Durable, dependable -- great for longer trips and larger groups
I've been leading outdoor trips for about 18 years and used many different stoves in the field. The Primus omnifuel is my first choice for trips with groups for several reasons. Let me give you a few of the pro's & the few con's I have found.
- This stove is dependable and just keeps working meal after meal, trip after trip, year after year.
- The metallurgy & design are well thought out and take the rugged use that often happens in a group setting, or with people new to outdoor cooking
- The base is stable and durable.
- It uses multiple fuels - the same stove can be attached to a liquid fuel canister or isobutane canister, for example. I believe it also uses kerosene & auto fuel, but haven't tried it. The only change needed for different fuel is to change the jet, which takes a minute or so (when the stove is cool).
- Heat is very well regulated -- you can simmer, boil, or anything in between.
- Fuel bottle / pump are well thought out. When using liquid fuel you can simply flip the canister 40 seconds before you are done using the heat and the pressure will push the remaining fuel in the lines through the jet and it will naturally extinguish itself when the fuel in the lines is gone. This can be helpful to reduce the build up of soot.
- If something does go wrong, it is easily repaired in the field.
- It is relatively expensive & heavy. This would not be my recommendation for a weekend warrior who uses a stove a couple of weekends a year, or is a solo backpacker.
- The priming pad withers too quickly. It is a good idea to have an extra with you. If it gets wet, or your pasta boils over and gets in the stove housing then the priming pad will probably take a beating. (This is easy to replace and not a big deal, but should have been designed better.
- Isobutane does not work well in very cold temperatures with this stove (or with any other that I am aware of)
- I had one batch of jets that cracked too easily. This seems to have been an isolated incident. After corresponding with Primus they sent us a whole bunch of new jets and we didn't have any more problems. That one trip was interesting, however, as most of our jets and their backup's were cracked and we ended up with just a couple of stoves for the group.
For those who like quality, travel in larger groups, don't mind a few extra ounces, or are leading group trips on a regular basis, it is worth the extra $ to invest in quality stoves like these. Much more durable and reliable than even something like the MSR dragonfly.