May 2, 2013 at 12:18 pm #1302463
I'm a diehard Alky stove user going between a Whitebox and a Trangia depending on conditions. I use white gas stoves when car camping. Lately I've been seeing videos promoting the old Svea123R but what I haven't seen is anybody melting snow with one. Just wondering – they are kindof cute.
Is it a competitive stove nowadays or is it a toy for backyard Youtube videos?May 2, 2013 at 12:20 pm #1982581
Ha ha ha!! This is gonna be good.
(There are two kinds of people in this world: one type that appreciates the SVEA for all it's wonderful aspects and another that sees them as heavy, brass incendiary devices. Prepare to meet them.)May 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm #1982588
You might be right about the two groups. The biggest complaint I've heard from 123-haters is relating some story of fireballs – always due to misusing the stove. I did read one story where the person waited until they were on top of Mt.Rainer to try their 123 and couldn't get it to light – which I chalked up to noob ignorance.May 2, 2013 at 12:39 pm #1982590
"Ha ha ha!! This is gonna be good."
Okay, I love my 123's (not the R version). But I rarely use them… maybe once a year, they are too heavy. But still my favorite stove.
Winter in the mountains and melting a lot of snow, then no. Get an MSR WG stove or WindPro II (invert the canister).
BTW, none of my WG stoves have ever turned into a bomb. Read the instructions and follow the instructions. Do the required scheduled maintenance and you will be fine.May 2, 2013 at 12:51 pm #1982598
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
"I did read one story where the person waited until they were on top of Mt.Rainer to try their 123 and couldn't get it to light – which I chalked up to noob ignorance."
Uh oh – that's about my story – except it was at Camp Muir at 10,000 feet in the snow – I couldn't get it to work – definitely noob ignoranceMay 2, 2013 at 1:00 pm #1982600
They can put some heat out, but not up to speed I'd say for melting snow. As it is, winter gear is heavy enough. With that said, I collect stoves and have so many, I have to bring at least two to get some use out of them. Can't recall their btu rating, not that high, under 10,000, maybe 8,000?
DuaneMay 2, 2013 at 1:03 pm #1982603
spelt with a tParticipant
@speltLocale: SW/C PA
They ARE cute. I look at them on ebay sometimes, but I'm not a collector, and being realistic with myself, know I wouldn't actually use it.May 2, 2013 at 1:10 pm #1982606
I've heard the "they're too heavy" complaint too. But then I watched a YT video where a fellow showed that the SVEA123 was actually lighter than one of the popular white gas MSR stoves.
BTU output might be an issue, but I've no experience using a 123 at all (certainly no experience melting snow with one).May 2, 2013 at 1:27 pm #1982611
OMG, you totally want one.
Don't waffle around, just buy the SVEA and don't come back here complaining about the herniated discs and third degree burns that are sure to follow. Polish it, nightly, with Brasso cloth and bring a bota bag on the trip. Live it!May 2, 2013 at 2:29 pm #1982625
Svea 123 at around 18 oz has a built in 5.6 oz fuel tank.
An 11 ounce fuel bottle (need for MSRs) is around 3 ounces.
Approx weights w/o fuel bottles
Whisperlite Intl = 11
XGK = 13
Dragonfly = 14
So, yes the MSRs WG are lighter than the 123, even with the small fuel bottle that carries double the fuel.May 2, 2013 at 3:00 pm #1982644
@hikin_jimLocale: Orange County, CA, USA
The Svea 123 is a great stove, but it works by thermal feedback. The heat from the flame warms the gasoline in the tank which then vaporizes, pressurizing the tank and forcing fuel up the burner column to the burner. It can be hard to get them to good operating pressure in cold weather. They used to sell a small pump which could assist in such conditions, but those pumps were discontinued long ago. In addition, the Svea 123 has a little bit lower BTU output than pressure stoves like a Whisperlite, Nova, Simmerlite, XGK, Dragonfly, or Omnifuel/OmniLite.
All that to say, the Svea 123 wouldn't be my first choice for snow melting.May 2, 2013 at 3:20 pm #1982656
Watch this YT video – skip ahead to 3:40 where he weighs a Whisperlite and a 123 – the 123 is lighter.
"Heavy" is the most misused term when referring to the 123 – it isn't heavy at all compared to the popular white gas stoves.
