Application: Optimus Vega stove--Rick D
- Howdy campers,
Below, please find my Optimus application. I'll also email this, separately, tonight.
Please accept my application to test the Optimus Vega stove.
I have read Chapter Five of the BackpackGearTest Survival Guide, Version 0609, and the annotated sections on the BGT.org Website. I will follow and meet the test requirements: I agree to post all three reports using the BGT Report Writer within the allotted time and to meet or exceed the required number of backpacking days/nights during the test period. I will supply photographs along with my text. My tester agreement is on file.
Applicant: Rick Dreher
Location: Northern Calif.
Years backpacking experience: 40+
General skill level: mid to advanced
Hiking Style and Experience
I backpack the Sierra Nevada and southern Cascade ranges and my trips range from day hikes to a week. I often solo and my overnight pack weight ranges from 20 pounds to 35 pounds (9 to 16 kg), depending on trip length and expected weather. My favorite hiking spots are alpine and I like trips that include some off-trail hiking to remote locales. My maximum daily range is about 15 miles (24 km) with a full pack in easy terrain. In winter, the snowshoes come out and I head out into the white stuff.
Stove? Did somebody say "stove?" Am always looking for the next, best stove for my backcountry cooking needs. I've morphed from liquid fuel to canister stoves and generally use a tiny canister-top burner, with windscreen. Because I cook rather than boil and reconstitute, I prefer a burner that simmers and spreads the flame. I also like remote burners that sit low to the ground. The Optimus Vega would appear to be all these things in a lightweight and compact package.
For the test duration, I propose to use the Vega for my spring and summer backpacking trips. I'll haul it along if any car camping trips arise, but at the moment there aren't any on the calendar.
Out of the box I'll baseline the stove with controlled tests at home, scrutinizing fuel consumption rates (by weight) per volume of water boiled, using at least two pot-lid combinations. I'll compare inverted with upright canister operation. Moving to the field, these observations will be supplemented with observed average fuel used per day.
Stove setup, breakdown and storage will all be evaluated. I'll note its ease of use on various surfaces and settings, and how well it integrates with the windscreen. Most importantly, I'll focus on how well it cooks, for me and my hiking partners (hey, I don't cook ALL the meals).
Key Test Questions:
* Design and constructionhow is the stove built? How does it set up, break down and stow?
* Ease of usehow easily does the stove light? How is flame control? Is the fuel line adequately long and how stiff is it? (These factors can impact usability.)
* Boiling and cookingdoes the Vega boil, sauté and simmer equally well?
* Fuel usehow much fuel does it take to boil a liter of water or cook a meal from scratch? Can I reliably budget fuel for long trips?
* Wear and tearhow does the stove and its various fittings hold up as the test goes on?
Test area description and conditions:
Trips will be in the Sierra Nevada (and possibly southern Cascades between 7k and 11k ft (1.8 km-3.1 km) elevation, the terrain ranging from heavy forest to treeless alpine. I anticipate hiking on bare, soggy trails in the foothills and on snow in the high country. May through August temperatures might range from 20 to 90 degrees F (-17 to +32 C). Wind is likely; rain is possible; snow is possible, but rare.
Current Test Obligations; Outstanding Applications
I have no active or pending tests or other applications.
My test links can found here. One stove report can be found there, but my several others have dropped into history's maw.
I've posted no O.R.s in the last year and have no other BGT duties.
Thanks for considering my application!