The Optimus Nova is a compact expedition grade stove that weighs 15 ounces and packs smaller than a fuel bottle. It is loaded with advanced features flip-stop switch, self-purging aluminum fuel pump and a quick priming burner but the big news here is that it is multi-fuel, It can run on white gas, Optimus arctic fuel, kerosene, diesel or jet fuel without changing jets. That makes it a great choice for international travel where fuel options may be the difference between a stove and a paperweight.
The quick priming burner and high-performance jets get an adjustable flame to boil quickly or just simmer if that is what you need to get breakfast on the table. The Nova is ideal for group backpacking base camps, kayaking, arctic camping or high-altitude environments.
This has been a great stove for me. I have used it on a number of winter trips, hikes and even a few quick lunches at the range. A hot meal can keep hypothermia at bay and improve morale. Because it will run on so many fuels (white gas, Optimus arctic fuel, kerosene, diesel or jet fuel), I am never chasing special fuel canisters. I have never been anywhere in the world where one of these fuels wasn’t readily available, usually more than one.
Assembly and operation of the Nova is pretty intuitive if you have ever used a camping stove before. You should start by reading the manual (or at least watch a YouTube video). There is a burner with a manual fuel valve control and three stamped-metal curved feet that fold up against the burner. The 8-inch woven metal hose that stows itself neatly in the feet.
The end of the hose has a quick release that locks into the pump assembly. The pump screws into the top of a fuel bottle. I recommend that you use Optimus fuel bottles with this stove. The Optimus bottles have a flat round rubber washer which seals perfectly with the pump.
The Nova comes with a nylon bag, a repair kit ( silicone grease, two small O-rings and a maintenance multi-tool) and a foil wind screen. The bag holds everything that comes with the stove. It has pockets for organization and a top drawstring closure. It also zips down the size, making it very easy to pack up.
- Dimensions: 3.5″ high X 7.5″ wide
- Fuel types: White gas, Jet Fuel, Diesel, Kerosene, Optimus arctic fuel
- Average Burn Time: 2.5 hours at full output (with 450 ml fuel)
- Average boil time for 1 liter of water: 3.5 min, (Varies depending on temperaturs and altitude)
- Weight: 460 grams / 15 ounces
- Kit includes: Stove, pump, wind shield, multitool, stuff bag, spare parts and lubricant, user manual
The stove is very easy to use. Put the pump unit in your fuel bottle and seal it. I pump it about 30 strokes to begin with and hook up the fuel line quick disconnects. The fuel intake inside the bottle is angled, this is what enables the flip on/off switch. When the fuel bottle shows the “on” side of the fuel pump up, your fuel is on and you can cook.
If you are remaining in the same campsite and want to keep the stove assembled for future cooking, you can turn off the valve on the burner unit. This keeps the bottle pressurized. You can easily prime it for your next meal. Use the flip switch if you plan to pack up the stove for travel. When you are finished, flip the “off” side up. Flipping the bottle over removes the intake line from the fuel. This forces it to suck in air, extinguishing the flame, depressurizing the bottle, and cleaning the fuel line and jet.
Once the stove is pumped up and connected, spread the feet as far as they will go and make sure it is stable and level. If you need the wind screen, set it up BEFORE you light the stove. This seems self evident; it is not. The long and flexible fuel line allows you to position the fuel bottle far from the burner and better adapt to the rocky ground.
The green valve control extends beyond the windscreen. It is long and easy to use without burning your fingers. Now open the valve a little and allow some fuel to pour the burner. Now you can light it and let it burn to pre-heat. After 30 seconds or so, open the valve and adjust until the flame is blue.
The Nova is very stable easily holding a large pot full of water. It has a separate simmer valve that allows for precise flame control and reduces fuel consumption.
I often use the stove with Optimus Terra HE field cook set. The heat exchange (HE) component reduces boiling time by efficiently spreading heat across the entire pot cutting boil time to boil by 20%. Everybody likes quicker cook times and the HE system’s efficiency conserves fuel.
In a very non-scientific test, I boiled a quart of water (sea level, 45 degrees F) in both pots in this set using the skillet as a lid. The 1.75-liter HE pot boiled water in three minutes and the 1.7-liter pot in five. The heat exchange pot boiled water for two meals faster than I could open the packages and set up for lunch.
Maintenance is straight forward, The Nova‘s innovative approach uses a magnetic multi-tool tool to clean the jet. To clean the jet, simply swipe the magic tool back and forth under the burner. The multi-tool can also be used to disassemble and repair the stove.
- Folding flame control provides precise instant flame control
- Integrated MAGIC TM cleaning needle for quick and easy cleaning of the jet – even during cooking
- Quick connections for more safety and convenience
- FLIPSTOP™ pump is self purging, clears the burner and depressurizes the fuel bottle
- Quick priming burner requires less preheating and saves fuel
- Multi-fuel without changing the burner jets
- Wind shield for adverse conditions
- Collapsible feet provide pot support and minimize pack size
- Three long feet provide stability for large pots