Optimus 111 'Hiker' Swedish camping stove, $1.

In another Gallery entry I cover the Svea 123 camping stove. Those little Svea stoves are legend among hikers and campers worldwide. If you compare the 'look' of a Svea stove to this Optimus stove, you'll notice that they're very similar: the brass fuel tanks and fittings are very similar on both stoves, and the little chain with the unusual pattern that's used on the Svea to secure the little wrench is identical to the one used on the Optimus to secure the knob. These characteristics were actually the first tipoffs that told me to pay attention to this stove. The other indicator was the MADE IN SWEDEN on the top of the burner.

Here's what a website that sells this particular unit has to say about it:

The Optimus No. 111 Hiker is widely reputed as The Himalaya Stove. It has conquered the Poles and the Himalayas over and over again. The stove is at ease working at high altitudes such as 19,500 feet. The Hiker has been the choice of professionals, military units (i.e. U.S. Army) and aid projects all over the world for more than 50 years. Why?

Accurate flame control. From simmer to a roaring boil. The risk of charring food is minimized.

Fuel flexibility. The Hiker is a multifuel stove. Wherever you go, you will be able to find fuel for your Hiker. No conversion needed between ordinary fuels (when using methylated spirits/alcohol, simply change the burner jet).

Reliability and sturdiness. We have lost count of how many field tests and expeditions this stove has passed. Users frequently report that the unique cleaning needle that clears the burner jet when the stove is in use is a prime feature, especially at high altitudes and in countries where fuel often is impure.

The Hiker is ideal for high altitude base camps, arctic expeditions, outdoor cooking for families and groups.


Fuels: Kerosene/paraffin, white gasoline/petrol, diesel oil, methylated alcohol/spirits and Coleman fuel. Weight: 1640 grams/58 oz. Measurements: 105x180x180 mm / 4.1x7.1x7.1" Rating: Appr. 3.000 watts/10.000 BTU Burning time: Up to 2 hours on one filling (0.35 litres/12 oz.) at high output. Boiling time one litre of water: down to less than 3 minutes (varies with fuel, climate, altitude, tank pressure etc.).

As you can see, this stove is no cheapo Walmart special - it's a high-performance survival unit that burns almost any fuel, under any conditions, and which people are willing to literally entrusting their lives to. This stove sells for almost $200 new, but since this example is in relatively poor shape, I can expect less.

This Optimus 111 Hiker stove sold on eBay for $52.

Photo of Optimus 111 Hiker Swedish camping hiking stove