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Old 15 Dec 2009
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Stove advice - Primus Omnifuel vs. hobo stove

My wife and I are looking into getting a new stove for future travels. When travelling we camp whenever possible, and we also cook our own dinner pretty much every day. The stove we've used so far is an old Campinggaz stove I bought several years ago, and it has served us well. However, as you all know, finding gas cartridges outside of Western Europe can get quite tricky, and since we travel two-up the prospect of lugging around one does not necessarily fill us with joy, to say the least
Thus, we've decided to ditch it and get something new.

The bottom line is this: while we do live in and frequently travel through Western Europe, we already have and plan to travel less developed countries, too. After some research the stove I found to meet the requirements best is the Primus Omnifuel, since it works with both gas and fuel (petrol and diesel). I have to admit that I was a bit shocked by the price tag but sales clerks keep telling me that it's the greatest invention since sliced bread. However, I've also read that fuel stoves tend to clog and I'm curious whether someone could enlighten me as to how Primus deals with this problem. I kept looking around and started considering a hobo stove. The biker in me likes the fact that it's light and small, and we don't need to carry around a fuel bottle or gas cartridge. The German in me dislikes the fact that open fire is illegal in most countries in Europe, and that that last thing we want is to cause any trouble.

Thus, it boils down to these very basic questions:
  • What exactly justifies the Primus Omnifuel's 170€ price tag?
  • What are the benefits of a fuel stove compared to a hobo stove?
  • Does someone know whether or not a hobo stove is considered open fire?
  • Did someone get into trouble for using a hobo stove?
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Old 15 Dec 2009
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I have an omnifuel.

I like it for the same reason: versatility, and it is sturdy. Yes fuels can clog, but if you use demantured alcohol ( think that's what it is) aka camping fuel, you can use the pressued bottle and it will burn perfectly clean. Having said that the units are easy to clean your self using the multitool and manual provided.

My only gripe is that the unit seems to seep fuel at the coupling when you connect it to the fuel bottle. Only a little, so after a minute or so it has evaporated and you can light safely. Ditto for when you disconnect. Almost as it the valve opens just before the o-ring seals and vice-versa. I should pointout it did not do this when I got it: only on a couple of recent trips did it start doing this.

It was not cheap and that leak does bother me, more so when the price is considered. However, I am pleased with it overall and I do think it is a well made piece of kit.

Is it better than the Hobo? In some circumstances, yes: but for run-of-the-mill camping, I'm sure you can do without: all depends if you'll be in the back end of beyond and need to run on bike fuel, etc!!

Finally, you can get it for less than €170: just hunt around a bit.
Primus OmniFuel Stove (with fuel bottle) - Rough Gear UK

Primus Omnifuel stove (with fuel bottle) by Primus - Purity Equip
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Old 16 Dec 2009
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Do you happen to know anybody else with that same problem? What I'm trying to figure out is whether this is a general problem or specific to your stove. Because a stove that expensive should not suffer from defects such as this. And the 170€ price tag is accurate for Germany - I've seen'em online for ~160€ plus S&H. And since we still have a 190€ coupon (returned a North Face jacket that turned out to be anything but waterproof) for a spots equipment store that happens to carry camping and hiking equipment as well, we'll probably get it there.

I'm still not convinced though, and still not sure I'm willing to spend that much money on something as basic as a fuel stove. The cleaning part does relieve me a bit though, I don't mind cleaning it every now and then as long as it's not twice a week
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Old 16 Dec 2009
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I use a little camping gaz stove but use bigger cartridges (470 instead of 270) They only cost a little more and are good for me for 3-4 weeks or more. If i were to buy a liquid fuel stove, it seems silly to me to not buy one that uses the same fuel as my bike. On the other hand, if is to be used with either a diesel or petrol engine, then it makes sense to have a cooker that will run on either. $170 does seem to be a lot of money though.
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Old 16 Dec 2009
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i used a gaz for years, but on a longer trip cooking 2 or 3 times a day and the odd cuppa along the way its a real pain using up those 270 cans, the 470 made the thing too tall for my windbreak and it was a bit wobbly. so i went the other way and used a coleman sportster which had no fuel problems because there was always some in the bike. it was a great stove but a bit dirty, smelly and bulky compared to the gaz. then i went all survivalist and used a pepsican stove and homemade kit for a bit, i liked the simplicity but its a bt too simple, great for heating a pint of water on the side of the road for a cuppa but not a meal so much.
now im sort of between the three, using a small 27 series trangia. i love the practical design, and how it swallows the fuel, and an awful lot of utensils, food and spices when packed up (without the kettle. why have a little kettle when you got two 1ltr pans?). it still runs on meths which is fine but i think in the new year i will invest 50quid on the multifuel burner so i can use petrol from the bike again.
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Old 16 Dec 2009
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Svea

I have used one of these stoves for over 30 years. Yup still the same one. I bought my 3 kids each one about 20 years ago and they are all still using the same one. I like it because I can just get some gas out of my motorcycle and cook when I want to. There is just a needle jet that is easy to take out and clean. It will burn almost any liquid fuel and works by pressure like an old blow torch. Everyone I have gone camping with has had a new something else and ended up throwing theirs away it seems because they quit working. Svea 123 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 16 Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MJungowski View Post
Do you happen to know anybody else with that same problem? What I'm trying to figure out is whether this is a general problem or specific to your stove.

