The Kovea Camp 3 is a very compact and lightweight canister stove made of titanium. Each of the three pot supports is hinged. To pack the stove, flip the tips of the pot supports toward the center and rotate the pot supports to one side.
When I requested review samples of the Kovea Camp 3 and Markill Peak Ignition , I did not realize that they are identical stoves. Both are titanium mini-canister stoves with piezo-electric ignition and weigh only 3.3 ounces (94 grams). This review, and the review of the Markill Peak Ignition, will hopefully untangle any confusion that readers may have about these stoves. Note: The Camp 3 and Peak Ignition are very similar to the Vargo Jet-Ti stove (not reviewed, the Jet-Ti does not have piezo-electric ignition). Kovea of South Korea manufacturers all three stoves.
- Strong titanium construction
- Compact and lightweight
- Standard piezo-electric ignition
- Precise flame control
What's Not so Good
- Very sensitive to wind
- Piezo-electric igniter works inconsistently in cold or wind
- "Flame lift-off" at full throttle reduces heating efficiency
|Kovea (South Korea)|
|Camp 3 top-mount canister stove|
|3.3 oz (94 g) as measured; manufacturer's specification 3.1 oz (88 g)|
|Open 4 x 2.8 x 2.8 in (10 x 7 x 7 cm); closed 2.8 x 2.4 x 1.6 in (7 x 6 x 4 cm)|
|Titanium and brass|
|Piezo-electric ignition, hard plastic carry case|
|48,000 South Korean Won (approximately $48 US)|
Basically, if you purchase the Kovea Camp 3 or the Markill Peak Ignition, (Markill is a subsidiary of Vaude), you are getting the same stove. The only discernable difference between the two stoves is that one has "Kovea" stamped on the piezo-electric igniter and the other is stamped with "Markill". As you will see from reading my lab test report (cited below), the performance of these two stoves is virtually identical.
Note: The Vargo Jet-Ti stove is very similar to the Kovea Camp 3 stove reviewed here. The Jet-Ti is made by Kovea, and is obviously patterned after the Camp 3. The differences are that the Jet-Ti has solid (not hinged) pot supports and manual ignition. These changes get the weight of the Vargo Jet-Ti down to 2.7 ounces. The burner head on the Vargo appears to be identical to the Kovea Camp 3.
The Camp 3's pot supports are hinged so the ends flip out to provide a diameter of 4.75 inches. Contact with the bottom of a cook pot is mostly at the tips of the pot supports. I found this design to be stable for the pots I tested it with, but it depends on the bottom surface of your cookpot. Pots with a smooth bottom are stable if properly centered, while pots with indentations in the bottom can be tipsy. A fry pan had to be balanced off-center or hand held to stay in place.
I found the Camp 3's piezo-electric igniter to be a bit variable. It worked fine in warmer temperatures, but was less consistent in cold temperatures and wind. At 50 °F I counted six tries with the piezo-electric to light the stove in one test run, and only one try on the second test run.
Flame control is precise with no re-adjustment required. The flame adjusts from a fine simmer to full throttle in a little over one-quarter turn of the controller.
At full flame, performance is impaired by a phenomenon called "flame lift-off," which is explained in Performance Comparison Testing of Lightweight Canister Stoves Fall 2005: Controlled Data Evaluating Key Variables of Temperature, Wind, and Windscreen Use for Four More Canister Stoves. Basically, at full throttle the flames lift above the burner head, and some lift high enough that they actually blow out. The blow out occurs erratically above the burner head, and is accentuated by wind. This results in less efficient combustion and heat transfer to a cookpot. The Kovea Camp 3 shares the same burner design as its twin, the Markill Peak Ignition, and also with the Kovea X2, and all have the same problem.
