Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r

Posted by: Samoset

Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/09/08 07:57 PM

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
Posted by: Bearpaw

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/09/08 08:36 PM

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.
Posted by: TomD

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/09/08 08:47 PM

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.

Here is some info on it from Wikipedia- Wikipedia
Posted by: Dryer

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/10/08 06:03 AM

So am i crazy?

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.
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.

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="" />
Posted by: johndavid

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/10/08 09:10 AM

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.

Sveas of course, can work fine too.
Posted by: Cesar

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/11/08 07:55 AM

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.
Posted by: johndavid

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/11/08 10:05 AM

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.
Posted by: Weldman

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/11/08 03:25 PM

I have a Svea 123 R that has been with me since the late 70's and I had to replace the jet once during that time- used old fuel and clog it up.

A good safety tip if you do get one- use Fire Paste made by Coghlan's to prime it.

I bring a Plastic film can full of the stuff. just add a dime size amount to the base and light it then 20-25sec later open the needle.
Posted by: rootball

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/11/08 06:53 PM

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.
Posted by: Glenn

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/11/08 07:51 PM

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.
Posted by: TomD

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/11/08 08:32 PM

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.

Here is an old thread about the 123
123 thread

There are some pics of the cookkits on eBay.
Posted by: Weldman

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/11/08 08:40 PM


Yes , it works on both. I have the Sigg cook set for my Svea 123R, I have left the big pot home and used my Evernew 1.3L pot.
Posted by: johndavid

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/11/08 09:30 PM

Thanks for the link. My long-lived stove was a Primus 71.

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.
Posted by: TomD

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/11/08 11:15 PM

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.

Here is a picture I found on the web-
Sigg Tourist

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.
Posted by: johndavid

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/11/08 11:38 PM

But it might be dangerous to use Sigg-type windscreen with cannister stove. Mention this only because of course the foil MSR windscreens aren't recommended for cannisters.
Posted by: TomD

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/12/08 01:02 AM

I can see that would be an issue, but there are some canister stoves that use a separate canister and fuel line, like the kit that Trangia sells; that might work.
Posted by: Dryer

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/12/08 05:13 AM

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 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="" />
Posted by: johndavid

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/12/08 08:23 AM

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.
Posted by: GrumpyGord

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/12/08 09:24 AM

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.
Posted by: chaz

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/12/08 01:04 PM

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="" />
Posted by: TomD

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/12/08 05:48 PM

Here are a couple of pics of my Sigg Tourist kit.

Posted by: 300winmag

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/12/08 08:05 PM

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.

Posted by: TomD

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/12/08 09:35 PM

That's the pump in my second to last photo. It sits on the relief valve.
Posted by: tarbubble

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/13/08 06:49 AM

Tom, that kit looks fantastic. now i'm hoping i'll come across one at the Salvation Army someday.
Posted by: Dryer

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/13/08 07:17 AM

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 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.
Posted by: TomD

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/13/08 10:54 AM

That's where I'd be looking. The ones on eBay are going for ridiculous amounts of money.
Posted by: Samoset

Re:Yeah I must be crazy! Orderd Svea 123r! - 08/17/08 08:28 AM

Thanks everybody for your feedback . I orderd my svea this morning. Ill post what i think of it ,and some pre trail feild tests in detail. As soon as it arrives . Which means i need some "Whitegas" <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

Delivery estimate: August 20, 2008
1 "Optimus Fuel Bottle .4 Liter"
Sports; $12.95

Sold by:, LLC
1 "Optimus Svea Climber Outdoor Stove"
Sports; $84.00
Ps: I know i prob Could of found this suff for cheaper.

Thanks Again Everyone
Posted by: TomD

Re:Yeah I must be crazy! Orderd Svea 123r! - 08/17/08 12:22 PM

The stove often sells new for around $100, so $84 isn't bad.

A & H sell parts and does repairs for 123's and other backpacking and marine stoves. It says it is the only North American service center for Optimus and Svea, so if you need something, looks like they are it. If I remember right, they are in Orange County somewhere (CA).
A & H
Posted by: billk

Re:Yeah I must be crazy! Orderd Svea 123r! - 08/17/08 10:30 PM

I have a Svea 123R that I used for years without a failure. I had to replace the seal around the valve once, as it began to leak.

