For a long time, I dreamed that some genius would invent a miracle burner that would run on any fuel without the hassle of unscrewing the injectors, and which should not be cleaned of soot even after kerosene. Even to be powerful, so it’s not afraid of the wind and weighed adequately. Suddenly, Optimus reported that they had made every effort to realize my dream and were ready to present its realization to the world. That’s how the Optimus Polaris Optifuel came about.
Joke jokes, but do you believe that Primus (the closest competitor to Optimus), which has been trying to reduce the number of parts in the burner to a minimum for one hundred and twenty years, has not tried to get rid of additional injectors?
I think such experiments have been conducted many times, but still, in the kit for Primus multifuel, you will find separate injectors for gas, gasoline and diesel. So, indeed, two-hundredths of a millimetre in diameter of the nozzle hole significantly affect the efficiency of the burner.
But Optimus has its own point of view on the issue of injectors and claims that one will be enough for any fuel.
The Optimus Polaris Optifuel you see was purchased in early May 2015. Since then, it has travelled a lot, helped in the kitchen of a few races, visited a three-week hitchhiking trip to the Baltic States, travelled to the Shatsk Lakes and today went to conquer Scandinavia. This leads to the fact that a lot of experience has been gained for the conclusions and the fact that there were several users who made the results more objective.
But the conclusions are at the very end. First, the idea, design features and comments.
Optimus Polaris Optifuel Idea
So, the main “feature” of Optimus Polaris Optifuel is its simplicity. Any fuel, literally, from gas to kerosene, can be filled into this burner and it will swallow it without the need to change the injector. If you used to be afraid of multi-fuel due to complex manipulations with changing injectors or just could not understand why you need to change these things – rejoice! Now you don’t have to do anything. Fill up, inject air, open the valves and move on to a fragrant morning coffee or a delicious dinner! Moreover, when the burner starts fussing, signalling that the nozzle is clogged, it does not need to be disassembled to clean the soot. You don’t even have to stop cooking. Just turn the fire to full, take a multitool with built-in magnets and rustle under the burner. A magic magnetic needle placed under the nozzle bounces off these movements and pierces the injector hole.
Quite compact when folded, it can be ready in a couple of seconds. To do this, replace the valve handle and deploy the three support legs. The design of the base and the strength of its parts allows the burner to withstand significant loads. For example, a 6-litre pot was generally invisible to the burner. I assume that a 10-litre bucket if ever such a need arises, can also be put on the Polaris Optifuel.
The valve handle is very long and extends away from the flame, outside the boiler. The obvious advantage of this is the absence of burns after adjusting the power during cooking. Flame control is extremely smooth. Sometimes, even, it would be desirable that it was necessary to turn valveless.
The outer and inner diameters of the support legs are chosen so that the burner can be placed in containers of any volume, from the smallest cup.
At the end of the fuel hose, there is a nice little thing: two supports that will come in handy when you want it in cold weather, or in the case of an almost empty cylinder, to feed the burner with a gas mixture in a liquid state.
The blacktail rotates independently of the hose, so when turning the gas cylinder, you can not be afraid to overturn the bowl with dinner.
By disconnecting the flame cutter, which, by the way, is attached to the burner, we can see the brass bowl and nozzle.
The bowl, as you can see, is equipped with additional ribs for better heat absorption and heating of the burner during a cold start.
The nozzle has a nozzle diameter of 0.32 mm. It has a groove for screwing the multitool, which will be needed to disassemble the burner for general cleaning.
A magic magnetic needle is hidden under the nozzle, which cleans it while the burner is running.
At the bottom of the burner, you will find a brass nut that holds the base and the bowl together. I do not recommend tightening this nut too much, because for some reason it does not weaken due to constant temperature changes, but only tightens more tightly. And to unscrew it is a whole story.
If desired, for thorough cleaning or just for fun, the burner can be disassembled to the last screw.
Fuel Pump Construction
If I was delighted with every part of the burner, then the situation with the pump is fifty-fifty. A positive fact is an all-metal construction. Disassembling the Optimus Polaris Optifuel pump to lubricate the leather piston is easier than the Primus, thanks to the wide nut.
Connecting the pump to the burner in the Optimus is also more convenient than on the Primus, and also thanks to the large twist.
But the installation of the pump in the fuel tank is very inconvenient and sometimes unpleasant. The fact is that the air outlet is due to an additional branch of the metal tube at the end of the pump, which for some reason sticks out at right angles to the base (maybe to not copy the Primus?). At the same time, on the other side of the base is a plastic tube for fuel intake.
Forcing them to climb into the narrow hole of the fuel tank at the same time is not as easy as when working with Primus pumps. In case of unsuccessful attempts, the plastic tube flies out of the bottle, spraying fuel. To avoid this situation, you have to hold it with your fingers, lubricating them in gasoline.
Another disadvantage of the pump is the fuel filter attached to the end of the plastic tube. Despite the good quality of fuel, which was initially used in the Optimus Polaris Optifuel, the filter lasted only 2 weeks of active operation. Next, we cleaned it, carefully removing the top layer with a knife, but this procedure did not leave pleasant memories, because the filter is very small and fragile.
Ukrainian distributor Optimus advised not to bother, throw out the filter and forget about its existence. Judging by the reviews of the Optimus Nova burner, its owners have a similar problem and solve it this way.
I will end the story of the pump with two positive facts. First, it, like the burner, can be easily disassembled for maintenance or training. And secondly, the valve, unlike the Primus, is located on the pump, not at the end of the burner hose, and allows you to quickly disconnect the fuel bottle without releasing the pressure and without spraying gasoline around it.
