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Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter?
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Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 05/02/2013 13:18:16 MDT Print View

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?

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
Re: Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 05/02/2013 13:20:39 MDT Print View

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.)

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Re: Re: Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 05/02/2013 13:35:42 MDT Print View

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.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 05/02/2013 13:39:51 MDT Print View

"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.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 05/02/2013 13:51:23 MDT Print View

"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 ignorance

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 05/02/2013 14:00:10 MDT Print View

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?
Duane

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 05/02/2013 14:03:42 MDT Print View

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.

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
"too heavy" is a funny notion on 05/02/2013 14:10:35 MDT Print View

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).

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
Re: "too heavy" is a funny notion on 05/02/2013 14:27:14 MDT Print View

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!

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: "too heavy" is a funny notion on 05/02/2013 15:29:41 MDT Print View

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.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 05/02/2013 16:00:45 MDT Print View

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.

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Re: Re: "too heavy" is a funny notion on 05/02/2013 16:20:10 MDT Print View

Watch this YT video - skip ahead to 3:40 where he weighs a Whisperlite and a 123 - the 123 is lighter.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUihCydKhBQ

"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.

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Re: Re: "too heavy" is a funny notion on 05/02/2013 16:22:08 MDT Print View

I've still got a bota. I would imagine it is still good.

Michael Ray
(thaddeussmith) - F
Re: Re: Re: "too heavy" is a funny notion on 05/02/2013 16:26:17 MDT Print View

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???"

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: "too heavy" is a funny notion on 05/02/2013 17:12:28 MDT Print View

"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.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Re: "too heavy" is a funny notion on 05/02/2013 17:40:09 MDT Print View

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.
Duane

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
How to keep the brass from coroding? on 05/02/2013 18:12:37 MDT Print View

Is there something special you must do to keep the brass from corroding? I live in a moist climate.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: How to keep the brass from coroding? on 05/02/2013 18:31:06 MDT Print View

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.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: "too heavy" is a funny notion on 05/02/2013 18:54:48 MDT Print View

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
Dimensions (cm)
10 x 13
Dimensions (in)
3.9 x 5.1
Fuel type
White gasoline
Output (BTU)
4780
Output (W)
1400
Weight (grams)
550
Weight (oz)
19

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.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
"too heavy" is a funny notion on 05/02/2013 19:38:59 MDT Print View

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.
Duane