Two cautions: If overheated, the relief valve in the cap opens to prevent an explosion. When it does, the vapor that's released ignites, and a very long jet of flame shoots out. As a precaution, I always made sure it was facing away from me. It never happened to me, but it has happened. Use the same caution regarding external windscreens as you would with a cannister stove. Also, inspect (and replace if necessary) the gasket in the cap regularly. Some Sveas have a slightly sharp edge on the end of the threaded filler spout that cuts into the gasket.

Also, be sure to remove the valve key while you're cooking. Otherwise, it gets very hot and will burn your fingers when you try to turn the stove off or adjust the flame.

Mine wouldn't really simmer, but you can adjust the flame fairly low.
Posted by: Dryer

Re:Yeah I must be crazy! Orderd Svea 123r! - 08/18/08 04:58 AM

A&H are good people. I've bought various Optimus stuff from them. They had parts for my oldest Svea and R8. Even the adjustment keys. I built up a repair/rebuild kit for all my Optimus stoves, yet to be used.

Sveas/R8's and the filler cap, relief valve.....when those things blow, it's just like any other stove. Some people will try and wrap a windscreen around their stoves trying to drag every drop of heat out of the things. As a result they heat the fuel to the boiling point and the relief valve lets loose. So, don't shield the stove below the burner valve and you'll be needs to breath. I've never had this happen either but A&H can give you some pretty funny war stories regarding stove repair, and some of the stuff they get in.

Simmering....I guess every one's definition of simmering is different. We use four Optimus stoves going at the same time for chili cookoffs and group campouts....2 Svea's, an R8, and a Nova. All will 'simmer' depending on the pot size and what you are 'simmering'.

You're going to like your new Svea 123!
Posted by: phat

Re:Yeah I must be crazy! Orderd Svea 123r! - 08/18/08 07:25 AM

As many have mentioned, you'll probably like it. I used one last winter after finding an old one
in a garage sale last year. I don't use one in summer because it's needlessly heavy. I have an old one (without the self cleaning valve) and it simmers great. So I've switched back from my whisperlight to this in the winter for simplicity, simmerability, and my other big thing I like about it, no stink when it gets shut off.

A couple of suggestions for winter:

1) fill the stove and put it in the freezer overnight to practice lighting it at home - or you can put it outside if it's cold enough.

2) I personally carry a small bottle of methyl alcohol to prime with. you can prime with the fuel in the stove but it flares more.

3) I find that in very cold weather, adding a small amount (like a teaspoon, be careful here) of methyl alcohol to the fuel helps cold starts.
Posted by: Samoset

Stove Arrived Wed 20th! First Impressions! - 08/23/08 04:50 PM

Hello everyone
My svea arrived on wed and i must say im pretty darn impressed. Besides my first attempt to prime the stove.(liquid gas+ flame = Fire Ball"close valve quickly & reprime "or fire ball just gets bigger) I have no complaints this thing may just end up being my goto stove For all my cool weather trips. I beleave this is the begining to a verry beautifull relationship. Boils watter as advertised and i found simmers verry well despite some reveiws. The stove could not fit into my snowpeak ti900 cookset any better. Its like the two were made for each other. My only gripe is with the stove on full blast some of the flame comes up the sides of my pot. Witch is easly corrected by backing power down as needed. overall this stove helps bost my confeidence for the frozen backcountry.And i would recomend it to anyone. Now i can worry about my next peice of winter equip.
Thanks everyone ,
Posted by: phat

Re: Stove Arrived Wed 20th! First Impressions! - 08/24/08 10:02 PM


Loc: Newman GA




You keep using that word... I do no think it means what you think it means.... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
Posted by: phat

Re: Stove Arrived Wed 20th! First Impressions! - 08/24/08 10:14 PM

About the flame going around your small pot - you may find (as I do) that even with a wider pot I get a lot more boil time out of a tankful of fuel with the svea with it at about 3/4 "roar" instead of wide open full fledged C-130 hercules ramping up to takeoff kind of full throttle. I throttle mine back to not be at full snort and I get a fair bit more water boiled/melted out of the thing than I do with it at full crank..

Mind you about the only thing more impressive at full throttle is an MSR XGK - mine burning kerosene sounds and smells like an F-18, although I think the GE404 jet engine with afterburner probably simmers better <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
Posted by: TomD

Re: Stove Arrived Wed 20th! First Impressions! - 08/24/08 10:24 PM

Very funny Phat. Don't forget-the XGK has only two settings-off and full throttle.

BTW, priming is a learned artform. I have had my XGK pretty much fully engulfed in a big fireball more than once from a bit too enthusiatic squirt of fuel for priming. Luckily the bottle was far enough away not to get involved.

