The Crux is the smallest stove in this test by far, and weighs just 72 grams. For perspective, that's 15 nickles. Even as small as it is, it packed a punch.

The Crux, like many lightweight stoves, uses the fuel canister as the base. The Crux has an optional tripod that attaches to the base, making it even more stable. It's perfectly acceptable so long as you're not using a large pot.

The Crux can come with a matching pan with a heat exchanger and a windshield that cleverly attaches to the rim of the fuel canister. The heat exchanger is a pretty simple apparatus; just a ring of crimped metal that increases the amount of heat transferred to the pot. Simplicity aside, it is extremely effective. Boil time was right behind the Reactor. The takeaway is that heat exchangers make a big different in boiling time, and that means carrying less fuel.

This is a very compact stove. The cookset, besides the large pot with the heat exchanger, comes with a smaller pan that is more useful as a bowl than for actually cooking, though you could use it to heat up a little water for quick cuppa. You can fit the stove and a fuel canister inside the pot, and the whole thing fits into a nice mesh bag.

This is a very nice stove, and an exceptional value. Downsides are, of course, canister-based problems like cold weather use, but those are universal and easily dealt with. I like that it fits in a day hatch on a sea kayak, so you can make a shore lunch without digging out all your stuff.

Downsides? It's just small. Good for a couple or three bird-like eaters.

Decibels: 55
Fuel: Isobutane canister
Time to Boil (with Elektra pot): 1:48
Time to Boil (regular pot): 2:41
Oatmeal Index: Attentiveness required

—Return to home page: 6 Classic Campstoves Reviewed

Svea 123

Indestructible: if I dropped it off a 50-foot cliff, the Svea would light right up.

MSR Reactor

It has the fastest boil time in the bunch, saving fuel on an extended trip.

Kelly Kettle

Fueled by twigs, grasses, and driftwood, the Kelly Kettle made something out of nothing.

Emberlit Original Stove

It slides together easily, and the workmanship is excellent.


One of the best stoves out there for frosty temps.

Coleman 502

They last forever with proper care.

MSR WindPro

The Windpro is a go-to for backcountry chefs because because of its exceptional flame control and pot stability.