Like I said in the OP, I'm an alcohol stove fan. And the Trangia burner works very well in the cold. But I suspect that the 123 puts out a lot more BTUs than any alky burner and therefore should be better for snow melting. Other than being cute, I really like the apparent simplicity of the stove design – nothing to break. But I don't have any 1st hand experience with a 123 – so talk is cheap.May 2, 2013 at 3:22 pm #1982658
I've still got a bota. I would imagine it is still good.May 2, 2013 at 3:26 pm #1982659
I carry a Dragonfly and cut my weight elsewhere. Mostly, I do it to make gram weenies' heads hurt.
"He uses a small sleep pad and cuts his toothbrush, but carries a Dragonfly???"May 2, 2013 at 4:12 pm #1982675
"Watch this YT video – skip ahead to 3:40 where he weighs a Whisperlite and a 123 – the 123 is lighter."
Not comparing apples to apples. Looks like a 20oz fuel bottle on the MSR. Also don't need the repair kit. He didn't include the MSR windscreen and base either.
My MSR Whisperlite WG with 11 oz bottle, pump, windscreen, and jet cleaning tool weighs right at 16 oz.
My 123 weighs 18 oz including the cup/cover. This includes the jet cleaning tool/wrench.
The 123 is the pre "R" model. The MSR circa 1980 has the yellow pump.
I still like the 123 better, even if it is heavier. FIW, I usually use a Caledera Cone system or a WindPro II.May 2, 2013 at 4:40 pm #1982683
Get one and try it out. They are still pretty popular and have the cool factor with the brass. If getting one, be sure it says "made in Sweden". The external pumps can be bought on the bay of evil or aftermarket pumps (not as nice) thru A&H Enterprises in southern Calif. There is the mini pump, a straight pump, then the angled one called a midi, it will work on the 123 when the windscreen is in place. The midi may only be available if in stock from Basecamp in the UK.
DuaneMay 2, 2013 at 5:12 pm #1982692
Is there something special you must do to keep the brass from corroding? I live in a moist climate.May 2, 2013 at 5:31 pm #1982700
The brass doesn't corrode, it just gets tarnished at least in the 4 decades I've owned mine. Maybe it would corrode if exposed to salt water. I've never used the pump, don't see the need — even in cold weather — just takes practice.May 2, 2013 at 5:54 pm #1982709
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Too heavy?? Well, it might be an ounce heavier. Generally it is comparable to any white gas stove on the market after a week of running it. It is lighter than Alcohol and canisters at about two weeks. It runs at about 3x the efficiency of a Whisperlite. Someone said it has a 5.2oz fuel tank. You should NEVER fill it that full or you won't get it to run very well. Fills should be done to the bottom of the fill cap while level. Otherwise expansion, due to heating, may be too touchy to regulate properly. It makes for a very noisy stove. Even the manufacturer says it is a 4oz tank. Since it eliminates the pump, and associated mechanism, there is only 3 moving parts: valve, cleaning needle and fill cap. Very low maintenence with high reliability.
Specs from Optimus:
Average boil time for 1 L of water
~ 7 min/1 l water, depending on climate, altitude etc.
Average burn time
up to 50 min on one filling (0.12 L/4 fl. oz) at maximum output
10 x 13
3.9 x 5.1
Note that the weight includes a ~2.5oz cup.
I have tried many stoves, commercial stoves and home made ones. Tuning is important on a SVEA. I use a ~40 year old 123r. It has a self cleaning needle so it maintains a clean jet under most conditions. Maybe a teaspoon full of sand in it could clog it, but it does not clog up easily.
For winter use it totally depends on the size of the group. For one or two people, it is perfect. Back in the 70's we used it for ice fishing in our little pup tent shelter (Covered with a sheet of plastic.) We could hold 50F with it on med/low at temps of -10F. It would burn about three-four hours on low. My brother and I would typically drink hot coffee laced with Drambui from snow melt since we were often too lazy to hike a 100yards to the nearest hole to get water.
The pumps are almost manditory in temps much below 20F. Though, a double prime works to get them going. It helps to put a pad under them. On HIGH, you get about 8L per 4oz. On low, you get about double that.
Depending on how many people (I had a family of four) it can be a bit too small. But I have cooked breakfast (bacon, eggs, and fried bread, in lieu of toast.) It will handle a 12" frying pan full of trout, but the flame spread is fairly narrow. An 8" pan works better.
