Primus Tupike Stove (for the camping gourmet)
I’ve always been a great fan of disposable cartridge stoves. They’re small, light, cheap and work perfectly. But then I met a sensible woman and we had two children…. so something a little more ‘homely’ was required. I soon settled on one of those normal double-burner camping stoves that every man and his dog seems to use. First stop was the reassuringly solid Campingaz 400ST. It was OK-ish but far too big. The thing seemed to take up half of the boot space in my van. It also had an absolutely hopeless grill for making toast. When I say ‘hopeless’ I mean utterly, utterly, useless. The toasting problem was soon fixed with a handy little stove top toaster from The Range (only £3.99). I can’t recommend the Brightspark toaster enough.
This made the Campingaz stove redundant and was soon replaced with the wonderful Primus Tupike. This not only looks beautiful but is small and weighs only 4.5kg. The body of the stove is made from brushed stainless steel with oak laths across the top to protect it from dings. It even has solid-brass fittings plus a few other little design flourishes such as a heavy-duty stainless steel gas hose that folds away neatly under the stove. The only downside I’ve found are the flimsy supporting legs which can wobble a little. In practice, I haven’t found them to be a problem. In any case, they can be easily folded away and the stove placed directly on a table or on the ground.
It stove works brilliantly. It uses piezoelectric igniters, which work pretty well. It will boil a litre of water in around four minutes and the intensity of the flame can be finely controlled to allow simmering. The stove also comes with a non-stick griddle which is good for cooking veggie burgers and searing vegetables (and even meat, if you must). One of the biggest advantages over other stoves are the side wind guards. These do a surprisingly effective job of keeping cooling breezes away from hot pans. The stove lacks a grill – which I regard as a plus as it allows me to use the cheap and cheerful Brightspark toaster.
The Tupike runs on disposable gas cartridges but if, like me, you want something a little more environmentally friendly you can buy an adapter to use refillable Campingaz or Calor type bottles. Best of all, the stove can be cleaned down with a quick wipe of a damp cloth and folded away into a nice little package. The stove comes with a built-in carrying handle too – which makes stowage easy.
The stove is a little pricey at around £150 but I think it’s worth it if you like good camping kit and can afford it.