Kit review: the Onja Stove Duo from Primus

ITV's Coast and Country presenter and founder of Dryad Bushcraft Andrew Price puts his outdoor cooking know-how to the test on the new Onja Stove Duo from Primus while adventuring on the Gower Peninsula

  Primus Onja Stove Duo, complete with oak board and utensil roll, RRP £  105

Primus Onja Stove Duo, complete with oak board and utensil roll, RRP £105

Back in the 1980s, when I first showed an interest in camping, my friend’s father gave me an ancient brass camping stove in a rusty tin box to help get me started. The thing hadn’t been used in decades so I eagerly polished the tarnished fuel tank to a mirror shine with Brasso before marching up to my local ironmongers to buy some paraffin. In those days paraffin was sold by the gallon, and since I didn’t have a container my friendly ironmonger sold me a jam jar full of the stuff for 10p along with a new leather washer, and sent me on my way. 

When I got home I filled the fuel tank with paraffin, and with the help of my friend’s dad I changed the old and perished washer for the lovely new one, unscrewed the pressure release valve, primed the pre heater with methylated spirits and lit it with a match. Just before the meths had completely burned away I re-tightened the pressure release valve and apprehensively began to pump the stove. Within seconds it roared to life with a noise reminiscent of a Vulcan bomber ready for takeoff. Magic.

That was an old Primus no.23 stove, and it served my friends and I very well for years. It could boil a pot of water in a few minutes, and with its thunderous roar and bright blue flame it never failed to get the job done, whatever the weather.

Over 100 years of craftsmanship

Primus have been making camping stoves since 1892, and they’ve played a vital role in practically every significant expedition of the 20th Century, from Scott’s ill-fated South Pole expedition, to the first successful ascent of Everest.  

The Onja stove from Primus continues in that great Swedish tradition of quality and practicality, all packaged into a compact two burner design that offers a lot of versatility for the wilderness gourmet. One burner is fine if you’re making tea or thawing out some pemmican on the frozen wastes of Antarctica, but if you want to sauté asparagus while pan frying a couple of freshly caught seabass fillets, two burners is definitely the way to go.

The Onja Stove Duo is the most compact two burner stove in the Primus range, and with its neat folding design and handy shoulder strap you can take it anywhere, from a picnic in your local park to an extended canoe trip in Scotland. In its folded state it can easily be mistaken for a messenger bag, and it only weighs 3kg.

The stove uses Primus bottled gas in either 100g, 230g or 450g sizes, and each burner has a separate fuel source so you will need two bottles of gas to power both burners. The gas isn’t supplied with the stoves, but they are available in outdoor shops all over the country, so resupply shouldn’t be an issue unless you’re in the middle of nowhere. The gas bottles can be carried fitted to the stove so they are out of the way. 

A thing of beauty and practicality

Heat can be adjusted precisely with the neat folding steel switches, and I had no problems using it to boil water or gently simmer a pan of soup. The sturdy steel construction is very stable and the burners are at a very useful height for cooking while sitting cross legged on the ground, or on a table top.

The lid of the stove top is a beautifully polished oak board, which can be used as a chopping board or as a level surface for a couple of glasses of Chablis. The features in brass, leather and fabric are a nostalgic reminder of its Primus heritage, so typically Swedish.

Combined with the Primus campfire stainless steel cook set, utensil roll and a bit of imagination, this stove should give you many memorable outdoor dining experiences.

  Andrew carries the Onja stove packed up neatly like a messenger bag

Andrew carries the Onja stove packed up neatly like a messenger bag

Primus Onja Stove Duo, £105. To locate a store near you, visit primus.eu/storelocater. For more about the story behind Primus, read our Q&A in the Ernest directory

Andrew has worked as an outdoor pursuits instructor for over 20 years, teaching rock climbing, abseiling, gorge walking, coasteering, kayaking and canoeing, before specialising in bushcraft and survival skills through his company Dryad Bushcraft. He's also presenter of ITV's Coast and Country.

dryadbushcraft.co.uk

 

Cooking outdoors

Upload photos of your outdoor food adventures to Instagram and you could win a Primus Onja stove worth £105

  Primus Onja stove, SRP £105

Primus Onja stove, SRP £105

With a heatwave expected this Bank Holiday and hopefully a long Indian summer in the coming weeks, there’s no better time to gather family and friends together for a bit of cooking in the great outdoors.

