Whether or not you need a stove like the Primus Omni Fuel will depend a lot on two things, 1) what your trip looks like and 2) how much you like to cook.
The Primus OmniFuel Stove doesn’t come cheap, so if you don’t plan on doing a lot of cooking, aren’t going anywhere too exotic, (where the availability of “normal” stove fuel types can be limited) and you want to travel super light; then this stove might be overkill for your needs. If you’re planning to cook most days, (especially if you’re a keen cook and want an adjustable flame) are traveling to unknown parts and are willing to sacrifice a few grams for rock solid build and reliability, then read on.
First, what you get. The Primus OmniFuel Stove kit includes;
• The Stove itself
• Pump for fuel bottle
• Fuel bottle, (most of the kits seem to come with the small fuel bottle, 500ml. Most of the time you’d be best served buying the 1L version)
• Three different nipples for different fuel types
• Tool for cleaning and taking apart the stove & some lube for the leather pump head
• Wind break & Foil base
• Pouch for the stove
• Pouch for the other bits and bobs
We’d also recommend using the Bike Buddy cage to keep your fuel bottle on the frame when in transit. Separate review of the Bike Buddy to follow.
For the price you pay for the Primus OmniFuel Stove it’d be nice to get a few more spares, (you have to fork out for the service kit for them) but hey ho… minor complaint.
As I’ve mentioned the Primus OmniFuel Stove is built like a tank, you could kill a man with it… then cook him! So far after months of continuous daily use it’s needed nothing more than a tighten of the base screw. However, I did need to Gaffa tape the metal wind breaker as constant flexing fatigued the metal, (see photo), but now it works better than ever… or top tip ;).
Fuel choice for the Primus OmniFuel Stove is quite wide and we’ve not had to use them all, (yet). The recommended ‘Primus Power Fuel) works perfectly, as you may expect, but is expensive and you’re only likely to find it in specialist camping/climbing shops. Our top choice is white spirit, burns nearly as well, (does require more priming time) as is cheap and easy to obtain at hardware shops; but make sure to get the type without additives and it will burn ‘weird’ and smell funny, also, might kill you… not sure :). It’s simpler to use the gas canisters as you don’t have to pump, (as with the fuel bottle), which can become quite laborious when the bottle get closer to empty, (the more space inside the bottle the more you have to fill with gas), but it’s honestly not an issue, at the most 100 pumps with takes about 30/45 seconds of ‘vigorous action’.
Simmer function is great, you don’t have to ‘nuke’ everything you cook. I’ve cooked up some dam tasty meals on this thing. One thing to note is that if you’re in a very strong wind the low, low flame can go out… but the wind stopper prevents this very well, you just have to use it.
On a long cycle tour I don’t think the weight of the Primus OmniFuel Stove penalty is that much of a big deal… the Optimus Terra is a little lighter but doesn’t have the simmer, but to be honest we don’t have any experience with it. A lot of people also rate the MSR Whisper light, but I’ve heard it has reliability problems at altitude, (if you’re going high).
The one main downside to the Primus OmniFuel Stove is that it’s bloody LOUD! Really, on full power it sounds like a jet. But we don’t mind, it’s only really ever on full when you’re boiling water quickly, (and it does boil water very quick) and when on a more conservative simmer it’s not that bad, (you can talk at normal volume without any probs).
Primus OmniFuel Stove Pros and Cons
• Rock solid construction
• Burns most fuel, (although with differing effectiveness)
• Simmer function
• Well designed, (stable, intuitive, compact, etc)
• A little on the heavy side
So, on the whole a brilliant little device and one we’d thoroughly recommend!