RANGER REVIEW: PRIMUS LITE+ 'ALL IN ONE GAS STOVE' AT BOW-TIE ISLAND PRIMITIVE CAMPSITE, ESTERO BAY, FLORIDA
CAMPGROUND REVIEW: When it comes to "camping," often people immediately think of hiking, backpacking or traveling by car to a campground or campsite. But throughout North America (U.S. and Canada) paddling your way to a campsite often leads to greater solitude. Another distinct advantage to paddle camping… unless multiple, long portages are involved…you can carry luxuries and more of them with greater ease.
On this journey, I chose to paddle six miles North from home, along the Great Calusa Blueway-Estero Bay, to Bowtie Island Primitive Campsite. (GPS: N26 22 35 W81 51 13) Of note: The Great Calusa Blueway has over 190 miles of intercoastal waterway paddling trails with several barrier island primitive campsites. https://www.fortmyers-sanibel.com/media/30166/phase-1-update-9-05-17-proof.pdf . On this pdf you see number 11 for Bow-tie Island and the primitive campsite on the southeast portion of that mangrove island. If you are traveling the Blueway south, Bow-tie Island is to the east of marker 9. Paddle to the southeast corner and you will locate a narrow trail that leads to the campsite. It is first come=first served…no reservation system exists presently, nor is there an informational phone number. Bonus: It's free
Most of the paddling hugs mangrove islands in this area, with a few larger open-water crossings. Be very alert, as power boaters tend to be less than gracious with their kayak swamping wake as they fly by.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:
⦁ Solitude- you will likely have this small mangrove island to yourself
⦁ It is a primitive campsite
-No potable water (bring all the water you need for hydration and cooking)
-No electricity (plenty of sunshine for solar chargers)
-No facilities (Leave No Trace-pack out everything)
-No internet (There is strong cell signal present)
-No lights (Stargazing is incredible on clear nights, but bring illumination)
-No picnic table
⦁ Bring mosquito repellent (do not forget this!)
⦁ Bring sunscreen
The campsite is not openly obvious, even to those that boat and fish the area often…I startled a boat of fisherman as I dragged my kayak out of the mangroves. At the time I stayed, the east side "beach" entrance was blocked by a large, wayward uprooted tree that was washed up. So the only other trail opening is on the southeastern side. I would estimate that trail to the cleared camping area, a 50 foot walk.
There is no signage visible when on the water. Near the "blocked" eastern beach entrance is a small Calusa Blueway placard indicating Bow-tie Island Primitive Camping area.
The cleared campsite area is large enough and flat enough for possibly two 2-man tents. I used a 3-man tent and had ample room for a hammock and chair. This is a mangrove island that is comprised of broken shell, so bring that tent footprint to save your tent floor. Though there was a fire ring comprised of a dozen rocks, I did not brave the outside from dusk to daybreak, as the mosquitoes were savage…and I just so happened to have forgotten my repellent. Mangroves are fairly dense, so you don't get a strong enough breeze to keep the bugs away.
During the winter months (Dec-May), you will hear some road noise from the nearby beach roadway (depending on the wind direction)…but it is sporadic at night (I do sleep with earplugs) and didn't bother me. Power boat traffic is quite heavy during winter months also…and noise travels on the water…but there was no boat traffic during the night.
If you don't bring it…you won't have it…and you can't get it…no stores within five paddling miles (and some walking) or on the water in this area. There is a marina just south of Big Hickory Island that has a nice restaurant, and there is a hotel restaurant on the north end of Lover's Key…but not simple 10 minute jaunts.
Fishing is great, for both sport and meals…just make sure you get a license. Big Hickory Island and Lover's Key have beautiful beaches to enjoy a short paddle west…via New Pass. I'm not suggesting that you paddle over to the Lover's Key State Park restrooms to enjoy modern facilities…but its only a 20 minute paddle. Mound Key Archaeological Site is a close paddle in Estero Bay…and Koreshan State Park is a further paddle up Estero River on the mainland. If you paddle south, 3+ miles, you can dock at Coconut Jack's restaurant along Bonita Beach Road and enjoy incredible seafood meals.