Because of the "flame lift-off" problem, the Kovea Camp 3 performs more efficiently at less than full throttle and under non-windy conditions. Fortunately, for cooking control and fuel efficiency reasons, it is normal to use a canister stove at less than full throttle. Using a low or moderate flame level, the Camp 3 is a good cooker. With its precise flame control, it easily cooked an omelet and fried pancakes in a fry pan, and sautéed onions and green peppers in a titanium cookpot. With the smaller burner, it worked best to use a low flame and allow more cooking time to avoid burning in the middle of a pot or pan.
On one snowshoe outing I tested three canister stoves' ability to melt snow by melting 2 pounds of snow plus 1 pound of water in a 1.5-liter titanium pot and boiling the resulting 1.4 quarts of water. The results for the Camp 3 are shown in comparison to the other stoves in Table 1. First note that the boil times are huge - three times longer than optimal conditions. The Camp 3 used a little more fuel than the other stoves. More important, note that it requires twice as much fuel to melt snow and boil the water than it does to boil water under optimal conditions. Furthermore, about the same amount of fuel is consumed to melt snow and boil the water as boiling the same amount of water unprotected in a direct wind.
|Stove||Boil Time (minutes:seconds)||Fuel Consumption (grams)|
|Kovea Camp 3||13:56||36.9|
|Markill Peak Ignition||13:27||31.2|
The heating efficiency of the Kovea Camp 3 is summarized in Table 2, in comparison to the averaged performance of 13 canister stoves tested. For more detailed information see Performance Comparison Testing of Lightweight Canister Stoves Fall 2005: Controlled Data Evaluating Key Variables of Temperature, Wind, and Windscreen Use for Four More Canister Stoves. Overall, the Camp 3 is slower to boil water, is more sensitive to wind, and is less fuel-efficient than average. Since the majority of these tests were performed using a full throttle setting, I believe the Camp 3's lower performance is due to its "flame lift-off" problem. These test results are nearly identical to the Markill Peak Ignition stove.
|Test||Optimal Conditions Full Flame 1 quart water||Optimal Conditions Moderate Flame 1 quart water||Optimal Conditions Full Flame 1/2 quart water||Cold Conditions Full Flame 1 quart water||Windy Conditions Full Flame 1 quart water||Wind + Wind screen Full Flame 1 quart water|
|Camp 3 Boil Time (min:sec)||4:25||5:25||2:30||9:29||43 degrees*||9:04|
|Average Boil Time for all stoves tested (min:sec)||3:34||5:12||2:21||8:02||77 degrees**||6:31|
|Camp 3 Fuel Consumption (g)||15.5||14.6||8.9||12.9||31.2||24.5|
|Average Fuel Consumption for all stoves tested (g)||15.4||11.8||8.2||12.2||30.3||20.2|
|Camp 3: Water Boiled Per 4-ounce Fuel Canister (qt)||7.3||7.7||6.3||8.8||-||4.6|
|Average Water Boiled per 4-ounce fuel canister for all stoves tested (qt)||7.6||9.7||7.0||9.3||-||5.9|
Optimal conditions are 70 °F air and water, no wind. Cold conditions were simulated by putting the stoves and canisters in a freezer overnight at 10 °F, then boiling 40 °F water. Windy conditions were simulated with a box fan providing a 12 mph wind; water and air temperatures were 70 °F.
*Degrees Fahrenheit water temperature was raised after 10 minutes at full throttle. The Kovea Camp 3 did not boil the water.
**Average amount water temperature was raised after 10 minutes. Of the twelve stoves tested with 1 quart of water, only two stoves (the Coleman F1 Ultralight and Brunton Crux) reached boiling within 10 minutes.
The Camp 3 is nicely designed. The pot supports are hinged and slide to one side, making it one of the most compact canister stoves we have tested.
Recommendations for Improvement
If it were not for its problem with "flame lift-off," the Kovea Camp 3 would be one of our favorite canister stoves. The Camp 3's flame lift-off problem definitely requires some attention. Also the piezo-electric igniter could stand some improvement so it works more consistently.