Fuel Tank Construction
It would seem that you don’t have to talk about it. But there is information to think about. That bottle, which comes with the burner, holds only 250 grams of fuel. This is not enough to travel. And the smaller fuel tank requires more frequent pump operation due to the rapid pressure drop.
So when buying an Optimus Polaris Optifuel, think about taking extra capacity. We chose an option that holds 0.75 litres of fuel.
The fuel tank cap turned out to be too smart for me. It has an anti-child design, and unwinds only with the addition of vertical force, like most drug vials.
But on a hike in the evening, when you barely have the strength to cook dinner, there is no desire to fight this security. I understand the Swedish manufacturer’s desire to take extra care of children and, at the same time, would prefer to have the usual twist as an option.
Included with the Optimus Polaris Optifuel, you will find an aluminium strip and a circle to prevent excessive heat loss.
Similar ones can be seen in Primus multi-fuel kits. With active use, such wind protection will last for several months.
Next, I recommend replacing it with a low sectional version, such as Fire Maple FMW-503.
Remember that the use of wind protection together with dishes that have a radiator, significantly saves fuel, has a positive impact on the environment and reduces cooking time.
Unlike the Primus, the Polaris burner case is a simple piece of fabric with a puff and logo. But I am very happy about it, because the weight of such a cover is negligible, and it performs its function 100%. Inside is a burner, pump, windshield and multitool. Fuel tanks are transported separately.
The main feature of the multitool is the presence of two magnets that allow you to clean the nozzle without disassembling the burner, without touching it and even without turning it off. By running the multitool under the burner, we make the magnetic needle move up and down and clean the nozzle.
This does not preclude periodic disassembly of the burner for general cleaning after low-quality fuel but allows you to delay the procedure until a good time. For example, if late in the evening, in the dark, the burner began to fidget, clean it with a magnetic needle, without interrupting dinner and without contaminating your hands. And during the day, when everything is visible and it is possible to carefully lay out the parts, disassemble the burner and clean more thoroughly.
But there is a point to consider when using a magnetic cleaner: so that the needle does not extinguish the burner, it should be unscrewed at full power. And when disassembling the burner, I recommend watching the magnetic needle carefully, because if you lose it, you will be left without any opportunity to pierce the clogged nozzle.
A few characteristics.
The total weight of the Optimus Polaris Optifuel burner set is 705 grams. From them the torch – 329 grams, the pump – 145 grams, a flask – 81 grams, a stopper to a flask – 35 grams, a multitool – 38 grams, wind protection – 52 grams, a bag for transportation – 25 grams. For comparison, the total weight of the set of the Titus Omnilite Ti titanium torch makes 618 grams, from which a torch – 226 grams, the pump 102 – grams, a flask – 85 grams, a stopper to a flask – 18 grams, a multitool – 42 grams, wind protection – 89 grams, a bag for transportation – 145 grams.
A litre of Optimus water will boil for about 4 – 4.5 minutes depending on fuel and weather. On refined gasoline, the burner power increases by 20-25% compared to gas.
One nozzle is cool. During our travels, the burner managed to run on gas, refined and regular gasoline. And no manipulations with substitutions and thoughts like “what fuel did I prepare for that? which injectors to take with you? and can I find gas there? ”. You just throw the burner in your backpack and go. I do not have enough words to convey all the positive emotions.
Power is another advantage of the Optimus Polaris Optifuel. In the head-to-head competition with Primus Omnilite Ti, the hero of the review confidently jumped forward.
When working on gasoline, it is not possible to bring the burner to a uniform hissing sound. If you listen, it seems that the fuel seems to detonate in small portions. At first, I thought it was a matter of pumping pressure or heating the burner, then I turned the valves, but after trying all the options, I came to the conclusion that this is a feature of working on a single nozzle.
The pump that moved to Polaris from the Nova model, with its clumsy location of the air valve – the biggest drawback in the new Optimus. Over time, you can achieve skill in installing the pump in the tank without greasing your fingers and holding the fuel tube, but even more unexpected and unpleasant are the cases when the tube still flies out of the bottle and covers with small drops of gasoline all around.
And, of course, the filter. Ceramics, as a filter element, is better than the foam used by Primus, but only when it comes to drinking water. As a fuel filter, it is too good, because gasoline does not require such a degree of purification. As a result, which is also due to the small area of the filter, the latter clogs quite quickly. Then there are two options: either just throw it away, or that two or three weeks to buy a whole repair kit for him. I think you understand which option is more appropriate 🙂
By the way, there is no separate repair kit for Optimus Polaris Optifuel burners. The Optimus Nova kit is suitable as a full-fledged replacement.
Additionally, I noticed for myself fairly rapid heating of the burner when working on liquid fuel: the ribs are not installed in vain, and other testers who spent more time with it responded positively to fuel economy. Of the disadvantages – weak support for replacement parts: one thing broke – and you have to buy the whole repair kit.
As I said, our impressions of the burner are difficult to convey in words. The single injector and its quick cleaning worked as a teleporter, instantly moving the multi-fuel Optimus Polaris Optifuel much closer to novice tourists and those who avoided similar burners due to additional operational difficulties. For experienced travellers, these benefits add a significant advantage in the comfort of using the burner, reducing contact with soot and fuel to a minimum. The pump slightly spoils the overall picture, so it should be the next element to be improved by the manufacturer. And as an ideal-ideals – I’m waiting for a lightweight titanium version of the Polaris Optifuel Ti 🙂
- incredible ease of use even for beginners
- “delicious” little things (attachment of the divider to the burner, the valve on the pump, supports for the inverted cylinder).
- inconvenient design of the air outlet in the pump and fuel filter.