Extremely strong and beautifully designed cookware…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 78 USD
Extremely strong and beautifully designed cookware set (1.0L + 1.8L + frying pan). Mostly intended for cooking on stoves, but also may be used on open fire. Well stackable with ETA-II and Primetech-I cooking sets. In the meantime it’s heavy and has a frying pan with limited use scope in backcountry. Some minor items favor the classy look over utility.
- Almost infinite service life
- Gorgeous look in new condition (excellent gift)
- Convenient side handles (optimized for cooking on stoves)
- High-end lid design, easy and safe to drain water
- Optimum pot volume for 2-3 persons
- Fully compatible with older Primus pots with heat exchangers
- Reasonable price
- Every included item is heavyweight
- The frying pan is large, heavy and has disputable scope of use in backcountry
- Classy leather strips prevent from putting the lids and frying pan into dishwasher
- The storage bag is not practical
- Huge gap between stacked 1.0L and 1.8L pots
We decided to buy this cooking set after we became aware of our Primetech (see my full review) and ETA pots’ limited lifetime. We use our pots quite intensively on Primus Omnilite Ti stove, and we cannot afford replacing them each couple of years. Nor I am willing to abuse the great Primus warranty service on regular basis.
So we decided to continue using our high effective Primetech/ETA pots only in long trips and below the freezing, where the 30-40% economy of fuel and time really makes sense. For our short trips above freezing we purchased this polished stainless steel cooking set, consisting of two pots (1.0L and 1.8L) with lids, frying pan and packing bag.
Unfortunately it’s impossible to avoid spending money on frying pan, which is unnecessary for us in backcountry, as this set is sold only as a whole. (Though I often fry eggs on this pan at home.) In addition, you can purchase two more pans of various sizes, and two sizes of large campfire-specific pots — 3L and 5L (see also Large version of this cooking set).
I believe that the name of this set is incorrect. Obviously it's designed for use on small outdoor stoves, not on campfire. The side pot handles don’t allow you hanging the pot above the fire (unlike the top handles on larger 3L and 5L pots), so putting these smaller pots into the fire may be considered as non-usual case. Of course, it’s still possible if needed, and the fire will not harm the pots (there is no silicone on handles, or plastic lids).
On the other hand the side handles are perfect for use on stoves and draining the water, while the traditional top handles are really clumsy. I never liked them in my old Russian stainless steel pots (1.5L and 2.5L), which I was using in 2007-2015. The top handles always had the tendency of becoming very hot, and the water draining required some practice to avoid burns.
By the way, these old pots haven’t changed mostly during the eight years of abusive usage, so I can name the S/S cookware totally bombproof and having almost infinite service life. There is simply no part that may break or grow aged (like coatings or plastic/resin parts). So if you’re planning to buy the steel cookware, it makes sense to spend a little more.
NOTE: all pots made of thin metal are prone to some warping of the bottom. I cannot call it a damage or disadvantage of particular pots, it's pure physics.
On the other hand, the weight of steel cookware is on the heavy side. You can see it on table below, I’ve measured two sets of my Primus pots, my old 1.0L aluminum pot (Chinese copy of Primus Litech) and also two old S/S Russian pots for sake of comparison.
Interestingly all items in the S/S Primus cooking set are really heavy even in comparison to my old S/S pots. In the meantime they have beautiful high tech design: even the lids are equipped with colander, spring-loaded handle (it locks in various positions for use and storage, so it’s easy and totally burn-safe to drain the water) and even the classy leather strap with Primus logo! Unfortunately due to this strap, I cannot put these lids into dishwasher.
The frying pan also has the spring-loaded folding and detachable handle with sliding lock. It has the embedded aluminum disc in the bottom for more uniform heat distribution and less risk of burning the food. At home, my fried eggs become very slightly burned, but tasty and crusty.
Update: Despite my initial denial, I stopped using the ceramic-coated pans at home, and now I fry eggs only on Primus pan.
The cooking set is stackable, and it nicely fits into the packing bag, which looks nice, but actually it’s not as convenient as you may get used to. At least, the Primus should have attached a cord lock, because you need to make a knot to close the bag. In 2017 it's quite frustrating. The stacked 1.0L and 1.8L pots have a huge gap between each other, but it’s perfectly filled by 1,8L protective plastic bowl from our older Primus Primetech set.
Actually as much as three different Primus sets (Campfire, Primetech-I and ETA-II) are 100% interchangeable between each other. It’s really nice, as you can make your own set, combining S/S and heat exchanger pots, protective plastic bowls and lids from various sets.
In photo below you see the combination consisting of parts belonging to all three sets (1.8L Campfire and 1.0L ETA pots, plus two plastic bowls). I really love this feature, but unfortunately the newest Primetech-II pots are completely different.
In conclusion, the Primus Campfire Small set is almost a perfect option for those who need a hi-tech cooking set for 2-3 people which will last forever. But you have to consider its excess weight and average fuel efficiency. These issues are solved in titanium and heat-exchanger pots respectively, which have their own disadvantages though: the titanium pots are expensive and prone to burning your food, the aluminum pots are less durable and cannot be put into dishwasher.
I like the Primus products, and they are always on top of my wishlist due to good design and excellent warranty service.