Saturday, March 26, 2011
Stove of the Week: Optimus Nova
New post 18 Oct 2011: Running an Optimus Nova on Canister Gas
But herein lies opportunity. The Nova now has a bad reputation. A stove with a bad reputation can't command much of a price. But if you know what to look for, you can pick up a pre-Katadyn Nova, which is a very fine stove indeed, possibly for a very good price. How will you know the difference? I will get to that, but for now I will review a "real" Optimus Nova, a Nova from before the redesign.
First, the nova comes packaged in this padded pouch.
The pump on a Nova is made of very nice solid aluminum.
If if doesn't say CEJN, it's not a Nova you want. Similarly, the female connector on the pump should say CEJN.
While we're on the subject of pumps, it's important to note that the pump rotates around the connector. When you want to run the stove, rotate the fuel bottle (and therefore the pump as well) around the connector until you see the word "ON".
When you want to shut the stove down, flip the bottle over such that the word "OFF" is visible.
When the pump is rotated to the "OFF" position, the pump will draw air instead of fuel. The air will proceed down the fuel hose just as fuel would. Running air down the hose, clears the hose and helps prevent dried fuel deposits from building up. Running air down the hose also helps to depressurize the fuel bottle so that fuel doesn't spray everywhere when you open the bottle.
Now, let's take a look at the stove itself. Here it is removed from the pouch but still all folded up in transport mode.
Unfolded, the stove looks like this.
Very good then, let's attach the stove to the fuel bottle and pump. Note (if you have good eyesight) that the word "ON" can be seen on the collar of the fuel pump. The fuel bottle is in the operating position.
What's that you say? MSR says "use MSR bottles only?" Well, they do, don't they? Hmm. Isn't interesting that when MSR first started producing stoves that they didn't even make their own bottles. What did they use? Sigg fuel bottles (note: fuel bottles, not drink bottles). Has Sigg somehow declined in quality since then? Hardly. Now in all fairness to MSR, there were some problems in the past with people using cheap imported bottles. However, saying "use MSR bottle only" is going a bit too far. Any quality fuel bottle from an established manufacturer should be fine so long as the bottle has compatible threads.
Now, let's get to the meat of the matter: actual use. The Nova is a winner. It's got a very nice, powerful flame.
Of course, just as the proof of the pudding is in the eating, the proof of a stove is in the cooking. I assure you, the Optimus Nova really cooks.
That's it for this week's stove, the Optimus Nova. I hope you're able to tell a good one from a bad one and that perhaps you'll find yourself a really good deal on a really good stove.
Thanks for joining me on another Adventure in Stoving.
The Pre-Katadyn Optimus Nova
What's good about it?
Highly adjustable flame
Pump can be rotated to purge the stove
Excellent extreme cold weather reputation
High quality CEJN connector
What's bad about it?
A bit loud
The pouch is a bit small (minor issue)
Katadyn has now ruined the stove
Pre-Katadyn Optimus Nova: Overall, highly recommended.
Katadyn Optimus Nova: Unreliable, not recommended.