I've got an optimus nova stove and there is a round 'wick' under the burner that gets fuel on it when you start the stove. What is this material?

  • I don't understand this question? What is it? It's gauze..Do you mean what is it made of where can you get one or what?
    – user2766
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 17:46
  • what is the material. E.g. the material, what is it? Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 17:54
  • @Liam Yes, I would like to get one,- its a very simple item so I thought I could make one with the right material. Trangia only provide a full kit for this. Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 9:50
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    Yep, you can make these. You need to be careful to use 100% cotton, do not use anything containing polyester or else it'll melt and knacker your stove. Anything you use to make this test first, burn it, it should char but not melt, melting bad.
    – user2766
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 9:56
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    @Liam You sure about that cotton? Yes polyester melts (and then eventually burns too), but cotton burns for sure.
    – montane
    Commented Mar 27, 2014 at 3:40

3 Answers 3


As seen in the photos of the repair kits below, the wick is the fabric-like material which is made of fiberglass. It doesn't burn but does eventually degrade when exposed to the high heat of a stove.

A simple replacement wick could potentially be fashioned out of nearly any fiberglass insulation such as that used in home construction. Furnace filters are often made of fiberglass filter media. It is also often used (usually bonded with other materials) as thermal insulation in automobiles to isolate the engine and exhaust heat from the cabin of the vehicle. If used from one of these type of sources, make sure the fiberglass itself is free of any other combustible materials or glues. These are simply a few applications where fiberglass insulation is used as it has become quite a ubiquitous material.

Another possible source is the wick from a lantern. Even with different fuel types, most lanterns I've ever seen use fiberglass for the wick. However there are so many lantern types and brands out there that you'd need to research the exact type for yourself. But the main thing is to make sure that it's made of fiberglass or other fire-retardant material.

This page has some good information on wick material. It mentions Kevlar and Nomex as some viable, though more costly alternatives to fiberglass. Cotton is mentioned but isn't a good material for this application as it will burn up and soot up the stove.

Optimus Nova Repair Kit: Optimus Nova repair kit

MSR Whisperlite Repair Kit:

While the MSR wick is a different shape and design (the little beige sleeve), it still serves the same purpose and is the same material. Whisperlite Repair Kit

  • Please feel free to add in sources for fiberglass insulation/wick other than the ones I listed. This stuff is used everywhere so I wasn't about to attempt to include them all.
    – montane
    Commented Mar 27, 2014 at 4:22
  • What about Silica - this is a material that appears to be used for wick. My dad said he used to use cotton wool to light a blow torch. Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 9:21
  • Apparently Fibreglass won't do this job as it won't soak up the fuel. Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 9:30
  • Fiberglass is just glass fibers and glass is made of silica so...yeah.
    – montane
    Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 20:15
  • @AndrewWelch - Also check out this site: firesleeveandtape.com
    – montane
    Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 21:35

The priming wick on multi-fuel stoves is usually made of fiberglass material, and provides more surface area which makes harder to light fuels easier to ignite.

Multi-fuel stoves (such as the one you mention, or the Whisperlight International) are able to burn a wide range of fuels -- some of which are not very volatile. For example, diesel fuel, and kerosene do not burn very well in puddle form, while white gas (standard stove fuel) ignites very readily and burns quite well in puddle form. (White-gas only stoves usually don't have a wick.)

So, to help get less volatile fuels started (and thus heat up the stove) the wick provides a larger surface area that the fuel saturates and evaporates off of, making it easier to light.

  • Burning other fuels is dirtier (more soot, and lots of fun cleansers and additives that gunk things up) but the weak point that will get clogged is the jet at the end of the fuel line, not the fuel cup at the bottom.
  • Although a nice answer. It doesn't answer my question of what the material is. Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 9:30
  • Can you give any evidence that its usually made of fibreglass? Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 12:08
  • "Can you give any evidence that its usually made of fibreglass? – Andrew Welch Mar 28 '14 at 12:08" I cannot speak to "usually" but I handed the wick in a well-used MSR (perhaps a Dragonfly model) stove yesterday. It was a degrading 3 inch long white but sooty rope that left particles on my hands which sparkled in the light.
    – user6161
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 12:52

I burned the priming pad on my Primus Omnifuel (2011 variant) very easily in just a few primings. I would say it's a dense cotton, no way could be fiberglass.

  • To person who voted down : my answer is based on a fact (I handled a priming pad) not suppositions like the most voted answer ("as seen in the photo"). Other people on the internet report they had the same experience. Commented Jan 28, 2019 at 16:38
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    Welcome to TGO:SE. Bear in mind I haven't voted on your answer, but if you can flesh it out with more substantive facts other than anecdote, the downvote might disappear. Take a look at the tour to learn what makes a good answer!
    – Gabriel
    Commented Jan 28, 2019 at 18:13

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