Gear Review: Primus Yellowstone Classic Trail Stove
A Long-Term Review of the Primus Classic Stove
I have been using this stove for about 5 years as my primary stove and I’ve never had an issue. If you want to learn more about different stove types, make sure you check out our previous post Stove Basics 1 and Stove Basics 2. When I was getting back into backpacking, I needed an affordable stove and this was the best option at REI. This stove is ubiquitous in outdoor stores, but the best price is generally Amazon.
Weight: 8 oz
Boil time: approximately 3 min
Price: $15 to $20
Canister stoves are generally considered lightweight and durable. The fuel source is an isobutane and propane mix in small metal canisters, which is where they get the name canister stove. The canister is generally the heaviest part of the setup and doesn’t get any lighter as your burn fuel. Finally, canister stoves are extremely easy to use and maintain.
How I Use It
I have used this stove for a variety of outdoor activities including backpacking, hiking, glamping, and I would cook lunch when I worked in the woods. On hiking or backpacking, I bring this along to cook hot breakfast, dinner, and warm drinks. For Glamping and cooking lunch, I have a large isobutane container and cook some well-rounded meals using a 1L pot and skillet lid.
The Primus Yellowstone has never had any significant performance issues. The stove boils fast, is a stable platform, and functions great in adverse weather. Additionally, this stove is incredibly durable. I have never performed maintenance other than halfheartedly wiping it down after use or drying the stove.
Less than Ideal Weather
After years of use, I have rarely seen a decrease in performance in less than ideal weather. Out of the hundreds of times I’ve used this stove, I can only remember a single time when the flame was completely extinguished by strong wind. Furthermore, wind will decrease the overall performance, you shouldn’t use a windscreen as it can overheat the fuel canister, but the stove will boil water fine.
I have also been lucky enough to use the Primus Yellowstone stove in light to moderate rains. Rain will decrease the performance of your cook times and will make a worrying sizzle sound the entire your pot and stove are hot; however, I was still able to brave the rain and cook a nice warm meal in about the same time as ideal conditions.
The Primus Yellowstone is a great source of heat and brings 300 ml of water in an open pot in approximately 4 minutes and make sure you check out the boil test. For comparison, Jack’s Etekcity stove boiled water in 4.5 minutes in the same conditions, and you can check out that boil test here. The Etekcity stove will save you 3 oz, but increase you boil time around 30 seconds.
I think one of the reasons the Primus Yellowstone stove boils quickly is the larger burner. It works exceptionally well on a wide pot where the large burner creates a lot of heat that doesn't escape out or around the pot.
The Yellowstone stove has a fixed pot stand with 4 smooth legs, which allows the stove to accommodate pots of all sizes. This makes sure the stove amazing stability. The biggest concern to stability is finding a cook site that is relatively level and free of debris. If you are a beginner and don't have all your gear perfectly dialed in or for younger/uncoordinated adventures the great stability and pot size accommodation will significantly smooth the learning curve.
Overall the issues with the Primus Yellowstone stove are pretty limited and for your beginner or intermediate backpacker/hiker, this is still a solid investment. In addition, there are some inherent issues with canister stoves which are not limited to just this stove but will be addressed anyways.
Size and Weight
Over the years, nesting my cook gear has become more important as I’ve learned a low volume pack can be just as important as a lightweight pack. Plus, nesting can reduce the awful noise of metal on metal clinking caused by stove, canister, and pot interactions as you walk. On top of being large, this stove is also considered heavy for canister stoves. You can easily find a stove with a similar boil time around half the weight.
An issue with all canister stoves; there isn’t a good way to check your fuel levels in the field. I have seen ways to measure canister to estimate the fuel left and tools that allow you to cannibalize almost empty canisters to refuel another canister. Unfortunately, neither will provide an accurate estimate while out adventuring; therefore, using a canister stove will require a little extra planning if you intend to be out for an extended period.
Wind is the enemy of all flame and this is true with canister stoves. There are clever designs and picking good cook sites, but windscreens can’t be used because heat buildup can cause canisters to overheat and explode. Finally, canister stoves have decreased to non-existent performance in cold weather, so if you live in a cold climate, there are better fuel options available.
I have found the Primus Yellowstone stove to perform exceptionally in diverse scenarios, and this evident as I have never replaced this canister stove as I’ve collected various new and fancy stoves throughout the years. It’s not a bad stove to start with for the low cost, simplicity, and reliability, especially for beginners; however, if I had to do it over again, there are cheaper and lighter models available that I would consider better options. However, this is a great bargain stove for beginners or some good canister stove in a pinch.
What type of stove do you use? Let us know in the comments. Also, if you like the blog follow us on Facebook to keep up to date.