Coming in at 72g the Crux Lite is certainly one of the lightest stoves on the market today. That's great - but it's in the finer details where Optimus have tried to set the Crux Lite apart from other lightweight stoves out there.
The size of the burner is the first real plus point. At approx 5cm across it provides a nice wide flame. This limits the chances of burning that meal you've been dreaming about all day, to the bottom of your pan. In addition to the wide burner, simmer control on the unit is also excellent. Again, this limits the chances of contents sticking to the base of the pan.
Perhaps the most effective feature of the Crux Lite is the gas control handle. The handle is very easy to use, even with gloves on. It extends far enough away from the body of the stove to limit the chances of burning yourself when adjusting the flame. It's also a nice ‘easy grab' shape. But, as it uses minimal materials, it adds little weight to the stove overall. It also folds away nice and flush against the stove body when not in use.
The pan supports provide a relatively stable base for pans of all sizes. Many ultra light stoves are very unstable when in use - not so the Crux Lite. Ok, it's not as stable as certain heavier designs, but, for the weight, Optimus have got themselves a really effective solution. The supports fold neatly away on to the top of the burner when not in use. Occasionally they don't quite fold perfectly into place - sometimes they are a little loose so they ‘rattle' slightly and others they are a little stiff to fold back into place. This isn't a big deal however, as the supports are malleable so they can be bent into shape if need be.
Optimus claim an output of 3000W for the Crux Lite. In real terms this equates to a boiling time for a litre of water at a competitive 3 minutes, depending on air pressure, temperature and how much gas is left in the canister.
It's difficult to find any fault with the design of the Crux Lite, at least after a few uses. I'll be interested to see how it performs over the long term; durability should be good though, as build quality is high. The original, heavier weight version of the Crux has a folding mechanism that enables its pack size to be even smaller than the Crux Lite's but it does come at the cost of a little extra weight. I'm happy with the Crux Lite to take the reduction in weight.
Overall the Crux Lite is a fantastic lightweight stove - it comes recommended to for everything from adventure races and mountain marathons to alpine climbs and ultra-light backpacks. Basically any time when low weight combined with reliability and quality is paramount.
Optimus have a full line of lightweight stoves, pan sets and accessories that are designed to work as a system. Planet Fear also stocks the Optimus Terra Solo pan set and Folding Titanium Spoon. These work brilliantly with the Crux Lite stove to provide a compact (121x105mm) and very lightweight solution for cooking in the mountains.
The Terra Solo pan set is made of hard-anodized aluminium for lightweight durability. Heat conduction is pretty good and it is easy to clean. The volume of 0.6L is perfect for boiling water for a brew, or a dehydrated meal. Pan handles are fixed and integral to the design for ease of use and the small fry pan works great as a lid.
The Folding Titanium Spork has to be the coolest eating implement out there. It has a sliding central piece that locks the handle in place when in use. The handle easily folds away for storage.
The Folding Titanium Spork, Crux Lite Stove and a 100g gas canister all fit neatly and snugly in the pan of the Terra Solo. Pop the frying pan lid on and put the whole lot into the mesh bag provided and you're sorted.
|Optimus Crux Lite Gas Stove|
|The OPTIMUS CRUX LITE is built..|
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