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Expedition stoves just got a notch better with the introduction of the lightweight, dependable Optimus Nova Plus Stove.
- Item #OPS0004
- Q & A
Sturdy & reliable
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I own an optimus; whisperlite; and dragonfly. I love the Optimus. It's far sturdier than the others. You can simmer. The parts are metal, rather than cheap plastic. The quick connect system feels much more secure and less prone to accidents. The metal stove stand can support a very heavy pot.
Some folks have complained that they have had poor experiences when using non-white gas fuel. I once used regular unleaded gasoline. It stank and did not burn smoothly. It was too explosive. I highly recommend sticking to white gas. I don't know if that is true with a dragonfly as well... I haven't experimented enough. I've never actually seen kerosene for sale when you can't get white gas.
Classic example of RTFM
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
After researching stoves and reviews, I chose the Nova+ prior to an "expedition" into the Apostles. The same problem that others have commented on about needing an engineering degree to figure it out, or that it doesn't simmer, etc. had me stumped for a while but the problem is quite simple to solve. This is key - open the manual and go to your language section. Read the instructions. Now, look and read carefully the BOX the stove comes in. Then, understand this - people who write technical manuals are not always the people who understand how users use a device, and this manual has some shortcomings IMO. Basically the Nova+ is very well designed but it must be operated like this:
1. The little knurled knob on the pump with off<>on arrows - all this knob does is open or CLOSE the fuel - it is NOT used for simmering or flame control. The manual does not really spell this out very well. Think about the design of most every other stove out there - first you gotta get fuel from the can/pump to the stove, then you adjust the flame...
2. So, go pumped it, opened the gate, and now what ? The big green barrel-shaped thing just to the right of the knurled knob but 6" from the stove - yes, the thing with the directional arrows on it - turning this barrel will spin the entire fuel line and subsequently adjust the fuel going into the jet. This is the ONLY thing you turn to adjust the flame/prime/etc.
3. Some people over-simplify or over-think well engineered tools like this. The guy that said the line was plugged - probably had that barrel or line adjuster fully turned "off", thus, no matter how many times you pump or turn the knurled metal knob, it cannot force fuel beyond the actual line adjuster.
I hope this comes in handy for others considering this stove. Once I got past the "this thing is junk" phase and actually READ how the stove is intended to operate, it will simmer beautifully, no farting, sputtering, or burn the crap out of things. You simply adjust the green barrel ring thing which lets you prime it, fire it up to a low roar, or simmer to the point of making soups without zorching things to carbon goo at the bottom of your titanium pans.
Really, trust me, this thing is a well engineered tool but a monkey will not figure it out, no matter how smart the monkey things he is.
Folks at Optimus - manuals need some work.
Powerful, versatile, rugged
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I've had this for about 5 years, including a thru-hike of the entire PCT (~6 months), a month in Alaska, and a winter camping trip. This is a great stove, and if you want the power and versatility of a liquid fuel stove, I wholeheartedly recommend it. If you want something as simple as possible that you'll never have to mess with, and don't need it for very cold weather / high altitudes, get a canister stove.
It's very powerful (about as much as my MSR XGK EX, but not as loud), but I can adjust it more than most liquid fuel stoves- I wouldn't say it's great for simmering, but much better than a whisperlight. A great feature is that you can purge the fuel line of fuel- so you don't have to worry about it dripping fuel in your pack or inside your pot, and you can save some fuel. The stove is very stable and easy to use.
The stove is durable and easy to field-maintain. I like that the pump is metal, and has few parts, unlike the MSRs which have a ton of tiny plastic pieces. The only issue I've had is occasionally the pump cup leather doesn't make a good seal, so nothing happens when I pump it. Lubricating the leather helps, but if this happens you probably need to replace the leather. Just keep an extra leather cup and the included silicone lube in the stove kit, and you'll be fine. (both are tiny and weigh nothing)
A full medium fuel bottle of white gas lasted me about a week and half on the PCT, and I ate BIG meals- I was the only PCT hiker I knew that did not lose weight! I cooked mainly dinners, along with tea or soup often, sometimes a hot meal or coffee in the morning. I've never had to use other fuels, but I like knowing I don't have to switch nozzles to burn gasoline, kerosene, or jet fuel if I have to. I've never had to replace a fuel filter or had an issue with a clogged nozzle burning white gas.
