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Primus PrimeTech 2.3L Pot Set Review

A few attributes make this efficiency-oriented cook set an excellent foundation for the practical, hearty-cooking, enthusiastic user.
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $80 List | $45.88 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Sturdy construction and efficiency-oriented heat exchanger ring, locking universal pot gripper
Cons:  Heavy, especially for a kit that requires addition of other features, heat exchanger ring is a little messy
Manufacturer:   Primus
By Amber King & Jediah Porter  ⋅  Nov 27, 2019
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SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 13
  • Cooking Performance - 25% 9
  • Packability - 20% 6
  • Durability - 15% 6
  • Weight - 15% 8
  • Ease of Use - 15% 9
  • Features - 10% 4

Our Verdict

The main pot of the Primus PrimeTech 2.3L Set is better than any other single pot in any set we evaluated. Between the lid, the handle, the nonstick coating, and the heat exchanging rings, this is the most sophisticated and high-performing pot we've used; it is only enhanced by the accessory pot and the insulated cozy/carry bag. That it doesn't include any more features may cause some consternation. However, if you are looking for maximum performance, you won't mind the process of securing your own accessories. This excellent pot is a perfect option for car camping, backpacking, and even bivys in the cold, alpine conditions of Alaska.


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Pros Sturdy construction and efficiency-oriented heat exchanger ring, locking universal pot gripperComprehensive, high end materialsEnvironmental and health-friendly ceramic construction, lightweight and versatile overall constructionDurable, excellent frying pan for discerning cooks, great lidGreat starter set, stable handles, some versatile pieces
Cons Heavy, especially for a kit that requires addition of other features, heat exchanger ring is a little messyPot handle gets hot, heavyFragile coating and pots dent easily, no features beyond two basic potsHeavy, no non-stick coatingSmall bowls, unnecessary accessories
Bottom Line A few attributes make this efficiency-oriented cook set an excellent foundation for the practical, hearty-cooking, enthusiastic user.A comprehensive set of cookware for all sorts of camping scenarios.For gourmet and health-conscious campers, this set will form the foundation of a kit that will prepare the best meals possible outside for 3-4 people.A car camping cook set, optimized for performance and compact carry, at a high weight.A budget, one stop shop for basic camping menus.
Rating Categories Primus PrimeTech 2.3L Pot Set GSI Pinnacle Camper MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set Stanley Adventure Base Camp 11 Piece Camping Set
Cooking Performance (25%)
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7
Packability (20%)
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6
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7
Durability (15%)
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6
Weight (15%)
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9
Ease Of Use (15%)
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Features (10%)
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Specs Primus PrimeTech... GSI Pinnacle Camper MSR Ceramic 2-Pot... Stanley Adventure... 11 Piece Camping Set
Measured Weight 1.6 lbs 3.7 lbs 1 lbs 4.8 lbs 1.8 lbs
Material Aluminum Hard-anodized Aluminum w/Non-Stick Coating Hard-anodized Aluminum Stainless Steel. Pot and pan bottoms have additional layers. Hard-anodized Aluminum
Components 2 2.3L pots, 1 lid, pot tongs, padded/insulated storage bag 2L pot, 8" frypan, strainer lid, 2 mugs, 2 bowls, handle 2L pot, 1.5L pot, strainer lid, 2 plates, 2 mugs, handle 3.5L pot, vented lid, 7" 3ply frying pan, cutting board, spatula with extending handle, serving spoon with extending handle, [4] 6in plates, [4] 22oz bowls, [4] sporks, dish drying rack, heat resistant trivet, locking bungee 1.9L pot, 6.5" frypan, lid, kettle, ladle, 2 bowls, spatula, scrubbing pad, hot pad
Avg Boil Time (mins) 3.12 3.78 3.58 4.12 3.5
3L Pot? (>2.4L) 0 0 0 1 0
2L Pot? (1.5-2.4L) 2 1 1 0 1
1L Pot? (.5-1.4L) 0 0 0 0 0
Frying Pan? 0 1 0 1 1
Frying Pan Lid? N/a Yes N/a No No
Packed Size (inches) 7.9 x 5.3 in 8.5 x 4.6 in 5.3 x 7.8 in 11 x 6 x 11 in 6.75 x 3.5 in
Weight of pot closest to 1.5L, with lid and handle 0.9 lbs 1.0 lbs 0.5 lbs 1.9 lbs 0.6 lbs
Cooking Surfaces Non-stick Teflon like coating Pot and frypan both have non-stick Teflon coating One (1.5L) non-stick pot, One (2.5L) uncoated pot Stainless-steel Non-stick Teflon coating on each piece

Our Analysis and Test Results

The two pots that make up this award-winning cook set are solid and clean, and their performance is excellent, with only proven "bells and whistles". Of the cook sets we tested that include efficiency-enhancing "heat exchanging" fins, the Primus pot is a little less efficient, but the other attributes tilt the overall needle back in its direction. The whole combination is an excellent foundation for a genuinely high-end camp kitchen. For true aficionados of camp cooking, those that demand carefully selected equipment for preparing excellent food with ease and enjoyment, the Primus PrimeTech is one of the best pots we've tested.

Performance Comparison


Whether deep in the wild  or next to your car tailgate  camp cooking and dining is special. The PrimeTech set forms the foundation of what could be an excellent camp kitchen.
Whether deep in the wild, or next to your car tailgate, camp cooking and dining is special. The PrimeTech set forms the foundation of what could be an excellent camp kitchen.

