When looking at stoves for the upcoming trip into Europe, I came across the Optimus Polaris OptiFuel Stove. Whilst attempting to research and compare it to the Primus OmniFuel II, which is a popular choice on several motorcycle camping social media groups, I found very little useful information and generally the same (poor) stock photos. As such, I’ve spent some time photographing this one properly, in the hope others will find this pictorial review useful.
With the weather as it is currently, I’ve not had chance to get out and test it and the forecast isn’t looking great any time soon, so for now I’ll post a few “unpacking thoughts” and “first impressions”. The photo above shows what this looks like folded and this is how you’ll first see it when it pops out of the box. Setting out the rather ingenious legs, the open stove appears well made and very stable.
Each of the 3 legs are spring loaded and click firmly into place. Once out, there is zero wobble or movement in any of them and when you fold them back in you need to be a little careful as it’s very easy to accidentally clamp your finger between a leg and the stove body, as I painfully found out!
The green flame adjustment handle folds inwards but the fuel adjustment pipe is permanent. It probably needs to be in order to guarantee that no fuel leaks but part of me wishes that pipe could unscrew for easier packing.
The fuel nozzle feels solid and robust and the quality braided cable is well attached and looks like it can take the kind of abuse that it will undoubtedly receive.
Turning it over reveals the construction of the main body, which again is robust and well put together. One small gripe might be that the powder coating on the main body was quite marked up straight out of the box. That’s not a great problem, per se, as it will look a lot worse after its first use, but you always want kit to look pristine from new. The internals appear all to be made from solid brass.
The above shows the fuel pipe and priming mechanism which is extremely well made and the knurled knobs are a nice touch and very easy to use.
Every part of this stove does scream quality and at £200 GBP ($240 USD) without the fuel bottle, so it should!
The fuel bottles come in various sizes. I purchased the smaller 330ml version to keep weight and size down. With a stove that can use virtually any type of fuel, lugging a larger bottle around seems a tad redundant, as you can always fill up by syphoning fuel from your motorcycle or car. I paid £16.50 ($20) for the bottle, so £216.50 ($260 USD) all in with the stove. That’s certainly at the top end of the market and many will baulk at the price, but I do believe in buy right, buy once, so as long as this stove does what I want for a few decades it will be money well spent, in my opinion, and the fact I can use any kind of fuel should save me money over time by avoiding expensive camping gas.
The kit comes with the above handy little tool, although I’d prefer it if there was some kind of slot that could attach the tool to the stove during storage. The less separate parts during transport the better, in my book, as small tools and accessories are easily misplaced and lost.
Two pieces of folding aluminium are also included and these are there to provide wind protection for the flame.
One thing I do like is the bag. It’s actually large enough to accommodate both the stove and the smaller of the fuel bottles, as well as the other detachable bits. All in all, the stove looks and feels like a £200 piece of kit should and the quality instills in me confidence that it will last. I now look forward to an eventual change in the weather so we can get it dirty and see how it actually performs in the field.
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