The Olicamp Ion Micro Titanium Canister Stove is tiny and cute, but is quite limited in the value it provides. Under-powered, over-priced, with a very small pot stand, and poor wind resistance, you’d be better off getting a slightly heavier, more powerful, and safer-to-use canister stove.
The Olicamp Ion Micro has a very small burner head that throws out a very narrow and concentrated flame making the stove more suitable for boiling water, but much less so for simmering because the flame is not spread out and diffused across a wide surface area for more even cooking. The shape of the burner head, which is flat, also provides very little wind resistance (unlike stoves with recessed burners and side flanges like the Soto Amicus or Soto Windmaster, for example), which noticeably degrades the Ion’s performance in the slightest breeze because it blows the flame away from the pot. The small burner head also generates less heat (only 8900 BTU on full power or 10-20% less than larger stoves), although this shouldn’t matter that much in practice since most people don’t turn on their canister stoves to full for 3 season backpacking or camping and this isn’t a stove I’d recommend for winter backpacking.
The Ion Micro has fold away pot supports that have a spread of 3 inches and are best suited for a very small diameter cook pot, something like the 24 ounce lidless Olicamp space saver mug (which has a 3 and 7/8 inch diameter), which many retailers bundle with the stove, or the Esbit 25 oz Titanium Cook Pot w/ Lid, which has a diameter of 3 and 11/16 inches. Wider cook pots become increasingly less stable on the Ion’s tripod pot supports, the wider they are .
But my biggest concern about the Olicamp Ion Micro Titanium Canister Stove is safety because there’s very little space (2.5 inches) between the top of the canister and the bottom of a cook pot, barely enough to fit your hand to adjust the Ion’s simmer control. Like the stove, the wire simmer control on the Ion has been miniaturized and is only 1 inch long, meaning you have to scrunch your hand up to fit it under a red-hot pot if you’ve already started cooking to adjust it.
If you cook in low light situations, you have big hands, or limited dexterity, I’d encourage you to get a stove that provides a lot more vertical clearance between the canister and the cook pot bottom, as well as a longer simmer control. I came awfully close to cooking the top of my hand when reviewing this stove and quickly decided that carrying a stove the weighs 1 or 2 ounces more than the Ion Micro was well worth the extra ounce of prevention.
Weighing just 1.5 ounces, the Olicamp Ion Micro Titanium Canister Stove may well be the lightest canister stove you can buy today. But does the 1-2 ounce weight savings you get over other stoves like the Soto Windmaster or the Snow Peak Gigapower Auto really matter? Not if ease of use and safety matter to you. While minimalist backpacking is exciting to contemplate, I prefer canister stoves that have built-in igniters, are compatible with a wide range of cook pots, and which are more or less idiot proof to use.
Dropping features and compromising user safety just to make a product lighter weight is a stupid trade-off in my opinion. If you want to eliminate all of your stove weight, get rid of the gas canister and the stove and cook with Esbit cubes. They’re even lighter weight than the Ion Micro Titanium stove and a heck of a lot safer too.
Disclosure: Olicamp’s parent company, Liberty Mountain, provided Philip Werner (SectionHiker.com) with a sample Ion Micro Stove for this review.
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