Russian Petrol Stoves

A Primer on the Primus Stove

These little stoves are Russian copies of the Swiss "Primus" gasoline powered stove. They are quite useful when in the field for heating up food or drink. They're small, compact and were originally designed for campers/backpackers but they are just the thing for the East Wind Army on the move. You can't always get to the rear area for hot chow, but with one of these stoves, hot chow is always near you!

As you can see in the photos, everything comes in a self-contained metal box. The stove itself consists of a small tank, a radiant heat shield, burner, valves and valve stem, two bars serve as a stand for putting your pots/kettles on.

The first step to using the stove is to fill the tank with fuel. All of these stoves are designed to burn either white gas (camping fuel) or actual gasoline (which is useful in the field, because there's plenty of gasoline-run vehicles at East Wind so that means that cooking fuel should be available. Using the funnel that comes with the stove, you remove the screwtop on the tank and fill it up. (taking care not to spill any, because its flammable you know...)

Then, take the dropper included with the stove and remove a dropper's worth of fuel. This will be used to "prime" the stove. Make sure to replace the screwcap on the gas tank before you go to the next step!

There is a small dish underneath the burner unit. This you'll fill with the gasoline that you removed with the dropper from the tank. (Remember to close the tank afterwards!) The way things work is this...The fuel that you put in the dish is going to be ignited. The heat from this fire will warm the radiant heat shield in turn warming up the gasoline in the tank. Warm gas makes pressure. Pressure is what makes gas come out of the tank and into the burner. Its just like a gas stove at your home or flat but in a very small form.

Next, you'll take a piece of paper or a match and with a lighter get a flame. Light the fuel that you put in the dish under the burner. It will ignite, but don't worry, with the cap on the tank, everything is secure!

Let it go until you see almost all the fuel being burned up.

You'll see the above scene go on for a minute or so. What is occuring is the flame is heating up the heat shield (located between the fuel tank and the burner. This is in turn heating up the gas, which is causing it to pressurize. Those pressurized vapors will come through the stemset and once warmed up enough, will be able to be lit on fire and it will transform from just a flame to a high-pressure jet of cooking gas!

Once the fuel has burned from the dish, if you turn the stem valve in the appropriate direction, you will hear a faint "hiss" of gas. That means that you should get something and light the stove. The gas is now pressurized enough to be used. If you time it properly, you can even use the flames from the fuel you dripped into the dish to light the stove. It doesn't always work out like this, so keep your lighter handy. Sometimes, you also have to refil the dish and have a second go at warming the gas, especially in cold weather.

Fill your messkit with food or water (for tea). Put it on the stove.

Here we are at mission control, testing the first stage rocket burn of the new Soyuz liquid rocket booster...I mean, you can see that the stove puts out quite a flame!

Cover the messkit with the lid. A watched pot won't boil.

In only a few minutes (about 10), you'll have hot enough water to make tea.

Ahhh... liquid refreshment.

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