My friend and I plan to tour Nova Scotia by motorcycle this summer, and we're looking for the best lantern/backpacking stove. Whatever we end up buying will need to be compact and stable, powerful enough for easy cooking, and able to run off the se type of fuel canister. I've looked at a Primus multi-fuel stove, but will that run on any type of canister? Nedim New York City
Case in point: The Primus Alpine Power Cook stove ($65; www.suuntousa.com/products_primus.htm). It's a canister-only stoveand a very good one at thatwith a big cooking surface. And, it has a companion piece in the Alpine EasyLight lantern ($50), a compact, sturdy lantern that generates the equivalent of an 80-watt light bulb. It runs off the same canister as the stove, and any canister with the widely available Lindahl valve will work. The Primus OmniFuel ($140) that you mention is a great stove, maybe the best multi-fuel stove out there. It runs off liquid fuel as well as canisters, but it's more stove than you're likely to need. For simplicity's sake, I'd stick with the canister-only designs.
Of course, you don't have to stick to one brand for both the stove and lantern. A very clever lantern that's new this year is the Brunton Liberty ($110; www.brunton.com). The great thing about this one is that it doesn't need a lanternmeaning, those mesh globes that act as a light filament but that are of course fragile and fussy to install. Instead, it uses a nearly unbreakable platinum element. And, because it uses fuel with a Lindahl valve, all sorts of canisters fit to it. So you could get one of those along with maybe an MSR WindPro ($70; www.msrcorp.com), which has the advantage of coming with an excellent windscreen.
Read more stove reviews and advice in Outside's 2004 Buyer's Guide.