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Optimus Nova + backpacking stove review...

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  • Optimus Nova + backpacking stove review...





    EOD bag configured as a "Cook Kit". Inside are the Nova+, Pots, Fuel and just add hot water foods.



    When I first turned on the Optimus Nova + backpacking stove from preheat to fuel throttle, it reminded me a small jet engine with the afterburners on!

    I have had some pretty extravagent meals when I have gone camping before. Most of my meals have been cooked over dual burner Coleman type, white gas and propane stoves. I have even cooked foods over the campfire and in dutch ovens. However, these stoves are big an bulky when one hikes into wild backpacking style!

    So when I got into backpack camping I needed something strong,small,powerful and RELIABLE! This was also going to get double use as a GHB and work/travel stove.

    I read a lot of reviews and most of them were very favorable to the Optimus stoves. I am a big fan of MSR stuff, but I liked the heavy duty pot supports of the Optimus Nova and I also liked the Nova's all metal parts...

    Some of the folks issues with the Nova is that it is constructed of brass which weighs more, but makes a more durable and lasting stove In my opinion.


    The Nova+ will burn just about any petroluem liquid. Gas can be used, but do you really want all those additives winding up in your chow??? During an emergency though all bets are off. I burn the highly filtered Premium Coleman fuel that comes in a quart plastic bottle and that, so far is the only fuel I have tried.




    When you purchase the Optimus Nova + it comes in a nice zippered ditty bag. In it you will find a small repair kit (O rings,fuel filter and grease for the washers inside the pump), the Nova + and the pump. All you need is to purchase a fuel bottle (250 ml used in this test) and your fuel. Fuel bottles range in size from the small one (quarter liter) to the large (one liter) size.

    The small one is good for your GHB/BOB and lasts over 2 hours of good hot cooking. I like the large liter size for week long camping trip.

    To use the Nova + you will need all the items I mentioned above. Assembly is very easy. Remove the plug from the fuel bottle, insert the pump, screw it in hand tight, pressurize the bottle with about 25-40 strokes, open the pot holder legs, straighten the fuel hose, insert fuel hose into fuel pump quick connect, open fuel hose to release a small amount of fuel then shut off, light the fuel to preheat the burner, when the flame dies down turn back up the flame and it should burn a blue flame.

    The Nova + works as advertised and the capability of cleaning the fuel jet nozzle during use with the included tool makes it very easy to maintain. I really like how the fuel valve control is located AWAY from the hot burner. When you get done cooking you simply flip the fuel bottle over and it purges the air and the fuel from the fuel line and prevents fuel spills. Then you disconnect the fuel bottle quick connect, install the dust cover on the quick connect, wait for the Nova+ to cool down, pack it up and be on your way!

    When the weather turns cold, I sometimes take along the Nova+ in a EOD bag along with a small bottle of fuel, a cooking pot and some dehydrated soup (cup of soup) hot cocoa, instant and ground coffee. When I bring the ground coffee I also tote my French Press coffee mug to make some awesome coffee in the sticks. When I carry my "cook kit" it is not really for emergercies, it is for having hot liquids. When you work outside all day long, it is nice to have a warm cup of something.



    Today I took these pictures while boiling some water for hot chocolate today. It took about 6 minutes after the burner was preheated to boil 16 ounces of water. When backpacking or using the stove with the cook kit, I tend to stick with dehydrated foods and instant beverages to limit cleanup. IOW I just boil water and stick with food products that only require adding hot water (Mountain House, Cup of Soup, Instant Coffee, etc.) since all I want is something hot. I don't want to spend the time to clean those noodles stuck to the bottom of the pot!!!

    So far the Nova+ is one of the fastest burners I have used to boil water! I like when I get a hankering to eat, I can get something fixed to chow on in under 15 minutes. Fast food indeed!

    The Nova+ is also a part of my GHB/BOB and Stranded Bag. A stove can be useful to melt snow for use as drinking water and of course cooking food, heating water, and warming MRE packets in hot water. So there are many uses for a stove so small in your BOB and you can find many uses for it in wilderness camping, making hot chocolate while the kids are playing in the snow right on site, and anywhere else you need a stove!

    (BTW had to change my BLOG layout to accomodate the high quality pics as in the old format they were cut off :mad: )
    73

    later,
    ZA

    Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to
    beat you to death with it because it is empty.

    The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.


  • #2
    ZA,
    Very nice setup. What was the total cost with stove, container and accessories?

    Comment


    • #3
      Das, these are approximate costs...

      Bag was $16 from www.countycomm.com

      Optimus Nova + was around $130 they usually run $120-$150 depending on dealer. The Optimus Nova (not the + model) runs closer to the hundred range...

