I remember my first backpacking stove purchased in the early 90's. The one that required the pump, pump, pumping of the fuel canister, then a turn of the knob to get the gas hissing, a fearful reach down with the lighter and then a FHOOOMP! that would scorch the hair off my arms and send me diving for cover – only to quickly begin more frantic pumping to settle the inferno. Fortunately backcountry gear has progressed substantially since those early days, particularly with stoves.
For the last several years my go-to has been the Optimus Elektra FE Cook System. This kit has cooked meals for me on backpacking trips from Wyoming to Idaho to Colorado, percolated morning coffee while hunting the Montana backcountry, fishing remote stretches of Canada for pike, and on winter camping trips, and reheated chili on river floats right here in Michigan.
The Elektra FE system is a complete cooking kit that includes a Crux Lite stove with handheld piezo ignitor, the Terra Weekend HE Heat Exchange pot with nonstick coating, pouring lid and measuring marks (ml and oz), a small fry pan that doubles as a lid (I sometimes use it as a plate/bowl), a light weight clip-on windshield that increases stove efficiency and reduces gas consumption, a stuff bag, and the BOB outdoor sponge for easy clean up. The Elektra FE system retails for around $100 at most retailers
What I like:
Efficiency: The Elektra FE Cook System is marketed as a fuel-efficient, high-performance wonder, and it is – you get a 28% faster boil time with about a 20% fuel savings. This sucker boils water in a hurry (around 2 minutes depending on altitude)!
Size: The entire kit (stove, heat exchange pot, lid/pan, windscreen, ignitor and BOB sponge) all fit into a lightweight, extremely packable stuff bag that takes up virtually no room in the pack and adds only ounces to the shoulders.
Ease of use: The cook system is super easy to use, from hook up to lighting to clean up. No more frantic pump, pump, pumping!
What I don't like and other notes:
Simmer: If there's one drawback to the Elektra FE cook system it's heat control. While there are various adjustments, this stove runs best on what I will call "full blast." Nice for getting that water boiled super quickly, bit a little fussy if you want to run anything at low heat or on simmer.
While not needed, the Optimus Canister Stand (sold separately) adds a little stability to the whole set up and, when folded, fits inside the kit nicely too.
Another nice-to-have backcountry eating utensil is a long-handled "spork" - perfect for those deep meals in a pouch. My go to is the Alpha Light from Sea to Summit
Perfect for: The Optimus Elektra FE cook system is the perfect set up for backpacking trips, backcountry hunting and fishing outings, and river floats. It packs small and light, is super easy to use (and clean up), and cooks food in hurry!
Stars: 4.5 out of 5
Learn More Here.