Field Tested: Optimus Crux Lite Solo Cook System

Awe Yeah! Optimus has sent us some goodies to test, play with, and review! The Optimus Crux Lite Solo Cook System entered the market in 2012 as an Ultralight Camping Cook System that wouldn’t break the bank. This is a flooded market with brands like MSR, and Jetboil taking their share there’s a lot to choose from! Over the past 7 years the Optimus Crux Lite Solo Camp Cook System has stood the test of time while Optimus has made some refinements to their already robust design its vision remained the same. Optimus is marketing this system to solo backpackers, hikers, campers, and travelers alike who require a small, portable and light option when boiling water for meals or hot drinks on the go.



Overview

Optimus Crux Lite Solo Unboxed!The Optimus Crux Lite Solo system is a pretty versatile little system. You can pack it with all of the contents, or slim it down to just a pot and the stove to save a little weight and bulk. The actual stove burner portion of the system has three larger serrated arms that fold out to securely hold your pots and pans. These felt very sturdy! When folded up it’s small enough to stick in your pocket and weighs only 5 ounces by itself. The pot and pan handles have a nice rubberized grip that won’t burn your hand. They also snap and lock securely into place which was re-assuring when packing and using the kit. The Optimus Crux Lite Solo system is designed so that you can store your fuel canister inside the pot for minimizing the size in your pack. This works well, but make sure you buy the proper sized fuel canisters!


Specifications

Weighing in at 10.5 ounces fully packed.

  • Fuel Type: LP Gas Canister
  • Burn Time: Up to 90 Minutes at Max Output
  • Dimensions: 136mm Tall x 107mm Diameter
  • Advertised “Boil Time”: 3 Minutes for 1 Liter
  • Output: 3000W
  • Weight: 272 Grams (297 Grams on my scale)
  • Volume: .6 Liters

Whats in the Box

Contents of the Crux Lite Solo Cook System (Extendable Spoon not Included)

  • Crux Lite gas stove
  • 0.6 L saucepan with pouring lip and measuring marks
  • fry pan (lid)
  • mesh storage bag and nylon bag for Crux Lite



About CTS Gear Tester – Corey McMullen

I haven’t been backpacking or camping enough lately to put the Optimus Crux Lite Solo Cook System to proper test. So, after testing it and reviewing it myself. I packed it back up and handed it off to CTS Gear Tester Corey McMullen! Corey is a 26 year old Massachusetts native. He’s been hiking and camping for most of his life in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It wasn’t until recently that his passion for lifestyle Photography merged with his passion for the mountains. He enjoys the fall and winter months the most and finds himself camping and hiking whenever he can. Corey loves to share these experiences with his close friends and particularly likes to wake up early to watch the sunrise from one of the nearby peaks. Corey has a lot of experience with camping and hiking gear and couldn’t wait to get his hands on the Optimus Crux Lite Solo!

Be sure to follow Corey McMullen on Instagram @coreyoutdoors !

Corey McMullen in his natural habitat


What Did You Like?

Corey taking the Crux Lite Solo system in the field! (Photo Credit: Corey McMullen)

The Optimus Crux Lite Solo cook system has a lot of neat features going for it. Of the many, my favorite was the compact-able size, the gas knob, and serrated base. Every piece of the system compacts smaller than its state of use, which is handy for those like me who are constantly on the go and dependent on weight and size-friendly gear. It is very easy to break down as well, which is nice. The handles on the pot top and bottom are self-explanatory, and the stove top that attaches to the gas canister is probably the smallest piece of cook equipment that I own. The knob that adjusts the release of gas, to me, is probably one of the most underrated parts to a cook system. I’ve used the classic MSR whisper-light where its a whole procedure just to light the stove and get the amount of gas release right. Then, I’ve also used more recent cook system’s like Jetboil where the knob is the size of my fingernail. You might think a small knob is a good thing, but I don’t find it to be the case! Optimus did justice with me on this part of the Crux Lite Solo by designing a knob that is small, but long and away from the harm of the flame and any possible over-boiling water. The knob is easy to turn and adjust to the setting that is necessary. It also, no surprise, folds in for storage and fits into a small carrying pouch. Last, but not least, the serrated stove top is pretty key to this setup. Keeping the pots and pans from slipping around while cooking or boiling water.


What Didn’t You Like?

The sturdy serrated stove top creates a wide platform for even large pots and kettles. (Photo Credit: Corey McMullen)

My biggest complaint might be the size of the pot that it comes with. On one hand, it’s great because it sticks with the minimalist and small theme it has going for it. On the other, it does limit you. If I am to compare, the standard Jetboil can hold about .80L while the Optimus Crux Lite pot is only .60L. This isn’t a huge difference but it is noticeable in use. If you are just boiling water for something like coffee like I did, then it works perfectly. As soon as you want to incorporate something a little bigger like soup or water for a freeze dried meal, it becomes debatable on if it is big enough. Another point that I want to raise is that the standard Jetboil comes with a sort of “wind shield”. The Optimus Crux Lite Solo doesn’t include any wind protection. Personally, I feel this should be a universal feature, as I can see it being a regular difficulty while camping in the mountains. a third and final complaint that I had of the system is that it had no base to prop up the gas canister. It might not be imperative to the functionality of the stove, but during winter months, the gas canister can begin to freeze to the snow or ice while in use. Also, a base to the can could improve overall balance by spreading out its weight and keep from tumbling over by an accidental knock.



The Bottom Line

Photo Credit: Corey McMullen

Both Corey and I really enjoyed the Optimus Crux Lite Solo cook system. It’s lightweight, compact design, and versatility makes it perfectly suited for lightweight backpacking and camping. It’s an excellent option for solo weekend warriors who don’t want to empty their wallets on the ultralight overpriced titanium competition. However, If you’re primarily car camping, or traveling with multiple people a larger pot and more stable platform may be more suitable. Also, if you’re planning to camp above treeline or in a windy place, you may want to bring along a windscreen to protect your flame! All things considered we really like this little cook kit!

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