The only thing I don't like is the stuff sack- it's shape makes it difficult and awkward to fit the stove and accessories. I use my MSR stuff sack instead.
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
This stove spends more time being cleaned and adjusted than it does actually cooking anything. I'm going to pick up a Whisperlight before I hit the trail for a month. Total waste of money!!
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
It does the job, and mine never broke on me, but it's certainly not my favorite petite stove on the market. It boils water effectively, but it really only does one temp. which isn't awesome for tasks like "simmering".
Worst stove ever !
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
Bought this beautifully designed stove (Nova Plus) in august 2012 and took it on several long and short backpacking trips. It never burned steady, but pulsating. Simmering wasn't as easy as claimed, stove went out or didn't simmer. Tried everything from cleaning, pumping, replacing parts, white gas (I usually burn unleaded) nothing helps. As a proud owner of the optimus 8R Hunter and 111 Hiker I am seriously disappointed with this crappy piece of hardware. On my last trip in the north of Sweden it completely failed to function after 7 days. Despite of replacing nearly every part before I left and during the trip, I had to eat cold muesly, nuts, chocolate and tasteless emergency keks for three days.
I returned the stove to my retailer, he has trouble to get thes optimus people to respond. Waiting for two weeks now.
This stove is not reliable. It will break after 3 - 4 uses.
My wife is on an 8-week research trip in the Mojave desert with this stove. The pump fell apart after 3 uses leaving her unable to cook food.
I drove 1100 miles to bring a replacement stove to her, and the next AM we started to cook some eggs and the new stove failed. The hose that delivers the fuel was somehow plunged. I was using new fuel and brand new fuel cans.
DO NOT buy this stove. It will fail. Look at MSR stoves.
Used it in 10 degree weather at 11,100' by Chinns Lake in Colorado on 2-19-12. Worked true to the instructions. No annoying fuel leaks or mess. Turning the tube to up the flames is a little unsteady, you need to straighten the tube to make it easier.
Optimus Nova +
The plus means better
I've seen the original Optimus Nova Stove in action, and I will say that the new flame adjustment system on the Plus model is MUCH better. Definitely worth paying the little bit of extra cash. I generally use straight up white gas and can boil 1L of water in about 3min. Coldest I've been is about 10deg Fahrenheit and still was able to boil in the same amount of time. I would recommend buying the cook set as the pot features a coil system on the bottom that is designed to trap more heat than a regular pot - makes boiling a lot faster. I decided to go with Optimus cause I felt like it was much more durable than other brands on the market - I know multiple people that own Optimus and have had their stoves for countless years and they hold up to a beating.
As far as amount of fuel to amount of cooking, my experience is that the 1L bottle can cook for 2-3 people for 5days. Depends on how wise you are about use, what you are cooking, how much coffee you make, etc., but definitely has multi-person multi-day capacity. And I personally don't find the added weight of a little extra gas on the onsite of a hike to be all that cumbersome. Cleans easily, looks great. Can't write enough praise for it. GREAT STOVE!
Hot fire in a Hot Zone
I bought mine before going to Iraq in 2003. I ran it off military grade diesel drained from my engine check valve. It ran and burned like a champ. With white gas it burns SUPER hot and cleaning is much easier than with diesel. I talked to another soldier and he said he had used many other flamable liquids in his and it worked great.
Excellent build quality,except where it counts
I used this stove about 30 times and it worked perfectly. I was impressed with the ease of use and durability so decided it would be the one for a 6 month SE Asia cycle tour...
Unfortunately in the Laos countryside,right when I needed it most,a leak appeared somewhere in the fuel line that meant air would come out instead of fuel. Gah! I ate rough for a little while and dismantled the whole fuel line to try and find the problem. I figure it must be leaking somewhere where the little plastic hose connects to the bottle top in the inside of the bottle,or else I am stumped! What I can say is that air comes out (and fuel occasionally) of the bottle instead of fuel!
I emailed the "customer service" about this over a week ago but am yet to receive any actual customer service or acknowledgment of my existence.