      Mess kit was a $10 wally world special from may moons ago. It is a pot and small pan with a lid. They nest inside one another. I robbed the measuring cup to go along with my SS MSR one since I use my drinking cups to measure how much I need. For the record, the MSR SS cookset was $40. I need to try out a canteen cup but I think it works better with round pots. Those Nagelene cups that Diesel pointed out are all you really need but ANY pot will work! Most meals can be reconstituted with 16oz of water or less.

      Fuel Bottle ranges in cost from $10-20 and iirc they are a standard size. I'd get 2 myself. The small one for your BOB or a cook kit like mine which is plenty. Get the large one for extended trips.

      On a side note, I do not trust "public used coffee pots", IOW someone could put something nasty in a coffee pot like you fill your cup up with @ the gas station. So the only solution is brew on the go. Pull into a rest area make your coffee and you are good to go!

      I think Rusty has the same instant coffee packs (Tasters Choice) in his Box. I get mine @ the Dollar Tree for 9 single use packs for $1. The ground coffee requires the use of some sort of contraption to seperate the grounds from the brew. I use a Big Sky Bistro 16 oz mug that if IIRC got from www.liquidplanet.com for $16. This mug has a screen and plunger to make a cup of your favorite brew. Works great, but mine doesn't fit into a cup holder well. I don't prefer the instant stuff, but it is easier to deal with.

      I also carry cup of soup and some of that Lipton Chicken Noodle or Onion soup. The Chicken noodle requires about 5 minutes of cooking to make the noodles tender so for easy of use I prefer 'instant'. Cooking ramen noodles could be done as well.

      So about $171 not counting shipping costs...

      Don't overlook the MSR stuff as they make great stoves.

      I am planning on testing a small alcohol burner stove around Christmas that if it performs as well as I have heard I will replace the Nova+ with it in the BOB, but not on camping trips. So stay tuned for that one...
      73

      later,
      ZA

      Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to
      beat you to death with it because it is empty.

      The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.

      Comment


      • #4
        what an awesome review, and thanks for the pics! Great job man!
        WHAT IF THE AMERICA YOU KNEW, WAS ABOUT TO CHANGE?

        The best thing you can do to support the site is pass it on to your friends and fav sites like other forums, facebook, twitter etc. Let people know about us! :)

        Comment


        • #5
          I really like it!
          The road to serfdom is paved with free electric golf carts.

          Comment


          • #6
            Call me a fool, but I have never considered a portable stove. Maybe I should, but I have always thought some mesquite twigs and a match worked as well. Am I wrong? Do I need to look at a small portable cooking unit?

            Comment


            • #7
              Rusty
              The big advantage of a stove and fuel is one does not need to search for dry wood and there is no smoke, though there is a sound signature that can be heard along ways off. In wet areas good firewood can be quite hard to gather even in daylight hours so a stove is a blessing for the man on the go. The big drawback, a stove is only good if you have fuel.
              In semi-arid areas like yours I imagine that dry wood is easy to find most times of the year, and when done correctly, a small hot fire creates little smoke. You know your AO better than anyone!
              Last edited by kenno; 11-26-2008, 08:23 AM.
              The road to serfdom is paved with free electric golf carts.

              Comment


              • #8
                Rusty, kenno pretty much hit on it. It depends on your AO (area of operations) and the conditions you will encounter. A stove is not a bad option if you got the room and can carry it in your bob.

                I don't have that there good smelling mesquite wood here, but I have plenty of pine wood, oak and other pieces of aged firewood/twigs. What I like about the stove is that it is QUICK from start to finish. I also like it has a VERY ROBUST pot holder so it could support a 4 quart pot EASILY if I needed it to. So those are my main reasons for carrying it with me.

                Gonna be testing that smaller alcohol burner stove later on but you can make your own stove for almost nothing from 2 aluminum cans http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beverage-can_stove
                73

                later,
                ZA

                Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to
                beat you to death with it because it is empty.

                The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Rustyshakelford View Post
                  Call me a fool, but I have never considered a portable stove. Maybe I should, but I have always thought some mesquite twigs and a match worked as well. Am I wrong? Do I need to look at a small portable cooking unit?
                  This is an older thread, but wanted to point out, we can do a "primative" thats what the parks call it, hike/ camp, but if we choose to camp away from the sites, we can, just without a fire????? I know, huh? So, theses little camp stoves come in real handy! We can eat a good, almost gourmet meal in a matter of minutes.I read a lot of reviews on this brand. Nice little stoves..
                  If the zombies chase us, Im tripping you!!!

                  Comment

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