You can adjust the flame from around ~500BTU to ~4700BTU. Simmering and cooking are fairly easy with this stove. It makes an excellent heat source for simmering.May 2, 2013 at 6:38 pm #1982719
I've only been collecting stoves the last three years and used a 123 in the field maybe 3 times now. Nick is correct, the pump may not be needed, I haven't used the pump when out, just a few times on my 8/8R's. They will take off (pressurize) on their own within a few minutes after being primed and started, I've never used one at altitude or in the cold. One of my 123's was used a year ago snow camping close to home, ran fine, temps were mild. The stove seems to fetch a higher price when teamed with a pump, especially a Optimus pump.
DuaneMay 2, 2013 at 7:05 pm #1982726
I always learn something when I drop in to this forum. Wish it had been in existence years ago when I met my first Svea/Primus gas stove to tell me that the stove is not good for melting snow. We were melting snow on a winter attempt (which didn't get very far) of Longs Peak. I continued to use it for that purpose for several more winters. If I had only known…….
I will admit that more recent stoves are superior. I remember when I met my first MKG (the first assault stove).May 2, 2013 at 9:34 pm #1982755
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Oh, they really do have a following. And thye are so shiny.
Limitations: rather low in power compared to modern stoves. The Optimus 8R, another classic, is the same.
CheersMay 2, 2013 at 10:41 pm #1982765
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
"True" 123 users own a SIGG TOURIST cook kit/windscreen. Most of us also own a pump & mating fill cap.
1. pump it up
2. crack the valve until the circular depression around the stem fills with white gas and TURN OFF THE GAS
3. light the white gas
4. when the flame is nearly done quickly turn the stove on and VOILA', a nice flame
5. wait until the flame turns blue and roars – now cook yer food
Hell yes it will work, noisily but very dependably.
P.S. -> I've read some other posts below and it seems they didn't bother to look at my STEP #2 and #3 or they would not have asked the priming questions.May 3, 2013 at 4:25 am #1982791
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
For overall efficiency, you want to maximize heat transfered to the pot. The most efficent I could ever do was about 4quarts per ounce. But, this typically took more time and strong winds would interfere. Field conditons are MUCH different. I expect closer to 3quarts per ounce in the field at about 13 minutes per quart. On HIGH you can expect 2 liters per ounce. I will note here that these specs are under rated by at least 20% or are WORST case tests, indeed 90% of campers will do better out of the box. (I bought three of the newer verions for the kids, all did better.)
Heating Power vs Efficiency is a typical trade off. Higher powers, such as with the XGK, will boil quicker, but the efficiency suffers. (Liters and quarts are very similar in size.)
The boil time is WAY faster at 3.5 minutes per liter. BUT, you only get 1.5 liters per ounce! These are true ratings but are BEST case tests, typical for MSR products. I used this stove a couple times, but like the old Simmerlite, Nova, and Whisperlite, could not cook on it, it burns too hot and went through a LOT of fuel.
Note that these have similar burner styles. Again, for winter use, I would choose the SVEA for groups of two. For larger groups, up to four, I would choose the XGK or similar higher output stoves. Don't get tied up thinking I am married to a SVEA. I have been searching for a replacement since I got the bloody thing. It alwys struck me as being rather primitive. But, it is just the lightest stove for the cooking I do, the lenghth of trip I am usually on, and has a small volume including fuel. Even esbit does no better, and fares MUCH worse in colder conditions. Alcohol is just hugely inefficient with fuel. Canisters fare no better than alcohol, except for the on/off valve. Being carefull with fuel, I can make a 10oz weight of fuel last 2 weeks with the SVEA, boiling water twice per day and cooking. The STARTING weight is all I am interested in, because my weight invariably reduces as I go. It has low emmisions, does not soot up pots, and, has super reliability and durability.
Having high power outputs I see as a detriment. Others feel differently. I don't consider waiting an extra 4 minutes for coffee that important.
For winter use, yes. It is still a viable stove. It depends on your group size, though.
It does polish up very pretty, but I havent done mine in a few years. I'll have to do it before tommorrows trip… It makes a good reflector for the tea light candle when filling out my log.May 3, 2013 at 7:58 am #1982830
Good points. I'm not looking for efficiency when snow camping, burning a little extra fuel is no big deal as most trips are one night, out solo. Good point also about not being in a hurry for water to boil, that's why I make coffee now the last couple years, to slow myself down, I don't need to get home so fast. The 123 is pretty, even without being shined up. Winter is time for a roarer burner when solo at least. The old MSR's throw the heat out, and I love that noise.
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