From other reviews it seems the stove is a bit of a gamble - sometimes you get a lemon.
it sucks but works
I have used it 2 weeks in CO at altitudes varying from 8K to 13K. At 8K it worked satisfactory. Above 10K I never managed to run it smoothly. I used camping fuel purchased from Walmart camping dpt. Even after long lasting warmup (the cup under the burner was almost full of fuel prior to warmup burn) it never ran smooth but rather kinda farting. I was able to cook on it but I know it was not right. The primary problem however is the design of flexible fuel line with quick disconnect. First - it can be very hard to keep parts of the connector clean. Imagine yourself sitting in freezing cold somewhere on a mud-rock island on a glacier and the damn thing drops on a "floor" while you are disconnecting or connecting it. Sand gets into connection and immediately rips apart the tiny o-ring. By the way that damn o-ring is a cheap EPDM rubber that gets already half dissolved by camp fuel even before abrasion caused by accidentally introduced sand. They put 4 of those o-rings in initial kit but trust me you need something like 20, and a patience of a surgeon to replace it in blasting freezing wind. The dust caps that supposed to protect line connector from debris are pathetic - they fall off by themselves.
The stove bag size is cramped and compartments are not easy to fit with stove parts.
A separate Foo I would like address to Optimus fuel bottle screw caps. They now equipped with polymer gasket seals that shrink being out of contact with liquid which results in them falling out from the cap and the cap is leaking. If you fish the gasket out from the bottle: good luck setting it back in cap - it will expand being saturated w/fuel and it won't fit. I'm not sure if it is only Optimus caps though acting that way because O bottle look pretty similar to other brands. Overall I'm disappointed - my 30 yrs old soviet made Shmel stove (which I always hated BTW) works much better than this stove. I would like to return it actually if they take it back ...
What a fantastic stove. Simple to use, quick start up. Boils water fast! All around great purchase!
I have used this stove about a dozen times now. I've never had problems with it. It is one of the most reliable things in my pack. It is very durable as I can just shove it anywhere in my pack and not have to worry about the hose or stove breaking. Many of my friends have different types of butane and although they can get theirs started before me, I always get the water boiling in half the time. I got this as a gift but when researching found that it is one of the most versatile and reliable stoves out there. Thanks Optimus!
Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness
I love my Nova+. It works like new every time. It is easy to use and cooks very efficiently. Very well built and highly packable. This stove simmers as well as any other. I love the versatility of its multifuel capability although I burn almost exclusively white gas (Coleman fuel). my only complaint is that with the + model, you need to have to fuel line in-line with the valve (as you adjust it on the bottle end but twisting the whole hose) Other than that absolutely the best stove I have ever used.
Stove in action
This is a great stove, Here it is slow cooking a pot of veggies. It was a great meal. I highly recommend this stove. It is light, packs small, boils fast, simmers pretty good, fuel lasts a long time, all around good.
I replaced an old whisperlight stove with this. What a huge improvement! Compared to my old stove this is MUCH easier to light, set up, and clean, is very stable and seems very efficient. On a 4 day - 5 person backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon, we used less than 1 liter of fuel (white gas).
do these stoves break fast? like in the...
do these stoves break fast? like in the review?
My Optimus is going fine after 5 years, everything can break but these are pretty easy to fix and spare parts are available. They are well made and many people use these stoves with little problem. It helps if you have a little basic mechanical knowledge. By basic, I really mean basic. It also helps if you per filter your fuel if you are using dicy stuff like questionable diesel. You also have to clean it more often if you are using this type of fuel. Works great with the high quality stuff sold in camping stores.
Optimus stoves are okay, but a better one of this type is the Primus Omnifuel. Far superior construction, and it can also burn canister fuel, which comes in handy sometimes. Hope this helps.
I've had mine for about 5 years, including a thru-hike of the entire PCT, and it worked fine. Maintenance is much easier than the MSR, because it doesn't have all those tiny plastic parts, the pump is much simpler. The only problem I recall having is the pump cup leather not making a good seal occasionally, so keep the included silicone lube and a spare pump cup leather in the stove kit.
I am looking for information on the durablity...
I am looking for information on the durablity of the stove as an expedition stove. This would involve heavy usage. I understand that routine cleaning comes with this style of usage. Reviews have jumped from 2007 to 2012 era. Will this stove be able to handle the usage? Optimus says it will, I called and had a chat. I do not want any advice on other stoves such as a dragonflies, xgks or primus omnifuels, I have owned all 3. I am looking for a more reliable stove without breakable parts and the ability to simmer as well as melt snow. Reviews have jumped from 2007 to 2012 era. I am looking for someone that might own this stove and have some knowledge for the 2010 era stoves.
