I have used an MSR XGK or Whisperite stove in the backcountry for nearly two decades. This summer, I was turned on to the new wave of super efficient and light canister stoves pioneered by Jetboil. I was quickly impressed with the Jetboil's efficency and functionality. Not to be out done by the new kid on the block, Primus, longtime player in the camp stove market, has their own version of the super efficient canister stove called the EtaSolo.
The EtaSolo follows the same basic design as the Jetboil Flash system. It is an integrated cookpot and stove system that runs on a standard isobutane/propane canister and can boil about half a liter (16oz) of water. I wrote up the Jetboil Flash Java Kit in a September post. When Primus offered up their EtaSolo for comparison, I was stoked to check it out.
A couple of details set the Primus apart from the Jetboil. First, it comes standard with a kit that allows cooking with any standard camp pot, and it includes a hanging adapter for use with its integral pot that allows you to hang the whole apparatus. Second, the pot is a little smaller than Jetboil's 1-liter system. Third, the Primus does not include the French press coffee plunger like the Jetboil Java kit, although, the lid is plunger ready. The added accessories are a plus. The hanging kit attaches directly to the integral pot making for a bomber hanging sytem. The kit that allows for standard pot use is easy to set up, and although not as bomber as the integrated system, it does extend the stove's rang of use. The difference in pot size is minimal and, since both manufacturers only recommend running a half liter of water at a time in their pots, there is no functional difference. Overall weight (minus the fule canister) for the Primus is 384 grams. The Jetboil comes in at 388 grams.
The Primus is every bit as nice as the Jetboil. The push button ignitor works great, construction quality and durability look great, it all packs inside the pot (except for the canister legs) and it is super easy to set-up and use. Like the Jetboil, the Primus EtaSolo is a minimalist stove. These stoves are designed to boil water, not prepare gourmet meals or cook for six people.
I decided to run the stoves head to head for water boling times. Results were predictably close. Both stoves boiled a half liter of water in just over three minutes. In three tests, the Primus hit a roiling boil between 15 and 25 seconds faster than the Jetboil. Not really a big deal, but it was faster.
Both are nice stoves. The Primus adds some functionality by including the hanger and standard pot conversion parts. The Jetboil Java Kit is French press ready. Both run a hundred bucks.