I have no idea if this is specific to my stove or not; I've never asked, but as it started a while down the line, I'm sure it's a case of adjusting, cleaning or replacing a single piece. Otherwise it would have been a problem from day one!

If this is an issue for you, you could have the best of both worlds: a small gas burner for the more well stocked places that have canisters, like a MSR Pocket Rocket, or Primus Mimer. They are very small: the canister being the majority of the bulk and then have a woodburner for other areas...

There was one stove on here a while back that looked like a large tobacco tin. You opened at hinged points and it turned into a wood burner with a pot platform. Together they would still be about half the price of the Omnifuel...and about the same space...

I am happy with my Primus, and I can live with the quirk as I know I'll get it sorted when I finally get my act together...but that is not to say that there aren't plenty of alternatives.
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Old 16 Dec 2009
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I did some further research and found out some rather disheartening facts. Warthog, your problem seems to be very common. I found several customer complaints about a leaking coupling, apparantly due to really cheap o-ring seals. In addition, the fuel pump has some more of these super cheap o-ring seals built-in and constantly fails below a certain ambient temperature (I found everything between -5°C and -30°C). Thus, I have to assume that those are both not individual cases but rather common. If you ask me that's inacceptable for a 170€ stove.

I'm also rather crestfallen that pretty much every other stove carries its own baggage, too. Cheap pastic fuel pumps (MSR), cheap o-ring seals (all Primus stoves), noise level (MSR, Juwel), etc. And I'm not willing to spend 100 bucks or more on a stove that I already know is a) going to break, b) going to leak, c) going to fail below a certain ambient temperature (e.g. when you *REALLY* need it), or d) wake everybody up.

To be honest, I'm rather discouraged and a bit disoriented at the moment. I'll check out the Svea next, but the hobo stove looks more and more promising.
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Old 16 Dec 2009
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Well, it is a shame to hear that. I must say that I can work around the issue but,yes, at the price, it's a bit disappointing. I had corresponded with Primus: they had given good advice that resolved the leak on dismantling the coupling after use, but not the leak before which is the mmore hazardous...

If you want simple: look here!

fire spout Mini

I don't need one, but like the look for sheer simplicity. But, when you are in the middle of nowhere, if it is raining, your twigs will be pretty worthless....
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Old 17 Dec 2009
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svea stove

That is why the Svea is so nice. no moving parts to ever fail. If it get some crap in the fuel it comes with a key that you use to take it apart and just blow the junk out and it is just like new. I have used mine over 500 times and cooked for groups as large as 10 with it. It takes a while because it is just one burner but it really blows out the heat. Any temp it will work and in fact the colder it is the better it works because of the simple principle that it works. 'There are no pumps that can fail. It is as foolproof as gravity. It is pretty much bomb proof as that article said. I have had mine fall out of horse packs to the ground and that did not hurt a thing. Hundreds of backpacking trips. Rain on it. No problem. Gas will light even if it is raining on it.
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Old 17 Dec 2009
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I tried my Swedish Army Trangia outside at -31c yesterday .
It worked OK and brought 500ml of water from 5c to boiling in just over 12 minutes .The fuel was methyl hydrate and was at room temp .
The burner was lit outside and the pot placed on it immediately ,no warm up ,just light her and go .
All in all a fair performance for a very cheap and simple stove in adverse conditions.
Might be something to think about .

I'd love to try a Svea 123 as well ,they look a very nice unit .
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Old 17 Dec 2009
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I have used the Primus for several years and never had any problems with it but I never operate the coupling when it’s pressurized.
It’s the best burner I’ve used.
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Old 17 Dec 2009
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I have a SVEA 123 and Colman 533. Both work well.

Coleman® backpacking stoves, Exponent, butane/propane, packable, light weight, ultralight, Fyrestorm

John
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Old 17 Dec 2009
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Hinged cooker you could put wood in? Dead cheap, but won't last months with continuous use!

YouTube - How to use a Hexi cooker.

I have this meths "white box stove", which is either lit or not, no simmer, but for a couple of coffees first thing its ace. Really light, burns for about 12 minutes per fill, pan sits directly on top, no moving parts, meths/alcohol available everywhere as long as you didn't drink it all the night before!

White Box Stove


Same site has a number of other minimal stoves, including wood fuelled.

We also have petrol fuelled Coleman twin burner and a Peak One stove which are good.

Last edited by grizzly7; 17 Dec 2009 at 14:58.
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Old 18 Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssa2 View Post
I have used one of these stoves for over 30 years. Yup still the same one. I bought my 3 kids each one about 20 years ago and they are all still using the same one. I like it because I can just get some gas out of my motorcycle and cook when I want to. There is just a needle jet that is easy to take out and clean. It will burn almost any liquid fuel and works by pressure like an old blow torch. Everyone I have gone camping with has had a new something else and ended up throwing theirs away it seems because they quit working. Svea 123 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I have looked at these (svea 123r) and virtually everyone who had one liked it. BUT,
White gas ( coleman fuel) is more expensive a liter than a 470 cartridge and not easy to find locally. Will it work ok on unleaded petrol? Secondly,, when you finish using it, how do you stop it from leaking the remaining fuel.. cant find a sensible answer.
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