My Optimus Nova has not ben super reliable. I got it last summer and it has been on two week long trips and four extended weekend trips. I'm having trouble getting the pump leather to seal well, even with the official grease that came with it and also olive oil. :) It seems that I only get pressure at the bottom of the stroke. Also, I plugged the ceramic fuel filter and had to replace it. I thought I only used clean white gas, but I certainly could have been the fault of the problem. Unfortunately, I need to spend $15 to get a set of spares that only includes one more filter. They should have something that is cleanable.
I should add that the manual is great. I would have been toast without it.
Does anyone else leave their pump in the...
Does anyone else leave their pump in the bottle full time? I've been doing this for about 2 months now and haven't seen and ill effects, nor do I see anywhere in the manual where it says not too. Just seems every video I have ever watched of someone using this stove they pull their pump off the bottle when not in use, that seems like a good way to spill fuel, or introduce contaminates into my fuel bottle.
I had a msr set up that I never took the pump off of it. You should be fine leaving the pump on there.
I started leaving my pump in the bottle while doing the JMT. No problems.
body color is black? or sliver? I saw the...
body color is black? or sliver? I saw the black one at another shop..
I confused. which color is new one?
The body on the new model that Optimus sells is black from what I have seen. You could use the "Chat Now" to verify.
the old black one was defective. the chrome replaced it. now there is a new black one that is not defective. The way you can tell if you have a new black one or an old one is the QA number on the side of the unit.
As a result of the receipt of a number of reports of fuel leakage in the field and after quality assurance analysis, Katadyn Products Inc. has decided to voluntarily recall some Optimus Nova and Optimus Nova+ Multifuel Expedition Stoves. If you bought your stove between January 2009 and September 2010 and it has a black burner housing and shows a QA-number from QA000011-QA007313, please fill in the form below to file your request for an exchange. The QA-number of the stove is located on the side of the black burner housing. All Nova and Nova+ stoves with silver burner housing have no QA-number and are not affected.
The newest model is black and does not have a defective QA number
Is nova plus compatible with trangia like...
Is nova plus compatible with trangia like nova?
Can I use it with trangia adapter or not?
Yes, it is compatible with the trangia adapter.
I can't find an O-ring to replace the one...
I can't find an O-ring to replace the one in the fuel feed valve/quick coupling.
Can you replace the O-ring in the fuel feed valve with a standard O-ring from a hardware or do you have to pay $30 for the extensive repair kit for the sake of one O-ring?
Just so you know, Optimus does make a regular maintenance kit that sells for about $15. That said, if you can match the o-ring exactly, and don't think you'll be needing any of the other, more specific, parts anytime soon, the local hardware store should have what you need for less than a buck.
How many hours of useful cooking do you...
How many hours of useful cooking do you get from the fuel bottles? There are three sizes:
.4 / .6 / 1 liter bottles.
Lots of variables involved with the answer to that, such as flame setting, fuel type, altitude, temperature...but from the specs, 450ml (0.45 liters) will give you about 2.5 hours of burn time on high. Again, variables not considered, boil time for 1 liter of water is approx. 3.5 minutes using white gas. Calculate that out over 2-3 times per day x the amount of water you plan on boiling per meal x the number of days you'll be out, give yourself a bit extra for priming, preheating and a bit of slack time, there's how much fuel you'll need. Base your choice of what size bottle you'll need on what you come up with. But I can tell you that the smallest bottle I can get away with is where I like to go personally, although I have several sizes to choose from in the gear closet that all come in handy from time to time.
Does anyone know what non-Optimus fuel...
Does anyone know what non-Optimus fuel bottle will work with the Nova + stove?
I always recommend using the same brand fuel bottles. Primus bottles will work but the threads between the two are slightly different which could possibly become a fire hazard due to escaping fumes & loss of pressure. Go with the Optimus bottle just to be safe. The risks are simply not worth the potential consequences!
The fuel bottles are all pretty standard. I use a small MSR fuel bottle with mine, because the store only carried MSR bottles and I needed a small one.
Mine works fine with an MSR fuel bottle, though I mainly use the Optimus fuel bottle.
The wider shape of the optimus bottle probably makes the air purge feature work better than a narrower bottle, at least when it's full, but this isn't critical.
Will this stove work with ethanol?
Will this stove work with ethanol?
