Source: bought it new
Price Paid: Unknown
I was in the US Army Special Forces and 82nd Airborne Division from 1980-1987. During that time I carried an Optimus Hiker that I bought in 1980. I don't know if it was called a Hiker then. It was recommended by an older Special Forces soldier who carried his in many far off places to include Thailand and Korea.
I carried mine in Korea, Panama, Sinai Desert Egypt, Grenada, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Honduras. In mountains, desert, swamps etc. When I left the Army I continued carrying it on back packing trips in Colorado where I fed my brother and nephew with it and in the Sierra Nevadas. It has cooked for an entire 12 man Special Forces Team for weeks. It always worked. I used as an additional stove when I went camping with my family and friends. It finally died in 2006 in Iraq.
- Always worked!!!!!!
- Worked at altitude and in cold
- Worked in snow
- Uses multiple fuels so it can be used in other countries without worrying about refueling
- Worked everywhere always!!!!
- Weight at 3.4 pounds empty then fuel and fuel bottle
I bought this in 1980 when I was in the Army. I carried and parachuted it in with me wherever I went. It always worked. I cooked for the entire team with it for a week. The tank seemed burn forever on high. It lasted 25 years before it died. It was easy to set up and light. Flame control was good====from simmer to flame thrower and anything in between. It is large a relatively heavy but I bought as a team/group stove and for its multi fuel capability.
We were usually in "denied" areas where resupply came from the sky so we had to use available fuels. In many parts of the world that is diesel or jp4 or mogas. It always burned and gave us hot food and tea.
Its construction is bullet proof. I parachuted this in all over the world. I have operated in the deserts and mountains of the middle east, the swamps and marshes of North Carolina, mountains of Honduras, in snowstorms in the mountains of North Carolina, and the tropical environments of the Caribbean. It worked always everywhere. I never once rebuilt it, cleaned it, or even lubricated the pump in 25 years.
Six and a half star out of five!
I rated this as a 5 star because that is all the stars there were. NOT THREE STARS
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $160+shipping
A very stable stove that puts out a lot of heat when needed but will simmer too!
- Very stable base
- Excellent heat control
- Rather bulky when folded for packing
- Not the lightest or most compact stove
I have a Nova (NOT plus) and love it so decided to try this one out as it essentially the same burner. I purchased new on eBay with some hesitation after reading the other comments about trash in the tank and blockage in the fuel delivery system. Upon receiving, I looked carefully in the fuel tank and didn't find any debris so put some fuel in it.
So far I've only run it on Coleman fuel/white gas. I prime with alcohol to avoid the excitement if over primed (the downside is the blue flame is hard to see in the daylight). It has been running great — I've been cooking some older backpacking meals in my backpacking cookware on this stove to both use up some older meals and more importantly make sure it works. I want it to fail at home rather than in the middle of the woods when I need it most. So far no problems and I'm satisfied that it won't fail me on a trip.
I can't attest to the wind blowing out the flame issues as I've only used it in my kitchen to date. When I take it on a trip, I'll edit this review to reflect that.
It produces plenty of heat for boiling water if that's what you want but even better for my style of cooking, it will simmer the same as my Nova. I find it easy to light but it does not have a windscreen as does my Nova.
It's easy to use. Just open the lid and slide the tank/burner out. Doing this causes the magnetic cleaning needle to preform its function (same as the Nova but this happens every time the tank/burner goes in or out). Make sure the fuel control valve is closed and the fuel tank refill cap is on tight and give it a few pumps. I normally use about 25 pumps but that varies depending on how much fuel is in the tank. Prime and light and just before the priming fuel burns out, open the fuel control valve.
Yes, it's definitely a "roarer burner" but the sound doesn't bother me. BTW, I also have Svea 123R, 8R's, and 111B and they all make the same sound/noise.