Our friends, iconic Swedish stove makers Primus have crafted a genius new range of kit for cooking up culinary delights in the wild with their new CampFire collection.

Scandinavian craftsmanship

Drawing on 120 years of stove expertise, smart Scandinavian design and sustainable materials, CampFire is a beautifully crafted three-strong range of double burner stoves, high quality pots, pans and accessories for those with a love of entertaining outdoors.

Out of the three double burner stoves in the range, Onja (SRP: £105) is a show-stopper stove made in Europe from a unique blend of stainless steel, oak, brass, cloth and leather.  Compact and portable, it’s easy to assemble and pack away, yet suitable for large pots for cooking up culinary treats outdoors.  Plus there’s no need for expensive, heavy gas cylinders as the all the stoves run off easy-to-buy self-sealing LP gas cartridges. Simply cook, eat, laugh, pack up, pop on your shoulder and plan your next outdoor culinary adventure.

Clever little touches to this aesthetically appealing range include:

  • stackable stainless steel pots with integrated colanders in lids that can be packed away neatly into a storage bag
  • a utensils kit, complete with oak and stainless steel knives and accessories, held in a polycotton wrap that can be rolled out flat or hung
  • a cutlery set that packs neatly into a leather sleeve
  • a utility sack with a watertight roll-top closure – handy for carrying water or food in, then taking home used cutlery and plates
  Primus Onja stove, SRP £105

Primus Onja stove, SRP £105

Win a Primus Onja stove

To be in with a chance of winning one of these finely crafted stoves, we want to see photos of your summer outdoor cooking adventures. Upload your photo to Instagram, tag @primusequipment and @ernestjournal and use the hashtag #outdoorcooking. The most inspiring pic will win a Primus Onja stove worth £105.

Next week: keep your eyes peeled for ITV Coast and Country presenter Andrew Price reviewing this awesome piece of kit for Ernest

Terms and conditions:

1. The closing time and date is 11.59pm on 4 September 2016. Entries after that date will not be considered. 2. The prize is a Primus Onja stove, SRP £105. 3. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative can be offered. 4. See our full terms and conditions.

Issue five is on sale now!

We're thrilled to announce that issue five of Ernest Journal hits the shelves this week and it's a corker of an issue, exploring the interconnected themes of time travel, slow journeys and solar exploration. Read on for more about what's in store and order a copy today...

24-page guide to Vancouver Island

Seek out old growth forests and storm-battered beaches in Tofino, before exploring a puzzle of islands characterized by fiercely independent and resourceful people and a finely balanced ecosystem.

Curious histories

Enter the unruly world of made-up languages; meet the small cryonics community striving for immortality; conduct time traveling experiments in your sleep and explore everyday tales of radiation. 

Spaces

Meet the photographer capturing every RNLI station in Britain using a Victorian photographic technique; learn about the humble geologist and map maker that changed the world, and explore time bending images that have been painstakingly restored to change the way we think about the past.

Slow adventure

Seek out simple shelter in the mountain bothies of the northwest Highlands; follow in the footsteps of The Peregrine author JA Baker, and journey with Tres Hombres as she ploughs across the Atlantic, carrying cocoa and barrel-aged rum in her wooden belly to herald the start of a new slow cargo movement.

Timeless style

Chart the evolution of British style through the post-war era of burgeoning café culture, modernist architecture and rock’n’roll, and explore the social history of the fisherman’s smock. 

