My alc,wood & esbit stoves do me fine 4 season down here in the southeast .but i beleave its time to prepare for this winter and maybe some lonely, freezing mountain up north. I kow its relitivly heavy . but i have read nothing but good reveiws. Il be using it with my snowpeak treak 900 cookset, which i beleave will nest well with this stove. Based on specs. the cup is a bounus cosidering i currently do not have one that can be used on stove. So am i crazy? please help me deside. THANKS
Some peopole live life day by day. Try step by step.
Dude, you are totally insane for considering a stove that has been not only reliable for decades, but of which most are still working strong for decades. Who would want a stove that will definitely work even in freezing temps and high altitudes every time? It's just nuts to sacrifice some weight for the sheer reliability of a classic stove like the Svea, right? <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
OK, sarcasm aside, the Svea is a great stove. Nothing wrong with it at all. Just practice priming it many times and using some priming paste (a possible need if you are in temps significantly below freezing) before you need it in the frozen backcountry.
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Do a search for Svea or 123 and you will find a number of posts about this stove.
I have a Svea 123, not the R model, which is the same stove without the brass cage around it. Mine fits into a Sigg cookkit.
The Svea is a simple, reliable design that has been around for decades. I got mine sometime in the 60's or 70's.
As you already know, it isn't the lightest stove around or the most modern design. But new stoves and parts are available online (not sure if you're looking at a new one or used one). Optimus owns the design now and still sells them.
If all you want is a reliable stove that burns white gas, then this certainly is one that will last as long as you do if you take reasonable care of it. Like Bearpaw says, there's a good reason you still see these things on eBay-they are a classic.
No. Once you own a Svea you'll consider it a benchmark to compare other stoves and wonder why anyone bothered inventing pumps for stoves. I've got two, a Svea and a Svea 123. The old one is probably 40 years old. Both light first time, every time, and burn like a jet engine. Pros...... Still the most reliable pack stove made. Self contained. (nothing to attach or assemble) Pumpless, which is like watching 'perpetual motion'. It's weird. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" /> Pretty brass! (they look like nautical brass work on your office shelf when not in your pack) <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> Easy shape to pack. No bag needed.
Cons... Brass. Brass is heavy and this stove is not considered 'ultra-lite'. (I carry it anyway if I need a good stove for 1-2 people and I'm not trying to shed every ounce....i typically don't hike with stoves). It's round base needs a level place to sit. No big deal but it can be tippy. Fuel capacity is small. Good for a couple days of small meals, assuming you will really be cooking that often. Loud. They have a "roarer" burner. I like the sound. Some don't.
Priming is a matter of squirting some camp gas or alcohol on it and setting it on fire. It's got a 'priming cup', rather an 'indention'. I usually dump fuel right on top of the thing and let it trickle down to the indention, and torch it. It 'chuffs' to life in about a minute. It's great fun, expecially for your ininitiated hiking partner.
A precaution: Never run a Svea dry. You'll char the cotton 'mop' wick inside and your stove won't work for any obvious reason.
I've got other stoves but the Sveas probably get used the most, especially when car camping.
If a stove maker would come up with a titanium Svea, they would rule 'Stove World'. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
Loc: jersey city NJ
I had something very similar. Like the Svea, the burner was directly over the tank, which was slightly larger than a Svea. Instead of the brass windscreen it used a steel box. Purchase price was $12. I think it was sold as a "Primus" but underneath a sticker was the "Optimus" logo designed in early 20th Century.
After about 18 years I stripped the threads on the nozzle and had difficulty obtaining a replacement part. I replaced the entire stove with a Svea in the late 1980s. It was more fussy and troublesome, and I ditched it for reasons I don't exactly remember..
There are at least some good arguments to be made that the MSR Whisperlight and similar models are better than the Svea. Problems are supposedly more easily addressable in the field because of its design, and the pump makes it easier to light and keep lite. The pot stand is slightly more stable. Also, I'm guessing that it's lighter. The International version is more suited to multi-fuels, which can be a significant advantage.
Also, any canister stove is easier to operate relative to any gasoline stove, and I think the difficulty of cold weather operation of canister stoves is often somewhat over-stated. I've used them near zero F. degrees several times without a problem.
Ive been eyeballing them on ebay also. I like the fact that its all one unit and not fuel bottle to carry apart form the stove pump(well maybe). Ive been looking for a whitegas stove for winter. I also like that you can simmer (so Ive heard) so when I finally take the family on its first backpacking trip we can cook food and not have to buy canisters or a more expensive stove.
My gear is no where near lightweight
Loc: jersey city NJ
Nostalgia is fine. If you want nostalgia, use a Trangia stove. That design is roughly as old as Svea's and offers certain advantages, including availability.
Sometimes, older products fade away and are replaced by inferior products. I don't personally think that's the case here.
Now that you mention it, I may have had the Svea 123. In any case, it had a built-in cleaning needle. My experience with it over a few years was generally negative compared with the earlier, similar and simpler stove I had for nearly 20 years, though can no longer say why.
Oddly, each point in the post immediatly above can be easily and obviously contradicted.
30 years ago I would have told you to go for it. Mine was top of the line at that time. Too many advancements have been made since then. My advice is to go ahead and post it on ebay the day you get for about 1/3 of what you shelled out for it. Someone mentioned/joked (not sure) about Trangia- but I find them quite pleasing and use one year round - although it does perform better in the coldest, nastiest weather.
For brick and mortar breed filth and crime And men are withered before their prime
The only problem I ever had with my Svea was that everyone tried to sneak it into their pack. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
It was a great stove. I finally gave it up when the Simmerlite came out, since I value lighter weight. However, aside from lighter weight and greater stability with larger pots (1.5 and 2 quart MSR stainless), the Simmerlite didn't perform any better or worse than the Svea. And yes, you can simmer with the Svea.
