For me, having a reliable way to boil water while out in the backcountry is important. This usually means having something to boil the water in, like a pot, pan or mug and something to boil the water on, like a fire or stove. I prefer using a stove over fire when boiling water as it is quick and easy. There are many stoves on the market but few, if any, as small and light as the Olicamp ION Micro stove.
The ION Micro stove is made of titanium and stainless steel and uses a butane canisters as fuel. I have come to really enjoy canister stoves on most 3-season outings. Canister fuel is easy to transport and quick to hook up to a stove. To use the ION Micro stove you simple screw the stove on the canister, turn the adjustment valve to release some gas and light the stove using a match or lighter. One thing missing from this stove that a lot of the new canister stoves have is a piezo ignition built in. This is not that big of deal as you can easily like it with a match. Also a piezo does add weight so someone looking to reduce weight will welcome the missing piezo.
Over the past few years I have really been trying to lighten my load when backpacking. Weighing in at 1.5 oz., Olicamp says this is the light butane stove in the world. I can’t verify that statement, but I do know that it is hard to find a stove that is lighter. During a quick search on REI and Backcountry.com websites the next lightest stove I could find was the Snow Peak LiteMax Stove weighing only 1.9 oz.
Another great feature about this stove is it size. It is only 1.25 inches wide and about 2 inches tall when stored. You can shove it almost anywhere in a pack. The pot supports are about 3 inches wide when separated. This works great for the Space Saver Mug and other pots of similar size. But this can be a little narrow for bigger pots as well as frying pans. Also, the flame control could be a little longer as it can get a little hot when cooking.
I have used the stove a few times in different temperatures and environments and it was efficient and work great each time. While backpacking in the Uintas we exclusively used this stove the whole trip. One weakness that I found with this stove is its performance in the wind. On the Uinta trip it was pretty stormy and windy. Each time we used the stove we would build a small wind screen using rocks. The one time we didn’t the stove stayed lit the whole time it just felt like forever before the water started to boil. I would definitely recommend taking a windscreen with this stove.
At home, I decided to see how fast it boiled water. I filled the mug up with 16 oz. of cold tap water and turned the stove on high. It was about 54 degrees outside and it took about 3.5 minutes to come to a rolling boil. This was not scientific by any means but it gives an idea on how long it will take to boil 2 cups of water.
The Space Saver Mug is a handy pot that can easily boil 2 cups of water and has a 20 oz limit. I would be careful about boiling 20 oz. as water will probably boil over. The mug looks great and with a hard anodized surface it is super tough. It comes with an attached folding handle, that feel great to hold. The downside is that it can get a little warm when cooking. One big plus is the graduation marks on the mug so you can measure that right amount of liquid. Another nice feature is that you can store a Nalgene bottle or other items in the mug. As you can see in the picture, I was able to get fuel, stove and sliding foon in the mug.
I would definitely recommend this stove combo to someone that is looking for a ultralight cooking solution. It is easy to use, compact and efficient. If wind is a big issue where you are going, this might not be the best solution. But overall the ION Micro stove and Space Saver Mug make an ultralight and compact cookset that stores everything inside the mug for an easy all-in-one solution.