Optimus/Primus? Svea 123R

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Home Forums Commerce Reader Reviews Optimus/Primus? Svea 123R

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    Joseph Schwartz


    Locale: Midwest

    This all brass stove is configured like a canister stove but uses white gas. The 2/3 cup capacity of the fuel tank is too small for melting more snow than what results in a liter of water, if you bring it to a boil. This greatly limits it's useefulness since it is too heavy for 3 season use. My winter camping techniques involves melting enough snow for 4 liters of water and bringing it to a boil, every morning so I have had to find a better suited stove.

    Zorg Zumo


    It is the same weight as other white gas stoves, but with fewer moving parts. It is inherently more reliable over a very long history. It is very fuel efficient and the maximum heat output and flame adjustment is more than adequate for cooking. It is adequate, but not spectacular, for snow melting for a single person, especially if used with a heat exchanger pot. I would give it a 5 if someone would make one out of anodized aluminum, as it would be perfect for all seasons. As it is, I carry this only in cold weather.

    James Marco
    BPL Member


    Locale: Finger Lakes

    The SVEA 123r is my standard stove for camping. I have spent about 40 years trying to replace the little beast. No such luck. I have found several different stoves that work well for 2-3 days (alcohol or esbit) and one week outings (a 3.1oz canister stove,) but not for extended trips of more than a week.

    It gets adout 13L per 4floz tankful. Priming is a bit of a trick since it depends on filling the "spirit cup" burried just below the valve. A 2" section of vinal wire striping makes a good hose attached to a cap for a soda bottle. Turning the stove to medium and lighting it usually results in a small flare up, but nearly always works first time. In very cold winter weather a small "midi pump" atachment is available that works somewhat better.

    The only moving parts are the valve and fill cap. There is no other parts to clog up, loose pressure or leak. It is extremely reliable and virtually maintenence free.

    It is roughly the same size as a canister stove with the burner attached. A fuel bottle us roughly the same size as a spare canister. For long trips, this means it is very space efficient.

    It includes a cup and windscreen. The actual burner weighs about 15oz with this. It can be used under an extended cone provided care about overheating (just like a canister stove) is used while cooking. For boiling water, it does not usually build up enough heat to be worrisome.

    The SVEA is rugged as heck. My brother dropped a load of firewood on it one time. I simply bent it back and continue to use it.

    For solo use in winter it works well. For two or three people in summer it works well. But it never produces the amount of heat that other stoves produce…4700BTU vs 8-11,000BTU. The slower heat means you can simmer a pot of stew with the top on without boiling over.

    The integrated 11oz cup, wind screen and stove all collapse into a small, neat package that slips into my side pouch easily. With most packs, a fuel bottle also fits. Only a pot/lid and spoon are needed.

    Overall, it is a fuel efficient, space efficient, reliable and maintenence free stove. I would mark it down to 4.5 only because of the difficulty in priming it and the weight. Mine is better than 40 years old. It is still running. WG is perhaps the cheapest (next to wood) camp fuel in the US. And, when you get done with pumps & containers, the weight is not that bad.

    Christian Edstrom


    Locale: Westchester County, NY

    In truth, this probably isn't the best stove any more. The MSR XGK melts snow faster, a canister stove is more convenient for summer trips, and Bob Moulder's heat exchanger may even make it irrelevant for solo winter trips. But the Svea works 100% of the time, has few parts to break, is small and packable, is as simple to use as a gas stove can be, and makes that absolutely delightful chuff-chuff-chuff noise. There are few items more pleasant to use. Rated five stars for a combination of reliability, ease-of-use, size, and charm.

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