Cooking Performance


We evaluated the cooking performance of each set of cookware on a matrix of objective tests and the subjective results of "day to day use". On this rubric, the Primus shares the top spot with just one other product. Because boiling water is the foundation of camp cooking, the results of our standardized boiling test are a big part of the overall cooking performance score. The heat exchanging ring on the bottom of the Primus main pot reduces the boiling time and saves simmering fuel to a significant degree. This same pot, with its broad construction, relatively thick aluminum bottom, and excellent Teflon coating, cooked scrambled eggs remarkably well. On a stove that simmers well, the thick pot walls and the close-fitting lid even work well for backcountry baking tasks.


In preparing any boiled water food, all the other products we tested suffer when compared to the Primus. The difference exaggerates even further if one's camp cooking involves melting snow. In other cooking tasks, like sautéing and simmering sauces, the Primus does well too. It does not include a dedicated frying pan, but either the main pot is broad enough to suffice. Its heat exchanger ring offers one of the fastest boiling speeds (3:07 min) while the non-stick coating makes scrambling eggs a breeze.

The Primus heat exchange ring on the bottom of the main PrimeTech pot.
The Primus heat exchange ring on the bottom of the main PrimeTech pot.

Packability


The outer dimensions of the packed-up Primus kit are almost exactly average. The 2.3-liter pot forms the rigid outer shell of the kit, enlarged only by the lightly insulated carrying bag. The shape is also fairly average.


To maximize boiling efficiency and cooking ease, low cylinder shape is pretty standard. The Primus is shaped this way too. Regarding packability, we also consider how much one can fit inside and what that does to the cookware. The two pots of the PrimeTech set nest tightly together, wasting no space between them. The inside of the inner pot is treated with a nonstick coating that needs to be protected from whatever is placed inside. We find that a small piece of a towel is an excellent addition to pot protection and a worthy kitchen accessory. We were able to easily fit a small canister of fuel and a small stove inside this set-up, adding to its overall versatility.

Durability


Durability is a function of materials and metal thickness. Thicker metal is less likely to bend or warp. Steel is the strongest, followed by titanium, and then aluminum. Uncoated metals maintain their performance attributes longer.


Pots and pans coated with Teflon and ceramic break down with time, with the ceramic pots safely maintaining higher temperatures longer than the Teflon products. The Primus pots are aluminum with Teflon coatings. They will dent, but not as easy as some. They will lose their non-stick coatings with use and abuse. In the meantime, though, the cooking performance is worth it.

The lid and handle combination on the Primus is elegant  solid  and simple.
The lid and handle combination on the Primus is elegant, solid, and simple.

Weight


The overall Primus set is almost exactly average. The set weighs 709 grams. Comparing overall cook sets, however, is problematic, as each set comes with different components and features. In our attempt to better compare products, we weighed the main pot, lid, and handle and then normalized for pot volume. By this methodology, the Primus is also basically average. For the cooking performance it demonstrates (above average), this weighted scoring is admirable.


That said, it is a common choice for use on lightweight missions where fuel efficiency is of most importance. The large volume of both pots allows you to cook meals for up to three people, boiling water quickly on the go. This higher volume output means using fewer resources and more value in the long run. While it's not the lightest cooking set out there, it certainly has functions in all sorts of capacities.

The heat exchanger rings of the PrimeTech add weight  but you get that back if you let your fuel and stove choice reflect the greater efficiency of this pot.
The heat exchanger rings of the PrimeTech add weight, but you get that back if you let your fuel and stove choice reflect the greater efficiency of this pot.

Ease of Use


Pots are mostly fairly simple to use, and any differences are fairly subtle. We like the locking, universal handle/gripper of the Primus set. The heat exchanger ring lends a little stability when the pot is set on narrow camp stove burners. The lid is easy to put on and off, and its plastic construction stays cool. The lid strainer helps to separate water from the cooked pasta.


The accumulation of simple, bombproof usability attributes in the Primus PrimeTech pot set puts it near the top of the heap regarding usability. It is simple, stable, and easy to use.

It is very simple  but the locking and universal pot gripper of the Primus PrimeTech is the best solution we've seen.
It is very simple, but the locking and universal pot gripper of the Primus PrimeTech is the best solution we've seen.

Features


There are no extra features to speak of, with the Primus PrimeTech pot set. The one extra that is included in the insulated "cozy" that doubles as the carry bag. While we couldn't find much use for this attribute, some will certainly like the option to insulate your heated or cooled cooking pot and its contents.


It is likely a feature that you learn, over more time than we had, to incorporate into your habits and patterns. It is exactly the lack of accessories that set the Primus apart. No cook set is perfect. For high performance, high-efficiency, regular, and frequent camp cooking, connoisseurs will want to assemble their kits. For those, a basic, well thought out set of pots will form the backbone of a tailor-made kit. The PrimeTech doesn't have any extra parts that you will have to compromise on or have to replace.

All the components of the simple and immaculate Primus PrimeTech set. Each part is carefully thought out.
All the components of the simple and immaculate Primus PrimeTech set. Each part is carefully thought out.

Value


If you find cooking performance to be of value, then you'll side with the saying, despite the seemingly high price, this is a product of great quality. If you prefer a spartan set-up with fewer features and better overall performance, this contender will last you a long time (when properly cared for) and perform for many years to come.

In winter camping  melting snow is a huge part of your time and experience. Here lead test editor and IFMGA mountain guide Jed Porter smiles because the PrimeTech pot saves him a ton of time on this task.
In winter camping, melting snow is a huge part of your time and experience. Here lead test editor and IFMGA mountain guide Jed Porter smiles because the PrimeTech pot saves him a ton of time on this task.

Conclusion


This Primus PrimeTech equipment is the ticket for the engaged shopper that wants the best of the best. He or she will also need to secure a frying pan, cups, plates, cutting board, and cutlery to have a complete kitchen kit. It offers amazing cooking performance, good durability, and packable design, all at a great price.


Amber King & Jediah Porter