Enjoy the stove and ignore the naysayers. I design that is about 100 years old must have something going for it.
Posted by: phat

Re: Stove Arrived Wed 20th! First Impressions! - 08/24/08 10:39 PM

Very funny Phat. Don't forget-the XGK has only two settings-off and full throttle.

No no, the two settings I am certain are called "off" and "COME OVER HERE DARNIT! I CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER THE BLOODY STOVE!"

It's my kerosene spike camp stove that lives in the spike camp box. I think it's other use is to make enough noise to scare away grizzlies from a camp with a moose hanging in it <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

It's good at turning a little kerosene into a lot of hot water fast though! which is what
it comes for.


BTW, priming is a learned artform. I have had my XGK pretty much fully engulfed in a big fireball more than once from a bit too enthusiatic squirt of fuel for priming. Luckily the bottle was far enough away not to get involved.

Yeah, which while I know the art, I ususally cheat and prime with alcohol with both the svea and the XGK - particularly the kerosene XGK. It's a lot less sooty and spectacular...
Posted by: TomD

Re: Stove Arrived Wed 20th! First Impressions! - 08/24/08 11:46 PM

Hehehe. Nothing like sitting next to a roaring fire.

The priming comment was aimed more at Samoset. He'll get used to it. First time I really overdid it with the XGK, I was way out in the boonies in NZ by myself and just went "Uh Oh! What the xxxx just happened!?" Followed by a series of naughty words unprintable here. Fortunately, it only lasted a few seconds and didn't do me or the stove any damage.
Posted by: Dryer

Re: Stove Arrived Wed 20th! First Impressions! - 08/25/08 06:46 AM

When you prime a Svea, you want the valve CLOSED when you impress your friends with the fireball. I use a nosespray bottle (with the straw removed) with alcohol for priming. Then it's not so scary. When the priming flame is almost out, you'll hear some sizzeling/hissing going on in the orfice. That means it's time to crack the valve. You'll get an nice calm ignition with no fireworks. If you prime with the valve open, you lose the backpressure the tank reqires to feed the burner, and way too rich flame.
Those stoves are designed to burn with a pot in place and yup, it's more flame than usually needed. Throttle it back to where the flame is just short of the edge of the pot bottom.
Glad you like the stove! It's my favorite too. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
Posted by: frediver

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 08/25/08 12:10 PM

I've had a Seva 123 since they were $13.95 retail, 1969, it has never failed !
Lots of comments here and I have not read them all so I don't know if this is a repeat.

About the only thing that will affect your stove long term is if you let it burn out, ie
run out of fuel while in use.
There is a cotton (?) wick in closed in the actual burner head, it is what draws the fuel into
the burner to be vaporized. If you let the stove burn out this wick will become charred
and that will affect the fuel flow. So in short don't ever let it burn out, refill before each use.

A couple other things.
You need a better wind screen, they are easy to make.
Make it tall enough to be within 1-2in of the top of your pot, fitting within about 1 in of the pot sidewalls.
Only enclose the stove about 75% so it will not overheat and pop off, flame thrower !
To pre-heat my stove I hold it over a candle or use a sm. plastic eye dropper to suck up some reg. stove fuel. I have even used my Bic to pre-heat the stove.
When you calculate the total weight of this stove with a fuel bottle it really is not any heavier than the
new fancy wiz-bang stoves on the market. It requires less maintenance and has no plastic parts to fail.

Take care of it and this stove will never fail.
Posted by: 300winmag

Priming the Svea 123r - 08/25/08 12:47 PM


#1. You REALLLY need the small aluminum pump and the mating brass fuel filler cap that comes with it.

With that pump and cap setup do the following to prime & light your SVEA 123:

1. Fill SVEA with white gas but LEAVE SOME AIR SPACE.

2. WITH VALVE CLOSED, replace the pump-mating brass fuel reservoir cap.

3. Place pump on cap and pump about 10 times or until resistance becomes too great to pump.

4. remove pump

5. place SVEA 123 in Sigg Tourist windscreen (or put SVEA pot stand on stove)

6. open valve a little so fuel comes out & collects in depression priming ring around the stem base (DO NOT OVER FILL DEPRESSION PRIMING RING) and CLOSE VALVE. Fuel may hit the botom of your flame spreader "cup". No problem.