When done cooking and the unit has cooled down, open the tank fill cap to bleed off any pressure, push the pump in fully and open the fuel valve and then GENTLY close it and the tank fill cap. You can then safely put it in your pack as all the fuel openings are higher than the fuel level and closed and should not leak.
Here is the mystery and if anyone knows the answer, please comment. One of my Svea 123R's was purchased used on eBay and I'm confident it was made in Sweden as it's an older model. The newer one was purchased new and the box says made in Taiwan. The Nova was purchased new and the box says made in China. The Hiker+ was purchased new but the box says made in SWEDEN!
Did they move the manufacture of these stoves back to Sweden due to manufacturing problems in China?
I used a Nova, Hiker, and 111B on an overnight camping trip to a lean-to shelter overlooking the Atlantic Ocean with temps in the mid 20s and all three stoves worked just fine.
The stove wants to be CLEAN because at the very end there is a TINY little jet that can clog easily. Initial problems will result if you fail to CLEAN the tank prior to use. It's easy to clean. Put in about 6 ounces of fuel, shake well, dump out fuel, repeat 3 times. When new the tank is NOT clean.
I replace the little filter often. It's impossible to find a seller for the little filter without buying the entire service kit (which only contains 2 filters). So, I use a razor to cut down a .177 airgun "cleaning pellet" which is made of dense felt-like material. It takes a little practice, and a tweezers to insert the new filter. Pipe cleaners, wet with fuel clean the fuel feed tube perfectly.
My fuel of choice is "Klean Heat", a kerosene substitute - available at Home Depot. It burns very well and is truly odorless. I get a nice blue (proper combustion) flame, with only the slightest trace of yellow at the edges of the flame.
Use Neatsfoot oil on the leather pump "cup". A tiny tube will last forever and keeps the leather in good shape. If you find you are pumping A LOT - your problem is either a clogged filter (common) or the regulating screw/grooves need cleaning. The key to having a happy stove is keeping the internal parts immaculate.
I would have given the stove a zero review until I took the time to take it apart (using just my Leatherman tool) - and gave it a complete cleaning. WOW - now it just needs a bit of pumping and the flame is really HOT LARGE (if I set it so) and a nice shade of BLUE.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $159
I've had two hiker stoves. The first one had a defective pump and was returned to Campmor. The replacement stove was used once. The second time I tried to use it the pump would not pressurize the tank.
I can't believe I'm the only person to experience this. Don't think I would depend on this thing in a survival situation. I don't care how long they have been making this thing, I wish I'd bought something else!
I had to take mine apart, and blow it out with my garage compressor, because it was giving a very weak pulsing flame. Now it works really great. It had a tiny piece of the fuel filter floating around inside the burner....kept clogging and un clogging. I had read of this problem online, from other users.
Now, it's a real flame thrower. One of my best.
I love it.
Great stove, built like a tank. Dead reliable. I'd say maybe we should test our equipment at home before we head out in a blizzard? If stoves don't work, they're usually simple to fix. Mine was just suffering from a tiny little piece of filter.
Al in Oklahoma
I have read all the reviews of this product and found agreement with a few. I would not call this a backpacker type of stove in this era. By backpacker I mean someone that is on the move everyday through any environment carrying light. The modern stoves as small as a pack of cirgarettes are more practical. But this stove still has its place.
As a hunter going back to his camp site, cabin, or hut this fits perfectly. I have used it in a blind. I for one don't like carrying around a lot of equipment daily. It is not all that heavy and if you want to tote it around, it is not a real bother.
I have never had a problem with my stoves, I always check them out thourghly before any trip. I have found as others trash in the tank and as well in the burner stem. I purchased a so called unuseable one off eBay. The seller could not get it to work. I noticed instantly that trash was inside the tank and I suspected it was in the line as well. Cleaned it properly with alcohol, and all was well with it.
Alcohol is a much more prefered way to clean flux, it disolves it not just removig loose particles. I have also found that if the cap is not on correctly it will not prime, as well, keep a keen eye out for pump problems, and a few other problem areas.
