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The Primus Camp Kitchen | Field Tested

This article was originally published in Overland Journal’s Summer 2020 issue.

The year was 1911, and Roald Amundsen had just arrived at the South Pole. Roald was known for his pedantic nature and the extreme lengths he went to in testing equipment prior to an expedition. His stove of choice was the Primus, and it not only helped feed him but saved his life as well.

“In deep cold, sweat condenses in its passage through the clothing, forming a deposit of rime, which then melts with horrible discomfort. Amundsen had to sit up late, drying his Netsilik reindeer fur kamiks over the Primus stove.” –Roland Huntford, Scott and Amundsen

Primus was founded in 1892 and served notable expeditions from the South Pole to the first ascent of Everest in 1953. As I considered my next kitchen kit, I researched the history of the major brands and found Primus so steeped in lore that I needed to give it a try. Had the legacy endured?

The cornerstone of my new kit is the Kinjia dual-burner propane stove, which uses standard 1-pound propane cylinders (or larger with an adapter), generating up to 10,200 BTU per burner. The unit is finished in a matte-black powder coating. The corners are cast metal secured with brass fasteners, and the lid locks closed, exhibiting limited rattles (mostly from the regulator). There are attractive wooden elements, and the drip tray is stamped from one piece of stainless steel. My only reservations are around the exposed valve knobs which should be guarded against damage.

For cooking, I selected the Primus Campfire cookset (small), which includes 1.8-liter and 1.0-liter pots, along with a frying pan and storage bag. Constructed from polished 18/8 stainless steel, the set nests easily, with folding handles and individual lids with integrated strainers. The pan includes a bonded-aluminum base that helps with conduction. Additionally, I included a little kettle for expediting the morning coffee, and was impressed by how compact and light it was.

For accessories, the Campfire prep set includes a nice selection of wooden utensils, including a spatula, large spoon, and salad server, along with a grater and knife. The knife is sharp but lacks a storage loop, and it would have been nice to see a cutting board, too. I added a few stainless steel plates and silverware, all nicely finished and ready for decades of exploration service.


Scott is the publisher and co-founder of Expedition Portal and Overland Journal. His travels by 4WD and adventure motorcycle span all seven continents and include three circumnavigations of the globe. His polar travels include two vehicle crossings of Antarctica and the first long-axis crossing of Greenland. He lives in Prescott, Arizona IG: @scott.a.brady Twitter: @scott_brady