Straight from the Optimus Nova+ Manual: "The Optimus Nova+ has a burner designed to use petroleum-based fuels. Therefore, you cannot use alcohol-based fuel."
You can download the manual from the Optimus web site:
Write your question here...Does this stove...
Write your question here...Does this stove burn unleaded auto fuel?
The Nova+ will burn unleaded auto fuel but it's not recommended for three good reasons:
1. Erratic flame,
2. Excessive hydrocarbons produced,
3. Jet clogging requiring numerous cleaning.
It will however burn diesel, kerosene, white gas, & jet fuel very efficiently.
whats the difference between the NOVA and...
whats the difference between the NOVA and the NOVA + stove?
Almost nothing. The hose is longer and it's 10g lighter and half an inch narrower (diameter).
The plus also has the control surface for the heat at the bottle end of the hose, rather than at the stove end. Saves on some burnt fingers. Don't worry, the valve is still at the stove end; there is no delay.
I'm looking into getting either this stove,...
I'm looking into getting either this stove, or the Jetboil personal stove. I'm wanting something that will work well in high altitudes, while I like the effeciency of the jetboil, I dislike the ignition system. What are the effeciency and altitude specs like on the nova?
Go for the MSR reactor stove.To answer the question: Multifuel Stoves like the Nova Plus work better in below-freezing conditions. Cannister fuel stoves are not as efficient in very cold conditions and as the more volatile contents are used up, they can become very close to worthless. However when you go higher in elevation: due to reduced atmospheric pressure, cannister gas stoves can work surprisingly well at low temps. I'm talking about noted improvement from 15,000 ft. up.The Nova series stoves are very fuel efficient because the flow of fuel is controled with a needle-like valve right where the fuel changes from liquid to gas under the burner. This also allows a range of flame control not seen in stoves that control the flame where the fuel leaves the bottle. Ray
How good is the simmer control? I've heard...
How good is the simmer control? I've heard it gets sticky, and tends to tip the stove? Does it allow accurate temperature control?
Liquid fuel stoves have gotten better @ simmering through the years but they still have a way to go. Lower flame control is still erratic & can burn food if you're not careful. The Nova is a plate burner which is not as simmer friendly as a ported burner e.g., MSR Whisperlite. If simmering is your main priority, consider a canister stove which will also boil water faster. From Ray: As I noted in above question: the Nova, like all Optimus Multi-fuel stoves controls the flow of fuel with a needle valve right under the burner: where fuel changes from liquid to gas. I have not used the Nova or Nova Plus in real cold conditions, but the old 111B, which had very similar fuel control would simmer at any temperature. I could keep the flame at a candle flame, then instantly turn it to blowtorch. This feature makes it very fuel efficient. Ray
It can stick a bit while the stove is heating up. Once it heats up, and especially when there is a pot on the stove, there are no issues with sticking or tipping whatsoever.
And it simmers like a champ. No burnt eggs, even when using karo!
Apparently someone borrowed the first part of this from me & incorporated it into their answer. So here it is again & it's still accurate:
"Liquid fuel stoves have gotten better @ simmering through the years but they still have a way to go. Lower flame control is still erratic & can burn food if you're not careful. The Nova is a plate burner which is not as simmer friendly as a ported burner e.g., MSR Whisperlite. If simmering is your main priority, consider a canister stove which will also boil water faster."
how does the optimus Nova plus compare to...
how does the optimus Nova plus compare to MSR whisperlite international ? is it better or more reliable?
This stove has more output and can burn more fuels (the whisper lite international cannot burn jet fuel). This stove also has a better pot support system. The trade off would be gaining 4 oz in weight.The Whisperlite has much better simmer control. They both produce 10,000 BTU's.From Ray: I really don't want to argue with Jeff----but I have to. The Whisperlite has a lot of great qualities, but MSR went to the trouble of inventing the Dragonfly to have a stove with better simmer control and more stability. Please refer to my above question answers on the Nova +, then look at Backcountry.com's Nova reviews. The Nova + simmers Great!Ray
It comes with a fuel bottle, right? I bot...
It comes with a fuel bottle, right? I bot one from LL Bean and it did. BUt I found one vendor (American Web Mall) was selling it without it without a huge notice. It was vert deceptive practice at best.
Also, flipover cap was metalic color instead of black color as shown in the picture.
How about yours?
From the product "Tech Specs"Fuel Bottle: Not included