A friend I met one time trying to get one to work, had a problem with the pump as well. Why the quality control has not been better on such a wonderfull stove I dont know.
That said it is hard to fault this stove. Heats very well, strong performance. I do not believe it is good to use anything for fuel in it other than white gas," Coleman fuel." I have found it works best and with less problems.
Now I admit that I have not used this stove in high levels over 2000 feet. But if this stove is gone through carefully, its a great base or group stove. The heat output seems to be about the same as the Coleman stove that sets atop a green propane bottle. Which is a nice stove but much more bulky than the Hiker.
I have even taken this stove on fishing trips, picnics to heat with, hunting, and many other uses in my garage when I used it to heat music wire to bend to make a stand for another stove.
The only improvement other than quality control, I would like to see a little more control with the burner. This is my opinion and if you know any other improvements contact me. Thanks.
Price Paid: £150
I previously had a Nova stove for years and decided to get the Hiker as I thought that it would be more stable.
Well used it 4 times then she stopped working.
Problems with the stove, I find you lift the lid then try and slide the burner out at which stage it becomes unstable and you end up pulling the complete stove and not just the burner. You also have to push the pump plunger in before you can pull the burner out.
It's quite hard to get in to light the unit, not much room. When you try and fold the unit back you have to be very careful that you don't get burned by the hot sections.
All in all not what I would expect when you pay £150 plus.
Price Paid: £130
The first one had a leak in the fuel tank and would not pressurise.
The second one would burn for 3 mins before sooting up.
This happened on each occasion I tried to use it.
I now await delivery of my third one!!! Third time lucky?
Update: July 4, 2008
So after two failed Hiker + stoves was my third one any better? After testing this stove I have unfortunately come to the conclusion it is NOT fit for purpose.
This is a great shame because I have had two 111s for 40 years.One of them I have managed to service to get me cooking again.
Am I the only person in the world who has tried a Hiker + because I cannot find any more revues anywhere?
Price Paid: $145
I felt compelled to seek out and provide a review on Optimus Hiker stove after my recent experience with a brand new unit failed in the first weekend out on a two week hunting expedition in the middle of Montana.
Snowing, blowing 40 MPH and 27 degrees. Arrived in camp cold and wet after a 12 hr hunt.
I expected a hot cup of soup and coffee to fend off the chill....
I purchased this stove new from Ebay for this trip. I'll preface by saying I've owned Primus/ Optimus before and know the maintenance requirements.
I primed the stove and it started as expected. It took off albeit without the blow-torch effect I was expecting. Just prior to boil point the stove abruptly stopped and pressure was venting from the tank via fill cap. Stove would never relight there after.
Pump was also inoperable even after lubing the leather seal.
What a disappointment, a waste of $150 and a danger to life when you expect and need something hot and your stove of venerable design will not function.
Too much attention made to making it "look" cool and not enough attention towards keeping the venerable quality.
Disappointed and mildly hypothermic Montana hunter
Recommendation - Don't buy
Price Paid: $150
I am not entirely sure why this is called the hiker, this stove is massive and heavy. Looks rugged, I will be taking it kayaking mostly and it looks like it will work great for that.
I had seen a similar stove but it was much smaller and I had assumed it was the same size. I also wonder about carrying this stove in your backpack, since the fuel tank is integrated with the stove. You would not be able to carry the fuel tank on the outside of your pack. Overall I am pleased with the stove, other stoves seem flimsy in comparison.
If you are planning to do a lot of hiking I would not recommend this stove, without any fuel it weighs more than 1.5Kg.
Price Paid: $169
Don't waste your time & money!
I own 2 Optimus Nova stoves, and thought this would be a good addition. I was extremely disappointed when I received it. The stove has a strong flame BUT the stove WILL NOT STAY LIT in the WIND. I’m not talking about a wind storm, I'm just talking about a BREEZE, it will put the flame OUT in a second.