7. light gas in ring

8. JUST BEFORE gas in ring burns too low open valve to start stove.



BTW, Buy a few extra flame spreader "cups" as they can come loose & get lost. (Don't ask me how I know this.)
Posted by: OldScout

Re: Priming the Svea 123r - 08/25/08 02:36 PM

What happened to "light match and toss from five feet away while running away"? That's ALWAYS my last step. (Other than check for singed eyebrow hair.)
Posted by: Weldman

Re: Priming the Svea 123r - 08/25/08 06:35 PM


The pump is just another tool for the stove ( it will break down faster than the stove , I had one. ) and maybe hard to find even on A&H site.

It's easier to add Coghlan's Fire paste to prime the stove. I've done this for the past 18 yrs. Works just as good and for emergencies.

Posted by: GrumpyGord

Re: Priming the Svea 123r - 08/26/08 03:32 AM

The pump is just adding complexity to a very simple stove. If all else fails pour fuel over it and light it on fire. Also as I understand it the pump only works without the original wind screen/pot support so you need the sigg set.
Posted by: alanwenker

Re: Priming the Svea 123r - 08/26/08 07:40 AM

You can easily use the pump without the Sigg Tourist Kit, I've done so for years. The pump makes the stove slightly easier to light and I like the pump. That said, I used the original for years without the pump and never found it hard to light. Optimus/Svea stoves remain the only stove brands that have never given me trouble in the field.
Posted by: GrumpyGord

Re: Priming the Svea 123r - 08/26/08 01:17 PM

I was told that the original wind screen/pot support could not be used with the pump. Is that not true?
Posted by: Cesar

Re: Priming the Svea 123r - 08/26/08 01:53 PM

From what Ive read you cant at the same time, but you can unscrew the pump and put the windscreen back. The cap as a self closing seal that opens and closes when the pump is on and off.
Posted by: DGG

Re: Priming the Svea 123r - 08/26/08 05:23 PM

I agree, Coghlan's fire paste does a great job, especially when it's very cold, but it also covers the stove with soot in no time. In warm weather I prefer white gas for priming. Works fine, and much less mess.
Posted by: Samoset

Primed - 08/26/08 08:56 PM

Wo wo wo ! Besides the fist attempt. I personly find this stove verry easy to prime/operate. So far my fav way to prime. Is to hold a lit bic under stove 25-45secs. Open valve let a little fuel into priming resivoir !CLOSE VALVE! Ignite Gas. Just before flame burns out open valve !VOILA! instant cooking power. Thanks Again
Posted by: GrumpyGord

Re: Primed - 08/27/08 03:22 AM

All of the talk about priming is interesting because I used a Svea for years and never had any problem with priming. I just used an eye dropper to fill the cup, lit it and when it was just about gone started the stove.
Posted by: alanwenker

Re: Priming the Svea 123r - 08/27/08 07:26 AM

The pump is really only needed to make lighting easier, not so much to pump an already running stove. Once the stove is lit, I remove the pump and attach the windscreen. The pump fits over a modified fuel tank cap and the cap stays in place when the stove is running.
Posted by: 300winmag

Re: Priming the Svea 123r - 08/27/08 12:05 PM


I think I covered all the bases.See my instruction #4.
"4. remove pump"

The reason for the very light aluminum pump is to QUICKLY and SAFELY pressurize the stove. Very important in cold weather.

Priming merely initiates SELF-pressurization so the stem gets hot and the stove continues to pressurize itself.

If you've lived with a SVEA 123 for weeks at a time, as I have, you know the pump is simplicity itself.

Posted by: Samoset

Svea Questions Pots, Refueling,Alternate fuels - 08/31/08 04:21 PM

Ok i have had my svea for well over a week now. Which has left me with plenty enough time to realize i need a bigger cookpot. My Snow Peak trek900 TI cookpot
only has 4 inches of flat surface witch means the svea has to be darn near turned off. To keep the flames from rolling up the sides of the pot , barely a hiss muchless a roar. I beleave in any sort of cold windy weather id be forced to turn up the stove to keep it from loosing pressure. thus allowing flames up the sides of the pot and wasting fuel. A personel pet peave of mine . So i was wondering what was some of you guys favorite pots to use with your sveas? Another question is what are some of the techniqes you guys for refueling you sveas? And last but not least. Has anyone burnerd anything besides whitegas/coleman fuel in there sveas? Not that one would make this a habbit but in a pinch .

