We put the latest Primus cooking stove through its paces for the summer camping season
A camping stove is, by it's very nature, a purely practical piece of kit. The best ones are generally ancient, well-worn models, that cook your food quickly, easily and with little fuss required, even if they do rattle around in the back of the car and retain the same plastic-meets-metal style that's been around since the 1970s. So to be testing the new Onja Stove from Primus came as a bit of a first for us. Practical it may be, but what really stands out about this satchel-shaped, two-hob gas stove is its sleek, stylish design. It is a piece of camping artwork.
To drive around in our vintage VW campervan and then find it's a camp stove that's turning heads certainly came as an unusual surprise but it's easy to see why. When folded away the black fabric of the Onja gives it a rather smart, napsack-type quality, while a shoulder strap and the lack of any loose parts means you can easily swing it over your shoulder and trek out to your chosen camping pitch without it jangling loosely all over the place. When ready, you simply undo a simple clasp and fold out the apex-designed structure. And voila, you're ready to go.
Cooking is still the main function, however, and on this front it was equally up to the task. The dual 2,700 watt burners were ideal for campsite cooking – one for boiling our pasta, the other for frying up some veg and sauce – while the smart wooden cover that creates a lid when folded away can be removed and used as a chopping board. We even used it with some of Primus' own cooking utensils, including a super sharp knife. Again, the Primus gear had all the practical functionality you want but also stood out for its stylish aesthetics and all-round high quality – wooden handles and smart stainless steel. The oak chopping board itself is naturally anti-microbial, as are the fine wooden cooking spoons, all easy to clean and well contained in their black, fold-up jacket.
The Onja Stove is very much for culinary campsite cooking rather than simple boil-in-the-bag hiking fodder. The Primus pots, cookware and utensils allow the full range of boiling, stewing and frying, while the dual burners allowing you to create a more extensive meal. Primus CEO Lars-Ola Brollinson considers the stove as a campfire alternative rather than a speedy expedition stove and, as such, has named the whole range 'CampFire Products'. "They are intended to be used with family or friends, for cooking outdoors, eating together and simply enjoying yourself," Brollinson says. "It focuses on the social and culinary aspect of outdoor cooking."
It's with that thought in mind that the stove's most formidable (and slightly unnecessary) test came on a staggeringly blustery evening while we explored campsites on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way. On an open beach with a full Atlantic wind, the stove did snuff out on a couple of occasions and re-lighting was a challenge, since the Onja requires your own matches or lighter, rather than having an in-built lighting trigger. Given the stove's performance in all other (more relaxing) circumstances, however, we still think it's one of the best camp cooking options on the market. For a truly wild expedition there are smaller, more resilient, more appropriate stoves out there but for regular campsite cooking and the chance to try diversifying you culinary options this is a top spec stove with a stand out design.
- Dual hobs allow a wider range of cooking
- Sleek, smart aesthetics with a cleverly combined chopping board cover
- Easy to control flame level
- Easy to fold and carry with shoulder strap
- Simple, regular camping gas canisters available from any good camping store, so no need to lug around a big hose and tank.
- No automated lighter trigger (matches or lighter required)
- Fabric makes it potentially more challenging to clean than regular metal and plastic models (though this is merely speculative, since we are tidy, non-spill campers!)
A great dual hob burner for regular weekends and campsite stays, easy to use for first timers and those who want to branch out from simple boil-in-the-bag campsite cooking.
Cool Camping were provided with a Primus Onja Stove free of charge in order to write this review; opinions are our own.