Lightweight liquid fuel backpacking stove
Weight: 220g (stove only) 840g (full weight including pump, windshield, fuel bottle and 300g of fuel)
Runs on liquid fuel and gas
I’ve spent the past few months using the Primus OmniLite Ti stove during my hiking and camping trips. It’s a multi-fuel stove which can burn a range of fuels such as white gas, paraffin, petrol and diesel while also being able to burn regular screw-thread canister gas. At 220g for the stove body alone, this stove is very light. As the name suggests, the OmniLite Ti is made mostly from titanium, which helps keep the weight down.
Like all multi fuel stoves, when using liquid fuel it needs to be primed. This is simply the process where you let a little liquid fuel out into the stove, switch the fuel supply off and burn off the fuel. Once the stove heats up, you can turn the power back up, light the stove and burn your liquid fuel as gas (as the stove is pre-heated). This usually only takes a couple of minutes.
The pot stands fold away, making the stove very packable. They’re also serrated to prevent pots and pans from slipping. The flame adjuster is large, long and easily operated even with gloves. The fuel line is a good length and is flexible, so your stove won’t get thrown around with gentle movement of the fuel bottle or gas canister.
Much like the regular Omnifuel, the simmering / adjustability with the OmniLite Ti is excellent. This is one area in which the Omnilite Ti definitely bests rivals such as the MSR XGK Ex. Also attaching the fuel line to the pump is much less fiddly with the OmniLite, you simply screw it on, whereas the latch on the XGK can be quite fiddly.
Like any other liquid fuel stove with a traditional “roarer” burner. This stove is LOUD. If you’re accustomed to water boiling stoves like the MSR Reactor or the Jetboil, be prepared to put up with a lot of extra noise. Check out the quick clip below to get a feel for the volume level.
It’s not all bad on the noise front though. If having a quiet stove is very important to you, Primus sell a silencer separately. It’s pretty easy to attach, you simply screw off the existing burner and screw the silencer on in its place. It reduces the noise considerably and simmers well, but you do need to be a little more careful when priming the OmniLite Ti while the silencer is attached to avoid underburn. Sometimes this can involve a couple of separate shorter “primes” to get the stove up to temperature, but it’s really not a huge inconvenience. Keep in mind that you can’t use the heavier fuels like diesel or paraffin when using the silencer. Gas or liquid white gas are best.
Having used the Omnilite Ti with a range of fuels I can say its highly versatile in terms of what it can burn. This can be useful if finding gas cans or white gas proves difficult or inconvenient, but I would always advise burning the cleanest fuel possible. This ensures the best performance, lowest maintenance and helps keep your pots clean.
The OmniLite comes with a multi-tool for the different jet sizes necessary for burning the different fuels. It also has a needle for cleaning the jets should you have a penchant for the dirtier fuels.
Most car parts suppliers sell a product called “panel wipe” which burns very cleanly in these stoves (essentially to the same degree as Coleman fuel) but at a very low price. I keep a 5L drum of it on hand for impromptu outings. Working with liquid fuel also has the advantage of being able to top up your fuel bottle, rather than having a collection of near-empty gas cans which you don’t want to risk heading on a trip with.
I’ve found water boiling times to be very reasonable for a liquid fuel stove, particularly if you set up with the supplied lightweight windshield and reflector. That said, it won’t compare to the likes of the MSR Reactor in terms of boiling speed or fuel efficiency for pure water boiling. This is to be expected, the additional flexibility of a liquid fuel stove comes at the cost of a longer boil time than dedicated water-boilers.
The fine control of the fuel valve makes simmering the breakfast bacon a cinch. It’s pretty easy to fry up a full eggs and bacon breakfast on a frying pan with the Omnilite – I’ve never felt like there was too much of a “knack” to the simmering process, unlike the XGK Ex, which I felt took a little more work and just didn’t simmer quite as well in general.
The supplied 300ml fuel bottle is fine for a solo weekend, but if you’re travelling for longer with a friend who can split the load, consider using a larger fuel bottle or bringing supplemental fuel to top it back up.
The Omnilite also comes with a sturdy “superpouch” bag. It’s really robust and looks the part, but I wouldn’t use it for carrying my stove on a hike due to its weight. For keeping everything together at home however, it’s a welcome quality touch.
The build of the unit in general is excellent, while it is quite low-frills in its approach, its sturdy and weighs very little. Titanium being naturally a more malleable metal, it might not stand up to heavy abuse in the same way as the regular Omnifuel, but I don’t see this as a stove that you’d have to treat with kid gloves. The pump shaft is metallic, a nice change from the XGK’s plastic and likely to be more robust.
The OmniLite Ti is a lightweight, versatile and robust stove which performs well. It’s noisy if you’re not using the separately sold silencer. Little refinements like the oversized fuel valve and the easy to attach fuel line make this a convenient stove for the hills. The fuel line can screw directly onto a screw-thread gas canister, a feature missing from some other liquid fuel stoves. It simmers well and burns a wide variety of fuels. The only major drawback to this stove is its hefty pricetag. While it does come with a fuel bottle, high quality carry bag and all needed accessories, the price point of £175 certainly puts it in the premium category. If you get out plenty and want a liquid fuel stove which is well featured, convenient and will last, I’d definitely recommend this stove. For more occasional outings, the price may be prohibitive for some.
The OmniLite Ti and its accessories can be bought through Primus retailers. Click here to find a retailer in your area.