Nobody knows stoves better than TGO’s Gear Editor Chris Townsend. Here’s his lowdown on the latest models. On test Optimus Polaris Optifuel stove
Stoves that can use different fuels including gas cartridges have been around for many years. With most you need to change the jet when you change fuels, which is a fiddly business. The tiny jets are easy to lose too. The Polaris is different as the fitted jet will work with all fuels. This makes the stove much easier to use and very versatile. The design is based on Optimus’ long-established Nova, which runs on liquid fuels but not gas cartridges. The combined legs/pot supports fold inwards to make a compact package for carrying. When opened up the low profile stove is very stable and will support heavy pots. The burner has a pre-heat tube and there are supports for an inverted cartridge for use in cold weather.
In use the Polaris roars loudly, as many multi-fuel stoves do, even with cartridges. The flame can be turned down for simmering. There’s a foil windscreen that is light and works well. It can be adjusted to fit closely round different sizes of pot.
Compared with other low profile cartridge stoves the Polaris is quite heavy. It’s not though compared to other multi-fuel stoves and it’s for those fuels that you’d choose this stove. If you’re only going to use cartridges then the excellent Optimus Vega, which is lighter and less expensive, is a much better choice. The Polaris is for trips in bitter cold or to places where you won’t find cartridges as well as for ones where cartridges are available and conditions are right for them. If you want one stove to do everything this is it.
Reviewed in June 2015 Issue