Workmanship

Pick up the journey of an antiques restorer who plies his trade on the open road; explore the practice of solargraphy, a long exposure technique that records the path of our sun, and discover a movement that sees artists, perfumers and chefs blend their practice to create intriguing multi-sensory experiences.

Wild food

Unravel the history of the vindaloo; reimagine the strange, unsettling, yet magical recipes of The Futurist Cookbook with Bompas & Parr, and gather wild plants from the forest floor to make your own herbal first aid kit.

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Moss-steamed trout

Our friends at Woodlore share their recipe for steaming fish in the outdoors – all you need is moss, a good campfire and some lemony herbs

 Images:  raymears.com

Images: raymears.com

The method of steaming your food between two layers of moss is one of the simplest ways of cooking in the outdoors, particularly with fish. It requires very little in the way of utensils or equipment (which means minimal washing up), and is very hygienic. But the greatest benefit of this technique is the way that it leaves you feeling truly immersed in the outdoors. This dish requires just two ingredients – trout and wood sorrel, the latter being a pleasant lemony stuffing that works well with fish. 

1. Firstly, prepare a hot fire with a good bed of embers, preferably of oak.  

2. Forage a handful of wood sorrel (make sure you are confident in identifying the plant first).   

3. Collect two large handfuls of sphagnum moss, taking care to keep them intact. Remove any leaf litter from the moss. 

4. Gut and clean your fish, then stuff it with the sorrel(at this stage you can use the clean side of the moss as a place to prepare the fish).   

5. Once your fire is ready, place the first layer of moss on top of the embers. Place the fish on top of the moss. Cover the fish with the second layer of moss, so that the soil and roots are facing upwards. Leave the fish to steam.

6. If the fire has been prepared correctly, you should see steam rising from the moss. After 30 minutes of steaming, check on the fish and turn it if it’s not cooking on top.
A simple way of testing if the fish is cooked is to gently press your thumb against the skin; when the fish is ready, the skin and flesh should slip away from the bone. Remove the fish from the fire and peel away the skin. Spoon the flesh away from the bone and enjoy with a pinch of wood sorrel.

You can learn various cooking techniques, alongside other bushcraft skills on a Woodlore course; raymears.com

Discover more wild food recipes in issue 4 of Ernest Journal, on sale now.

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Cree bannock

Woodlore, the school of wilderness bushcraft founded by Ray Mears, share their recipe for a warming, energy-filled snack that's a perennial favourite of the outdoorsman

  Bannock is a traditional Scottish bread

Bannock is a traditional Scottish bread

Every region has its own take on the standard method of cooking bannock. In Australia they bake it straight on fire embers; in the far North it is cooked in a frying pan. In North America, the dish was adopted by indigenous peoples after it was introduced by fur traders. To free up cooking equipment for other jobs, the Cree cooked their bannock skewered on a stick, which is the method we’ve used for this recipe: 

Ingredients (serves 3)

4 x handfuls of flour
2 x handfuls of milk powder
4 x teaspoons of baking powder
1 x handful of dried fruit
Sugar (to taste)
Water

Method

1. Put flour, milk powder, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl or pan. Stir with a wooden spoon, getting plenty of air into the mixture. Make a well in the centre and gradually add water, stirring into a stiff consistency.

2. Fold in the fruit, taking care not to force air from the dough.

3. Find a green, non-toxic stick about an inch in diameter (we use willow) and scrape it down to the bare wood and sharpen both ends. Heat the stick over the fire until scorching.

4. Form the dough into balls and skewer them, pushing the balls together. Push one end of the stick into the ground and lean it towards the embers – the bread at a height above the fire at which you can hold your hand no more than five seconds.

5. Turn the stick regularly to ensure even cooking until the bread is golden brown all over. Peel the bread off the stick and serve warm with butter and jam. 

Learn more cooking techniques and bushcraft skills on a Woodlore course; raymears.com.

You can read our guide to wild butchery and foraging for the Norwegian cloudberry in print issue four of Ernest Journal, on sale now.

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