The Optimus Polaris camping stove is a remote-canister gas fuel stove that will also run on a wide range of other fuels. What’s impressive here is that it can do so without changing the fuel hose or any other parts – the fuel pump used to pressurise the liquid fuel bottle simply screws into the hose attachment used by the gas canister.
Price: $190 | £255 (Buy now from alpinetrek.co.uk)
The circular burner unit on Optimus Polaris is wide and has three foldaway legs that also support the pot. These are cleverly designed to curve around the burner when packed. It can be used with the legs closed, or open (in inverted gas canister/liquid fuel mode). It’s extremely stable with the legs extended. The burner is large, and it works best with a wide pot – the flame goes up the sides of smaller-diameter cookware. The stove is also very heavy. So, for me, this is best thought of as group kit. A pump, windshield, ground reflector/protector, tool and lubricant are included, but a fuel bottle is not.
It performed best with white petroleum (which I used for the liquid fuel test). Compared to other liquid fuel stoves, it primes rapidly. The process for purging the last of the fuel from the hose was logical and avoided any spillage or waste. As with other liquid fuel stoves, it’s extremely noisy, but it was very fast. In canister gas mode, I found it much fussier. It was hard to light, and it stuttered almost constantly with anything less than a full canister, not producing an even flame. It helped to invert the canister, but it wasn’t consistent. A fold-down wire hoop offers fine flame control, but simmering was not a practical option with either fuel.
A genuinely multifuel stove is a great idea but I wonder just how useful it is to have canister capability on a stove that is otherwise dialled for more remote climes.
This review was part of our guide to The best camping stoves