Check the weather forecast when boating…and continue to check it, as SW FL weather can change rapidly. Winter months see sparse rain, but nights can get downright chilly. Summer months are gloriously hot, but from June through October it usually rains each afternoon…and when I say rain…I mean torrential deluge. I thoroughly enjoy paddling in rain storms, but in Florida, "the lightning capital of the world," I would advise against it.
Consider the challenge of the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail and its island primitive campsites.
Note: I contacted State of Florida Parks, FWC, County Parks/Recreation and City of Bonita Springs regarding rules, regulations and reservations…and each one deferred to the other, so nobody really knew. Biggest concern will be where you leave your vehicle while you paddle.
PRODUCT REVIEW: PRIMUS LITE+ "ALL IN ONE GAS STOVE"
Primus makes sturdy, reliable, innovative stoves…and the Primus Lite+ is no exception https://primus.us/products/eta-lite-7?variant=38436885010 . I have and still own numerous stoves by various manufacturers, but the stove I use exclusively when in the backcountry on short or extended trips is the lightweight Primus Express piezo ignition stove…front country camping, I utilize my Primus Primetech 1.3 Stove set especially if I'm cooking for multiple people, where weight and size is not critical.
Enter the Primus Lite+ "All In One Stove"…featuring a creative locking mechanism that secures the 500 ml pot to the stove burner with a simple insertion and twist. The Primus Lite+ also incorporates their proprietary Laminar Flow Burner Technology, which minimizes distance from pot to burner…along with lowering overall height. Like the Primetech Stove pots, the Lite+ pot also utilizes the integrated heat exchanger which both distributes burner heart evenly, thereby reducing fuel usage, and helps block the wind, also assisting with faster cook times and lower fuel consumption.
As a TheDyrt.com Review Ranger, I get the opportunity to test and evaluate outdoor products for review either for free or deeply discounted, as was the case for the Primus Lite+ "All in One Stove."
⦁ Stove with locking mechanism and Piezo ignition
⦁ 500 ml (nearly 16 oz or 2 cups) pot with integrated heat exchanger/wind-block
⦁ Plastic lid with strainer holes
⦁ Removable, felt-lined Insulated pot sleeve with strap grab handle
⦁ Folding canister stabilizing legs
⦁ Suspension cord
⦁ 3 Threaded Stabilizing Studs (for using standard flat bottom pots on stove)
⦁ Coffee press
A 500 ml pot will give you two cups of coffee using the Primus Coffee Press (not included). This sized pot is sufficient in the backcountry to provide meals for two…based on the one cup meal servings.
⦁ Reasonably lightweight at 13.9 oz
⦁ Integrated Ignition is simple and works
⦁ Insulated sleeve with handle gives it a "mug" feel
⦁ Pot Heat Exchanger heats fast and evenly
⦁ Pot/Stove Burner interface locks securely
⦁ Canister stabilizing legs fulfill their purpose
⦁ Primus did not use their new Ceramic coating on pot interior
⦁ No Stove Pouch provided like their Express Stove includes.
The Primus Lite+ ticks almost all the boxes for my preferred usage. If Primus would've used their ceramic coating inside the pot, along with providing a nylon storage pouch for the stove burner…it would place Primus further ahead of the competitors in this hot market. Clean up would be a breeze…and the storage pouch would minimize stove damage and pot interior scratching.
There is nothing difficult or foreign about usage, nor is there a learning curve…remove the contents from the box, thread the stove burner head onto a fuel canister, line up the triangle on the stove head with the triangle opening on the bottom of the pot, insert…twist and shazaam! Fill the pot with your desired contents, turn the black fuel adjustment knob so it releases gas…press the red piezo ignition inward…adjust the flame and in a few minutes dinner is served.
The Primus Lite+ is a solid all-around performer! Light enough to take with you anywhere-everywhere again and again. Absent are any complexities… simply user-friendly and practical. As previously mentioned, I would like to see Primus utilize their ceramic coating on the pot interior and include a protective mini stuff sack for the burner…their absence doesn't affect performance or function in any way…though I think it would help bring the competition to their knees.
Overall Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️