User Review: Optimus Nova
Price Paid: $139
I have had this stove for about three months now and have discovered a very serious problem. In the beginning I chose the Optimus Nova over the Brunton equivalent because there were fewer plastic parts. The Brunton comes with a fuel bottle, the Optimus didn't. That didn't bother me since I had an MSR fuel bottle.
The stove never ran perfectly for the last couple months at around 5,000 feet in weather down to 35 degrees. My brother, a serious mountaineer and equipment geek, took it apart and assured me that it was a work of art. He said it was probably my old fuel or less than perfect priming technique.
Just this last week we were out on the snow, 4500 feet, temperatures ranged around 25 degrees at dinner time. I was cooking in my tent. Much to my surprise, I looked down and my tent floor was soaked in white gas, about a foot square. Yes, the stove was running. Quickly shutting off the stove and putting it outside the tent in the snow, I said a few prayers. I am not religious...
I had already used the stove earlier to melt snow with no difficulty. Only thing different this time from the summer was that instead of packing the pump assembly separate, I had packed it screwed into the fuel bottle to save weigh and set up time. I had noticed that the gasket looked a little askew, but could not get it to seat any better.
Well, it turns out that MSR fuel bottle seal with an O ring and the Optimus stove has a flat washer. It works with the old Brunton bottle or the Sigg bottle. I assume this isn't a problem in much of the world were MSR bottles are not the norm. Here in the Northwest US MSR bottles are the norm.
Today I went the the store where I got my stove to get the proper fuel bottle. They had more of the stoves but no fuel bottles other than the MSR one. This is a serious problem and could lead to major injury, death or at least horrendous difficulty if someone's stove leaks like mine did. The Optimus Nova that I bought in August needs a fuel bottle with a flat surface for sealing properly. I didn't discover this until the temperature was cold and the bottle and pump assembly had been together for over 8 hours.
Please pass this caution along.