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Which Stove
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steve mccutcheon
(rideforever) - F
Which Stove? on 05/30/2006 08:09:40 MDT Print View

Hi all,

I'm looking for a Stove to trek China with and I'm tossing up the Brunton Opimus Nova, Primus Omnifuel and MSR XGK. All seem just as good and reliable. Research shows these are the best. I'm happy to spend the money here to get a good stove.

I need something that won't break down (esp. not in China), can survive 40+ C plus heat, -10+C cold and altitude.

Optimus seems to be the BACKUP stove used for many expeditions and I've never read a bad review.

The MSR is popular due to it's reputation but seems to break down quite a lot (esp. the pump)

The primus also gets a good review due to its end user performance.

I have no experience here. Any suggestions?

Thanks. Steve

Edited by rideforever on 05/30/2006 08:11:31 MDT.

Matthew LaPatka
(gungadin) - M

Locale: Pittsburgh, PA
Re: Which Stove? on 05/30/2006 10:10:25 MDT Print View

The Nova is awesome. It is very powerful, well-designed and doesn't use as much fuel as one would think. It is quite bulletproof and can work in a vast array of temps. I don't know the other stoves personally, but I can't imagine how they would be better.

Mike Storesund
(mikes) - F
Re: Which Stove? on 05/30/2006 11:14:17 MDT Print View

I would second the Nova. I have one and had a MSR Whisperlite International way back when too. The Nova does not need to change jets, so less parts to potentially loose. IMHO the Nova pump is a higher quality, more durable pump too.
I have burned diesel, kerosene, and white gas in the Nova. The only thing I noticed is when changing between fuel the first time you get a minute or so of sputtering before the flame settles in.
Yes it is a little heavier, but for the versatility, stability and ease of maintenance I would make that choice again.

Edited by mikes on 05/30/2006 11:19:02 MDT.

David Bonn
(david_bonn) - F

Locale: North Cascades
MSR Stoves and Pumps... on 05/30/2006 12:23:19 MDT Print View

About failure modes of MSR stoves.

I used the X-GK and various whisperlites for a very long time until I discovered ultralight backpacking. I still use my Whisperlight for winter trips or with groups of three or four.

I've never had one of their stoves quit on me. In a typical year in the early 90's I'd use my stove for a hundred days or more. I would have a few times in those years where dinner would be delayed while I made field repairs or improvisations, but that was still an extremely rare event.

I never encountered a problem with those stoves that I couldn't fix in the field. If you have a splash of white gas, some sunscreen or lip balm, spare gaskets, that jet cleaning and removal tool, and fifteen or twenty minutes you could get those things going.


Locale: South West US
Re: Which Stove? on 05/30/2006 13:02:15 MDT Print View

Another vote for the Nova. Reliable and easy to use. The flip stop is great fuel to drip out of the line when you disconnect the stove. When priming I noticed less flare-ups compared to the XGK. Also, they are coming out with a newer version called the optimus plus.


steve mccutcheon
(rideforever) - F
Nova it is then? on 05/31/2006 04:05:21 MDT Print View

Fantastic info. This is one of the hardest choices I've had to make in a long time. Particularly because so many MSR owners really stick by their XGKs/Whisperlites. The only reason I would go for the NOVA is that I don't think I've ever come across a bad review. Cheers. Steve

steve mccutcheon
(rideforever) - F
Optimus at altitude on 05/31/2006 04:16:01 MDT Print View

Just a point...
Somebody recently pointed out to me that Optimus Nova stoves aren't used as much on mountaineering expeditions as either the primus or msr. Is this a common truth or not.

Mike Storesund
(mikes) - F
Re: Optimus at altitude on 05/31/2006 10:35:14 MDT Print View

I have used the Optimus along the Continental Divide with no problems. The same with MSR Whisperlite International. Even though the Optimus is a bit heavier than the Whisperlite, I like that I do not have to change the jets if I have to change fuel types. Less opportunity for mechanical failure. I also like the better stability of the Optimus when using it to melt snow in a 4-Liter pot.

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
RE: on 05/31/2006 15:50:22 MDT Print View

That's weird... I don't see the SVEA 123 on the site anymore.


EDIT: looks like it's now under "Earlier Models". The passing of a legend!

I wish I'd never heard of BPL so could have bought one. If only I didn't feel so ashamed to carry a 1.2-pound hunk of brass around in my pack. Oh well... :)

Edited by bjamesd on 05/31/2006 15:59:28 MDT.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
SVEA 123 on 05/31/2006 16:10:48 MDT Print View

they list them for $80.

Edited by bfornshell on 05/31/2006 16:11:22 MDT.