’s 8,530 BTU output is on par with the popular MSR Pocket Rocket 2 (8,200 BTU) and Primus Micron Trail (8,900 BTU), and should be able to boil a litre of water between 3.5 and 4.5 minutes. For those who want higher outputs and faster boiling times, there are several other popular options in our Bikepacking Stoves Gear Index that are worth checking out.
- Streamlined and easily packable design
- Sturdy and suitable for the rigours of bikepacking
- High output
- Great flame control
- Storage pouch could be improved
- Pot supports don’t provide much grip
- Won’t pack inside small one-person pots
- Weight: 116g (Titanium, with piezo and pouch)
- Output: 8,530 BTU
- Place of Manufacture: Estonia
- Price: $119.95 USD (titanium) / $89.95 USD (stainless steel)
- Manufacturer’s Details: Primus.us
Overall, I’m a fan of the Primus Firestick. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a unique stove design, the most recent being the extremely packable Optimus Crux I reviewed a few years ago. The way the pot supports protect the burner head in transport make a lot of sense for bikepacking, and although some people have reported the locking cap has a tendency to fall off, an elastic band or velcro strap could fix that in a jiffy. It’s too bad the pot supports don’t really grab much of the pot, but when compared against other canister stoves out there, I don’t think that’s a deal breaker. All things considered, the Firestick is an impressive little stove that’s worth checking out if you’re in the market for a lightweight stove for bikepacking.
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