Primus Micron Trail + OmniLite Ti Stove Review
In this double header review, we take a look at the ultralight and super packable Primus Micron Trail canister stove, plus the slightly larger, but more versatile OmniLite Ti Stove. Whether you’re happy with just oatmeal and coffee, or more sophisticated camp meals in mind, one of these stoves will surely fit the bill. Check out Miles’ impressions here…
Primus is no stranger to outdoor cooking. They’ve been offering innovative products since 1892, accompanying the first person to the South Pole in 1911, and also to Mount Everest in 1953. More recently, Primus has been focusing in on the industry’s desire for lightweight camping gear, offering several different stoves (and updating others) that are well-suited for the demands of bikepacking and touring.
Over the past few months, I’ve been tinkering with a pair of Primus stoves: the Micron Trail and the OmniLite Ti. The Micron Trail Stove is Primus’ low weight, compact canister stove that’s perfect for ultralight cooking and boiling water. The OmniLite Ti is an updated version of Primus’ popular OmniLite Stove, but smaller, lighter weight, and more fuel efficient. After getting to know the ins and outs of both, I’m ready to report back on my findings.
Primus Micron Trail Stove
Most of the bikepackers I’ve met rely on a lightweight canister stove for cooking and boiling water. This comes as no surprise, as its hard to deny the desirability of a simple, ultra-compact stove that’s not much larger than a box of matches. They’re dead easy to use, typically pack up inside your favourite pot, and if you’ve planned some boil-only meals or are happy with instant oatmeal and coffee in the morning, they work great. The drawback is canister stoves rely on compressed fuel canisters, which can result in more waste, are hard to find in some places when traveling abroad, and they are best suited for boiling water or soup—either ON or OFF—but not ideal for much else without keeping a close eye on things. Primus’ Micron Trail Stove is one of a few canister stove options they offer, and the one they claim is one of their “most advanced stoves with a low weight and compact format.”
I won’t dive into the boil times and efficiency of the Micron Trail Stove, mainly because the majority of canister stoves in this category offer similar results. However, there are a few features that definitely set it apart from the many canister stoves I’ve used. Although the pack size and weight is kept to a minimum, the stove is big where it counts. A larger-than-average burner head helps spread out the flame to reduce hot spots and burning when using small pots. The pot stands are wide and stable enough that boiling water in the morning right outside your tent isn’t asking for trouble, and the flame control lever is solid and easy to use. I’ve been using the mode that’s equipped with a Piezo lighter, but it’s also available without to save a few more grams.
Overall, I’ve been quite happy using the Micron Trail Stove. It’s noticeably sturdier than other canister stoves I’ve used and it feels like a really solid product. Although it folds down into a pretty small package, the legs do poke out a bit, resulting in some exposed sharp edges. You definitely don’t want to leave the little nylon storage bag behind or it’ll scratch up anything packed nearby—unlike the tiny Optimus Crux or MSR Pocket Rocket 2 with its plastic case. Just like any canister stove, it has its limitations, but I can confidently say it’s the best built canister stove I’ve used.
I’ve also been testing the Micron Trail stove for nearly a year. After taking it out on several weeklong trips and a couple of overnighters, I’ve been generally impressed. The biggest advantage to this stove over others in the category is the large burner head. It seems to bring water to a boil very quickly and spread the heat throughout the bottom of the pot, which could be beneficial for more involved cooking.
However, it’s unique advantage is also its drawback. The large burner makes it a little bulkier than other micro canister stoves I’ve tried. That said, it’s still very small and packable. My other small gripe is about the Piezo ignitor—and Piezos in general: it only seems to work about 3/4 of the time. On some occasions, sometimes in very humid conditions, a dozen or so clicks get zero results. As such, I’d highly recommend carrying a backup lighter with this stove.
- Weight: 94 grams (3.3oz) – with Piezo
- Output: 8900 BTU
- Place of Manufacture: Estonia
- Price: $49.95 USD
- Manufacturer’s Details: Primus.us
Primus OmniLite Ti Stove
I expect many of our readers, myself included, would base their liquid fuel camping stove experiences on one of MSR’s options: likely a model from the WhisperLite series. The MSR WhisperLite, in my opinion, has long been the gold standard for backcountry cooking. It’s an incredibly robust stove, hasn’t changed much since its release in 1984, and the International model can burn a wide range of fuels when travelling overseas. However, for bikepackers seeking a compact cooking kit, it’s likely not the first stove on their list. Primus’ OmniLite Ti represents the latest generation of liquid fuel stoves—offering features that are appealing to month-long expeditions and overnighters alike.
The OmniLite Ti Stove feels anything but clunky. Its titanium pot supports are stable and wide, and the feet provide a stable base for supporting large pots. Right out of the box it can burn gas, gasoline/petrol, diesel, kerosene/paraffin, and even aviation fuel. The entire stove is field-serviceable, and can also be used with compressed fuel canisters. I was particularly impressed with Primus’ ErgoPump, which is used to pressurize the fuel bottle when using liquid fuel. The handle feels durable and is comfortable to use, and the entire pump system is much smaller than other stoves I’ve used in the past. Paired with the included 0.35L fuel bottle, the entire kit packs down relatively small—making it ideal for a single rider or pair who enjoy creating more extravagant meals out on the trail.
There a few key features that making cooking with the OmniLite Ti easier than other stoves I’ve used. It’s such a small thing, but the fuel line between the stove and the fuel bottle can swivel freely (and smoothly), which means the bottle can rest neatly on its side without any fuss. Other stoves I’ve used, including the MSR WhisperLite International, don’t swivel, which puts unnecessary torque on stove—often tilting the stove before a pot is placed on top. The fuel pump is also the best I’ve ever used, as it’s a completely solid design, so inserting and removing the pump into the bottle is mess-free. It feels solid and ergonomic while in use. Overall, I think the Primus OmniLite Ti has better control over the flame size and an impressive build quality when compared to other liquid gas stoves on the market.
Here’s quick comparison between the Primus OmniLite Ti and the MSR WhisperLite International stoves, including photos further down…
Primus OmniLite Ti
- Price: $199.95 USD
- Weight: 341g (12oz)
- Fuel: white gas, gasoline/petrol, diesel, kerosene/paraffin, LPG, aviation fuel
- Output: 8,871 BTU
- Made in: Estonia
MSR WhisperLite International
- Price: $99.95 USD
- Weight: 422g (14.9oz)
- Fuel: white gas, kerosene, unleaded auto fuel*
- Output: 9,700 BTU
- Made in: USA
*The WhisperLite Universal can burn canister fuel, white gas, kerosene and unleaded gasoline.
- Weight: 341 grams (12oz) – with pump
- Output: 8871 BTU/h
- Place of Manufacture: Estonia
- Price: $199.95 USD
- Manufacturer’s Details: Primus.us
On most trips, I’m pretty quick to toss a tiny canister stove in my frame bag without much thought. It comes down to pack size, weight, and simplicity of use. I’ll be the the first to admit I’m usually not the one cooking complex meals while bikepacking, so a canister stove gets the job done for me. However, if we’re approaching our trips with less waste and more fresh ingredients in mind, the pack size and weight of a good liquid gas stove starts to look pretty reasonable. Especially when split between two people or a larger group.
Both the Primus Micron Trail and OmniLite Ti stoves have their advantages, and although the price tag of the latter will likely turn some people away, it’s an excellent piece of kit. Those heading out on a longer expeditions or who prefer the simmering abilities offered by liquid fuel stoves will surely appreciate the OmniLite’s impressive packability.
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