I eventually replaced the Simmerlite with a canister stove (I no longer go out in the dead of winter.)
No, you're not nuts to consider it - especially since you realize you'll pay a price in greater weight. But mine never needed maintenance (except running the needle up into the jet to clean it), and never failed to light.
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
If you are cooking for more than just yourself, you can take the stove out of the brass shell and use the Sigg Tourist cookkit-you can find them on eBay. They are stackable and I am pretty sure the 123R stove is the same size as the older 123.
Its tank had a very slightly larger capacity than the Svea and the total weight was a couple of ounces more.
I replaced it with a Svea 123R "Climber" which added the self-cleaning needle. The Wikipedia article notes some complaints about this innovation. Put me down as a complainer. It wasn't as reliable as the Primus. I wouldn't recommend it. Get a non-self cleaner if you must use Svea.
Also, I think eventually, the wicks on these stoves need replacement, but it's just my theory as to why their performance eventually degrades (I remember early Fletcher editions making vague mention of this degradation, without offering reasons).
Sad to say, good old MSR (and maybe the copy cats) eventually blew them all out of the water and unto kingdom come.
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Thanks Weldman, I wasn't sure. What I would like to see is a version of the Sigg kit, but much smaller-something you could put a stove like a small canister stove or maybe even an MSR of some type in.
With the Sigg, for those who haven't seen one,, the stove sits in an aluminum windscreen and the pots stack up on it. You can even make a double boiler out of it since there are two pots of different sizes that fit together.
Trangia has something similar and they also sell a canister stove and multi-fuel stove to use in their kits instead of the alcohol stove. I've not seen one in person though, just on their website. It doesn't look exactly like the Sigg, but it looks like it stacks like one.
Don't get me started, you know how I get.
I wouldn't recommend it. Get a non-self cleaner if you must use Svea.
I've got one of each. The older Svea burns hotter, bigger more aggressive flame. The self cleaner 123 model....is easier to clean. Both have been 100% reliable. The wicks only need to be replaced if you run one dry several times. When the wicks dry out and cook, they caramelize and won't 'wick' anymore. My wicks have never been replaced and work fine. I've also got an R8 Hunter that shares some of the same parts and is also a great car camper stove....too heavy for packing. MRS stoves are good stoves. They work very well but I had problems with plastic parts. My favorite pumper stove is an Optimus Nova which a wonderfully reliable stove, no plastic parts. I'd just like to see Optimus come up with a modernized Svea, Ti or Aluminum, with an R8 style tank but removable. A self pressurizing stove design, like the older Optimus's would eliminate a third of a stoves weight. Brass and silver solder is what makes Sveas un-ultralite. I've also got a Coleman Peak I, bought back in the early 80's. It's now unusable...pump parts are siezed/rotten and the generator requires a break-over bar to remove and clean. It's been retired. All things considered the old Optimus pumpless stoves have required zero maintenance, work every time, and are older than all my other stoves combined. No plastic and the only washer/seal in the things are made of carbon...except the cap gaskets. Come to think of it, I replaced one, once. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" /> I guess that's why I use Esbit/cookfires/alchy stoves now...... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
Loc: jersey city NJ
It may be argued that the Primus 71 was better than a Svea (putting aside the self-cleaning model), because while its weight and bulk were comparable, its larger tank capacity enabled the user to go longer without needing a separate fuel bottle.
There are probably similar discussions about the Ford Mustang vs the Mercury Cougar.
I purchased the Primus 71 ($12) merely because it was the only immediately available stove but more typically, Optimus was the only brand you could get from the big suppliers during a certain time period in the U.S.
There is the nostalgia factor. I would probably still be using my old Svea if I had not switched to alcohol. I tried several stoves Peak 1 etc. and finally went to a Trangia because I was sick of having to do field service, run out of canister fuel and not been able to find more, having to take two canisters because one was 1/4 full and would not last the trip etc. I have since switched to the Brasslite because it is foolproof and rugged. I know that there are lighter stoves but being rugged is a big factor in stove choice. I may step on my stove but more likely it is jammed into a tight corner of my pack.
My last trip I took both a trangia and a homemade pop can stove. I used both and found that the pop can stove was better in the following ways. Popcan stove-- lighter. Trangia-- Heavy brass. Trangia-- burned very hot and used fuel faster. Popcan stove--- with 1oz of fuel I was able to boil the water I needed (using a heine pot). I bought my trangia from e-bay that came with a german army issue cookset also very heavy. That stuff goes in the Heavy Camping Stuff Archive. Sorry haven't used a Svea???? <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" />
Ah, the cherished SVEA 123, my 1st backpacking stove and only one for twenty years. I changed to an MSR Dragonfly for it's simmer ability & remote fuel container so I could bake stuff. Now I only use the Dragonfly for winter.
But if you DO get a SVEA 123 be sure to get a detatchable pressure pump to avoid the hassle of priming with a candle on the bottom of the stove.
"There are no comfortable backpacks. Some are just less uncomfortable than others."
Craigs list, garage sales, ebay....too. I found my R8 Hunter stove at a church bazar for $5. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> One of my Sveas was $20 on Ebay, newish in box. People keep these things in their garage for years, unused. My dad has several Coleman lanterns and stoves in his garage, all products of the '60's.....useless to me but someone, somewhere wants them. My brother in law bought a box of maybe a dozen MRS Dragonfly's and Whisperlites from a yard sale! The old guy had retired from being a Scoutmaster. $20!!!!
There are other ways to prime these Svea things without the pump...in fact, the pump won't work with the Svea if the brass windscreeen/pot stand is attached. That Sigg kit makes the stove a much better stove. I just use a squirt bottle with alcohol or simply warm the base in my hands. The pumps speed things along.