Brunton Optimus Nova stove

OptimusA tale of two stoves: This little stove went to Denali. This little stove should have stayed home. This little stove wouldn’t light at 17,000 feet. This little stove was returned.

In this case there were two of these little pigs. My climbing partner and I each bought a Nova multi-fuel stove. Long story short, they both began to fail intermittently starting at 11,000 feet and both failed completely at high camp. We tried everything we could think of to get them to go, until some Brits took pity on us and loaned us their MSR Whisperlite to melt snow for water. Kudos to the MSR, which got to a rolling boil in no time.

To shut off the flow of fuel you flip the fuel bottle over, and I suspect this mechanism was the cause of the malfunction. Nova means "it doesn’t go" in Spanish, and that accurately describes this stove’s high-altitude performance.

$129 at




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5 responses to “Brunton Optimus Nova stove”

  1. I was formerly the Tech Support guy at Brunton, although I haven’t worked there in 18 months. I know the Nova quite well and I also own one. It’s a good idea to become thoroughly knowledgeable of how they operate and how to make field repairs (such as replacing the inline fuel filter or simply removing it in a pinch). Read the owner’s manual, understand it, and use that multi-tool that came with the stove to break it doen to its user-servicable parts. Then put it back together. Do this at home before you need to learn how in the field. I burn a 50/50 mix of kerosene and white gas. An added benefit of using this mix is that the kerosene provides lubrication to the fuel coupler, extending its life. Personally, I trust my Nova. It’s weak link is the fuel filter, which isn’t even critical if you filter your fuel beforehand with a coffee filter. The fuel filter is just a little too fine, which can result in pre-mature clogging. I always carry a spare in the field. Hint: You can extend the life of the filter by shaving off the “dirty” end with a sharp knife.

  2. I had a failure of my Optimus Nova in the fuel filter. At temps of -15 deg F, field repair wouldn’t have been possible had it not warmed up into the 20s that day. I pulled the filter out since it appeared to be a waxy plug to me at the time. I am running the stove without the filter. Stove runs hot, so I have to tone it down but it seems to be functioning.
    I have lots of trips in the back country with this thing both summer and winter. This is the complete failure. But as it was reported in the original story, when it goes on a trip you’re kind of screwed.
    If you have one of these good luck! You’re gonna need it!

  3. I am investigating claims that this stove can dangerously spray fuel out of the pump-end of the quick connect coupling when attempting to couple the fuel line to the pump. Does anyone on here have any experience with this?

  4. Bought two. First one from Sweden worked great until it was lost.Made it across baffin island in winter. No issues. Second one made in China. Terrible. Leaked fuel would not shut off completley and damaged O rings and pump seal quickly. Clumsy connection for fuel. Being returned.

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