Thanks in advance for the flood of usefull info that usually follows my questions
Samoset, KG4BYP
Posted by: phat

Re: Svea Questions Pots, Refueling,Alternate fuels - 08/31/08 07:37 PM

My Svea lives inside a GSI anodized potset that is only slightly larger than it. Larger than
a ti 900, but not by much - maybe a 5 inch base. That itself lives inside of a pot cozy made of blue foam and duct tape, which is nice for keeping hot stuff hot, or a pot of water liquid overnight.

I wouldn't worry about being able to keep the stove going in cold weather. Once you have
warmed it up, you can throttle it back and it'll keep going just fine. Practice lighting and getting going on the cold. but once it's going, even in very cold weather you shouldn't have
any problem keeping it warm enough to run low.
Posted by: frediver

Re: Svea Questions Pots, Refueling,Alternate fuels - 08/31/08 08:05 PM

The GSI double boiler anodized pot set is a great combination for the svea.
Save yourself some frustration and cut some H.D. roof flashing and make a wind screen
the svea built on screen does not work well.
Posted by: TomD

Re: Svea Questions Pots, Refueling,Alternate fuels - 08/31/08 08:06 PM

I wouldn't try burning anything other than white gas. There are some Primus stoves that look much like a 123 and burn kerosene, but I have no idea if the jet from one of them would fit.

The MSR XGK has two jets-one for kerosene and one for everything else. The kero jet has a bigger hole since the fuel vapor is denser.

I used methylated spirits in my XGK, which you aren't supposed to do, but it worked. Meths is denatured alcohol with usually some coloring added. It might work in a 123-the burner design is pretty similar to the XGK, but again, not recommended.
Posted by: Dryer

Re: Svea Questions Pots, Refueling,Alternate fuels - 09/01/08 05:16 AM

Cookpot....I use the same pot for all stoves. It's a super-thin, squat and wide pot I salvaged from a "stainless cookset" bought at walmart. You can see a picture of it in my "Altoids Stove" instructions in the 'make your own gear" section. They are still available.
The pot looks much bigger in the picture than it actually it. My guess is that its about 6 inches wide and 1.75" tall. Works great on the Svea.
We've used the Svea's at chili cookoffs and youth campouts with 4 quart pots on top, if you want to go really big. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> MSR/Optimus fuel bottle with a refueling spout/valve on it. Don't remember who make them but they work great. Good for dribbling fuel for priming too. Like this:

Alternate fuels....why? Camp gas seems to be everywhere. I've heard of folks using auto gas and kerosene in Sveas/R8's but I understand it's very sooty and the stoves aren't jetted for such things. Remember, the fuel is 'wicked' to the generator chamber with a cotton mop. I wouldn't put anything in there that will goo it up.
To be certain, a call to A&H will provide the answer....they know these stoves better than anybody.
Posted by: GrumpyGord

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 09/01/08 06:31 AM

Now you have done it. I ended up digging out one of my two Svea stoves and fired it up with the intention of taking it on my next trip. Priming was not a problem and I have even used the aluminum pot which comes with the stove so pot width is not a big problem. I have used auto gasoline a couple of times when I could not get Coleman fuel. Stinks and soots up the pan but seems to work OK.
Posted by: dralahiker

Re: Am I crazy? Contiplating Svea 123r - 09/02/08 08:47 PM

I still have a Svea 123, circa early 1970s. I'm sure there are Sveas out there still going strong from the 60s. Once they came out with a detachable pressure pump for it, starting up in any weather was not a problem. Turn open the valve and click your lighter. Vrooom. Jet engine in only a few moments. Since all the parts of the stove were designed to be replaceable, there's no telling how many years of regular use could be had.

One last note - I found that filtering the white gas used in the stove (and a .5 liter Sigg bottle with gas for week long trips) increased the reliablity and reduced clogged jet syndrome. Keep the jet nozzle clean and you're good to go.

The Svea is [Edited for inappropriate languge, please review forum policies for more information] well reliable, but the Coleman Peak 1 Ultralite with pump pressurized tank, fold out legs to stablize it, and a very well controlled gas valve that could roar or simmer with ease.

In comparison, the Svea could put out the heat, but tempering the flame reliably was, well, temperamental.

Such a fine hand made brass stove is worthy of life long status. Show the next generation of campers how to use it. Take them on a trip using the old Svea. Let them see and experience that human art that is timeless - not digitized. It goes right along with learning to build and tend a fire. Be a primal man with your Svea!
And make some good corn liquer with it, too.